Image description

WALES 


BATTLEFIELD AND MILITARY HERITAGE 

If you are  looking for something to do for an afternoon while on holiday somewhere in Britian, we can find a local expert guide for the battlefield and arrange a tour for you.  

 

Wales is more richly endowed with castles than any other part of the UK, reflecting its history of invasions and rebellions. For its numerous battlefields however there is as yet no national register and little in the way of organised preservation  


Events in Wales

If you are planning a tour to Britian, and would like to take in some of the spectacle of our military heritage we can help you to take advantage of the dozens of re-enactment and other events staged around the country.


We will be adding an events calendar so you can see what is on and where!

Battle of Twthill (Tuthill) 1461

Image description

 a relatively minor skirmish in the Wars of the Roses this battle brought an end to open warfare in Wales and gave Edward IV control of all Wales save Harlech Castle. A Yorkist army under Sir William Herbert met a Lancastrian force led by the Earl of Pembroke outside the walls of Caernarfon. Herbert was victorious and the Lancastrian leaders fled the country.

Battle of Tuthill 1401

Image description

Fought outside Caernarfon during the revolt of Owain Glyndwr, following his siege of the town and castle with its English garrison. Significant chiefly as the first occasion on which Glyndwr flew his flag bearing a golden dragon on a white field. Little is known about the battle which appears to have been inconclusive. 

Crug Mawr Battlefield 

Image description

A clash between the Normans and an alliance of Welsh forces seeking control of Ceredigion, following the revolt against Norman rule in South Wales in 1136. The battle took place at Crud Mawr, two miles from Cardigan. The Norman forces were overcome and fled towards the River Teifi where the bridge collapsed under the weight of the fugitives. This defeat was a major setback for the Normans, after which Ceredigion was taken over by Gwynedd. The battle site is thought to be a high knoll called Banc-y-warren.

Battle of Mynydd Carn

Image description

Part of the struggle for control of the Welsh Kingdoms of Gwynedd and Deheubarth. In 1081 Gruffydd ap Cynan landed with a force of Irish and Danes to pursue his claim to the throne, joining forces with Rhys ap Tewdwr, King of Deheubarth, at St David's. After a day's march north they met and defeated the army of Trahaearn ap Caradog of Gwynedd. The site of the battle is disputed but may be Mynydd Carningli, the Mountain of the Cairn of Angels, the battle's name Mynydd Carn meaning Mountain of the Cairn.

Battle of Maes Gwenllian (Kidwelly)

Image description

Scene of a revolt against the Normans in 1136 led by Princess Gwenllian, sister of Owain Gwynedd. The battle took place at Maes Gwenllian (Gwenllian's Field) in the forest of Kingswood, about a mile from Kidwelly Castle. Gwenllian was defeated and is believed to have been killed in the battle.  

Battle of Fishguard

Image description

The last invasion of Britain by a foreign military force, during the War of the First Coalition in 1797. Troops from revolutionary France landed at Carregwastad Head near Fishguard as a diversion in support of Wolfe Tone's Irish Republicans. Many of the invaders were irregulars whose discipline quickly broke down. After a brief clash with a hastily assembled local force of reservists, militia and sailors under Lord Cawdor the French quickly capitulated. The Royal Oak pub, where Cawdor made his headquarters, still stands on Fishguard Square.

Holyhead Maritime Museum

Housed in a former Lifeboat House, the museum has many detailed models of historic ships associated with the port and theIrish Sea, as well as memorabilia and photographs. A special exhibition is dedicated to the submarine HMS Thetis, lost at sea a few weeks before the start of World War II. The Holyhead at War exhibition, based in an air raid shelter next to the main building, has artefacts from both world wars, including some relating to the ships of the Royal Netherlands Navy that were based at Holyhead during the Second World War.

 

Caernarfon Castle

Image description

The centrepiece of Edward I's 'iron ring' of castles, Caernarfon has polygonal towers set along its massive curtain walls. Town walls, connected to the castle, were built at the same time and were largely complete by 1285. Yet these defences failed to stop town and castle being sacked in the rebellion of 1294 led by Madog ap Llywelyn. In 1401 the castle was besieged during the Glyndwr Rising and the Battle of Tuthill was fought nearby. During the Civil War it was held by the Royalists and besieged three times.

 

Royal Welch Fusiliers Museum

Housed in two towers of Caernarfon Castle, the museum is dedicated to the history of Wales' oldest infantry regiment, which dates back to 1689. Collections include the regiment's 14 Victoria Crosses and a display about the famous writers who served in it during the First World War – Robert Graves, David Jones, Frank Richards, Siegfried Sassoon and Hedd Wyn.

Harlech Castle

Image description

Built in a concentric ‘walls within walls’ pattern, and sited on a rock near a cliff edge with only the east side open to attack. Harlech resisted the siege by Madog ap Lywelyn in 1294-5 but was taken by Owain Glyndwr in 1404 and used as his headquarters until retaken by the English in 1409. In the Wars of the Roses the Lancastrians held out in Harlech for seven years, giving rise to the song Men of Harlech, and in the Civil War it was the last Royalist fortification to surrender. Ruined but with many walls intact.

Criccieth Castle

Sat on a headland overlooking Tremadog Bay, Criccieth Castle was originally built by Welsh prince Llywelyn the Great in the 1230s. The twin towered gateway is believed to date from this era, but when the English captured Criccieth in 1283 they added a storey to the gatehouse and built a new rectangular tower. In 1404 it fell to the forces of Owain Glyndwr who tore down the walls and set fire to the castle. Scorch marks can still be seen on some of the ruins. Visitor displays give information on Welsh castles and on the medieval chronicler Gerald of Wales.

Kidwelly Castle

 Norman castle overlooking the River Gwendraeth and the town of Kidwelly, dating from about 1200. Unsuccessfully besieged by Owain Glyndwr, assisted by French troops, in 1403 the gatehouse was damaged and rebuilt by Henry V. Designed with one set of walls inside another, it has a semi-circular wall on the land side and a tower guarding the river side. Outside the gatehouse is a memorial to Princess Gwenllian who died in battle nearby in 1136.

Battle of St Fagans

Image description

 civil war battle between a largely untrained army of former Parliamentarians turned Royalists under Rowland Laugharne and a detachment of the New Model Army under Colonel Thomas Horton in 1648. Both marched on Cardiff and met at St Fagans, west of the city, where a Royalist attack was quickly repulsed by the superior Parliamentarian army. Laugharne and the remains of his force fled to Pembroke Castle, there to endure an eight week siege. Visitors to the National History Museum at St Fagans can walk the battlefield though it is much changed in appearance.


LaugharneCastle


Built in the 13th century by the de Brian family, an earlier Norman castle on this site saw the meeting of Henry II and Rhys ap Gruffudd to conclude a peace treaty in 1171. Laugharne was a turning point in Owain Glyndwr's rebellion where he was ambushed and lost 700 men, after which he retreated. Elizabeth I granted the castle to Sir John Perrott who converted it into a Tudor mansion. In the Civil War it was besieged by Parliament, damaged by cannon fire and later 'slighted'. 

Conwy Castle

Image description

With spectacular views to sea and mountains, Conwy is one of the best preserved medieval castles. Built in the 1280s along with the town walls, its rectangular shape mirrors that of the rock it sits on, with eight towers and two barbicans. It withstood Madog ap Llywelyn's siege in 1294-5 and in 1399 Richard II took refuge here from Henry Bolingbroke's forces. Rebels briefly took the castle during the Glyndwr rebellion. In the Civil War it was Royalist held and hence 'slighted' by Parliament. Later it fell into ruins but was restored from the 19th century on.

Castell y Bere

Image description

Remains of a native Welsh castle near Llanfihangel-y-pennant in Gwynedd. Built by Llywelyn the Great in the 1220s to secure and defend the south west of Gwynedd. In 1282 it was taken by English forces under Edward I who expanded the castle. During Madog ap Llywelyn's revolt in 1294 the castle was besieged and burned. Never repaired, it fell into ruins.

Dryslwyn Castle

Image description

The only native Welsh castle with three wards, Dryslwyn stands on a hill above the Tywi Valley. Built by the princes of Deheubarth, probably in the 1220s, it was much expanded later that century and was one of the last castles to remain in Welsh hands, under Rhys ap Maredudd. When he rebelled against the English in 1287 the castle was besieged and taken by Edward I's forces. Later seized by Owain Glyndwr, the castle seems to have been demolished in the early 15th century and only fragments remain.

South Wales Borderers Museum, Brecon

The museum of the 24th Regiment of Foot, housed in the barracks at Brecon. Its outstanding collection of weapons includes examples of guns from the 18th century to the present and its medal room contains over 3000 medals. Perhaps the greatest draw is the Zulu War room, detailing the regiment's exploits during the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879 during which the regiment won 11 Victoria Crosses.

Caerphilly Castle 

The largest castle in Wales and the first to adopt the concentric design, Caerphilly is surrounded by moats and artificial lakes. Built by Gilbert 'the red' de Clare in the 13th century to secure Norman control of Glamorgan it was burnt down during construction by his rival Llywelyn ap Gruffudd in 1270 but was completed despite this setback. Its design inspired Edward I's string of castles in North Wales. In the late 15th century it fell into disuse but later underwent extensive restoration by the Marquesses of Bute

Firing Line – Cardiff Castle Museum of the Welsh Soldier

Exhibition within the Cardiff Castle Interpretation Centre commemorating 300 years of the 1st The Queens Dragoon Guards and The Royal Welsh. Soldiers from these two regiments, the former cavalry, the latter infantry, have taken part in most of Britain's conflicts including the Battle of Waterloo 1815, the Battle of Ramillies in 1706 and the Anglo-Zulu war of 1879 as well as recent service in Iraq and Afghanistan.