Built for Edward I, by Master James of St George, the castle is amongst the finest surviving medieval fortifications in Britain. In a word, exceptional. You can’t fault it, from the grandeur of its high towers and curtain walls to its excellent state of preservation. An estimated £15,000 was spent building the castle, the largest sum Edward spent in such a short time on any of his Welsh castles between 1277 and 1307. Money well spent.
Two barbicans (fortified gateways), eight massive towers and a great bow-shaped hall all sit within its distinctive elongated shape, due in part to the narrow rocky outcrop on which the castle stands. You won’t find Edward’s concentric ‘walls within walls’ here. They weren’t needed. The rock base was enough security in itself.
Some say it is the most magnificent of Edward I’s Welsh fortresses. To get the full picture, head for the battlements. Breathtaking views across mountains and sea.
If the outside impresses (and it will), wait until you go in. With an outer ward containing a great hall, chambers and kitchen, and a more secluded inner ward with private chambers and a royal chapel, it is very easy to imagine how Conwy functioned when the royal entourage were in town.
Along with Harlech Castle, Caernarfon Castle and Beaumaris Castle, this monument has been part of the Castles and Town Walls of Edward 1 World Heritage Site since 1986.
This is a rare Tudor Manor House it was built by the Norris family a devout catholic family who were keen to impress their visitors. The manor was passed to them in the late 14th century and they owned it until the mid-18th century.
This house was started in 1530 and after many additions was completed in 1598. The gardens date from the 1850s and there a two yew trees called Adam and Eve which are thought to be between 500 and 1000 years old. While filming in London Charlton Heston came to visit Speke Hall because his wife is a descendant of the Norris family. Priests fleeing persecution in the 16th century were offered sanctuary hiding in the secret priest hole.
It is now owned by the national trust with a grant from national museums Liverpool. The building is made of timber and covered with wattle and daub these are woven lattices of wooden strips which are then daubed with a sticky material usually made of a combination of soil, clay, straw, animal dung and sand, this process has been used for over 6000 years and is still in use in some counties today and many historic buildings are made this way. This process is now making a comeback as a sustainable source.
Towards the end of the 17th century the estate was passed to the granddaughter of Thomas who then married and became a Beauclerk who was the grandson of Charles the second and Nell Gwynn. The Beauclerks never looked after the property and after 3 generations fell into disrepair. In 1795 Richard Watt bought the house for £73.500 he never lived here and died a year later the house was left to his 10 year old great nephew. In 1807 he was married and a lot of refurbishment commenced. His house was then passed to his son Richard after his death and leased to Fredrick Leyland who continued the retoration. Adelaide Watt was bequeathed the house and took great pride in the property. She died in 1921 and left the hose to her 3 descendants for 21 years only, and it was then passed on to the National trust to secure its future.