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Conwy Castle

Conwy castle and the city walls were built from the years 1283-1289 by approximately 1,500 workers at the height of the construction, to form one of King Edward I (17th June 1239 – 7th July 1307) fortresses in his ‘Ring of Castles’, used to quell the Welsh uprisings. English citizens were moved in to the town and the Welsh people were banned from living there.

It effectively became a garrison town. King Edward I was actually besieged in the castle in 1295 by Madog ap Llywelyn, or Prince Madoc, but the castle was relieved by the English Navy and the castle survived. Conwy Castle was captured, by the Welsh prince Owain Glyndwr (c. 1349 or 1359 – c. 1416) using trickery, but his occupation was short lived, and he fled west, pursued by the English to Harlech Castle. Sometime after the Welsh uprisings had been controlled, the castle was no longer garrisoned, and left to deteriorate. In 1642 during the English Civil War, Conwy Castle was again garrisoned and repaired by Royalist troops. The parliamentarian army laid siege to the castle in 1646; it surrendered in August, after three months. The Roundheads proceeded to destroy the castle, to prevent its reuse by the Royalists, so it became a derelict ruin. In 1660 after the reformation of King Charles II (29th May 1630 – 6th February 1685), the castle was returned to the third Lord Conwy, a building beyond economic repair. The Lord Conwy decided to salvage what he could from the building and sold the remaining lead and timber. CADW now maintains the remains of Conwy Castle, and it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in North Wales.

It is reputed that Conwy Castle is haunted, and the following strange phenomena have been witnessed and reported by visitors and citizens of Conwy.

1. A strong smell of incense has been reported on entering the upstairs floored chapel.
2. There have been reputed sightings of a black silhouette watching visitors.
3. People have been overcome with a sense of terror whilst in the towers, and have had to leave the castle.
4. Allegedly, the apparition of a monk has been reported watching people in the castle.
5. The reputed silhouette of a large man in armour and wearing a helmet, looking out of a window, lit up as if by candlelight, has been reported from a person walking along the street outside the castle at night.
6. Tourists have reputedly claimed to have seen apparitions in period dress whilst gazing up at the castle from the street.

Simon Topham

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