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Castles of Wales (Hardback)

British History Medieval History Ancient History P&S History Social History Medieval Wales

By John Paul Davis
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Series: Castles of...
Pages: 232
Illustrations: 25 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781399018876
Published: 28th February 2022

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In 1277, Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, Prince of Gwynedd, met with Edward I of England in Aberconwy to finalise a treaty that would change the fate of both nations. His hand forced by Edward’s invasion earlier that year, Llywelyn’s acceptance of the terms confirmed not only short-term peace but also that the rule of Wales would pass to Edward on his death. To augment his rising dominance, the English king embarked on a building project that saw the rise of some of the most recognisable fortresses in Europe. Quite literally, an ‘Iron Ring’ of castles.

Even before the construction of Edward’s infamous ‘Iron Ring’, castles were by no means rare in Wales. Both before and simultaneous to William the Conqueror’s establishment of timber and stone fortresses in the south and borderlands, a process continued by many of his descendants, native structures also existed. Though often more palatial than protective, such constructions proved decisive to the ongoing wars and were often chosen as sites for future castles. Just as had been the case in England, the story of the castle crosses many centuries. Many began as Roman forts, whereas others date from more modern times. While many are now romantic ruins, others remain cherished family homes, if not hotels or museums.

By adopting an identical approach to that seen in Castles of England, the purpose of this book is to throw light on the stories behind them. For as long as there have been castles in Wales, there have been mysteries within their walls. Murders that remain unsolved, treasures unfound, prisoners left to rot in the darkest pits and valiant warriors whose heroic deeds have become a cherished part of the Welsh identity.

From blood-soaked heroes to long-lost legends, despotic pirates to wailing hags, Castles of Wales offers a fresh investigation into many of its fascinating fortresses. No country has more castles per square mile than Wales. Even today, there are more than 200 to be enjoyed. Inspired by such a rich tapestry of tales, this book provides an essential introduction to the nation many regard as ‘The Land of Castles’.

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About John Paul Davis

John Paul Davis is the international bestselling author of eleven thriller novels and four works of historical non-fiction. His debut thriller, The Templar Agenda, was a UK top 20 bestseller; The Cortés Trilogy has also been an international bestseller.


As well as being a thriller author, his debut work, Robin Hood: The Unknown Templar, has been the subject of international attention, including articles in The Sunday Telegraph, The Daily Mail, Yorkshire Post and Nottingham Evening Post, mentions in USA Today and The Independent and reviews in the Birmingham Post and Medieval History Journal. His second work, Pity for the Guy, was the first full-length biography of Guy Fawkes and was featured on ITV’s The Alan Titchmarsh Show in November 2011. His most recent work on Henry III, The Gothic King, was released in 2013. His latest work of non-fiction, A Hidden History of the Tower of London, also published by Pen & Sword, was released in February 2020.


He was educated at Loughborough University and lives in Warwickshire. His websites are www.officiallyjpd.com and www.theunknowntemplar.com. Twitter @unknown_templar.

Perfect Partner

James of St George and the Castles of the Welsh Wars (Hardback)

James of St George has a reputation as one of the most significant castle builders of the Middle Ages. His origins and early career at the heart of Europe, and his subsequent masterminding of Edward I of England’s castle-building programmes in Wales and Scotland, bestow upon him an international status afforded to few other master builders retained by the English crown. The works erected under his leadership represent what many consider to be the apogée of castle development in the British Isles, and Malcolm Hislop’s absorbing new study of the architecture is the most important reassessment…

By Malcolm Hislop

Click here to buy both titles for £41.00
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