< Beaumaris

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Beaumaris still has half its moat, and has its entire curtain wall with its series of 15 defensive towers.


This is the most symmetrically perfect castle that the master builder Master James of St. George designed.

The original approach was a drawbridge lowered with a chain. (This is Maggie going across the modern wooden bridge.)


Notice the barbican with murder holes? (A barbican is a fortified gate house.


This is the view looking up. Defenders would be able to pour hot oil or rocks onto any invaders who were trying to get through the gate.


This is the inside of one of the gate houses. The floor is missing, but you can see how there are arrow loops all the way around.


Once you get past the murder holes, the gate, the archers in the gatehouse towers.... then you come to the outer ward.To the left is the curtain wall, to the right the towers of the castle.


However, the whole time you are in the outer ward, there are hundreds of arrow loops pointed at you from various floor levels inside the actual castle.


More shots of the outside of the castle towers, as seen from the outer ward. (That's me in the blue raincoat.)


This is the entrance to the castle and the inner ward.


Not a problem to get in....


You just have to get past another barbican with murder holes, dozens of arrow loops aimed at you and another gate.


Beaumaris is built on a plain on the large island of Anglesy. Because of the fact that there were no geographical features to take advantage of (i.e. no mountain or outcropping of rock to build on), they were able to make it a picture perfect castle with concentric lines of defense. Towers, an inner ward, an outer ward, a curtain wall.


Even within the inner castle towers, limiting access is at a premium. Notice the shape of this door? Only one person can go through it at a time. It's meant to trip anyone who tries to come through it unless they come through the middle of the doorway. It will also cause you to bump your head if you don't line up in the middle of the door coming through it.


We laughed at this sign so hard that I had to put it in. It's a warning not to bump your head on the stones hanging down. (See those doorways still work!)


Once again, most of the towers were empty wells with no floors.


This is the top of some of the wall walk. Beaumaris seems very short and squatty because the top floors of the towers were never finished. The castle was so perfect even in this unfinished state that it took only 30 Men at Arms to garrison it. And at that, no one was ever fool enough to attack it. (That is, that we know of.)


The view of the harbor from the towers. Beaumaris had few of the comforts of Conwy. The great hall was never built, so the inner square was mostly empty. A small hall and kitchen were built, but the rest of the plans were never completed. Obviously, the Queen never came to stay here.


Another view. The sky stayed this grey-blue in Wales most of the time we were there, with breaks of occasional golden sun.


Once again, the exception to the roofless, floorless towers, is the Chapel tower. This one had an altar and cross. It was carved to look like the inside of the gothic churches of the time. The acoustics were so full in there that we stopped to sing, "Non Nobis" together. And then I sang a 1550 version of the Nicene creed. The sound of our voices gave me chills.


Ox shot this from the King and Queen's private observation chamber. If they wished, they could observe mass or the prayers without descending to the chapel itself. There is another observation window on the other side. (That's me in the photo.)


Ducklings in the moat as we were leaving. It is still spring here.