and all things Welsh
The ruins of Castell y Bere, Wales, rising above the surrounding trees. Taken by Necrothesp
Reproduced under the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Castell y Bere is a native Welsh castle near Llanfihangel-y-Pennant north of Abergynolwyn, Wales, situated atop a steep, flat-topped rock from which it commands views of the surrounding Dysynni Valley and Cadair Idris. It was likely built by Prince Llywelyn ab Iorwerth around 1221. It is now in the care of Cadw.
Today the Castell y Bere is mostly ruins, though the castle's layout, dictated by the lozenge shape of the rocky outcrop upon which it sits, is still apparent. The castle is composed of two typical Welsh towers fashioned in approximately the shape of the letter D, and a third rectangular tower at the highest point of the land. Scholars have theorized that one of the towers contained a chapel. It was once protected by a system of ditches and drawbridges.
Castell y Bere, located in an isolated area, stood guard over a major trade route through the nearby mountains. In 1283, following the fall of Dolwyddelan to an invading English force, Dafydd ap Gruffydd retreated to Castell y Bere. Soon after, the castle was besieged by English forces. Dafydd escaped, but Castell y Bere fell to Edward I of England's army. Seeing the castle's strategic importance in his campaign to capture the Welsh countryside, Edward refortified the castle and a small town began to crop up around it. The English held Castell y Bere until 1294.
In 1294, Welsh revolutionary Madoc ap Llywelyn laid siege to Castell y Bere, seeking to drive its English interlopers out. Scholars are divided on what exactly happened next, but for one reason or another the English were forced to abandon the castle. Archaeologists, upon excavating the castle, found evidence that the inner courtyard's buildings had been burned sometime in the 13th century and the castle abandoned.
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A guide is available for disabled visitors to some of Cadw's most popular sites. Versions of the guide for specific sites are available in Braille by telephoning Cadw HQ (01443 336 000). The guide is best used in conjunction with Cadw site leaflets or the Cadw Map of Wales. Guidebooks are also available for many of the sites.
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