From The Neolithic To The Sea: A Journey From The Past To The Present

Dolbadarn Castle

53° 6′ 59.76″ N, 4° 6′ 51.12″ W

  • History
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  • Gallery
  • Gallery
  • Gallery
  • Gallery
Dolbadarn Castle is located at the base of Llanberis Pass in Gwynedd, North Wales.

The castle was built in the 1220s by the Welsh Prince Llywelyn the Great. Traditionally the Welsh princes had not constructed castles, instead using undefended palaces called llysoedd, or courts. The Normans were advanced into Wales, taking lands in the north and establishing a band of occupied territory in the south called the Welsh Marches.

During the 12th century some timber and earthwork castles began to be built, but in small numbers. Llywelyn was faced by several challenges, including dealing with the threat from the kings of England, and maintaining his authority over the native Welsh

Following Llywelyn's death in 1240, Gwynedd's power declined and many of its eastern lands were taken by Henry III of England in 1247. The conflict between the Welsh princes and the English kings continued in the reign of Edward I. Edward was determined to prevent any further rebellion in North Wales and set about building a sequence of new castles and walled towns, replacing the old Welsh administrative system with a new principality governed from Caernarfon. Dolbadarn was no longer relevant and within two years timber from the castle was being used by the Normans for the construction of Caernarfon Castle.

The remaining parts of the castle continued to be used as a manor house into the 14th century, but by the 18th century, Dolbadarn Castle was in ruin.

In 1941 the castle was given to the State by Sir Michael Duff. It is now maintained by Cadw and is protected as a Grade I listed building and as a scheduled monument.