Castle of Kairfilly, Wales: history, description, photo

The second largest castle in the UKKairfilly of the 13th century and today makes an indelible impression of its scale and power. It is perfectly preserved and embodies the whole epoch. For a long history, the castle was attacked, rebuilt, restored. Today it is one of the most visited sights of Wales.

castle kaerphilly

Where is

Castle Kairfilly is in the same namecity-county in the south of Wales. The city is located on the border between the counties of Glamorgan and Monmouthshire. It belongs to the administrative unit - the Glamorgan area, Wales county. The city of Kairfilli has the status of a county and is one of the most visited objects by tourists. The region is located in a mountainous area, and the fortress is built on top of a hill, it rises formidably above the city spreading below, surrounded on all sides by artificial lakes and moats. This arrangement of the fortress was strategically advantageous and made it the object of many attacks.

Keyfill Castle Wales

History of construction

In the second half of the 13th century in Wales, the famousaristocrat Gilbert de Claire, Earl of Gloucester, began to erect a fortress to protect the disputed territories. At this time, the rise of the Welsh principality under the leadership of the independent ruler of Wales, Llywelyn ap Gruffudd. As a result of military operations, he was able to conclude an agreement with Henry the Third and establish the independence of Wales from the English crown. Castle Kairfilli (Wales) was in the 13th century a city-forming object for the settlement of the same name. In 1282, Gilbert de Claire made a new attempt to win Wales, which was successful, and the region finally became part of England. To strengthen the defense of their territories, Gilbert ordered the construction of fortresses in all the cities of his possessions. The construction began in 1268 and was carried out intermittently until 1290. Despite the long protracted struggle for the territory, Gilbert managed to build a huge castle, which allowed not only to defend, but also to live comfortably. After the conclusion of the treaty in Montgomery, the defensive function of the fortress ceased to be relevant to de Claire, and he began to equip the castle as a residential residence. In 1295, Gilbert died, but by this time the castle of Kairfilli had already been almost completely rebuilt and ready for a busy life.

castle kairfilly photo

Castle in the 14th and 17th centuries

Since 1313, the castle of Kairfilli was again inthe epicenter of territorial struggle. Llywelyn Bren and the royal troops continued to fight for power over the region. In the battle of 1316 the city of Kairfilli was almost completely destroyed, but the fortress stood. In 1317, Hugh le Despenser the Younger, who married Gilbert de Claire's sister Elinor, took up residence in the castle. The fortress of Kairfilly became her dowry. Hugh was on good terms with Edward the First and was rich enough. He decided to expand the castle, making a big hall for receptions. For the work, he invited William Hart and Thomas de la Bataille. They created beautiful chambers, richly decorated with carvings. When the coup took place and King Edward was overthrown, Hugh and his wife hid in the castle from possible reprisals. Isabella's troops were drawn to the fortress. The lock did not last long. Hugh surrendered, and the lands were transferred to Isabelle de Despenser, who, together with her second husband, invested heavily in the renovation and reconstruction of the castle. In 1486 the fortress passed into the hands of Count Pembroke, but he did not want to live here. And the castle is gradually falling into decay. Water closures around the castle come into disrepair, several times the territory of the fortress is flooded. In the castle, prisoners are kept for some time. In 1583 he was leased by Thomas Lewis. He dismantles part of the stone walls to build residential and office space. Military operations during the Civil War of the late 17th century almost did not affect the castle, but resulted in damage to the southeast tower, which was called Falling. In 1648 Cromwell orders to blow up the castle in order to leave the territory without reliable defense. But the then-sappers were not able to do it, only part of the walls and several towers succumbed to the explosives.

castle kairfilli description

The life of the castle in the 18-20 centuries

In 1776, the castle of Kairfilly, whose historybecame only sadder, finds a new master. Tom Stewart for the first time attempts to restore and preserve the castle. In 1860, his great-grandson conducts a complete audit of the state of the fortress and begins to vacate the premises from tenants who treated the contents of the castle in a disregard. The fourth marquis, John Crichton-Stewart, was a fan of restoration and construction. He invested a lot of money in expanding the holdings and repairing the fortress buildings. Until 1950, he was engaged in the restoration and restructuring of buildings, restoring the historical appearance. He cleaned up the dams and refilled the moats and lakes adjoining the castle. By the middle of the 20th century, he brought the estate into a decent view, which recreated the appearance of the 15-16 centuries. In 1950, the Marquis handed the castle and all the surrounding territories to the state.

Castle today

In the 21st century, the castle of Kairfilli is managed by the companyCadw, which deals with the conservation and operation of historic sites. Today the fortress is the most visited sight of Wales, here more than 100 thousand people come every year. For tourists, excursions, holidays and festivals are organized. A visit to the castle of Kairfilly turns into an interesting adventure with a journey into the past due to the fact that the life of the Middle Ages is recreated here.

castle kaerphilly how to get


The castle of Kairfilly, whose description can bemeet in all encyclopedias on medieval architecture, is an excellent example of fortification architecture. Brutality and reliability are the two main epithets that come to mind at the sight of this powerful structure. The architecture of the castle is laconic and convincing, there is nothing superfluous, everything is subordinated to one goal - to defend itself from enemies. The square in the plan fortress is surrounded on all sides by a powerful stone wall made of sandstone, with four watchtowers and narrow loopholes. The fortress has two defensive perimeters. The first ring is the stone walls, the second is the fortress proper. Before the main entrance to the fortress there is another high defensive wall. Inside the fortress there are living quarters: a beautiful Great Hall for receptions, striking with exquisite finishes, rather modest sleeping and private rooms.

castle kairfilly history

What to see

The castle of Caerphilly, whose photo looks spectacularat any time of the year, today it is a real museum. The territory of 120 hectares allows you to make long walks and hold mass events here. What can not be missed while visiting the castle? It is worth going around the perimeter around the fortress to see all the entrances to it and the impressive moats and lakes. You can take a walk along the partially restored parapet of the fortress wall, climb the tower to look at the city lying at the foot. In the museum exposition of the fortress one can see the uniform and weapons of a medieval warrior. Siege guns are installed in the center of the fortress. It is necessary to examine the drawbridges, walk along the islands on artificial lakes. In one of the towers you can see a film about the history of the castle. To visit the castle of Kairfilli, you should plan at least half a day, and preferably a full day, to fully familiarize yourself with its features. The castle is very photogenic, and tourists shoot it from all four sides, getting the most beautiful shots.

How to get there

Have you decided to see the castle of Kairfilly? How to get to this interesting place? From the railway station of the capital of Wales, Cardiff to the castle can be reached by train. From the center of the town of Kairfilly to the castle is 1.5 km, they can easily be reached on foot.

  • Rating: