chapter  3
Rills and Romance
Gardens at the Castles of Llywelyn ab Iorwerth and Edward I in Wales
WithSpencer Gavin Smith
Pages 15

At the turn of the fourteenth century Edward I was in the process of constructing a series of castles along the coast of North Wales in order to secure the conquest of the Kingdom of Gwynedd. These structures, surviving in varying states of completion and under the weight of various national and international designations are at the hub of a tourist industry in a country sometimes called “The Land of Castles.” Now in the care of Cadw, the historic environment service of the Welsh government, a series of guidebooks is produced that places the military interpretation of the Edwardian castles at the heart of any discussion about them and their place in medieval history. Much has been written about the Edwardian castles from a military perspective, but considerable information survives historically and archaeologically to tell us about the gardens constructed with these castles and how they relate to the town and associated wider landscape. Research by the author has revealed details of garden construction, layout, symbolism, and their slow decline into obscurity and, in addition, has identified one of their precursors at the Welsh castle of Dolbadarn, demonstrating that gardens and gardening were as important to the princes of Gwynedd as to their English successors.