Castell y Bere

Castell-y-Bere (1283)

Well, hello great people in earth! The last castle that we will talk about for now is Castell- y-Bere, which was once been an impressive fortress built by Llywelyn AP Iorwerth, also known as Llywelyn the Great, Prince of Gwynedd in the early 13th century. But what a marvelous, typically Welsh site for a castle! Embedded in the arms of the darkly foreboding, starkly greenish-gray landscape formed by rugged Cader Idris and its mountainous cohorts near Abergynolwyn some 10 miles SW of Dolgellau, the greatly ruined Castell-y-Bere now lies isolated from the major communication routes across Wales, atop a steep-sided, flat-topped rock, perfectly situated to stand guard over the surrounding valley floor. The breath-taking spectacle of Cadair Idris, the "Chair of Idris", is in itself worth the jaunt. Legends have it that if you spend a night on the mountain, you will awake the next morning either a poet or a madman!
Cadair Idris

            The inside of the castle are a little confusing, the outline of the site is difficult to distinguish unless you climb onto slightly higher grounds. Like other Welsh castles, Y Bere follows the form of the rocky plateau on which it stands, so that its overall design is oblong, almost triangular, but without linear sides. The walls which encircle the castle are low and of fairly poor construction, and would not have been able to withstand a heavy siege. However, the castle's siting and the presence of several massive towers would have compensated for any lack of strength on the part of the walls.

Just inside the gateway are the interesting remains of what once was a huge round tower, placed at that spot to defend the castle's main entry. The castle well is also situated in this area of the bailey, an unusual-looking structure, for it is much larger than the average well you will find at most castles.

Castell-y-Bere was to remain a Welsh stronghold for only about six decades. In April 1283, the castle was finally surrendered to the English, the last castle to fall during Edward I's momentous incursion into Wales to crush the rebellions of the Welsh. After falling to the English, Castell-y-Bere was repaired to some degree and a settlement was established at the foot of the craggy hillock. One last attempt was made to retake Y Bere by Madog AP Llywelyn, who considered himself Prince of Wales, in 1294. But this revolt was squashed shortly thereafter, and Castell-y-Bere was rendered useless from that point onward. The new English settlement was abandoned and the castle was never used again.

For 600 years the castle having lain idle and neglected. Fortunately, the castle still remains some of the building to been explore. At one time, ironically, it would have been one of Llywelyn's great showcases, adorned with decorated tiles, stained glass and lovely stone carvings of armed soldiers (Davis, 1988). This castle is awe-inspiring location and role in Welsh history and well worth your recognition.

View of the beautiful countryside surrounding the castle.


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