Beaumaris Castle on the Island of Anglesey is the great unfinished masterpiece. It was built as one of the ‘iron ring’ of North Wales castles by the English monarch Edward I, to stamp his authority on the Welsh. But it was never finished money and supplies ran out before the fortifications reached their full height.
Beaumaris is nonetheless an awesome sight, regarded by many as the finest of all the great Edwardian castles in Wales. Begun in 1295, it was also the last built by King Edward. The king’s military architect, the brilliant James of St George, brought all his experience and inspiration to bear when building this castle, the biggest and most ambitious venture he ever undertook.
In pure architectural terms, Beaumaris, the most technically perfect castle in Britain, has few equals. Its ingenious and perfectly symmetrical concentric ‘walls within walls’ design, involving no less than four successive lines of fortifications, was state of the art for the late 13th century.
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