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Criccieth - A Brief History


Criccieths existence arose in about 1230a.d when the first part of the castle began to take shape, some 30 years later the castle size doubled with the addition of another wall and tower.

In the early thirteenth century Criccieth was little more than a church and a few houses beside the newly erected castle. In 1239 it is mentioned  as being the prison of Gruffydd son of Llewelyn the Great.

In 1282 at considerable cost Edward I conquered the land and maintained his grip on it by building a series of strong castles, it is clear that he repaired Criccieth castle as a link in the chain of these castles.

In 1284 after his last visit to Criccieth the king declared Criccieth as a Free Borough, the first mayor of Criccieth was William de Leyburn, many others have followed in his illustrious footsteps including Hywel-y-Fwyell (Howell of the Battle Axe).

This was the time of the bards and singers of Wales. The English hold on this land was loose as long as the Welsh paid their proper homage.

In 1404 Owain Glyndwr revolted against the English and captured Criccieth castle along with some of the larger castles.

From the time of Elizabeth the glory had almost gone from Criccieth and the castle was neglected, the castle itself remained in the hands of the crown until 1858 when it was sold to Mr. Ormsby Gore, M.P.

For a long time the walls of the castle had been crumbling, although the late Lord Harlech carried out some repairs it wasn't until 1933 when he placed the castle under the  guardianship of the Ministry Of Works that things improved. The M.O.W carried out much work for the next six years and improved things considerably and thus the castle was maintained in its present state.

When seaside holidays first became popular Criccieth at first did not benefit from this boom in tourism, that was until in 1867 when the Cambrian Coast Railway line first made stops at Criccieth. However from that date Criccieth with its stunning beaches and picturesque views has become a favourite holiday resort for many thousands of travellers.

All through the Victorian era the favourite pastimes of sea bathing, hill walking and mountain walking increased in popularity and this coupled with the romance of Criccieths  stunning scenery ensured the prosperity of one of Wales most beautiful coastal resorts.

If you would like an interesting walk around Criccieth and sample some of its history then why not try the Heritage Walk.


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