Caerphilly Castle

Caerphilly Castle (Welsh: Castell Caerffili) is a medieval castle that dominates the centre of the town of Caerphilly in south Wales. It is the largest castle in Wales and the second largest in Britain after Windsor Castle. Built mainly between 1268 and 1271 to stop Llywelyn ap Gruffudd's southward ambitions, it is an early example of a concentric castle with extensive water defences.

Unlike many other 13th-century Welsh castles, Caerphilly Castle was not built by Edward I in his crack-down on the Welsh lords, but by Gilbert 'the Red' de Clare, a powerful, red-headed nobleman of Norman descent, as a response to a dispute between him and the Prince of Gwynedd, Llywelyn the Las. At first the dispute was mediated by Henry III (1216–1272), who sent a bishop to take temporary control of the castle until matters were settled. However, de Clare soon regained control of the castle and occupied it until his death in 1295. 

The castle's raison d'être disappeared during the reign of Edward I (1272–1307). When Llywelyn failed on five occasions to provide services demanded of him by the king, he was declared a rebel and his lands were invaded by King Edward. The security of Glamorgan was never again seriously threatened, and from then on the castle was principally used as a base of operations for the de Clares and later the Despensers. Towards the end of the 14th century, the family moved to a more comfortable location and much of the castle was abandoned as a major fortress. 
The castle gradually fell into disrepair though some maintenance was done on parts of it, notably the eastern gate house which was used as a prison. Despite being mostly untouched by the Civil War of 1642-1648, damage inflicted by Cromwell's Parliamentary Army in 1648 is said to have led to one of the most notable features of the castle, its leaning south-east tower. The tower stands 20 metres high and leans 3 metres out of the perpendicular. Disrepair continued until the late 18th century when the first Marquess of Bute began preservation work. In 1950, the castle and grounds were handed over to the British government. 

Source & More Information: Wikipedia, Caerphilly Castle,

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