The purpose of this book is to look at the contribution that James of St. George, perhaps the most famous architect of the middle ages in Britain, actually made to the many castles built in North Wales during the Welsh Wars of Edward I. This includes the more famous Royal castles – Conwy, Caernarvon, Harlech and Beaumaris, the less well known Royal castles of the first part of the war (such as Builth or Aberystwyth), along with the castles built by the English aristocracy. The castles of the North Welsh princes are also included to allow a comparison between the two traditions.
The focus of this book is on the architectural detail of these castles. You will thus find detailed discussions of different elements of the castles, from important design elements such as the layout of the gate houses down to the remaining hints of building techniques (looking at items such as the holes left behind by scaffolding or the divides between different periods of stonework). This detailed analysis of the buildings is supported in the case of the Royal castles by the impressive amount of information contained within the Royal records, which allow the author to trace the careers of individual master builders.
This detailed analysis helps prove that Master James of St. George did indeed play a major role in the design of these castles. Many of their design features were first seen in his original home of Savoy, and then appear in a series of the north Welsh castles. The author makes a convincing case for Master James’s role, arguing that the internal similarities between some of the castles are too close for there not to have been a single mind behind them, and as the most highly paid of the known masters, Master James fits that role.
1 – Introduction
2 – The Castles of the North Welsh
3 – English Castles in Wales and the Marches
4 – The Royal Castles of the First Welsh War
5 – Baronial Castles of the First Welsh War
6 – Royal Castles of the Second Welsh War: Conwy and Harlech
7 – Royal Castles of the Second Welsh War: Caernarfon and Beaumaris
8 – Baronial Castles of the Second Welsh War
9 – The Edwardian Castle in Scotland
10 – Last Works: Caernafon and Beaumaris
11 – The Impact of the Edwardian Castle
12 – The Edwardiand Castle and its Builders
Author: Malcolm Hislop
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military