Timeline of Edward I and Beaumaris Castle, North Wales
This timeline aims to give a broader context to the events surrounding the building of Edward I's fine castle in North Wales.
As you scan the timeline you will see reference to other events or noteworthy figures over this period.
1239: Edward is born. Eldest son of Henry III, King of England and Eleanor of Provence.
1254: At the remarkably young age of fifteen, he is made Duke of Gascony and marries Eleanor of Castile.
1258: Provisions of Oxford. A significant milestone when Simon de Monfort, 6th Earl of Leicester, persuades Henry III to introduce new forms of government in England. In effect, the Crown would have to recognise the rights of Parliament.
1265: First Parliament, under Simon de Montfort, where elected members attend. Later this year, the 26 year old Plantagenet defeats de Montfort at Evesham. It is noteworthy that de Montfort was a close ally of Llywelyn ap Gryffydd, Prince of Wales. This may have contributed to the future King's determination to subdue North Wales a few years later.
1271: The young, bold Plantagenet takes part in the Crusades in the Holy Land.
1272: Henry III, first of the Plantagenet monarchs, dies. Edward (or "Longshanks" because of his height) succeeds his father and becomes King of England.
1274: St.Thomas Aquinas completes Summa Theologiae and dies in the same year.
1275: The King holds his first Parliament.
1277: "Longshanks" launches his invasion of North Wales. His army blocks the harvest on Anglesey, forcing the surrender of Llywelyn ap Gryffydd, Prince of Wales and his men.
On 9th November, the Treaty of Aberconwy was signed. The terms imposed a limit on Llywelyn in that he could only control land west of the River Conwy, though a form of "self-rule" was allowed for Wales while Llywelyn still lived. His brother David is given control of land east of Conwy. Following the treaty the King begins building castles to consolidate his position, notably at Flint and Rhuddlan.
1278: Llywelyn marries Eleanor, daughter of Simon de Montfort at Worcester Cathedral.
1282: On 21st March a second Welsh rebellion is started by Llywelyn's brother, David. By August "Longshanks" begins his counter-attack, and eventually forces David to surrender at Harlech. During this campaign, Llywelyn, Prince of Wales, is killed in action. His brother David is executed.
1284: Statute of Rhuddlan This leads to the effective integration of Wales into England. English Common law is introduced and the north west part of Wales is split into three counties, namely Anglesey, Caernarvon and Meirioneth. Royal officials such as sheriffs are appointed.
1294-5: Three castles (Caernarfon, Conwy and Harlech) are almost completed when another rebellion threatens the King's position in North Wales. An uprising is led by Madoc ap Llywelyn during which he and his army captures and burns Caernarfon Castle (on the mainland). The rebellion is eventually contained and this probably convinces the King to proceed with building Beaumaris Castle on Anglesey.
1297: Edward I reissues Magna Carta for the fourth and final time. A much shorter version and omitting highly controversial clauses as in the original agreed by King John at Runneymede in 1215.
1298: Building work has advanced at Beaumaris to the point where the castle can be defended. Costing over £7,000 at this point, several parts remain outstanding, including the Great Hall, upper parts of the gatehouses and all the towers.
1306: Reports state that there are serious problems with the structure. For example, the gates needed repairing and altering and new locks. The castle needed to be properly sealed off from the town with an effective stone curtain, and the moats had to be deepened.
1307:On 20th January, Edward I holds his last Parliament in Carlisle. July 7th: Edward I, King of England, dies, while leading his army into Scotland.
1341:Another report states that the timbers were rotten, and all the towers required more lead. These problems were inevitably the result of the castle never being completed as planned.
1403-5: A seige attempt by Owain Glyndwr, initially unsuccesful, leads to the capture of Beaumaris Castle. On the demise of Owain, the castle is recaptured.
1536-1543: Acts of Union. By these Acts, under King Henry VIII, Wales is officially integrated with England. The main effects were that Wales could send members to the Westminster Parliament, the Marcher Lords were abolished and Wales had a permanent border with England. Justice's of the Peace were introduced and each county would have a sheriff.
1642-5: During the Civil War the castle is garrisoned by Royalist troops. There is no significant combat.
1785: Some stone and most of the timber and lead are removed. The castle becomes a source of inspiration for poets and painters of the Romantic period.
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