Beaumaris Castle layout, defence system and construction
Defence system of Beaumaris Castle
The defence system of the castle are concentric with double ring of walls surrounded by a fairly wide moat. This ensured higher degree of fire power as the inner walls overlooked the outer walls. The double ring defence walls combined with the moat presented the would-be attackers with a virtually impenetrable series of obstacles and significant advantage to the castle guards. The moat connected to and supplied by a freshwater stream in the north of the castle and the levels were controlled by a sluice gate.
The South Gate (main gate)
Beaumaris-Castle-Main-EntranceThe main gate to Beaumaris Castle was defended by carefully planned sequence of defences. First, the moat encircling the whole castle, with a drawbridge with an outer gate, and finally the inner gate with multiple defences with high and low level arrowloops to provide covering fire.
The inner gatehouse was cleverly planned with three successive pairs of barred gates and portcullises to force would-be attackers into exposing their left flank to archers waiting above at the arrowloops.
The outer ward, as part of the double ring defence system, encircled the main inner stronghold. The outer wall comprises of 15 towers with plenty of arrowloops at two and three levels per tower providing over 300 shooting positions for the archers inside. As it is also overlooked by the inner walls, it created a twofold firepower strategy ensuring impregnable defence. Upon further exploring both the walls, one will notice that both walls are well supplied with medieval latrines and sometimes on all three levels.
Inner Ward of Beaumaris Castle
Although never completed, it is quite clear from the remnants of this 800 year old castle that the originally planned accommodation within the inner ward was intended on an excessive scale. Once inside the inner castle walls, you will notice the evidence for a range of buildings against the curtain of wall – thought to be intended for stables and kitchens – however, it is not known if these were ever built.
The Dock at Beaumaris Castle
Edward I had all his new castles in North Wales positioned in such a way so that they can be supplied by sea. At Beaumaris, a dock was built and incorporated with the defence system in place to enable seagoing vessels of up to 40 tons to sail in at high tide, tie up at the iron rings on the wall and unload their supplies through the doorway in the castle wall. The dock was originally filled by sea water through a wide shipping channel, which has long since covered in. The dock was well defended by archers and artillery posts.