#93 Beaumaris Castle
Isle of Anglesey, Wales
1295-1330
This is NOT an official Lego site

Of all the castles built by Master James of St. George for King Edward I, his castle seated on the 'fair marsh' [Beau Mareys in Norman-French] near the shore of the Isle of Anglesey just off the north coast of Wales is the largest (more than twice as large as Harlech) and most symmetrical (due to the pliablility of the marshland). So why after more than 30 years of construction (long after Master James death in 1308) was this most perfect of concentric castles never completed? Much of the answer lies in the timing of its construction. Edward's north Wales protective screen of castles already included Flint, Rhuddlan, Conwy, Harlech and Aberystwyth, with construction on Caernarfon well under way - when a vigorous Welsh rebellion in the fall of 1294 took Edward by surprise. The large number of English casualties and the severe damage to Caernarfon Castle were savagely revenged by the king, but the hanging of his close friend, Roger de Pulesdon, Sheriff of Anglesey, resulted in the rapid commencement of the design and construction of Beaumaris Castle on Anglesey Isle.
The construction proceeded rapidly from 1295 through 1298, then virtually ceased as the King concentrated on Scotland. As fears of a Scottish-Welsh coalition grew, construction resumed from 1306 through 1330, but a survey in 1343 found Beaumaris still very much incomplete with an estimate of at least 684 (a very large sum) necessary to complete the south gatehouse and effect other repairs. The castle was captured by the Welsh in the revolt of 1403, but regained by the Crown two years later. The castle deteriorated until it was reported in 1534 "there was scarcely a single chamber in Beaumaris Castle where a man could lie dry." In 1609 the castle was described as "utterlie decayed" and the stones of the courtyard buildings may have been used to build the 1829 Beaumaris Gaol. Since 1925 the castle has been in the care of the state, with much of the moat redug, ivy removed, etc.
South Gatehouse passage
looking back toward the
Barbican.
The Gunner's Walk with
the roofless Mill Tower.
The Outer Bailey with archers'
slits, tower doors and overhanging
and stepped wall walks.

 

General Plan of
Beaumaris Castle
Drawing of Beaumaris as she
would have looked if completed
Cutaway of South Gatehouse
Barbican

 

Construction Photos
September & October 2003

This castle model is going to take a few weeks to build - probably well into October!? [Turned out to be November!]

Phase 1: SSE View. The castle
is laid out to fit my building table.
The 1993 Lego plan is only for
purposes of the layout.
Phase 2: SSW View. The outer
curtain wall and towers can be
indentified, with the flat marsh-
land just above moat level.
Phase 3: SSE View. Towers are
rising, the Gunner's Walk is done
and the Sea Gate is well along.
Phase 4: SSW View
The outer curtain wall and towers
are complete, so construction of
the inner ward can proceed.
Phase 4: NNE View. The never
finished Llanfaes Gate is as it might
have looked, if funds were available.
Phase 4: SSE View of the
dock, Sea Gate and
Gunner's Walk.
Phase 5: The residential range
and north gatehouse are well
along...
Phase 6: The next pictures you'll
be seeing will be in the Photos section
below. Note the single Chapel turret.

 

Photos of the Lego Model
Built September-November 2003
The model contains 27,043 bricks - 22,074 light gray.
Beaumaris is finally done! Here's a
general view from the southwest,
where the town is located.
Here's the view from the southeast,
featuring the gunner's walk and the
barbican in front of the south gatehouse.
The northeast general view features
the never completed Iuntil now) Llanfaes
Gate
The view from the northwest shows
best the impressive outer curtain wall
and some of the 16 towers.
This view from the north
is to show off the front
and back of the great
gatehouses.
Here's a detail of the "Gate Next
the Sea", the castle dock and the
Gunner's Walk with its mill!
This detail of the South
Gatehouse shows the
small barbican that
protects the entrance.
Here is the Chapel Tower on
the east side of the castle.
Note the lighted windows
(on-off slider on lower right).
The Great Hall is on the northeast
inner curtain, with the stairs (right)
also leading to the Chapel.
Across the inner ward is the range
of buildings that houses the stables
and kitchen, among other things.
Here's a detail of
the outer curtain
battlements.
Here is a detail of the outer
curtain wall with 3-level tower,
steps to the wallwalk & latrine
on the wallwalk (upper left).
The most observant
among you may have
noticed the "button" on
each Gatehouse...
It allows the tower wall
to be opened, revealing
the toggle which controls
the working portcullis!
Here's a picture I took during
construction showing the gear
mechanism needed to make
the portcullis' move slowly.
In this closeup the portcullis
is down. My portcullis' are
constructed from 1/8" wood
for hobby projects.
Here is the portcullis
partially raised. I didn't
go too high so it was
still visible.

 

Build Your Own
The plans below are NOT of the model above. I love this castle (who wouldn't!) and
did the design first [on the left] in the late 1980s, when my skills were less well honed
and my dreams smaller. It was just 0.38 scale - far smaller than the 1.0 scale [1 Lego
peg =1 foot] that would suit a self-respecting Lego minifigure knight or lady. The plan
on the right from November 1993 brought the size up to 154 x 192 bricks (0.42) - still
woefully small. The final model above is 176 x 266 (0.52). It was expanded from the

1993 plan to fill my building table - as large as I can make it - so there is no exact plan!
1980s Lego Plan 1993 Lego Plan
Cross-section looking toward the North Gatehouse 1993 Sea Gate with shipping dock
(note: sea level is NOT really
higher than the marsh/moat!)



Other Beaumaris Castle pages:
http://www.castlewales.com/beaumar.html
http://www.beaumaris.com/
http://www.beaumaris.org.uk/
http://www.cadw.wales.gov.uk/

Return to the main castle page.

Castles created by Robert Carney
Page created & maintained by
Robert Carney