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History of Caernarfon

The Romans occupied Caernarfon for over 300 years and in that time used the Castle as a post for their soldiers.

When the Romans left it became known as the “dark ages” until 1066 when the Norman’s invaded. William the Conqueror was the leader of the Norman’s and he was eager to conquer Wales and his man Hugh of Avranches conquered much of North Wales. He established a motte and baily castle in Caernarfon in 1088. The Norman occupation of North Wales was short lived as they left in 1098. After there exit Hugh's castle became one of the courts of the Princes of Gwynedd. The Welsh had retaken the original motte and retained control until Edward's invasion and colonization in 1283. It was during this era that the name 'Caernarfon' came into being. Giraldus Cambrensis (Gerald the Welshman) states in his "Itinary" that he passes through "Caer-yn-arfon" on his tour through Wales (1188) preaching the crusades. Thus, Edward the first of England took control in 1283 and Caernarfon was granted its foundation charter in 1284 and the Castle and Town Walls were substantially completed by late 1285.  If you walk around today surprisingly you can still walk in the shadows of the historic medieval walls.

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