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"Conwy - the best town walls in Britain?" Topic


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Warspite108 Jan 2021 5:39 p.m. PST

A bit of inspiration for the model makers…

Now a UNESCO World Heritage site, the English town of Conwy was established in Wales during the Edward I conquest in the 1280s and featured in later Welsh and Wars of the Roses history.

Historians Oliver Creighton and Robert Higham describe the defences as "one of the most impressive walled circuits" in Europe hence their UNESCO status.

Never published before, I sorted these out from my 2008 visit as we have been discussing town walls elsewhere:

link

Note that one stretch of the town wall incorporates about a dozen toilet seats:
link
link
The English settlers, it seems, really did not like their Welsh neighbours!

A reconstruction of the whole site can been seen here:
link

A feature worthy of note is that the bastions are open-backed and each has a bridge across its back connecting one stretch of the wall-walk to the next stretch. In the event of one section of wall being captured, the defenders could knock the timbers away and isolate the captured section of wall.
Modern steel bridges allows visitors to walk around the walls today:
link

Barry

Personal logo PaulCollins Supporting Member of TMP08 Jan 2021 6:08 p.m. PST

Thanks for sharing. Great stuff.

Warspite108 Jan 2021 7:02 p.m. PST

@Paul Collins:
Thank you!

Legionarius08 Jan 2021 7:26 p.m. PST

Beautiful town! Definitely worth a visit.

Thresher0108 Jan 2021 8:04 p.m. PST

I've also read that the reason the backs of the towers/bastions aren't finished is so they can't be used as protection against those inside the castle/city walls.

They're fully exposed to fire from those armed with bows and arrows from within, if they do fall to attackers.

saltflats192908 Jan 2021 8:09 p.m. PST

Neat pix. Thanks

parrskool08 Jan 2021 11:20 p.m. PST

York ?
Chester ?

AussieAndy09 Jan 2021 12:01 a.m. PST

Conwy, York and Chester are all great, but I would also nominate Derry/ Londonderry ( I don't want to get into any arguments on the proper name).

Shagnasty Supporting Member of TMP09 Jan 2021 8:19 a.m. PST

I was impressed by all of the town walls mentioned but Conwy was definitely the most dramatic.

BillyNM09 Jan 2021 1:59 p.m. PST

Remember visiting as a child, although I was convinced it was called Conway, has the name changed?

AussieAndy09 Jan 2021 2:13 p.m. PST

I assume that "Conwy" is the Welsh version and that "Conway" is the Anglicised version of that.

Warspite109 Jan 2021 5:11 p.m. PST

@BillyNM and AussieAndy:
Yes.
Conway was the Anglicised version but many towns have now reverted to the Welsh forms.

Conway is now Conwy
Caernarvon and now Caernarfon, etc.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conwy
link

I should also put in a shout for Caernarfon's town walls as well:
link
Not as extensive as Conwy but not bad either.

Barry

B

BillyNM10 Jan 2021 4:14 a.m. PST

Reverted? Wikipedia seems to suggest there was only an Abbey there before the walled town was established.

Warspite110 Jan 2021 4:35 a.m. PST

@BillyNM:
I can only go with what I have read and the practices of the last 20/25 years. Many Welsh place names have been changed from what I remember in the 1960s/70s. This is mainly as a result of resurgent Welsh nationalism and a greater use of the Welsh language which in Victorian times and earlier the English had attempted to stamp out.

Likewise old Cornish, a similar Gaelic language, is receiving some revival but Cornish has a lot further to go as few still speak it and much has been lost. This is one reason why some Cornish now call the county 'Kernow' which is its old Cornish name.

As a matter of interest the western and northern extremes of Europe have been the last
bastions of the Gaelic-speaking Celts.

In northern Spain we have the Basques, in Brittany the Bretons, in Cornwall the Cornish, in Wales the Welsh, the whole of Ireland and most of the Scottish Highlands.

In the Middle Ages the only substantial areas of the English language in Ireland were the Norman/English settlement around Dublin ('The Pale') and latter the 17th century settlement of English-speaking Scots Protestants in Ulster. English became more general in most of these areas during the Industrial Revolution and later but language societies and multi-lingual state education is bringing back the older languages.

The various Gaelic sub-tongues are not identical but can understand each other. The story is told of an 18th century Cornish regiment which was going into action against a French regiment recruited in Brittany. As the story goes they were both singing the same songs and when they realised this they refused to fire at each other and even fraternised.

Barry

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