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Chirk Castle: one of the most interesting places in North Wales




The construction of Chirk Castle was started in 1295 and continued until 1310. The original design was very similar to the large concentric castles of the reign of Edward I that had been commonly built decades earlier. The resemblance is so strong that it has been suggested that Roger Mortimer may have been assisted by craftsmen who worked with the king’s chief architect. However, like Beaumaris Castle, which is a late addition to the network of Welsh fortifications, Chirk Castle appears to have never been completed. The outer ring of defense was never erected, and of the six planned towers of the inner fortification, only four were started to be built. Yes, and they were probably never fully completed.

Chirk Castle and garden
Castle and garden. Photo: Photograph by Mike Peel (www.mikepeel.net)., via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Chirk Castle tower
Castle tower. Photo: Photograph by Mike Peel (www.mikepeel.net)., via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Chirk Castle was built by Roger Mortimer de Chirk at the end of the 13th century at the behest of Edward I and was part of a chain of fortresses that surrounded North Wales

Entrance to the Chirk Castle
Entrance to the castle. Photo: Photograph by Mike Peel (www.mikepeel.net)., via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Chirk Castle courtyard
Castle courtyard. Photo: Photograph by Mike Peel (www.mikepeel.net)., via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Sir Thomas Myddelton bought the castle in 1595 for £5,000. To date, the deal would have amounted to approximately 11.2 million pounds. Having changed the owner, the castle has undergone many historical architectural and design transformations.

Chirk Castle
Chirk Castle. Photo: chrispritchard / pixabay (Pixabay License)
Chirk Castle courtyard
Castle courtyard. Photo: Akke, via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 2.5)

Unlike many other castles of Edward I, Chirk is not surrounded by a moat or an outer fortress wall. But in its walls, the thickness of which in some places reaches five meters, there are loopholes, so do not underestimate its ability to survive an attack

Part of the entrance to Chirk Castle grounds
Part of the entrance to Chirk Castle grounds. Photo: © Eric Marsh / geograph.org.uk (cc-by-sa/2.0)
Chirk Castle entrance
Castle entrance. Photo: DeFacto, via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

The Myddeltons have owned Chirk Castle for several centuries. At the beginning of the 19th century, the territory was redeveloped in order to create a themed courtyard in the Gothic style. The surrounding area was significantly greened as well. At the beginning of the 20th century, Chirk Castle was leased to Thomas Scott-Ellis, who again landscaped the area. He also destroyed part of the dam and created a large artificial lake. In 1978, the castle came under the care of the state, and in 1981 it was transferred to the National Trust.

Chirk Castle interior
Castle interior. Photo: Andrew and Annemarie / flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Chirk Castle interior
Castle interior. Photo: Steve Knight / flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Chirk Castle interior
Castle interior. Photo: Mike Finn / flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Chirk Castle Tower
The Tower. Photo: Glen Bowman / flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Library in the Chirk Castle
Library in the castle. Photo: Brian Smithson / flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The castle complex also has a Hawk House, located on the lower lawn. It is a beautiful thatched gazebo with stunning views. Wedding ceremonies for up to 50 people are often held here. The building was erected in 1854 according to a Pugin design, with a thatched roof added later to keep birds of prey inside.

Chirk Castle garden
Castle garden. Photo: Carl Hinde / flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Hawk House in the Chirk Castle
Hawk House. Photo: © Jeff Buck / geograph.org.uk (cc-by-sa/2.0)

One of Chirk Castle’s main attractions are the award-winning formal gardens with yews, rock garden, terrace, rose garden, pond and topiary. The garden was laid out in 1657, but what we see today was created in the 18th century, when the garden and park were landscaped by William Ames.

Chirk Castle garden
Castle garden. Photo: Carl Hinde / flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Chirk Castle garden
Castle garden. Photo: Digital-Designs / flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Chirk Castle garden
Castle garden. Photo: Akke, via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 2.5)

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