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Site Details

NPRN 95280

Map Reference SH77NE

Grid Reference SH7805577527

Unitary (Local) Authority Conwy

Old County Caernarfonshire

Community Conwy


Broad Class DEFENCE

Period Medieval

Site Description NAR SH77NE6.1

The medieval town walls of Conway survive largely intact, forming a unified architectural composition with the magnificent castle (NPRN 121). The borough (NPRN 33013) was founded with the castle in 1283, following the English conquest, and its walls were largely completed by 1286. They seem to have been maintained into the seventeenth century, when they were put in a state of defence during the Great Revolutionary Wars.
The walls run for some 1.2km enclosing a roughly triangular 9.0ha area. The wall is generally 1.8m thick and rises 7.8m to the corbelled out wall walk. On the north-east the wall fronted onto the foreshore and to the south the Gyffin stream was damned as a millpond. Elsewhere the wall was fronted by a great ditch. It is punctuated by twenty-one taller open-backed D-shaped towers and has three twin-towered gatehouses; the Lower, on the quay (NPRN 303132), the Upper (NPRN 303123) and the Mill or Exchequer Gate (NPRN 303131). There was also a small postern opening onto the foreshore (NPRN 303130), which was guarded by a great spur wall leading to a half-tide tower, now gone.
The Mill Gate housed the Wardrobe, later the Exchequer and the unique run of twelve corbelled-out privies was intended for the easement of the Wardrobe clerks as well as those serving the Master of the King's works in Wales, who were accommodated nearby. Further to the west was Llewelyn's Hall where three fine windows can be seen in the wall next to a modified tower (see NPRN 303129).

Sources: Toy in Archaeologia 86 (1936), 171-5
RCAHMW Caernarvonshire Inventory I (1956), 55-7
Taylor 'Conway Castle & Town Walls' (1957), Ministry of Public Building & Works Guide, 36-54

John Wiles 18.03.08

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