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Thursday, 12 September, 2002, 12:28 GMT 13:28 UK
Last castle of Welsh prince opens
Dolforwyn Castle
Excavators at Dolforwyn Castle in Powys
The final castle built by Llewelyn ap Gruffydd, the last independent Prince of Wales, opens to the public after over 20 years of excavation work finished.

Dolforwyn Castle, near Newtown in mid Wales, has re-emerged from beneath the turf where foundations were first laid in 1272.


The hard endeavours of archeologists and craftsmen over the years have borne fruit

Sue Essex, environment minister
Welsh Assembly environment minister Sue Essex is formally opening Dolforwyn on Wednesday.

The excavation has been carried out by a team from the University of York, while masons from Cadw's works' team performed the job of preserving recovered masonry.

Ms Essex said: "This castle, and its unique location, is breathtaking and it is truly one of the nation's great historic treasures.

"The highly skilled conservation work and excavation undertaken here over the last three decades has resulted in a castle completely uncovered and conserved, and now open for public appreciation.

"The hard endeavours of archeologists and craftsmen over the years have borne fruit."

Stronghold

The castle was one of a number of strongholds built along the territory controlled by Llewelyn to protect his borders.

The building of the castle provoked much trouble for Llewelyn from the new King Edward I, who saw it as another challenge to his authority from the provocative Welsh prince.

Dolforwyn Castle
An artist's impression of Dolforwyn Castle now
He went into battle against Llewelyn in 1277, capturing Dolforwyn along the way, and pushing the prince back into his traditional heartland of Gwynedd.

The castle passed into the hands of the Mortimer family who lived there for nearly one hundred years, but it had fallen into disrepair by 1398.

History records only two further mentions of Dolforwyn - a description and drawing in 1776, and a plan drawn in 1877.

When excavations started in 1981, only the castle's round tower could still be seen, with a few stones breaking though the ground at the remains of the site.

Much of the castle's external wall survives, and the square keep at the west end and the round tower at the east have been completely excavated.

Sian Rees, Cadw's inspector of ancient monuments, said: "The castle is fascinating, since it takes a quite different form from English castles of the same period, such as that displayed at nearby Montgomery.

"It falls into the native Welsh tradition found, for example, at Dinas Bran near Llangollen."

See also:

12 Sep 02 | England
07 Sep 02 | Wales
06 Sep 02 | Wales
01 Aug 02 | Wales
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