Conwy Castle’s Masons: The Forgotten Builders of the Medieval Walled Town

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History books shine the spotlight almost exclusively on the kings and queens who once lived in Europe’s castles. Whereas those who built these mega-complexes are just a footnote, if that, much like those who toiled to create the Egyptian pyramids.

We walked through the massive archway into Conwy Castle’s courtyard and were struck by the incredible masonry. This Welsh fortress and its walls that surround the medieval town were constructed between 1283 to 1287. The sheer number of laborers it took to make the bricks and stack them around the 25-acre community was mind-boggling, as was the £15,000 price tag (about $29 million today). At their lowest point these walls are 12 feet tall and the towers stand over 70 feet with walls that are 15 feet thick.

The names of the army of workers who built this castle will never be known. Nonetheless, we believe they would be pleased to hear that UNESCO has deemed their work to be one of the best examples of 13th century military architecture in Europe.

If you enjoyed this story in our series, we invite you to check out our travel books that use our theme, A Picture Is Worth 1,000 Characters.™ Each impression features an original photo and a story that’s exactly 1,000 characters long.

Here is a slide show with a few more photos from in and around the Conwy Castle.