Cutting-edge castles!

Darllenwch y dudalen hon yn Gymraeg

In a recent blog, we told you about the re-launched Cadw app, which unlocks hidden content at sites across Wales. Our first two projects using this new technology featured our ‘greatest’ and ‘grandest’ castles…

The Greatest Castle never built!

Artist impression of what the castle could have looked like if the work had been finished

One of the first digital trails we launched was at Beaumaris Castle– the greatest castle never built. Beaumaris Castle, Anglesey, is a snapshot in time of a medieval building site. Although incredibly impressive today, with walls within walls and surrounded by a spectacular moat, the castle was never finished. A £170,000 visitor experience project was undertaken in 2015/16 all with the theme of ‘building’.

Alongside hands-on interactive items and panels, a digital tour at the site introduces visitors to the builders of the castle in 1295, namely a blacksmith, a carpenter, the Master Mason James of St George and a harpist. Why a harpist, you ask? When King Edward I visited that summer, to check up on the work, Adam of Clitheroe was brought in to play for him during his visit. Perhaps to try to make up for the fact that the King had to stay in a “temporary thatched hut”- the medieval equivalent of a Portakabin!

Artist impressions of ‘what could have been’ also feature within the Cadw app to show what the 13th Century castle could have looked like if the work had been finished.

Embrace your inner inventor

New installations, exhibitions and creations have been installed at Raglan Castle, the grandest castle ever built by a Welshman and childhood home of Henry Tudor – later crowned Henry VII.

Image of smartphone showing the CADW app

As part of the innovative interpretation, the Cadw app uses the on-site installations as part of the new digital Castle Quest. Meet Edward the Inventor, who grew up at Raglan Castle near Abergavenny, and invented over 100 different contraptions. Work out which of the eight you see on site he actually invented by meeting members of the household and hearing what they have to say.

Or choose the Civil War digital trail, discovering the remnants of when the castle held off parliamentarian troops for almost 13 weeks during the Civil War. A third digital trail reveals the castle over time, its conservation, and how it has changed throughout the years.

Beaumaris and Raglan were just the first two of a range of sites we have hidden digital data at across Wales over the last few months. Download the Cadw app and click on ‘Digital Trails’ to see some of the other historic monuments with new app content- and keep an eye out for more to come soon!

Post by Erin Lloyd Jones, Heritage Interpretation Manager, Cadw

Image credits courtesy of © Crown copyright (2017) Cadw, Welsh Government