After work the sun was shining so I thought it’s time to visit another castle, there are so many splendid castles in this area and if you love them like I do you just have to go, I admit they are all very similar but still have their own individuality. Rhuddlan is another impressive structure built on a hill on the outskirts of the town near the river which I must mention was re–directed in 1277 in order to build the castle and have the river running right past forming one of the defences and also to allow ships to come up the river for entry to the castle.
Edward 1st again had the castle built following the First Welsh War. Rhuddlan was not completed until 1282 and was built concurrently with Flint Castle during King Edward’s conquest of Wales. It was a temporary residence of the kings and it is said that his daughter Elizabeth was born there.
Many battles over the years have ensued at Rhuddlan and the history of all the Welsh and English battles I have been reading about have prompted an interest in Welsh history for me that I never had before, or could it be that now I am old, I am becoming more interested in old things LOL! Anyway further reading is definitely needed.
While visiting, I spoke to the custodian about a sea of metal flowers which have been planted on the hill surrounding the castle whereupon she told me they were for a local hospital to raise funds for a particular department, locals could buy a flower and plant it in the castle grounds at their allocated spot. I must say they looked very effective in the sunshine against the dramatic castle backdrop. She also talked me into becoming a CADW annual member, with a special discount of £10 off at the moment and I would get a refund for my visit that day, so seeing as I intend visiting all the castles in the area, even though I have seen some before, I thought it would be good money management. I paid £26.50 for annual membership, which I will get back by the time I have finished my visit to North Wales.
On the way to Rhuddlan I went to St Asaph to do the town walk, it is a small town with a fantastic cathedral which I really wanted to visit. One thing the People of North Wales are really good at doing is advertising their assets, there are hundreds of leaflets available on where to go and what to see in North Wales and many of the smaller towns have short walks of interest which take you around the town pointing out particular places of interest. It doesn’t take long to do these walks depending on how interesting you find specific places; the main point of interest for me in St Asaph was the Cathedral and the Obelisk.
I parked in a small carpark at the bottom of the hill and made my way toward the Cathedral following the route map which was pretty easy to follow. The outside of the Cathedral although an impressive and ornate structure was shrouded in scaffolding and sheeting on one side as it was undergoing repair which marred it’s appearance somewhat, but this work has to be done, however it didn’t detract from the magnificence when you enter the Cathedral through the main doors. The sight that immediately hits you is the Stained glass windows. I love art and I love art of most kinds but stained glass is probably one of my favourite forms, it’s something to do with the way the light enhances all the colours. When you look at a stained glass window from the outside, it is still impressive but not so wonderful as when you see the light shining through all the different colours. The main window above the altar in this Cathedral is one of the most spectacular I have seen, the intricacy of the design was mesmerising and you can only guess at the length of time it took to make just one of these panes and by how many people? Fascinating, but it wasn’t the only stained glass window in the cathedral there were many in the side walls and another masterpiece above the entrance door. It’s worth the visit just to see the windows alone.
There were information sheets at the entrance for anyone to read about certain features within the cathedral, it seems to be one of the smallest cathedrals built and only had cathedral status due to one of the hand carved chairs within the church which belonged to someone special in history but I forget who it is. There was a fantastic sculpture of Jesus on the cross pinned to the wall made of driftwood, it was very detailed and had a haunting look about it.
While being an Anglican church it is the episcopal seat of the Bishop of St Asaph, it dates back 1400 years. It is claimed to be the smallest Anglican cathedral in Great Britain. William Morgan, Bishop of St Asaph and Llandaff between 1545 – 1604 was the first to translate the whole bible from Greek and Hebrew into Welsh and that bible is on display in St Asaph.
The next place I visited that day was the Marble church otherwise known as St Margaret’s Church in Bodelwyddan. I’m not particularly interested in churches but there is something about this one which is so striking and the positioning is so easy to visit. It is on a quiet road just off the A55 and can be seen for miles every time you drive along the A55 so I just had to visit on my way to Bodelwyddan Castle.
Unfortunately I was a bit late for Bodelwyddan but for some reason I’m not really interested in going back to that one because it has been resurrected in the design of its original building, and looks inside like it would have when it was originally built. I prefer ruins, not sure why but it doesn’t really appeal to me in the same way. There are other places I would rather visit, and it’s not included in CADW membership.
It was a very peaceful church, open to the public with wonderful stained glass windows again and ornately carved woodwork. The church contains pillars made of Belgian red marble and the nave entrance is made from Anglesey marble. It was erected by Lady Willloughby de Broke in memory of her husband Henry Peyto –Verney the 16th Baron Willoughby de Broke. The church was designed by John Gibson and consecrated by the Bishop of St Asaph on August 23rd 1860.
There is small section of the graveyard used to honour the graves of ex-servicemen in the first and second world wars. The surrounding grounds are full of ancient trees and the adjoining road is very quiet since the A55 passes parallel to it.
It was a lovely peaceful cultured day out which is highly recommended if you ever stay in this area, if only for the stained glass windows.