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Deganwy Castle
Stronghold of Maelgwn

Din-Gonwy or, more commonly these days, Deganwy is a massive rock outcrop in the suburbs of Llandudno. The name means Fort on the River Conwy. Traditionally, it was one of the main residences of King Maelgwn of Gwynedd. Bryn Maelgwyn (Maelgwn's Hill) certainly stands nearby. The area below the castle is called Maesdu (Black Meadow) and was, doubtless, the site of many bloody battles. The lower ground of the later bailey may have been the site of a settlement of serfs and bondmen; while Maelgwn's stronghold stood atop the higher of the later castle's twin peaks. It would have been largely of wood, although the defences included some dry stone walls. These were excavated by Leslie Alcock in the 1960s. A dozen sherds of Dark Age pottery, imported from the Mediterranean, were also discovered, showing the exceptional taste and far-reaching contacts of Gwynedd's Royal dynasty.

Deganwy appears to have been first occupied during the Roman period, but was popular in the Dark Ages because it was safe from Irish raids. The place was burnt down when struck by lightning in AD 860. The castle was rebuilt in stone for King Henry III of England, but was finally destroyed by Prince Llywelyn ap Gruffudd in 1263. Conway Castle was later constructed just across the estuary.

 

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