|Ruthin Castle - a castle with a past|
Every family has very special memories that mean much to them. Ruthin Castle in northern Wales features for us as it was here we celebrated our daughter's 18th birthday. As they do today, the castle offered mediaeval themed banquets, but not the tacky tourist-trap sort. The food was presented as it would have been centuries earlier.
A huge wood fire crackled at one side and the rafters and beams, blackened it seemed by centuries of wood-smoke, were hung with flags and shields that glinted back the light of the fire and the flames of the thick white candles positioned at intervals along the tables. As a harpist played, we sopped our soup with bread (no spoons, but bibs to catch the drips!), sampled mead and much more, and then our fellow diners, visitors from all over the world, sang her Happy Birthday.
Ruthin Castle was built originally as a fortress of wood and stone around 1277, it was rebuilt and enlarged in 1296 by Reginald de Grey who was in the service of Edward I. Set in over twelve hectares of parkland on the edge of the half-timbered black and white village of Ruthin (Rhuthun, in the Welsh), in the beautiful Vale of Clwyd, the castle has come a long way in the last seven hundred years or so.
Today Ruthin Castle is taking another turn in its long history.
British Royalty has fascinated the public across the world ever since radio, film, television and the internet have brought them into our homes, and with each passing royal occasion, audiences have continued to grow. Now royal wedding fans will be delighted to discover that they can actually stay at a 750 year old royal castle located close to the home of Prince William and his new wife HRH Princess Catherine. Mediaeval Ruthin Castle offers guests a rare opportunity as it is the only Edward I castle in Wales where you can sleep within her famous walls. A lucky few can even inexpensively 'buy into' the ancient castle walls and be personally linked with a unique piece of royal heritage.*
A truly majestic stronghold boasting a fascinating legacy that dates back to the legend of King Arthur pre 1277; notable owners of Ruthin Castle include King Edward I, Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. Steeped in magical tales involving kings, queens, nobility and epic medieval adventures, a wooden fortress stood on the Ruthin site until 1277 when it was replaced by a fort of red stone for King Edward as part of his fearsome 'Iron Ring' of castles. The 'Iron Ring' also included notable castles at Harlech, Conwy, Beaumaris and Caernarfon, which are today listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites.
The castle now functions as a charming hotel and is perfectly located in an area of outstanding natural beauty close to where the royal couple are setting up their marital home. Notable royal hotel guests include HRH Prince Charles who stayed on his way to his investiture as Prince of Wales. Director of Hotel Operations, Liz Wheeldon stated that "Guests to the castle are always fascinated when uncovering the dramatic stories hidden within the centuries old stone walls. Visitors can follow in the footsteps of leading figures that have died in battle, been tortured, or enjoyed sumptuous banquets or illicit love affairs. Ruthin Castle is where Edward, Prince of Wales (later to become King Edward VII) had numerous love affairs with Lillie Langtry, Lady Randolph Churchill (mother of Sir Winston Churchill) and Lady Cornwallis-West."
In commemoration of the Royal Wedding, the hotel has arranged a selection of delightful regal breaks. Find out more...
*Your Piece gives you a personal connection with royal heritage and allows you to 'own' part of the wall of Ruthin Castle and become a 'Knight of Ruthin' - a member of the elite club that has helped to conserve this ancient royal stronghold. This package includes a Certificate of Registration and a reference number to a unique piece of ancient wall and location, sketch plans of the castle and a host of legends of romance, treachery and treason plus an outline of the Castles royal heritage and relation to the Iron Ring all beautifully presented in a souvenir keepsake or gift folder.
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