THE LOST CAS­TLE

Landscape (UK) - - History And Heritage -

While Beau­maris and its build­ings have been pop­u­lar at­trac­tions for many decades, an­other cas­tle close by has a more hid­den his­tory. The hill­top fort of Castell Aber­llein­iog (pic­tured be­low) sits in the mid­dle of dense broadleaf wood­land three miles north of Beau­maris. But it has only re­cently been opened to the pub­lic. The cas­tle was es­tab­lished by the Nor­mans in 1081, as they swept north to sub­ju­gate Wales fol­low­ing the in­va­sion of 1066. It was a motte and bai­ley cas­tle of typ­i­cal Nor­man de­sign. But as a sym­bol of Nor­man dom­i­na­tion, it was not pop­u­lar with lo­cals. In 1094, it was be­sieged and burned by Gruffydd ap Cy­nan, a Welsh prince who sought to claim his place as King of Gwynedd. Lit­tle is known of Castell Aber­llein­iog after the 11th cen­tury. By 1646 it had fallen into the own­er­ship of a rogu­ish char­ac­ter called Thomas Chea­dle. His many roles in­cluded land agent for the Bulke­ley fam­ily, deputy con­sta­ble of Beau­maris Cas­tle, and pirate. In this time, it was re­for­ti­fied with a stone cir­cuit wall. It saw ac­tion dur­ing the Civil War, when it served as a Par­lia­men­tary strong­hold and played a part in a siege of Roy­al­ist forces at Beau­maris Cas­tle. It then fell into dis­use, and its walls be­came over­grown dur­ing the next three cen­turies. Then, 10 years ago, the es­tate’s owner formed a part­ner­ship with lo­cal en­ter­prise agency Men­ter Môn to re­open the site. A new ar­chae­o­log­i­cal project was un­der­taken, the wood­land paths im­proved and the stonework pre­served. Since then, the cas­tle has be­come pop­u­lar with lo­cal peo­ple. It can be reached on foot from the car park at Llein­iog Beach, a mile and a half to the east, or from the vil­lage of Llan­goed to the north-west. In spring, the sur­round­ing wood­land is filled with snow­drops and daf­fodils, with the scent of wild gar­lic in the air.

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