Wednesday 22nd November 2017

Caernarfon

 

Caernarfon from aboveCaernarfon is the traditional county town of the historic county of Caernarfonshire. The town is best known for its great stone castle, built by Edward I of England and consequently sometimes seen as a symbol of English domination. Edward's architect, James of St. George, may well have modelled the castle on the walls of Constantinople, possibly being aware of the alternative Welsh name Caer Gystennin; in addition, Edward was a supporter of the Crusader cause. On higher ground on the outskirts of the town are the remains of an earlier occupation, the Segontium Roman Fort.

 

Caernarfon was constituted a borough in 1284 by charter of Edward I. The charter, which was confirmed on a number of occasions, appointed the mayor of the borough Constable of the Castle ex officio. The former municipal borough was designated a royal borough in 1963. The borough was abolished by the Local Government Act 1972 in 1974, and the status of "royal town" was granted to the community which succeeded it.

 

Caernarfon has a small harbour, and a Blue Flag beach at Victoria Harbour. The location of the town creates a lovely view across the Afon Menai towards the south of Anglesey.

 

Focal point Y Maes or 'Castle Square' in English was refurbished in 2009, causing much controversy when a historical feature of the town was taken down; namely a very old oak tree, situated outside the HSBC bank. Re-opened in July 2009 by the local politician and Heritage Minister of Wales, Alun Ffred Jones AM, the use of beautiful local slate is very prominent in the new Maes.

 

There is a small hospital in the town, 'Ysbyty Eryri'. The nearest regional large hospital is Ysbyty Gwynedd, in Bangor.

 

One of the oldest buildings in the town is The Market Hall, which is situated on Hole In The Wall street, or Stryd Twll Yn Wal as it is referred to most often.

 

The old court buildings, replaced in 2009 by a new complex designed by HOK on the former Segontium School site in Llanberis Road, are situated inside the castle walls, next door to the Anglesey Arms Hotel and to the Gwynedd County Council Buildings in Pendeitch. They are very grand buildings, especially the outside of the Magistrate Court as it has adopted a gothic architecture style of decoration. The old buildings were adjoining what used to be Caernarfon gaol, which has closed since about the early 1900s, and now been turned into further Council Offices.