Owain Glyndŵr's Wales
The formidable Edwardian fortress at Harlech was taken by Owain Glyndŵr’s forces in 1404, and in August 1405 he held his second parliament there, a fit setting for one who had proclaimed himself prince of Wales. During his occupation he installed his court or llys and his family at Harlech and ‘ruled’ Wales from here.
As at Aberystwyth, the besiegers under the leadership of Prince Hal used artillery, though to little effect. The castle finally fell to the besiegers at an uncertain date in the autumn of 1408 or early 1409. During the siege, Edmund Mortimer, Glyndwr's son-in-law, and many of the defending garrison starved to death rather than surrender to the Prince's forces.
The castle at Harlech is an established visitor destination due to the size and remarkable state of the ruins, its spectacular position on a rock overlooking the sea and its location in the centre of Harlech town. It forms the focus for the town and, with far reaching views of the Snowdonian range, the southern approaches and out to sea, it is regarded as one of the greatest of Edward 1st’s castles.
The water gate and associated stairway between the castle and the sea when its level was higher than today, is an aspect of the castle which visitors find particularly interesting and the re-enactments which occur within the castle walls during the summer months are popular, particularly with families.
Harlech is located within a strongly Welsh part of Wales and possesses an extensive beach of golden sand, second to none. The steeply-hilled town is small but picturesque, with a number of gift shops and cafes. It has excellent train and bus connections and is not too far north of the other Glyndŵr destinations of Machynlleth, Pennal and Aberystwyth Castle