The Royal Town of Caernarfon
The great town of Caernarfon is not only a busy market town but a major centre for tourists. Caernarfon lies on the banks of the Menai Straits opposite the island of Anglesey and nearby to the university town of Bangor. The thriving harbour and marina is another great attraction to this historic town.
From the magnificence of Caernarfon Castle to the breath-taking Snowdonia Mountain Range, Caernarfon has many places of historic interest and outstanding natural beauty that lure tourists from around the world. Caernarfon’s population has one of the highest percentages of Welsh speakers in Wales and was granted the status of Royal Borough by Queen Elizabeth II in 1963.
Caernarfon’s rich history and inhabitancy stretches from before records began up until modern day. Caernarfon and the surrounding areas have many historic sites such as burial chambers, early tool factories and hill forts.
Brief History of Caernarfon
At around 60AD over a century after the Roman Invasion of Britain by Julius Ceaser the Romans started to conquer North Wales. By 77AD North West Wales was under Roman Control and a fort was established in 80AD to fortify this strategically important town on the very edge of the Roman western frontier.
The Roman fort at Caernarfon was names Segontium. The 800 strong army that was housed here were charged with imposing rule and protection to the surrounding areas including Ynys Môn (the welsh name for Anglesey) and Llyn peninsula.
Segontium was of wood construction and was a long standing Roman fortification and was occupied for over 300 years. During its existence Segontium became the administrative centre for the majority of Roman territory in North Wales and was upgraded from its wood structures to a collection of complex stone buildings.
During the 5th Century the Roman rule drew to an end and Caernarfon became part of the Kingdom of Gwynedd. During the late 11th century Caernarfon first got it’s name, records show that Giraldus Cambrenis (Gerald the Welshman) in his itinerary during a tour through wales in 1188 that he made note he passed through "Caer-yn-arfon"
A motte-and-bailey castle was constructed in the late 11h century by William I, King of England, due to the economic, political and strategic importance of the town.
In 1282 the royal Borough of Caernarfonshire was established which included Caernarfon and surrounding areas under the reign of Edward I (Longshanks). Soon after in 1284 Caernarfon was promoted to borough and market town. Under Edward I the castles of North Wales including Caernarfon Castle were given high priority and so the construction of many castles were begun. Caernarfon Castle was to be one of the biggest most impressive castles to be constructed.
Caernarfon Castle was not finished until around 1322. Caernarfon was of such importance in its age that Edward I’s son the first ‘Prince of Wales’ was born in the Caernarfon Castle. Edward Prince of wales later became King Edward II (Edward of Caernarfon)
In 1963 Queen Elizabeth II granted the title of Royal Borough. 1974 seen the investiture of the 21st Prince of Wales, Prince Charles. Price Charles was given the title Prince of wales when he was nine years old but his investiture was not carried out until he was twenty years old . Queen Elizabeth II Prince Charles Charles’ mother) though it best that his investiture should wait until Charles was old enough to understand fully its significance. The ceremony was conducted within the medieval walls of Caernarfon Castle in front of 4000 guest with many thousands of onlookers to celebrate the event. Caernarfon was later in 1974 converted into the title of Royal Town.