- Cardiff Castle
Cardiff Castle ( _cy. Castell Caerdydd) is a medieval
castleand Victorian revival mansion, transformed from a Norman keep erected over a Roman fort in Cardiff, the capitalof Wales. the castle is a huge attraction in Cardiff today
The Roman fort
There may have been at least two previous Roman forts on the site. The first was probably built about AD 55 during the conquest of the
Silurestribe. From the late 2nd to the mid-3rd century, civilian timber buildings associated with iron working occupied the site.
The Norman castle
keepwas built on a high motteon the site of a Roman " castra", first uncovered during the third Marquess of Bute's building campaign. The Norman keep, of which the shell remains, was constructed about 1091, by Robert Fitzhamon, lord of Gloucester and conqueror of Glamorgan. After the failed attempt of Robert Curthose, duke of Normandy, the Conqueror's eldest son, to take England from Henry I, Robert of Normandy was imprisoned here until his death in 1134. ["Brewer's Britain & Ireland" (2005), "s.v." "Cardiff"; John Davies, "Cardiff and the Marquesses of Bute".] The castle, rebuilt in stone, was an important stronghold of Marcher Lords, in the Clare and Despenser families, the Beauchamps earls of Warwick, Richard of Yorkthrough his marriage into the Neville family, and the Herbertfamily, Earls of Pembroke. In the eighteenth century the castle became the property of John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute, who became through his Herbert wife a major landowner in the area, and whose heirs developed the docks that transformed Cardiff from a fishing village to a major port during the nineteenth century.
The Victorian mansion
In the early 19th century the castle was enlarged and refashioned in an early Gothic Revival style for
John Crichton-Stuart, 2nd Marquess of Buteby Henry Holland. But its transformation began in 1868 when 3rd Marquess of Bute commissioned William Burges to undertake a massive rebuilding which turned the castle into a 19th century fantasy of a medieval palace, with a series of rooms that, perhaps, constitute the highest achievement of later Victorian Gothic Revival design. The coming together of the Marquess, enormously rich, early Catholic convert and steeped in a romantic vision of the mediaeval world and Burges, pre-eminent art-architect, committed Goth and hugely-talented designer forged one of the great patron/architect relationships and led to a succession of dazzling architectural triumphs of which Cardiff Castle is the greatest of all.
Rebuilding began with the Clock Tower, planned 1866–1868 and begun in 1869. The towers continue westward, the Tank Tower, the Guest Tower, the Herbert Tower and the Beauchamp Tower, part Burges, part Holland, part 15th and 16th century, creating a skyline, best observed from Bute Park, that echoes Burges' unbuilt design for the Law Courts and presents a visually-stunning image of a mediaeval city.
Within the Castle, the succession of sumptuous apartments; the Winter and Summer Smoking Rooms, the Chaucer Room, the Arab Room, Lord Bute's Bedroom, the Roof Garden, repeatedly illustrates Burges' supreme skill as an art-architect. Taking complete control of the designing, the building, the decoration and the furnishing of the apartments, and using his favoured team of Nicholls, Crace, Lonsdale, Burges created a suite of rooms in a unique Gothic Revival style that is unrivalled.
Access and events
The castle was later sold to the city of
Cardiffby the Bute family in 1947 for £1. It is now a popular touristattraction, and houses a regimental museumin addition to the ruinsof the old castle and the Victorian reconstruction. It sits in the expansive grounds of Bute Park.
The castle has hosted a number of rock concerts and performances and has the capacity to accommodate over 10,000 people. Notable concerts include the
Stereophonics Live at Cardiff Castlein June 1998 and Green Dayin 2002. In 1948 a crowd of 16,000, a record for British Baseballgame, watched Walesdefeat Englandin Cardiff Castle grounds. Cardiff Castle plays host to Cardiff University's Summer Ball each year. It is also the site of Wales' largest Mardi Grasheld every August.
Also, Tom Jones performed before a large crowd in 2001. It is on DVD, Tom Jones: Live at Cardiff Castle.
Dan Cruickshankselected the Castle as one of his eight choices for the 2002 BBCbook " The Story of Britain's Best Buildings".cite web | url=http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/programmes/programme_archive/best_buildings_01.shtml | title=Choosing Britain's Best Buildings | accessdate=June 3 | accessyear=2008 | author= | last=Cruickshank | first=Dan | authorlink= | coauthors= | date= | year= | month= | format= | work= | publisher=BBC History | pages= | language=English | doi= | archiveurl= | archivedate= | quote= ]
*Crook, J. Mordaunt, "The Strange Genius of William Burges" (1981) National Museum of Wales
*Crook, J. Mordaunt, "William Burges and the High Victorian Dream" (1981) John Murray
*Girouard, Mark, "The Victorian Country House" (1979) Yale University Press
*Newman, John, "The Buildings of Wales: Glamorgan" (1995) Penguin
* [http://www.cardiffcastle.com/ Cardiff Castle Official Website]
* [http://www.castlewales.com/cardiff.html (Castles of Wales) Lise Hull, "Cardiff Castle"]
* [http://www.greatcastlesofwales.co.uk/cardiff.htm greatcastlesofwales.co.uk: Cardiff]
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Look at other dictionaries:
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