Conwy Castle was built between 1283 and 1287, after Edward I invaded Wales and wanted to build a castle to fortify his position. From January 1294 and January 1295, Edward I was besieged at Conwy Castle by the Welsh, and used the Castle’s position on the coast to get supplies delivered by sea. Edward II stayed at Conwy Castle in 1301, when he was receiving homage from Welsh leaders.
By 1321, the castle had fallen into disrepair, with rotten ceiling timbers and poor supplies. In 1343, Edward the Black Prince, took over the castle and had many of these problems repaired, but after his death, Conwy was neglected again. Later in the century, Richard II stayed at Conwy when he was avoiding the forces of Henry Bolingbroke. Richard left the castle with one of Henry’s men and was taken prisoner, later dying in captivity, with Henry becoming Henry IV. During Henry IV’s reign, rebellion broke out in Wales, with Owain Glyndwr leading, his cousins took Conwy and held it for three months before surrendering.
Henry VIII had the castle repaired once more and used it as a prison and a residence for potential visitors. The repairs, once more, did not last long, as by the reign of Charles I it was becoming ruined once more. Charles sold it to Edward Conway in 1627 for £100. During the Civil War, the castle was taken over by Charles’ men and was initially reinforced for the king, but due to a change in allegiance, the castle and the town fell in 1646. After the war, parliament decided to put the castle out of use for the future and so purposefully destroyed parts of the structure. When Charles II came to the throne, Conwy Castle was returned to Edward Conway’s son, who made the unfortunate and unpopular decision of stripping the remaining lead and iron from the castle and selling it. This decision left the castle as a ruin.
By the 19th Century, the ruins of Conwy were considered a picturesque sight and many people visited to see them. The Castle was repaired extensively in 1953, due to the popularity of the place and the history of the castle was researched at the same time. The castle is now cared for by Cadw, who undertake regular conservation.