31.07.17~ The Four Heads of Caerphilly Castle

A grand symbol of medieval engineering, Caerphilly caste stands proudly at the heart of the small welsh town. Similarly to Chepstow castle and many others along the welsh border, the castles purpose was to aid the attempted Norman conquest of the Welsh. Built in the 13th Century by Gilbert de Clare the castle is a testament to Norman architecture and defence. As we continued to explore the castle it felt increasingly infinite: a new room and ruin around every corner, vast stone towers and towering archways. In the far-left corner of the castle up a spiralling stair case I entered a chamber which told a story.
The King, the Villain, the Lover, and the Wife. The tale is set under the tyrannous rule of King Edward II and Hugh le Despenser. Together their actions caused a war that brought about a period of repression and suffering. Queen Isabella, the She- Wolf of France and the femme fatale of the story, was driven into exile in France where she met Roger Mortimer, arch-enemy of the villain Hugh le Despenser. The two began a love affair, returning to England and seizing control. Edward and Despenser fled with their fortune, hiding it in Caerphilly castle. Once captured, Despenser was hung drawn and quartered, and Edward was detained at Berkley Castle where he died under suspicious circumstances. This death brought the end to Edwards tyrannous reign and the beginning of Isabella’s regency.


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