Beaumaris Town Walls

Has been described as a Certain Urban Defence

There are masonry footings remains

NameBeaumaris Town Walls
Alternative Names
Historic CountryAnglesey
Modern AuthorityAnglesey
1974 AuthorityGwynedd

The borough of Beaumaris (NPRN 32989) was first chartered in 1296 when the castle was established (NPRN 95769). It is thought that town walls were planned at this stage but were not carried through. A short stretch of very wide foundation remains outside the castle's south gate. Following the emergencies of the opening years of the fifteenth century a grant was made for a ditch in 1407 and thirty burgages - building plots - had been destroyed to make way for the for the walls by 1414. The town was readied for war in the 1640s when the work on Bryn Britain, some 240m to the south-west, was fortified against it in 1642-3 (NPRN 400076). The circuit is depicted on Speed's map of 1610, however, only fragments remain and the circuit is not known in detail. The ditch was recorded in excavations in 1975 and 1985. The walls enclosed a roughly rectangular area about 300m by 330m on the west side of the castle. From the castle's south gate the wall ran along what was then the waterfront to the south-west, where its southern angle has been lost to erosion. It then turned to the north-west with a gate where it crossed Castle Street, and forming the western side of the churchyard further to the north. The ditch was recorded here in 1975. There was a second gate where it crossed Church Street from where the wall returned north-eastwards to the castle. The ditch was recorded here in 1985. The RCAHM recorded three fragments of wall. These were: (1) a 35m stretch of 2.0m wide wall running away from Church Street parallel to Rating Row (centered on SH60427623); (2) a 25m stretch of wall south of the churchyard parallel to Steeple Lane, 2.0m wide and 3.3m high (centered on SH60417608); (3) a fragment on the north side of Castle Street (at SH60467601). (Coflein–John Wiles 11.09.07)

The Borough of Beaumaris was created in 1296 but it was not until after the town was taken back from rebels supporting Owain Glyndwr that a protective wall was actively promoted

In 1407 the burgesses were granted £10 toward encircling the town with a bank and ditch, but it was quickly superseded by a town wall, underway by 1414. Sections of wall on the sea front were repaired in the 1530s, but subsequently the town wall appears to have fallen into decay. John Speed's map of 1610 suggests that the only complete section by that time faced the sea and therefore protected the town from its mostly perennial threat. The West or Water Gate at the end of Castle Street was still standing in 1785 and a long section of wall to its N was only taken down on the late C19 when Margaret Street was built. The extant section behind Church Street and Rating Row is the only substantial section of the wall to have survived.

A section of rubble wall approximately 20m long, 3m high, and 1.75m thick. It is broken by an inserted arched entrance to a cottage. The W end abuts the rear of 44 Church Street. (Listed Building Report)

The now vanished town walls can be traced from existing fragments. Starting from the Green, the wall runs along the promanade and then turns at an angle formed by Margaret st and Steeple Lane and follows on to the castle. Construction began in the early C15, with repairs carried out by the crown until 1540, although it appears that the walls were never completed. It seems probable that the wall never joined the castle walls at either end. By 1669 much of the Northern section of the wall had disappeared, although repairs were carried out on the wall into the early C18.

Provided also, that the seide petition or act of resumption, extende not to eny persone or persones havyng of oure graunt eny wages, for the kepyng of oure towne and gatis of Bewmaries, within oure ile of Anglesey in Northwales; nor unto the somme of, which we have graunte yerely unto the wallyng oute of oure foreseide towne. (Act of Resumption of 1449 - showing the particular favour for the town shown by Henry VI)

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law

Historic Wales CADW listed database record number
The National Monument Record (Coflein) number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSH604762
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Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved

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  • Salter, Mike, 2013, Medieval Walled Towns (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 159
  • Lilley, K.D., 2009, 'The Landscapes of Edward's New Towns: Their Planning and Design' in Willams, D. and Kenyon, J. (eds), The Impact of the Edwardian Castles in Wales (Oxbow) p. 99-113
  • Lilley, K, Lloyd, C. and Trick, S., 2005, Mapping Medieval Townscapes: a digital atlas of the new towns of Edward I online copy
  • Creighton, O.H. and Higham, R.A., 2005, Medieval Town Walls (Stroud: Tempus) p. 27, 30, 88, 98, 99, 101-2, 273
  • Pettifer, Adrian, 2000, Welsh Castles, A Guide by Counties (Boydell Press) p. 6
  • Bond, C.J., 1987, 'Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Defences' in Schofield, J. and Leech, R. (eds), Urban Archaeology in Britain (CBA Research Report 61) p. 92-116 online copy
  • Soulsby, Ian, 1983, The Towns of Medieval Wales (Phillimore; Chichester) p. 78-80 (plan)
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 3
  • Barley, M.W., 1975, 'Town Defences in England and Wales after 1066' in Barley (ed) The plans and topography of medieval towns in England and Wales (CBA Research Report 14) p. 57-71 plan p. 61
  • Colvin, H.M., Brown, R.Allen and Taylor, A.J., 1963, The history of the King's Works Vol. 2: the Middle Ages (London) p. 406
  • RCAHMW, 1937, An inventory of the ancient monuments in Anglesey (HMSO) p. cxlviii-ix, 4 online copy
  • Lewis, Samual, 1849, A Topographical Dictionary of Wales online copy


  • Creighton, Oliver, 2006, ''Castles of Communities': Medieval Town Defences in England; Wales and Gascony' Château Gaillard Vol. 22 p. 75-86
  • Fasham, 1992, Transactions of the Anglesey Antiquarian Society p. 123-30
  • White, 1975, Archaeology in Wales Vol. 15 p. 53
  • Hogg, A.H.A. and King, D.J.C., 1967, 'Masonry castles in Wales and the Marches: a list' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 116 p. 71-132
  • Jones, G.P. and Knoop, D., 1935, 'The Repair of Beaumaris Town Walls 1536-8' Transactions of the Anglesey Antiquarian Society p. 59-79

Primary Sources

  • National Archives SC 6/1216/2 (Royal grant of £10 in 1407 to make ditch around town)
  • National Archives SC 6/1152/5 (Thirty burgages were declared 'waste' in 1414 causa nvve edficacionis nove Muri lapidee (sic) circa eandem villam (SC 6/1152/5). (HKW))
  • Curry, A. (ed), 2005, 'Henry VI, 1449 November, Text/Translation', in The Parliament Rolls of Medieval England ed. C. Given-Wilson et al., item 53. Internet version, accessed on 24/04/2009. (Scholarly Digital Editions, Leicester) view online copy (subscription required)
  • - < >Also see the Gatehouse murage pages for full details of murage [grants >], [petitions > ] and [other such >]. < >