The strong castle of Ruthin was begun in earnest in 1282, when Reginald de Grey was given the site by King Edward I after recapturing it from the Welsh. The King had in fact already started a fortress here – intended, like Rhuddlan, to consolidate his newly- conquered territory – and the royal masons continued the work for the new owner. The castle held out against Owain Glyndwr in 1400 – though its defender, Glyndwr’s arch-enemy Lord Grey, was lured out and captured nearby. It also survived an initial siege by Parliamentary forces during the Civil War, but surrendered in 1646 and was substantially demolished. The ruins were later the setting for an immense mock-medieval mansion, whose Victorian battlements and towers so dramatically punctuate Ruthin’skyline.
Part of the original fortifications, with five towers and the remains of a gatehouse, and still be seen by permission of the hotel management – or glimpsed over the wall from Cunning Green, the footpath turning right outside the Victorian gateway.
The castle stands at he south end of the old town ridge, with the church at its northern extremity and St Peter’s Square in the middle. From there Ruthin’s other streets drop away to the east and west, displaying glimpses of the hills beyond and attractive old frontages.
‘Ivy berry’ trail, Llanelidan