One of Edward1st's Iron Ring of castles built to contain the Welsh after the Welsh Wars at the end of the Thirteenth Century. Standing high on a rock jutting out towards Cardigan Bay on the edge of Snowdonia it is a strong castle with high walls, tall towers and an impressive double towered gatehouse. At the height of it's construction, in 1286, the workforce was 546 general labourers, 115 quarriers, 30 blacksmiths, 22 carpenters and 227 stonemasons.
Altough the castle was strongly fortified it did fall to Owain Glyndwr in 1404 after a long siege. Four years later, after another long siege it was retaken by the English under Prince Henry.
The castle also holds the record for the longest siege in Brtain during the Wars of the Roses when, held by its Welsh constable Dafydd ap lwuan as a Lancastrian stronghold. it held out for severn years, in 1468 it was the last Lancastrian fortress to surrender.
It was this siege that lead to the writing of the song "Men of Harlech". So leading otno one of my favourite films - Zulu - a grand film but with historical inaccuarcies as well. The 2nd Battalion/24th Foot was actually a Warwickshire regiment, two years after the Zulu war it became the South Wales Borderers during the Caldwell Army Reforms. At the time of Rorkes Drift there were only 19 men with any sort of Welsh connection and Men of Harlech was not sung during the battle. But all in all the Film was good.
This version was specially written for the film, the original version tells the story of Dafydd and his boast of holding out against the Yorkist enemy.
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