Ruthin: 24th September 2014
We woke early at the Ruthin Castle Hotel. Today, we were going to visit Denbigh and St. Asaph. But, we still had plenty of time to explore the garden and the old castle ruins and take some photographs before breakfast.
The present building isn’t actually a ‘castle’ at all, although the Myddleton family had owned the land on which the ruins of the ‘old’ castle stood since 1632. In 1826, the then owner, Maria Myddleton, built a castellated, two-storied house of grey limestone, which was extended in red sandstone in 1849. The castle remained as a private residence until 1923, when it became a ‘Clinic for Internal Diseases’ until 1962, when it was converted to a hotel
The castle itself has been in ruins since the 17th Century. But, it wasn’t ‘slighted’ in the Civil War by the Parliamentarians, as many other castles were. It was partly demolished on the orders of King Charles II after the Restoration, to prevent it being used in any future uprising. Much of the stone went for house-building in nearby Ruthin … the name of which is said to derive from the Welsh for ‘Red Castle’, from the sandstone from which the castle was built, so it’s rather appropriate.
However, enough of the original castle remains to make a fascinating exploration.
The castle was first built in 1277 by Dafydd ap Gruffud, the younger brother of Llewellyn ap Gruffud (aka ‘Llewellyn the Last’) the Prince of Wales. At the time, Dafydd supported the English King Edward I against his brother, but was noted for continually changing sides. Even Welsh historians seldom have a good word to say for him.
Dafydd changed sides once too often, though; and Edward eventually invaded Wales, captured the castle and strengthened its defences, to form part of the ‘Iron Ring’ of his castles around North Wales.
Although it was in a very poor state of repair when Sir Thomas Myddleton bought it from the King, it was quickly repaired, and held by Royalist forces for four weeks against the Parliamentarians.
We had breakfast in ‘Bertie’s’ dining room’ which was named after Albert Edward (later King Edward VII) the eldest son of Queen Victoria, who spent a lot of time there … mainly because he was said to be having an affair with the owner’s wife
Disclosure: We travelled as the guests of North Wales Tourism (www.nwt.co.uk) but all opinions expressed are my own.