Denbigh: 24th September 2014.
As Ruthin’s name is a corruption of the Welsh for ‘Red Fort’, so it is with Denbigh, which is derived from a corruption of the Welsh for ‘Little Fort’.
In the 13th Century, this was a stronghold held by Daffydd ap Gruffyd, who we already met at Ruthin, against the English led by King Edward I. The current stone castle was built after the stronghold fell. Henry de Lacy was commissioned by the King to build it, and was also granted a Borough Charter to establish the surrounding town of Denbigh.
It hadn’t even been finished when it was captured and briefly occupied by Welsh rebels in 1294, but the rebellion collapsed the following year, and the castle was handed back to De Lacy.
In the 15th Century, the castle was besieged twice, but held out, first, against the rebels of Owain Glydwr then against the Lancastrians in the War of the Roses.
During the Civil War, the castle was held by Royalists for six months, before being captured by the Parliamentarians, who ‘slighted’ it to prevent further use. It has been in ruins ever since.
Enough of the castle still remains to make an interesting visit, but, there’s a rather curious anachronism here. In one of the walls was a brown plaque, stating that the explorer Henry Morton Stanley (Né John Rowlands) was born nearby. Now, at school, they taught us that he was American … and only a little research showed that school was wrong.
On the way here, I wondered what the statue in the town square, a man in a curious crouching position, was about. It was only when I saw the plaque I realised it was Stanley, bowing, and with hand outstretched to greet … Doctor Livingstone, I presume!