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Downloads Home » Stronghold Crusader: Invasions » Kidwelly the Historical castle of Wales

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Kidwelly the Historical castle of Wales

Author File Description
File Details
Map Size: 300x300 (Medium)
Difficulty: Hard
Title:Kidwelly the Historical castle of wales

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Kidwelly is a mighty and imposing monument of Norman power. It is also a beautiful example of castle development, as the castle was dramatically altered on a number of occasions to conform to the latest thinking in military science. Roger, bishop of Salisbury, the justiciar of England, established Norman power in the area and the ringwork castle (shown below) that he built here was one of a series of strongholds designed by the Normans to secure the new conquests of south Wales by commanding the river passes here and at Laugharne, Llansteffan and Loughor.

The ringwork at Kidwelly was constructed on a steep ridge overlooking the River Gwendraeth at its upper tidal limit. No further strengthening was needed on the riverside, and the present semicircular bank and ditch formed the 12th-century defences which would have been supplemented by a timber palisade on the bank, probably further strengthened by towers and certainly by a gate. In the interior would have been the timber domestic buildings of the lord. This castle fell to the Welsh on a number of occasions in the late 12th and early 13th centuries, including once in 1159 when the Lord Rhys took it and burnt it. He is later credited with rebuilding the castle in 1190. By 1201, however, it was back in Norman hands and remained English from then on, despite periodic attacks.

In the mid-13th century the de Chaworth family gained possession, and began a long work of building the mighty stone castle that we see today. The earliest parts are best viewed from the centre of the castle, as they consist of the square inner ward with the four large round corner towers and simple portcullis gates to the north and south. By building this inner ward, set as it is within the outer ward, Pain de Chaworth converted Kidwelly into a strong concentric castle, with an inner and outer ring of defences.

Kidwelly passed by marriage in 1298 to Henry, earl of Lancaster, who quickly set about upgrading the accommodation to suit his status. A large first-floor hall reached by a semicircular external stair was built on the east; this has largely fallen, though the wall footings and a fireplace can still be seen. The chapel, housed in a projecting tower overlooking the river, was also built at this time, and the massive spur buttresses of the tower are a distinctive feature of the castle and are best seen from the outside. The chapel has white Sutton-stone mouldings around the doors and windows, piscina and sedile, making it one of the finest parts of the castle. A small building on the south of the chapel house housed the sacristy above the priest's bedchamber. Its fine cruciform roof can be seen from the wall-walk leading from the Great Gatehouse

In the early 14th century, the present mighty outer defences were constructed. The stone curtain wall with its wall-walk and series of mural towers was built, or, more probably, an existing wall was considerably heightened. On the north was a small gate with a drawbridge over the ditch, while on the south, the Great Gatehouse was constructed, achieving a hitherto unattainable strength. The four inner towers had to be heightened also to maintain an effective field of fire. The marks of the early crenellations may still be seen, now blocked by the later, heightened stonework

The Great Gatehouse took at least a century to complete. It was evidently unfinished at the time of the Welsh siege in 1403 during the Glyndwr uprising. Despite the fall of the town to the Welsh, the castle resisted the siege for three weeks until an English army arrived to give assistance. By this time, the castle was in the hands of the crown, and the 15th-century refurbishment after the damage caused by the siege cost over L500. It was not until 1422 that the building finally received its lead roof. The gate passage has a tower on either side with basements which could have functioned as store rooms or as prison cells as their doors are secured by draw-bars on the outside only. The ground floors may have housed porters or guards in the front rooms, while one of the back rooms has a large, bare, dark beehive-shaped prison. On the first floor, over the gate passage and tower rooms, was a massive hall, well appointed despite its having to accommodate the inner portcullis and murder hole, the slots for which may still be seen in the floor. The private apartments of the owner, or perhaps the constable of the castle, were on the second floor above the hall.

The gatehouse was extremely well defended, and indeed was designed so that it could be held independently if the remainder of the castle had fallen to besiegers. A small room in front of the hall housed the outer portcullis and murder hole, and the rooms above must have held the mechanism for lifting the drawbridge. The gatehouse displays a fine array of defensive features. On the towers are a series of arrowloops to defend the entrance; above the arched doorway is the rectangular recess into which the drawbridge would have been drawn, raised by chains running through the small holes in the corners; above the entrance are three arches, or machicolations through which missiles could be dropped on to the hapless invader; on the top of the gatehouse would have been battlements, now mostly gone though their supporting corbels still survive providing for a wider wall-walk for the defenders behind. Within the gate passage were an outer portcullis and gates, three murder holes in the vault above, and an inner portcullis and gate.

The last significant addition to the castle was at the end of the 15th century when a large hall was built on the west of the outer ward with a connecting kitchen within the inner ward. Another building and bakehouse were added, probably the work of Rhys ap Thomas who was granted the castle by Henry VII. In the early 17th century the judicial court was held in the castle, perhaps in the new hall, but by that time the castle's life as a fortification was well-nigh over and it played only a minor part in the Civil War, laying as it did far away from the central area of the struggle.

A walk around the exterior of the castle is recommended, as its dominating position within the town is best appreciated from outside. Kidwelly retains the street pattern of the medieval walled town, and though the walls themselves have disappeared, the early 14th-century South Gate of the town still stands on the main street opposite the castle. The line of town defences survive as hedge lines and probably boundaries, and the northern outworks are particularly well preserved. The foundation of the town was an early one, only shortly after that of the castle, and a small priory was established for the Benedictines at the same time, in 1114.

AuthorReviews   ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )
Map Design5.0
Playability: 5
Playing this map was great. On the first try I got close to killing the lord, getting him down to 1 third health. On the second try I got him. To be honest, I spent more time thinking about how to play the map than actually playing it, but either way I enjoyed it a lot.

Balance: 5
The balance on this map was PERFECT. If you run in stupidly, you get slaughtered. If you hang back and think about it, you can get in and kill the lord. Even then, you still finish with only a few troops left, so you get the numbers pretty much exact.

Creativity: 5
Always good to see historical castles! While other maps are fun, nothing quite beats attacking a castle that ACTUALLY exists somewhere.

Map Design: 5
*Drool*…… I think that is the best way to sum it up. I liked the ruins they looked real. The forest and streams where convincing, and the construction of the castle was superb. I also liked the way the troops are arranged on the walls. Well done!

Story/Instructions: 3.5
The map was a little lacking in the story. While you’ve written a long a detailed history of the castle, (which is not a bad thing,) you didn’t really tell a story as to why you are killing the lord of the castle. Maybe write some pre-game instructions, just so the player knows why they’re doing what they’re doing.

Additional comments
To summaries, this was an astounding map. It was a good puzzle, making you think about how to use the few men you have. The castle and landscape were awesome. I am in envy of your map-making skills. Its obvious a lot of effort went into making this map.

(This is the first map I’ve ever rated, so others may disagree with my inexperienced views. But I doubt it!)
Map Design4.0
Playability: 4.5
Near perfect. The only thing missing is the options of attack in other place. There is one obvious weak spot in the castle, but the
alternative weak spots look tough to get to. With a few more fords, so you had the choice of attacking from left side would be nice.

Balance: 4.5
Right on! I had about 5 crossbows, and maybe 10 ground units left when the Lord fell on my first try. I didn't use any of the siege equipment though, so I could probably do quite bit better with those in the mix. I also have to admit that I'm not that great of attacking in Crusader. I subtract little from perfect score, since the siege equipment that was given, does not seem to very useful except for diverting enemy arrows.

Creativity: 4
'Historical accuracy' has been attempted before, but this is first time I see someone start from real historical floorplan and is very successful in designing a very similar castle. Great work!

Map Design: 4
Great design and it actually look very similar to floorplan you provide picture of. I mighty impressed.
I'm not sure if you try build the landscape as the suroundings of real castle or not. In the story, it say "Kidwelly was constructed on a steep ridge", but I don't see no steepness in the map. Some hills or steepness would added to the 'look and feel'.
All the houses make it look very busy though. If you didn't place houses according to 'historical accuracy', I prefer little less busy village.

Story/Instructions: 4
I give credit for having researched all facts. However, if you had additional story describe how one of the numerous battles were done, it
would be great. Did you write this description or did you copy from book somewhere?

Additional Comments:
It's a shame that knights and macemen run out off the castle in the beginning and get slaughtered by my arrows when they tru to attack. I assume this is not your intention. I have seen this bug when making map. It seems to be trouble with the editor, so I can't reduce any points for you.

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