'Men of Harlech', the unofficial Welsh national anthem, is said to describe the longest siege in British history (1461-1468) which took place at Harlech Castle during the War of the Roses.
Edward’s tried and tested ‘walls within walls’ model was put together in super-fast time between 1283 and 1295 by an army of nearly a thousand skilled craftsmen and labourers. The structure, overseen by Master of the King’s Works, James of St George, boasts two rings of walls and towers, with an immensely strong east gatehouse. It was impregnable from almost every angle. Its secret weapon was a 61m long stairway which still leads from the castle to the cliff base. Access via the stairway to the sea and crucial supplies kept the castle’s besieged inhabitants fed and watered. When it was first built, a channel would have connected the castle and the sea. You could have sailed a boat up to the moat. Seven hundred years later, the sea has receded and you could say the castle appears almost stranded, waiting for the tide to turn once more.