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Description

Interior view of dining room at Castell Coch taken in 1952.
Castell Coch, located on a prominent wooded hillside overlooking the Taff Valley and the northern part of Cardiff, is a remarkable blend of solid medieval masonry and High Victorian Gothic fantasy.
The original defensive structure of earth and timber was built in the late eleventh or early twelfth century during the conflict between the Anglo-Normans and native Welsh for the control of the rich lands of south-east Wales. By the middle of the thirteenth century the castle was in the hands of the powerful Clare family and by the end of that century the three great towers - the Well Tower, Kitchen Tower and Keep Tower- had been constructed. Severely damaged during Welsh rebellions of the early fourteenth century, the castle fell out of use and by the 1530s John Leland noted that the site had become a ruin.
The castle came to prominence once again in the nineteenth century when the third marquess of Bute engaged the eccentric William Burges to recreate a fabulous vision of the Middle Ages on the foundations of the medieval castle. Burges started work in 1875 and although he died in 1881 his work was carried on by his team of craftsmen and assistants. The result is a high gothic masterpiece rich in colourful decoration, furniture and fittings that parallels Burges' earlier work with the marquess at Cardiff Castle. It is now a Cadw guardianship monument and open to the public.

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