Beaumaris is a picturesque coastal town in Anglesey, overlooking the eastern approach to the Menai Strait.
Beaumaris Pier and Seafront © Travel About Britain
The name means a "fair marsh", an area on which Edward I built a spectacular medieval castle in 1295. In doing so he established an important garrison town, providing control over the entrance to the Strait.
Once a thriving port, Beaumaris later became a fashionable centre for the local gentry with elegant Georgian and Victorian houses. Including the impressive 'Victoria Terrace', a prominent line of grey-stone buildings that forms part of an appealing mix of architectural styles along the seafront. A low stone circle, erected on the green in front of the terrace, represents the age of the Druids in Anglesey.
Victoria Terrace © Travel About Britain
The north end of town is dominated by a magnificent moated Norman castle, set in picturesque grounds overlooking the bay. The Old Court House (1614), opposite the castle, is one of the oldest functioning courts in Britain. The courtroom has a fine hammerbeam roof and stone-flagged floor. The dock, judges bench and jury seating is tiered downwards, so that the accused stands below the level of all others. It is currently open to the public as a museum.
Beaumaris Courthouse and Market Place © Travel About Britain
The town's bustling main thoroughfare (Castle Street) is lined with many interesting old buildings, including the half-timbered Tudor Rose, now a shop. The 14th century St Mary and St Nicholas Church, in the centre, is almost as old as the castle. Within its south porch lies the stone coffin of Princess Joan, daughter of King John and wife of the Welsh leader Llywelyn the Great.
Although no longer a port town, Beaumaris is still a popular sailing centre, busy with yachts and pleasure craft. The seafront includes a fine shingle beach and a small pier, from which regular boat trips can be taken to nearby Puffin Island, in summer.
One of Britain's finest examples of medieval military architecture. Begun by Edward I in 1295, the castle was never completed to its full height, giving it a low squat look. The fortifications were designed as a series of concentric rings of battlements, culminating in an inner ward. So even if an enemy penetrated the outer walls they would still be faced with the inner defences, protected by even higher walls, two gatehouses and six towers. Read more...
The large Victorian town gaol has been restored to its original appearance, complete with condemned cells, punishment rooms and treadwheel. The prison was built in 1829 and remained in use until the late 1870s.
An iron door set high in the wall on Steeple Lane, identifies the place where the gallows were once erected for public hangings (see image). Read more...