Chirk Castle

Chirk, United Kingdom

Chirk Castle was built in 1295 by Roger Mortimer de Chirk, uncle of Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March as part of King Edward I's chain of fortresses across the north of Wales. It guards the entrance to the Ceiriog Valley.

Mullioned and transomed windows were inserted in the 16th and 17th centuries; the castle was partly demolished in the English Civil War and then rebuilt.

Chirk remained was transferred to the National Trust in 1981. The castle and gardens are open to the public between March and October, with limited opening dates in November and December.

Landscape

The property is notable for its gardens, with clipped yew hedges, herbaceous borders, rock gardens and terraces and surrounded by 18th century parkland.

This parkland was originally laid out as a deer park in the 14th century. From the early 17th century there were both formal and kitchen gardens adjacent to the castle, probably on the eastern side. The gardens continued to develop after the Civil War, including the construction of an outer courtyard to the north, surrounded by stone walls with a wrought-iron gateway. By 1719 the courtyard had been turfed over and the gates replaced by a magnificent set of wrought-iron gates and gatescreen made by Robert and John Davies of Bersham.

A panoramic view of the park by Thomas Badeslade, published in 1742, shows the resulting grand baroque layout of formal gardens and avenues. This included formal gardens to the east of the castle, with a walled outer courtyard and kitchen gardens to the north. Most of this layout was swept away by extensive landscaping in the 1760s and 70s, undertaken by William Emes, on behalf of Richard Myddelton, including the construction of a ha-ha and the removal of the Davies gates to be re-erected at the New Hall entrance. These works were largely responsible for the present-day appearance of the park.

A prominent feature of the park is the earthwork of Offa's Dyke, which passes within 200 metres of the castle. This is shown on the Badeslade drawing, labelled as ‘King Offa’s Ditch’, with the ornamental lake beyond. The earthwork was partly submerged by the creation of the lake. In 2018 and 2018 the Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust excavated a section across Offa's Dyke here, and found substantial remains of the ditch and bank. The parkland landscape had partly been responsible for preserving the remains of the Dyke.

The Oak at the Gate of the Dead lies 300m from Chirk Castle and marks the site of the 1165 Battle of Crogen.

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Founded: 1295
Category: Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom

Rating

4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Kozue Yamamoto (2 months ago)
We are members of the National Trust and often visit Chirk Castle during my daughter's school holiday. They have a playground for children, a lovely garden with picnic areas, a castle to explore, a cafe with great scones and, best of all, the views from near the castle are stunning and full of nature. Highly recommended!!
Sue (3 months ago)
Very interesting place to visit, courtesy bus to take you up the hill to the castle gates. Many items of clothing to see what they wore and how heavy the outfits were. Good cafe and great views.
malcolm watson (3 months ago)
A very interesting place to visit. A bit of a climb up for the car park but they have a bus if needed. The dungeons are fun but steps challenging if you’re not steady on your feet. The inside of the castle are great to explore with lots of exhibits to marvel at. The grounds are vast with lots of walks, I look forward to coming back in summer with a picnic.
Holly Popiel (4 months ago)
Came here last summer with children. Great place to visit, very interesting, plenty of rooms open including dungeon. The ground are also large and a lovely walk round. There is a cafe and small playground.
Andrew Jeffries (4 months ago)
Visited today as part of a 7m walk around the area. We are not yet NT members so had read we could not enter the courtyard and the cafe. Guessing as out of season we were permitted in to the cafe. Blessed with Feb sunshine sitting outside for coffee and cake. Service and drinks were good. Castle and wider grounds are great and walks all free. Would visit again.
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