A spacious retreat
Having stayed in this very room when we came before some 18 years ago, we specifically requested the turret room for my parents. The weekend was a surprise present for my mum's birthday, and her face was a picture when she walked in to this room. The room is enormous! We worked it out it must be at least 80 square metres, it covers the entire floor of the turret, and has 8 sides.
There is an anermous four poster bed, a large, period fireplace, a writing desk., a free standing wardrobe, as well as a couple of settees with a large coffe table in the middle of the room.
We were meeting my uncle there too, from Sweden, so we had plenty of space to sit around with a drink (or five) before going down for dinner.
Oh, and I forget, the bathroom has a Jacuzzi!
Ruthin castle was built in 1277 by order of King Edward I who handed the fortress over to the Welsh Prince Dafydd ap Gruffydd. It is one of the oldest castles of Wales and it has been built years before great fortresses like, for example, Caernarfon or Conwy. It was 1st known as Castell Coch yn yr Gwernfor (the red castle in the great marsh). The fortress originally consisted of 2 wards and 5 round towers guarding the inner ward. All that remains today are 3 of these towers and the ruined double-towered gatehouse. Ruthin castle is situated by the river Clwyd overlooking the eponymous little market town. In 1646 the castle survived an 11 week siege during the Civil War but was demolished in 1648. In 1827 it has largely been rebuilt and today serves as a hotel. It is surrounded by beautiful parks and woodlands.
And as any proper British castle Ruthin does, of course, also houses a ghost. The apparition of the Grey Lady is said to be haunting the battlements and has also, occasionally, been seen outside the castle walls. It is assumed that she was the wife of one of the castle's commandants in 13the century and that she has murdered her husband and therefore was sentenced to death.
You can only explore the gardens and the castle from the outside unless you're a hotel guest.
Going back in time
The whole evening was very well organised, from the jester rounding you up from the hotel bar, to the wenches greeting you at the door with brad and salt to ward off evil spirits, to the lady of the court with her welcoming speach, the lord giving a running commentary throughout and the serving wenches entertaining you after dinner with their beautiful Welsh voices.
A perfect evening from start to finish. Long benches are alid out for tables and you are dressed with a bib as soon as you arrive. There is no cutlery or napkins, but a water bowk is provided for cleaning your hands and a dagger for cutting your meat. Wine is served in pewter goblets and mead in small ceramic cups. Included in the price is as much wine and mead you can drink. The staff are dressed in traditional costume and are very attentive in filling up your glasses.
The food is as follows: Thick vegetable soup with chunks of bread for dipping, roast shanks of lamb in Welsh spices, half
a chicken with honey and oranges, jacket potato and salads. All eaten with your hands.
Much merriment takes place, and everyone chats to everyone else and has a lot of fun. Lots of oooooing and ahhhhhhing takes place with the speeches and birthday greetings are read out. Dessert is a syllabub of fruits of the forest (you get a spoon for that).
After dinner there is lovely Welsh singing, with a harpist and a traditonal keybord accompanying the singers. They were world class, as you would expect from the Welsh!
My Ruthin pages
I will be updating with tips and pictures soon!
The historical town of Ruthin is situated in North Wales with its
origins in the 13th century. This is what was said of the town
by Samuel Lewis in ?A Topographical Dictionary of Wales?, 1833 & 1849:
"A borough, a market and assize town, a parish, and the head of a
poor-law union, in the hundred of Ruthin, county of Denbigh; 8 miles
(SE by S) from Denbigh, and 210 miles (NW by W) from London. ...
.. This parish and that of Llanrhud, which were originally one,
are bounded on the south by the parish of Llanfair, east by the same
and that of Llanarmon yn Ial, west by Llanfwrog, and north by
Llanbedr. ..... The surface is beautifully diversified, the eastern part of
Llanrhud embracing a portion of the Clwydian hills, and the western part of Ruthin the meanderings of the river Clwyd, with the fertile and luxuriant
meadows on its banks. ..... The agricultural produce is equally rich and
abundant, yielding fine crops of wheat, barley, oats, potatoes, and
turnips, together with grass and hay."
Ruthin Castle, a baronial castle ordered to be built by Edward I, around
1277, was largely constructed in 1282. It consisted of two wards and five
round towers originally guarding the inner ward. All that remains are
three towers and the ruined double-towered gatehouse.
According to local history, the lordship of Dyffryn Clwyd was given to the
Grey family in 1282 after the defeat of Llywelyn effectively ending the
principality of North Wales. Up to 1400 the history of the castle had little
In the early 15th century the castle was held by Lord Grey, a gentleman
who had made an enemy of one Owain Glyndwr by trying to acquire the
Dee estates of the Welshman. When Glyndwr was ready to launch his
bid for an independent Wales, Ruthin and Lord Grey became the first
target. The attack surprised all and Ruthin was ravaged and burnt.
The Castle managed to hold out, but the Welsh rebel was not to be
done out of his vengeance. Some two years later he defeated and English force at Vyrnwy and captured Lord Gray, imprisoning him at Dolbadarn Castle and releasing him on payment of a ransom of
The Civil War saw Ruthin Castle resisting attack by Parliamentary
forces, who returned to besiege it two years later in 1646 when the Royalist garrison surrendered to Major-General Mytton and the castle
was destroyed by order of Parliament. Ruthin Castle is now a luxury
"Some other areas of in Ruthin"
Some other areas of note in Ruthin are:
Pendref Chapel. Situated at the upper end of Well Street
(originally named Welsh Street) stands the town's oldest chapel,
Pendref built in 1827. It is of particular architectural interest. in The
Buildings of Clwyd by Edward Hubbard it is described as comprising
an elegant ashlar front gently embayed; of three bays, the central one pedimented and all on the curve; balustrading, two storeys of
round-headed windows and a Tuscan porch. Adjoining Pendref is
No 6 Well Street (originally known as Welsh Street), where the Welsh
national anthem was first printed.
One of the town's impressive medieval buildings, the old courthouse,
or manor courthouse, was the site of the principal court of the Lordship
of Dyffryn Clwyd. Built in the early years of the fourteenth century with
cells for prisoners in the basement area, the remains of the scaffold can
still be seen projecting from the eaves. The last execution to take place
there was probably that of a Franciscan friar, Fr Charles Mahoney, on 12
On the west side of the square is Maen Huail on which, according to
legend, Huail, son of Caw and brother of Gildas the historian, was
beheaded for crossing King Arthur in love.
St Peter's Church dates from the 13th and 14th centuries and has a
magnificent oak paneled roof given, according to legend, by Henry VII.
The attractive gates leading to the south porch of St Peter's parish
church were made in 1727 by the renowned craftsmen and blacksmiths
Robert and John Davies of Bersham. Consisting of a pair of main gates
between elaborate piers, with smaller side gates, the whole topped by
much decorative scrollwork, they were restored in 1928. The main gates
at Castell y Waen (Chirk Castle) are also by the Davies Brothers.
The Myddelton Arms, of Dutch design and dating from the mid-16th
century, has a remarkable roof with an unusual arrangement of windows
known locally as the 'eyes of Ruthin'. It was build by Sir Richard Cough
in the late 16th century. Adjacent is the Castle Hotel, formerly the White
Lion, an elegant Georgian building which once had a cock-pit at the rear.
Nantclwyd House in Castle Street is a Grade I listed timber-framed
mansion and the oldest building in Ruthin dating from 1314. It is said to
be one of the two buildings to survive the burning of the town by Owain
Glyndwr. The building is currently being restored.
County Hall in Record Street, now the town library, was designed by
Joseph Turner, architect and one-time County Surveyor of Denbighshire.
Built between 1785 and 1790 to house the records of the Court of Great
Sessions and Quarter Sessions, the original scheme was amended to
include a courtroom. Together with another Turner design, the old county
gaol, the building established Rhuthun's position as the principal county
town of Denbighshire.
Old County Gaol, Clwyd Street. Built in 1775 to the designs of J Turner of
Chester, as a model prison of that period to serve Denbighshire.
Last execution was held in 1903, closed in 1916.
Wynnstay Arms, Well Street. A 16th century half timbered old coaching
inn. Formerly the Cross Foxes referred to by George Borrow in 'Wild