Unearthing of Llewelyn The Great's Conwy Palace

Scope and Content

This photograph shows the excavation of Llewelyn the Great's Conwy Palace during May 1984, but the site was buried again under an Old People's Garden in a scheme by Aberconwy Borough Council for flats for the elderly at Twr Llewelyn. Excavation was only made possible because the building work that had started opened up the site. The discovery was made by a team from the Bangor based Gwynedd Archaeological Trust who were given until June 1984 to excavate. The team said that the area was very important as old maps of Conwy show that it has not been built on since Mediaeval times. It is believed that a guest house of the Cistercian Monastery, founded in 1186, used to stand on the site and this was converted into a Hall or Palace for Llewelyn the Great when he took over the town in 1198.

The Treaty of Aberconwy between Edward I and Llewelyn about the ownership of land in 1277 may well have been drawn up in the Hall. It is believed that Edward I changed the Hall into apartments for his son, the future Edward II, and mediaeval documents outlined the cost of repairs. Edward II demolished the apartments and the timbers were reerected as a storehouse in Caernarfon.

Cottages for the Burgesses (Freemen of the Borough) were then built on the base and were later destroyed to make way for the present Garden. Relics found include fragments of thirteenth century cups and plates and animal bones, including red deer teeth.

Original Index No. H0167.