From Cadw Welsh Historic Monuments
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So it was that Denbigh fell into English hands. Immediately
following the capture of the Welsh stronghold, on the 16 October
1282 the campaign commander in the district, Henry de Lacy, earl
of Lincoln was given direction to build Denbigh Castle by King
The troubled state of affairs in the early 1400's was not
during the Wars of the Roses. Denbigh castle and lordship, which
had long been in the hands of the Mortimer family, was to become
one of the main centres of support for the dukes of York and the
Yorkist cause in Wales. The Lancastrian King Henry VI, however
appointed his half-brother Jasper Tudor, earl of Pembroke, to
the post of constable of Denbigh Castle in 1457. This was an
gesture until Jasper could actually occupy the castle.
On two occasions Jasper did launch determined attacks on
he held it for a few months in 1460-61, just after the death of
Richard, duke of York, at the battle of Wakefield. But this only
lasted until the success of York's son Edward (later King Edward
IV) at the battle of Towton. On his second attempt, in 1468,
Tudor failed to take the castle, but burnt the town within the
It was claimed that because of this disaster the townsfolk
moved away from the hilltop defenses, and established a new town
on the lower ground where the present market place is situated.
The cellars under some of the shops may date from this move,
the arcade which support the houses over those shops are most
probably of the late Tudor or early Stuart periods.
When it was first built the castle needed the town as an added
protection but now 200 years later the townsfolk did not wish
to be a prime target as they shielded the castle.
During the sixteenth century little was done beyond carrying
out some routine maintenances under Robert Lloyd who was
as 'clerk of the works and repairs'. Under the Tudors,
Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, there were regular surveys made to
assess costs of repair and to determine whether in time of peace
these castles were necessary to the Crown or whether they should
be sold or demolish to save costs.