Sitting high above the Wrexham County landscape, Chirk Castle is a fine example of Edward I of England’s 12th century castle building frenzy in North Wales. After subduing the Welsh in 1283, the high vantage point and view of Ceiriog Valley were the driving factors in the location of the castle. Construction started in 1295. The castle has similar round drum towers to many of the castles built for purpose in the medieval era. Roger Mortimer de Chirk was the first owner, though the castle was built as a military fortification, it was granted to him by Edward I for military services against the Welsh and Scottish. The structure has many examples of highly sophisticated defense methods of the time. There have been many prominent owners during its early years, most of which were given the castle for services to the crown, and sometimes it was forfeited back to the crown.
In 1593 Chirk moved into the hands of the Myddelton family, and remained their family home until 2004. Sir Thomas Myddelton, having made his fortune in the East India Trading Company, purchased the castle and began to transform it into a family home. The home’s interior has a range of styles of decoration that reflect the 400 years the Myddelton family lived there. Also at the castle are many interesting and rare antiques and collections.
The castle is now owned by the National Trust. It was designated as a Grade I listed building, and has many fine rooms. The last Myddelton to live in the castle moved out in 2004 because of the high volume of tourists, breaking over 400 years of consecutive Myddelton living.
Opening times for the castle are from March to October, with more limited times from November to December. Tickets can be purchased onsite, but it is more economical to purchase a National Trust Pass. Tour guides are located in each room.
There are many outbuildings and gardens, including a vegetable garden, to explore. There is a wonderful walk either on the low-traffic road, or through a footpath up to the castle from the train station, or the village of Chirk.