This book explores the history and evolution of the Welsh castle during the time when the native rulers held sway (c.1066-1283). An extremely comprehensive, full-color guide, it is illustrated throughout with spectacular new aerial photography, plans and reconstruction drawings, through which the author examines the various architectural designs and layouts that created the distinctive form of the Welsh castle. A historical introduction sets the scene for the period and explains the ruling aristocracy’s need for castles, exploring the social and political struggles that characterized the age and the ways in which the rulers of early medieval Wales used castles and other defensive structures to enhance and maintain their status. An architectural introduction examines the structure of the castles, their design, layout and method of construction. The gazetteer section then looks at each of the known and presumed native fortifications, organized under the various royal dynasties of medieval Wales. Each entry provides a historical and architectural summary of the site, including recent discoveries and revised interpretations of well-known sites, along with map references and access details for visitors.