Castell Coch and William Burgess

22nd August 2014

Castell Coch, is a castle north of Cardiff, in a beautiful Welsh forest. The Castle, was built in 1870 for the 3rd Marquess of Bute by William Burgess.

Originally, the site held a 13th century castle, which was built from red sand stone- giving Castell Coch its name- which in Welsh means ‘The Red Castle.’

William Burgess was given creative freedom with the Castell, and quoting the Welsh Government page aimed to create a,  “rural retreat to complement the opulence of his main residence, Cardiff Castle. He didn’t hold back. Dazzling ceilings, over-the-top furnishings and furniture were liberally applied.”

William Burgess designed the fairytale castle, inspired by John Ruskin, he believed in ornamentaion- every surface in Cardiff Castle and Castell Coch is covered with carvings of birds, animals and historical events. Burgess’ love of medieval Gothic and pre-Raphealite style of design is clearly shown throughout Castell Coch, which makes it a beautiful and magical place to visit.

His career may have been short, Burgess died by the age of 53, but he managed to design churches, castles and houses. His two castle designs in Cardiff though, is what he is remembered for, the fantasy and fairytale-esque feel to them bring visitors from miles around still to this day.

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Both Castell Coch and Cardiff Castle are amazing pieces of architecture- as shown here the turrets and towers are magnificent, but for over 100 years they weren’t widely acknowledged by achitechts or historians. It was during the 1970s they were rediscovered after a rebirth of interest in Victorian architecture- it is strange to think today how anyone could over look such amazing achitechture!


If you are ever in Wales, both Castell Coch and Cardiff Castle are definately two places you should visit.