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In 1265 Llywelyn allied himself with the baronial faction in England in exchange for being granted authority over the local Welsh magnates across all the territories in the region, including Glamorgan.De Clare started to construct a castle at Caerphilly to control his new gains in 1268.It is uncertain if this was built by Royalist forces or by the Parliamentary army that occupied the area during the final months of the war in March 1646, but the fort's guns would have dominated the interior of the castle.It is also uncertain whether or not Caerphilly Castle was deliberately slighted by Parliament to prevent its future use as a fortification.The marquess carried out landscaping work, with the intent of eventually re-flooding the lakes, and thanks to several decades of purchases was finally able to demolish the local houses encroaching on the view of the castle.Plan of Caerphilly Castle: A – West Gatehouses; B – South Lake; C – Great Hall; D – Inner Ward; E – Middle Ward; F – North Bank; G – North Lake; H – East Gatehouses; I – South Gatehouse; J – South Dam Platform; K – Mill; L – Felton's Tower; M – Outer East Moat; N – Outer Main Gatehouse; O – North Dam Platform; P – North Gatehouse Caerphilly Castle comprises a set of eastern defences, protected by the Outer East Moat and the North Lake, and fortifications on the Central Island and the Western Island, both protected by the South Lake.
In the late 15th century, however, it fell into decline and by the 16th century the lakes had drained away and the walls were robbed of their stone.
Despite these interruptions, Gilbert successfully completed the castle and took control of the region.
The core of Caerphilly Castle, including the castle's luxurious accommodation, was built on what became a central island, surrounding by several artificial lakes, a design Gilbert probably derived from that at Kenilworth.
Although several towers had collapsed by the 18th century, possibly as a result of such an operation, it is probable that this deterioration was actually the result of subsidence damage caused when the water defences retreated, as there is no evidence of deliberate destruction having been ordered.
His great-grandson John Crichton-Stuart, the third marquess, was immensely rich as the result of the family's holdings in the South Wales coalfields and was passionately interested in the medieval period.