All things Pembrokeshire

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Carew Castle

Carew Castle is owned by the well known Carew family and is now leased to the Pembrokeshire National Park who administer the site. The existing castle replaced an earlier stone keep. Once a Norman stronghold, the castle is a mix of architectural styles due to necessity, fashion, and the fluctuating fortunes of the various owners. The castle was originally built in 1270 by Nicholas de Carew. The site itself has been used for military purposes for over 2000 years. The land incorporates a 11th century Celtic Cross and a restored tidal mill.
It is said the castle is haunted by an unpleasant 17
th Century owner and his even more unpleasant Barbary Ape. Sir Roland Rhys, a former pirate captain, in a drunken rage, goaded his ape (Satan) to attack a Flemish tradesman, the tradesman escaped barely with his life and was rescued by a servant, who hid him away. As the servant was tending the man’s wounds, a violent cry and maniacal laughter was heard coming from the dining hall. They investigated the terrible noise and found Sir Rhys dead on the floor, his throat ripped out and his ape burning in the fireplace. The mad cackling laughter of an ape can apparently still be heard till this day.
Opening dates and times for summer 2013 are 10am – 5pm from the 29
th March – 31st October
Prices; ADULT £4.75 CHILD £3.50 CONCESSION £4.00 FAMILY £12.75

Cilgerran Castle

Cilgerran Castle is a 13th century ruined castle near Cardigan, owned by the National Trust. Overlooking the river Teifi, it was built around 1100, but the remaining masonry dates from around the 13th century. In 1223 the castle was rebuilt in its present form by William Marshall the younger, Earl of Pembroke. Two substantial towers remain. Cilgerran Castle is under the guardianship of CADW – Welsh Assembly Government’s historic environment service.
OPENING TIMES ; ALL YEAR, CLOSED 1st January, and 24th to 26th December
PRICES (Subject to change as of April 2013)
ADULT - £3.20, CHILD - £2.80, FAMILY - £9.20

Haverfordwest Castle

Haverfordwest castle is located in the centre of Haverfordwest town. Established during Norman times in 1120, much of what you can see today dates from 1290. It is believed that originally there was an iron age hill fort on the site, though no physical evidence remains. The structure was founded by Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Pembroke around 1120. In 1173 the castle had its first royal visit by Henry II of England on a return trip from Ireland. Today all that remains of the original castle is a large square keep in the north-east corner of the inner ward. In 1284 King Edward I and Queen Eleanor of Castile visited Haverfordwest whilst on a pilgrimage to St Davids, enamoured with the castle, Eleanor borrowed £407 to purchase and fully rebuild the castle, completing its transition into stone. It became known as “Queens castle at Haverford” Much of what remains is dated to this reconstruction. By 16th century the castle was somewhat dilapidated, but was refortified during the English Civil War. In 1644 it is recorded that the Royalists occupied the castle, but they fled when mistaking the noise of crows for the Parliamentary Army!
Today the castle is operated by the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority, numerous artifacts are on display and it is open to the public.

Manorbier Castle

Manorbier castle is a Norman castle in the village of Manorbier, 5miles from the popular tourist resort of Tenby. It was the original seat of the Anglo-Norman de Barry family. The castle was built by Ordo de Barri, a Norman knight at the end of the 11th century. He constructed a Motte and bailey on the site with a wooden keep, defended by a palisade and an earthworks embankment. His son, William de Barri began the stone transformation work, in the early part of the 12th century. Gerald of Wales, (Geraldus Cambrensis), the great twelfth century scholar was born at the castle in 1146. He was the fourth son of William de Barri.
In the history of the castle, it was only attacked twice, both minor skirmishes. Once in a family dispute over succession in 1327 and 300 years later, during the English Civil War in 1645 when the castle was seized by parliamentary forces. The castle was used as Cair Paraval, and The white Witch Castle by the BBC in an adaptation of The Chronicles of Narnia.
The castle is open from 22nd March 2013 until the end of September, weekends in October and half term – 22-28th October.
OPENING TIMES; 10am – 5pm
ADULTS; £5.00
CHILDREN ; £3.00

Narberth Castle

Narberth castle is a ruined Norman fortress in the town of Narberth. The current ruins date from the 13th century, having been built by Andrew Perrot.
The castles exact origin lies back in the mists of time, but it’s believed the site may once have been occupied by a palace spoken of in the Mabinogion, a collection of ancient legends and myths.
The castle’s later history was uneventful, it did not change hands during the Glyndwr rebellion, and was ‘slighted’ after being taken by Oliver Cromwell in The English Civil War. In excess of 20 graves have been excavated on the north side of the castle, dating from the 12th – 13th century, indicating there may have been a church on the site.
In 2006 the castle was opened to the public after being taken over by the council, and made safe.
The castle has disabled access and is open all year free of charge.

Pembroke Castle

Pembroke castle stands on the river Cleddau, in the town of Pembroke. The castle is the original seat of the earldom of Pembroke. In 1093 Roger of Montgomery built the first castle on this site. A century later the castle was given to William Marshal by Richard I, and he rebuilt the castle in stone creating most of the structure that remains today. In the late 13th century additional buildings were added, including a new Great Hall. A 55 step spiral stairwell was created that led down to a large limestone cave , known as Wogan Cavern beneath the castle, this was fortified with a wall barred gateway and arrowslits. It may have served as a boathouse or a sallyport to the river where cargo and people could have been transferred. The outer walls of the castle are 16ft (5mtrs) thick in places and constructed from Siltstone ashlar. Although the castle is in the Norman style, it is more accurately described as a Linear fortification.
The castle stands on a site that has been occupied since Roman times. The original earth and wood castle resisted several Welsh attacks and sieges over the years, eventually establishing itself at the heart of the Norman controlled lands of southwest Wales. Later the castle was used as an important base for the Norman invasion of Ireland. William Marshal who received the castle and title Earl of Pembroke in 1189, was succeeded by each of his five sons. However all of Marshal’s son’s died childless so in 1247 the castle was inherited by William de Valence, a half brother of Henry III. The castle became de Valance’s military fighting base during the conquest of North Wales by Edward I between 1277 and 1295. The castle next passed to the Hastings family, after the death of William de Valence’s son. In 1389, 17 year old John Hastings died in a jousting accident, and so ended a line of inheritance stretching back 250 years. The castle then reverted to Richard II who granted short tenancies.
Eventually the castle was granted to Jasper Tudor by his half brother Henry VI in 1452. Tudor brought his widowed sister in law, Margaret Beaufort, to Pembroke where she gave birth to her only child, the future king Henry VII of England, (born 1457)

Picton Castle

Picton castle is a medieval castle near Haverfordwest. It was originally built at the end of the 13th century by Sir John Wogan and is still inhabited by his descendants, the Philipps family today.
The estate was once part of the larger Manor of Wiston, but became a separate holding, replacing Wiston castle by the 13th century. Originally a motte castle, it was reconstructed in stone during the 13th century by the Wogan family. In 1405, French troops supporting Owain Glyndwr attacked and held the castle. During the English Civil War the castle was seized again by Parliamentary forces in 1645.
The castle was obtained through marriage by the Philipps family in 1490’s. Sir John Philipps remodelled the building, and created a new entrance which remained until the 1820’s. The estate remained with the Philipps family until 1823 when it was inherited by Richard Grant, who assumed the surname Philipps and was created a baronet in 1828 and Baron Milford in 1847.
The estate is now run by the Picton Castle Trust, and the present owner Jeremy Philipps, lives in a lodge in the castle grounds.
CASTLE TOURS – 12.15pm. 1.15pm. 2.15pm
ADULT - £9.50 SENIOR - £9.00 CHILD - £5.00 UNDER 5 - FREE
ADULT -£6.50 SENIOR - £6.00 CHILD - £4.00 UNDER 5 – FREE

Upton Castle

Upton castle is a small castle dating from 12th/13th century in Cosheston. Upton castle remains in private ownership and the inhabited part mainly dates from the 17th and 18th century. Nearby there is a 13th century medieval chapel containing several effigies and in the grounds of the chapel stands a “preaching cross” listed as an historic monument. The castle is thought to have been built by the Malefants or Malenfants, a Norman family, who held it until the 16th century when the male line died out. The Malenfants are recorded as knights of Pembroke in 1324. There are effigies of Sir William Malenfant and his wife Margaret in the chapel.
After the Malenfants, the castle changed hands several times over the centuries and was eventually sold to Mr Stanley Neale in 1927, who then preceded to lay out the wonderful gardens we see today. A woodland and Bluebell walk lead down to the tidal Cleddau estuary. The gardens are surrounded by rare trees, mostly planted in the 1920’s and 1930’s (including a 750 year old yew tree) and extend to about 35 acres, including a formal rose garden, walled and chapel garden. This year a new woodland walk has been created on the south side of the gardens.
10.00am – 4.30pm April to October

Wiston Castle

Wiston castle is a motte and bailey castle in the village of Wiston, Pembrokeshire. Abandoned during the 13th century, it is one of the best examples of its type in Wales. The castle was founded by a Flemish knight called Wizo, from which the castle got its name. The Welsh captured Wiston in 1147 and 1193 but it was quickly recaptured on both occasions. It was demolished in 1220 by Llewellyn the Great but restored by William Marshall the younger, Earl of Pembroke. The castle was abandoned at the end of the 13th century after Sir John Wogan built Picton castle.
The castle is owned by CADW and is freely accessible

Wolfs Castle

Wolfs castle consists of remains of a motte and bailey castle which lie in the upper part of Wolfscastle village, a strategic location determined by its situation at the northern end of Treffgarne gorge. The castle formed part of the series of defences constructed by the Normans after 1093 known as the Landsker Line, which separated the English speaking south from the Welsh speaking north. Wolfs castle’s claim to fame is that it is allegedly the place where the last wild wolf in Wales was slain. Nearby in the hamlet of Little Treffgarne, Owain Glyndwr, the Welsh hero, was born in 1353 according to local folklore (but most historical sources quote him as being born in c. 1359).
Wolfscastle is located on the main Haverforwest to St Davids road.