Castles In Pembrokeshire

Discover The Culture and Heritage Throughout Pembrokeshire

Camrose Castle 
Not a lot of people would know or even realise the presence of a castle in the little village of Camrose, and are unlikely to be able to point it out.

Cardigan Castle’s main claim to fame in Welsh history is that it was the birthplace of the National Eisteddfod when Rhys ap Gruffydd, Prince of Deheubarth, held a festival of music in his castle.

A short drive of about six miles south of Bluestone stands an imposing castle, its high walls and huge mullioned windows reflected spectacularly in the placid waters of its millpond.

Although the structures on the Castell Henllys site are centuries younger than Pembrokeshire’s many Norman castles, the site itself is at least 1,000 years older.

Picturesque on its perch above the Teifi Gorge, Cilgerran Castle is so dramatic that it was sought out by the celebrated artists Wilson and Turner to preserve its image for posterity.

Few people are aware of the existence of a castle at Cresswell, which is now a tranquil backwater leading off the Cleddau Estuary, but where Cresswell Quay was once the centre of the Pembrokeshire coal trade.

Virtually nothing remains of the medieval castle of Dale, the home of the de Vale family in the 12th to 14th centuries with only some walls and an engraving of 1810 which shows what looks like a late medieval tower house south west of the main residence.

A rather unusual museum, approached by way of a footbridge across the intervening water, lies 50 yards offshore near the former Royal Dockyard at Pembroke Dock. Although not strictly a castle, it resembles the type of fortified tower one might expect to see in a castle grounds.

Perched on its 80-feet high rocky bluff, where it has presided over the town for the best part of a millennium, Haverfordwest castle is still an imposing pile, although but a shell.

In medieval times Bishops were regarded as Princes of the Church and, as such, were accorded almost the same level of respect as Royal personages.They had splendid palaces placed at convenient intervals throughout their dioceses so that they could travel from one to the other relatively quickly and in great safety and comfort - with Lamphey being one of these.

Majestic Llawhaden Castle, perched on its high bluff overlooking the Eastern Cleddau, is clearly visible from afar, and gives the appearance of being a frontier fortress on the national Landsker Line separating Welsh North Pembrokeshire from the Anglicized south.

Manorbier was built at the end of the 11th century on land granted to the Norman Knight Odo de Barri and, like many other castles at that time, started life as a wooden motte and bailey structure.

Narberth Castle is now somewhat neglected and overgrown - its ruined towers and walls forlorn and crumbling: an ancient building under threat of extinction. Experts say it is undoubtedly of Norman origin, which tallies with its first historical mention in 1116.

As the birthplace of Henry Tudor in 1457, coupled with the fact that it is the biggest and most visited castle in Pembrokeshire and possibly West Wales, Pembroke Castle is one of Wales’s top ancient monuments.

Occupied by the same family for over 700 years, Picton Castle near Haverfordwest is among the most important historic houses in Wales, now administered by the Picton Castle Trust to ensure it remains open to the public by means of various revenue-producing activities.

The lofty tower of Roch Castle, perched on a rock outcrop just off the A487 Haverfordwest to St Davds road, is visible from high ground all round the county. It has recently been given a facelift and a coat of light limewash, which makes it stand out even more clearly on the flat landscape overlooking St Brides Bay.

St Catherine’s Island, off Tenby’s Castle Sands, is a small rocky island with one of Palmerston’s Follies on the top. The fort, built in 1868-70 to defend this coast and the approaches to Milford Haven Harbour is one of a chain of such forts, most of which are inside the Haven.

The imposing Bishop’s Palace at St Davids, which has been a ruin since the 17th century, somehow escaped the radical changes made to palaces in use, and as a result is regarded by experts as the most intact medieval palace in Britain.

Built by the Normans during their invasion of West Wales in the 12th century, Tenby castle has had a colourful history. Mentioned in historical annals as early as 1153, it suffered attacks from the Welsh princes and was besieged and starved into submission during the second Civil War.

Upton Castle, situated in a secluded spot two miles north east of Cosheston village, is one of Pembrokeshire’s lesser-known castles, but is nevertheless of great interest.

Wiston, four miles east of Haverfordwest, may seem today to be just a quiet backwater village off the main road, but a few years after the Norman Conquest its status was probably greater than the County town itself.

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