Medieval castles in Wales

Llansteffan Castle

Llansteffan Castle sits on a much older Iron Age promontory fort, proving Llansteffan has been inhabited for several millennia. The hill where the castle stands commands the River Tywi estuary. The hill would have been stripped of trees so that foot soldiers were vulnerable to attack by archers. The original earthworks can still be seen and were used as part of the modern castle"s defence system - the castle proper r ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Llansteffan, United Kingdom

Haverfordwest Castle

Haverfordwest Castle is located in a naturally defensive position at the end of a strong, isolated ridge. Pembrokeshire Records indicate that there was an Iron Age hill fort on the site of the castle although there is no physical evidence to suggest this on the present location. Haverfordwest was believed to have been a Danish settlement prior to the Norman conquest of West Wales in 1093/94. The Flemish settled in the ar ...
Founded: c. 1120 | Location: Haverfordwest, United Kingdom

St Donat's Castle

St Donat's Castle is a medieval castle in the Vale of Glamorgan, positioned on cliffs overlooking the Bristol Channel. The site has been occupied since the Iron Age, and was by tradition the home of the Celtic chieftain Caradog. The present castle's origins date from the 12th century when the de Haweys and later Peter de Stradling began its development. The Stradlings held the castle for four hundred years, until the deat ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: St Donats, United Kingdom

Dinefwr Castle

Dinefwr Castle lies on a ridge on the northern bank of the Tywi, with a steep drop of one hundred feet to the river. Dinefwr was the chief seat of the Kingdom of Deheubarth. The present castle is entered via a fortified entrance protected by a restored length of battlement. The short path from the car park gives an extensive view of the Towy valley. The door admits the visitor to the main space enclosed by the walls, ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Llandeilo, United Kingdom

Picton Castle

Picton Castle was originally built at the end of the 13th century by a Flemish knight. Later it was moved to the hands of the Wogan family. Picton Castle began as a motte castle and was reconstructed in stone by the Sir John Wogan between 1295 and 1308. The design was unusual, there being no courtyard internally, the main building being protected by seven circular towers which projected from the wall. At the east end, tw ...
Founded: 1295-1308 | Location: Haverfordwest, United Kingdom

Weobley Castle

Weobley Castle is a 14th-century fortified manor house on the Gower Peninsula. The existing buildings were largely created between 1304 and 1327 by the de la Bere family. They consist of a gateway, a hall and kitchen, a chapel block and an east range, enclosing a courtyard, all now in a semi-ruinous state. The buildings are largely constructed of rubble masonry with window and door features of sandstone. Until the 15th c ...
Founded: 1304-1327 | Location: Gower Peninsula, United Kingdom

Newcastle Castle

Newcastle Castle was initially constructed as a ringwork 1106 by William de Londres, one of the legendary Twelve Knights of Glamorgan, as part of the Norman invasion of Wales. William de Londres was a knight loyal to the Norman baron Robert Fitzhamon and the Newcastle defences marked the most western extent of Fitzhamon"s lordship. The defences were strengthened either by William Fitz Robert, 2nd Earl of Gloucester, ...
Founded: 1106 | Location: Bridgend, United Kingdom

Old Beaupre Castle

Although called Old Beaupre Castle the structure is seen as a fortified manor house. The original house was an L-shaped building, now located within the inner courtyard, built circa 1300 and from this period until the 18th century it was owned by the Basset family. During the 16th century intensive remodelling was undertaken, started by Sir Rice Mansel, continued by William Basset and completed by William"s son, Rich ...
Founded: c. 1300 | Location: Cowbridge, United Kingdom

Candleston Castle

The castle, or rather a fortified court in Candleston, was founded in the 14th century on the initiative of the Cantilupe family. It could have been built on the site of an earlier building from the 13th century. At the end of the fifteenth century, it was renovated and rebuilt by Mathew Cradock, a constable of castles in Caerphilly and Kenfig, and around 1500 transformations were made in the range of the great hall. Furt ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Bridgend, United Kingdom

Loughor Castle

Loughor Castle is a ruined, medieval fortification built around 1106 by the Anglo-Norman lord Henry de Beaumont, during the Norman invasion of Wales. The site overlooked the River Loughor and controlled a strategic road and ford running across the Gower Peninsula. The castle was designed as an oval ringwork, probably topped by wicker fence defences, and reused the remains of the former Roman fort of Leucarum. Over the ne ...
Founded: c. 1106 | Location: Loughor, United Kingdom

Pennard Castle

Pennard Castle is a ruined castle, near the modern village of Pennard on the Gower Peninsula. The castle was built in the early 12th century as a timber ringwork following the Norman invasion of Wales. The walls were rebuilt in stone by the Braose family at the turn of the 13th and 14th centuries, including a stone gatehouse. Soon afterwards, however, encroaching sand dunes caused the site to be abandoned and it fell into ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Gower Peninsula, United Kingdom

Llawhaden Castle

A motte-and-bailey castle is thought to have previously occupied the site  of Llawhaden Castle and the present structure was built by the bishops of the Diocese of St David in the 13th century. The castle was abandoned in the 16th century and some of the stone was removed for local building projects. The site is privately owned by the Lord of the Manor of Llawhaden and managed by Cadw. The remaining ruins date from the ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Llawhaden, United Kingdom

St Quintins Castle

St Quintins Castle site was first occupied with a defensive structure in about 1102 and the gatehouse and further building work took place around 1312. It was later used as a prison and was reported as being in a ruinous state by 1741. Around 1102 Robert Fitzhamon, the first Norman Lord of Glamorgan bequeathed the lands of Llanblethian as a lordship to Herbert de St Quentin who is thought to have built the first fortific ...
Founded: 1102 | Location: Cowbridge, United Kingdom

Fonmon Castle

Fonmon Castle is a fortified medieval castle near the village of Fonmon in the Vale of Glamorgan. With its origins rooted in the 12th century it is today seen as a great architectural rarity, as it is one of few buildings that was drastically remodeled in the 18th century, but not Gothicized. The castle is believed to have remained under the ownership of just two families throughout its history; from Norman times, it was ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Barry, United Kingdom

Neath Castle

The first castle in Neath was located west of the river near the Roman fort of Nidum, and was a timber fortification in a motte and bailey structure. When Richard de Grenville founded Neath Abbey close by, he abandoned this original castle, and it may have been used by the monks as a source of building material. A second castle on the opposite bank of the river, in what is now the centre of the town, is first documented ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Neath, United Kingdom

Narberth Castle

Narberth Castle is a ruined Norman fortress in the town of Narberth. The current ruins are undoubtedly Norman and seem to date from the 13th century, having been built by Andrew Perrot. However the castle is mentioned in the third branch of the Mabinogi as the place where Rhiannon was imprisoned and forced to carry travellers through the gates as penance for killing her son. Although there is some controversy over the act ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Narberth, United Kingdom

Barry Castle

Barry Castle was a fortified manor house built on the site of an earlier Norman structure. It was raised by the powerful de Barry family, who played an important role in both the conquest of South Wales and Ireland. The structure was ruinous by the sixteenth century. By the late 13th century the castle had two stone buildings on the east and west sides of a courtyard, but nothing now remains of these above ground. Early ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Barry, United Kingdom

Wiston Castle

Wiston Castle is a motte and bailey castle in the Pembrokeshire village of Wiston. The castle and village were founded by Wizo, a Flemish settler who was granted the land by Henry I of England after he had wrested control from the previous owner, Arnulf de Montgomery (who was in revolt against Henry). The castle was captured by the Welsh on several occasions but on each occasion it was retaken. It was abandoned during the ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Wiston, United Kingdom

Roch Castle

Roch Castle was built by Norman knight Adam de Rupe in the second half of the 12th century, probably on the site of an earlier wooden structure. After the deRupe family died out in the 15th century, the Castle was taken over eventually in the 17th century by the Walter family. Their daughter Lucy was born in the castle, and later became a courtesan of Charles II, and bore him an acknowledged son James, 1st Duke of Mon ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Haverfordwest, United Kingdom

Dale Castle

Dale Castle is a 13th-century castle located close to the village of Dale in Wales. In 1910, part of the castle was removed and other parts were incorporated into a new private dwelling house, built in the style of a fortified manor house. Built after the Norman invasion of South Wales, the castle was originally built by the de Vales, descendants of a knight who had accompanied Robert fitz Martin on his invasion of ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Dale, United Kingdom

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Regensburg Sausage Kitchen

The Historic Sausage Kitchen of Regensburg (Wurstküche) is notable as perhaps the oldest continuously open public restaurant in the world. In 1135 a building was erected as the construction office for the Regensburg stone bridge. When the bridge was finished in 1146 AD, the building became a restaurant named Garkueche auf dem Kranchen ("cookshop near the crane") as it was situated near the then river port. Dockers, sailors and the staff of the nearby St. Peter cathedral workshop were the regulars for the centuries to come. The present building at this location dates from the 17th century, but archaeological evidence has confirmed the existence of a previous building from the 12th century with about the same dimensions.

Until ca. AD 1800, the specialty was boiled meat, but when the family who currently own the restaurant took over in 1806, charcoal grilled sausages were introduced as the main dish offered. The kitchen still operates today and serves 6,000 sausages to guests daily.