Llandovery Castle is a late thirteenth-century ruin which occupies a knoll overlooking the River Towy and the land surrounding it. The Normans built a castle in the current location in the early twelfth century and this was rebuilt in stone. It was burnt in the early sixteenth century and never repaired.
A Norman knight, Richard Fitz Pons, received the lordship of Cantref Bychan in 1116 and he probably began construction of a motte-and-bailey castle in same year. It was repeatedly lost to the Princes of Deheubarth over the next several generations. King Henry II of England spent a great deal of money repairing the castle in 1159–62, but the Welsh captured it regardless. It finally fell to the English under Edward I in 1277. It was briefly retaken by Welsh forces under Llywelyn ap Gruffudd five years later. The castle was then granted to John Giffard, 1st Baron Giffard, who likely rebuilt it in stone. The building passed to the baronial Audley family of Heleigh in 1299 (who later inherited the lordship of Cemaes in north Pembrokeshire) and then into the Touchet family in the fourteenth century. King Henry IV of England visited the castle in 1400 and it was besieged during the Owain Glyndŵr rebellion three years later. The castle was burnt in a rebellion led by Hywel ap Rhys in 1532 and was never rebuilt.
The keep is a large D-shaped tower on the western side of the castle. The gatehouse has two towers on the north side with a well-tower. There are also remnants of the curtain wall around the filled-in ditch.References:
Varberg Fortress was built in 1287-1300 by count Jacob Nielsen as protection against his Danish king, who had declared him an outlaw after the murder of King Eric V of Denmark. Jacob had close connections with king Eric II of Norway and as a result got substantial Norwegian assistance with the construction. The fortress, as well as half the county, became Norwegian in 1305.
King Eric's grand daughter, Ingeborg Håkansdotter, inherited the area from her father, King Haakon V of Norway. She and her husband, Eric, Duke of Södermanland, established a semi-independent state out of their Norwegian, Swedish and Danish counties until the death of Erik. They spent considerable time at the fortress. Their son, King Magnus IV of Sweden (Magnus VII of Norway), spent much time at the fortress as well.
The fortress was augmented during the late 16th and early 17th century on order by King Christian IV of Denmark. However, after the Treaty of Brömsebro in 1645 the fortress became Swedish. It was used as a military installation until 1830 and as a prison from the end of the 17th Century until 1931.
It is currently used as a museum and bed and breakfast as well as private accommodation. The moat of the fortress is said to be inhabited by a small lake monster. In August 2006, a couple of witnesses claimed to have seen the monster emerge from the dark water and devour a duck. The creature is described as brown, hairless and with a 40 cm long tail.