Swansea Castle is located in the city centre of Swansea. It was founded by Henry de Beaumont in 1107 as the caput of the lordship of Gower. A timber castle existed in Swansea in 1116, when it was recorded as being attacked by Welsh forces who destroyed the outer defences. The castle was besieged in 1192 by Rhys ap Gruffydd, Prince of Deheubarth. Despite 10 weeks of starvation the castle was saved.
After various other unsuccessful attacks the castle fell in 1217 but was restored to the English in 1220 as part of the settlement between Llywelyn ap Iorwerth and Henry III of England. The castle was rebuilt in stone, probably between 1221 and 1284, firstly the inner castle with at least one tower, finally the large outer bailey.
By the 14th century the castle was losing its military importance. The castle owners were subsequently absentee landlords. By the 1670s the square tower was being used as a bottle factory and, in 1700, a town hall was built in the castle courtyard. By the mid 1700s the Great Hall had become Swansea's workhouse. The town hall was replaced by a post office in the 1800s and, by 1850, a military Drill Room had replaced the workhouse.
Part of the interior of the castle, in particular the large motte, was demolished 1909–1913 for the construction of a newspaper office. In the very early 1930s, poet Dylan Thomas worked for the South Wales Daily Post at the castle site. The newspaper offices were removed in 1976 and the remains of the castle were later consolidated and opened up to view from the street.
The only visible remains today, two sides of the rectangular South East corner of the outer bailey, were built in the late 13th or early 14th century. The south face (which ends in a tall garderobe tower) is capped with an elegant series of arcades at the wall-head.References:
The Castle of Gruyères is one of the most famous in Switzerland. It was built between 1270 and 1282, following the typical square plan of the fortifications in Savoy. It was the property of the Counts of Gruyères until the bankruptcy of the Count Michel in 1554. His creditors the cantons of Fribourg and Bern shared his earldom. From 1555 to 1798 the castle became residence to the bailiffs and then to the prefects sent by Fribourg.
In 1849 the castle was sold to the Bovy and Balland families, who used the castle as their summer residency and restored it. The castle was then bought back by the canton of Fribourg in 1938, made into a museum and opened to the public. Since 1993, a foundation ensures the conservation as well as the highlighting of the building and the art collection.
The castle is the home of three capes of the Order of the Golden Fleece. They were part of the war booty captured by the Swiss Confederates (which included troops from Gruyères) at the Battle of Morat against Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy in 1476. As Charles the Bold was celebrating the anniversary of his father's death, one of the capes is a black velvet sacerdotal vestment with Philip the Good's emblem sewn into it.
A collection of landscapes by 19th century artists Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Barthélemy Menn and others are on display in the castle.