Cabra Castle

Cabra, Spain

The Castle of Cabra was raised, within the walled enclosure  in the North West of the present town, on a spot high enough to overlook the whole town. It is said that it had a central square surrounded by a strong wall with eighteen towers where eight or ten thousand men could march. At present, most of what remains, it is enclosed within the constructions of the present School of the Escolapias. Among the constructions we have been able to locate the wall, of which something more than half still remains and to track the rest until we were able to determine, quite accurately, the plant of the enclosure which must have been quadrangular, of about 76x47m. The thickness of the walls is about two meters and sixty centimetres, approximately. The fact that the rest of the walls- and possibly of towers are surrounded by modern constructions hinders their thorough study.

As far as the towers are concerned, we can say that two of them are well known, plus the location of other two, that were to the sides of the present front door to the enclosure. In the centre of the East wall and half way out is the tower of Homage. It is almost square shaped and it is more than twenty meters high. At about eleven meter above ground level there is a squared chamber with an eight sided vault ceiling with tubes in the angles. The other tower is located in the northwest angle. It is of squared plant, with the angle that looks to the interior of the chamfered enclosure. The lower part is massive and in the upper part there is a chamber with a barrel vault. It still keeps about ten meters of its height and its maximum surface on the plant is 6.5×6.3m.

Of the other two acknowledged towers there only remain their foundations upon which modern constructions have risen.

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Details

Founded: 9th century AD
Category: Castles and fortifications in Spain

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andaluciarustica.com

Rating

4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Niall O' Flaherty (4 months ago)
We visited in Dec 2020 with a motive.... looking for a wedding venue. We decided to make a night of it as it was a long drive from home. Before our arrival, excellent communication via e-mail which is really appreciated as sometimes phoning does not work due to work / meetings etc. The property itself is just what we love; old world charm. If you're looking for rigid 90 degree angles, this is not the place for you. The building is old; that's why people visit. We found all of the rooms (we got to see a few) amazingly comfortable; the old building has the old world charm and the stables out back are more modern, but still with a very warm feeling. Olivia, the Wedding Co-Ordinator, patiently waited for us as we were over 1 hour late (we did phone to advise of same). My heart dropped when we arrived and she told us that there was actually a wedding reception about to start, but that didn't stop her from showing us round the castle and going through some of the basics with us... talk about multi-tasking! Thank you, Olivia! If you want a night (or two) to just forget it all, I highly recommend Cabra Castle. We will return!
Helen “HD” (5 months ago)
Amazing hospitality from start to finish. Staff super attentive, beautiful setting and cosy fires to relax and unwind. Food fantastic and excellent value for money. We had had an upgrade to a courtyard room and it was like honeymoon suite. Super king bed, beautiful sheets and a roll top bath. Can't wait to go back for another visit.
Eimhear Ó Dálaigh (7 months ago)
From the moment we arrived at the hotel, we were extremely impressed with the fantastic service as well as the lovely ambiance. My sister and I were treating our mother to a weekend away for her birthday and chose Cabra Castle as it was equidistant from where we both live. We booked two nights bed and breakfast, one evening meal and afternoon tea on the day we arrived. The rooms were lovely, sparkling clean and the beds were very comfortable. The afternoon tea was lovely and our server was so friendly as well as having a fantastic singing voice when she and another member of staff sang Happy Birthday to Mum. Breakfast on both mornings were superb and as breakfast is usually the last thing a guest has before they leave it is the most important meal to get right (something many other hotels don't seem to understand). The meal we had on the Sunday evening was delicious, everything was very tasty and well presented, and again the staff were super friendly. I also spent a few hours in one of the drawing rooms on the first floor as I had some studying to do and it was comfortable and perfect for what I needed. I am an ex hotel manager so I have incredibly high standards and expectations and I have to say they they were met and exceeded on every level by this hotel and a special thank you to all the excellently trained but also genuinely friendly staff. Well Done and we will be back!!
jenny Oneill (7 months ago)
From checking in to checking out my parents felt so welcome and looked after. The staff were fantastic and friendly. Nothing was a problem for them. There server Alannah was very helpful and attentive to all there needs. And added a special touch to there desert plates when they finished there meal for there anniversary well done to you all. [Sorry about the photo attached of fast food don't know why that uploaded with the restaurant one and I cant delete it
Keith Burns (8 months ago)
Set in beautiful grounds ideal for a good walk and furnished with antiques the castle is really atmospheric. Food and service was excellent. The staff are so friendly and cannot do enough for you. The courtyard rooms are very comfortable. We booked in for a return visit right away.
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Pembroke Castle

Pembroke Castle is a Norman castle, founded in 1093. It survived many changes of ownership and is now the largest privately owned castle in Wales. It was the birthplace of Henry Tudor (later Henry VII of England) in 1457.

Pembroke Castle stands on a site that has been occupied at least since the Roman period. Roger de Montgomerie, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury founded the first castle here in the 11th century. Although only made from earth and wood, Pembroke Castle resisted several Welsh attacks and sieges over the next 30 years. The castle was established at the heart of the Norman-controlled lands of southwest Wales.

When William Rufus died, Arnulf de Montgomery joined his elder brother, Robert of Bellême, in rebellion against Henry I, William's brother and successor as king; when the rebellion failed, he was forced to forfeit all his British lands and titles. Henry appointed his castellan, but when the chosen ally turned out to be incompetent, the King reappointed Gerald in 1102. By 1138 King Stephen had given Pembroke Castle to Gilbert de Clare who used it as an important base in the Norman invasion of Ireland.

In August 1189 Richard I arranged the marriage of Isabel, de Clare's granddaughter, to William Marshal who received both the castle and the title, Earl of Pembroke. He had the castle rebuilt in stone and established the great keep at the same time. Marshal was succeeded in turn by each of his five sons. His third son, Gilbert Marshal, was responsible for enlarging and further strengthening the castle between 1234 and 1241.

Later de Valence family held Pembroke for 70 years. During this time, the town was fortified with defensive walls, three main gates and a postern. Pembroke Castle became de Valence's military base for fighting the Welsh princes during the conquest of North Wales by Edward I between 1277 and 1295.

Pembroke Castle then reverted to the crown. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the castle was a place of peace until the outbreak of the English Civil War. Although most of South Wales sided with the King, Pembroke declared for Parliament. It was besieged by Royalist troops but was saved after Parliamentary reinforcements arrived by sea from nearby Milford Haven. Parliamentary forces then went on to capture the Royalist castles of Tenby, Haverfordwest and Carew.

In 1648, at the beginning of the Second Civil War, Pembroke's commander Colonel John Poyer led a Royalist uprising. Oliver Cromwell came to Pembroke on 24 May 1648 and took the castle after a seven-week siege. Its three leaders were found guilty of treason and Cromwell ordered the castle to be destroyed. Townspeople were even encouraged to disassemble the fortress and re-use its stone for their purposes.

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Architecture

The castle is sited on a strategic rocky promontory by the Milford Haven Waterway. The first fortification on the site was a Norman motte-and-bailey. It had earthen ramparts and a timber palisade.

In 1189, Pembroke Castle was acquired by William Marshal. He soon became Lord Marshal of England, and set about turning the earth and wood fort into an impressive Norman stone castle. The inner ward, which was constructed first, contains the huge round keep with its domed roof. Its original first-floor entrance was through an external stairwell. Inside, a spiral staircase connected its four stories. The keep's domed roof also has several putlog holes that supported a wooden fighting-platform. If the castle was attacked, the hoarding allowed defenders to go out beyond the keep's massive walls above the heads of the attackers.

The inner ward's curtain wall had a large horseshoe-shaped gateway. But only a thin wall was required along the promontory. This section of the wall has a small observation turret and a square stone platform. Domestic buildings including William Marshal's Great Hall and private apartments were within the inner ward. The 13th century keep is 23 metres tall with walls up to 6 metres thick at its base.

In the late 13th century, additional buildings were added to the inner ward, including a new Great Hall. A 55-step spiral staircase was also created that led down to a large limestone cave, known as Wogan Cavern, beneath the castle. The cave, which was created by natural water erosion, was fortified with a wall, a barred gateway and arrowslits. It may have served as a boathouse or a sallyport to the river where cargo or people could have been transferred.

The outer ward was defended by a large twin-towered gatehouse, a barbican and several round towers. The outer wall is 5 metres thick in places and constructed from Siltstone ashlar.

Although Pembroke Castle is a Norman-style enclosure castle with great keep, it can be more accurately described as a linear fortification because, like the later 13th-century castles at Caernarfon and Conwy, it was built on a rocky promontory surrounded by water. This meant that attacking forces could only assault on a narrow front. Architecturally, Pembroke's thickest walls and towers are all concentrated on its landward side facing the town, with Pembroke River providing a natural defense around the rest of its perimeter.