Tiny Castle, Big Impact – St. Quentins Castle

St. Quentins has many names. You say St. Quentins and I say St Quintin’s. It’s also known as Llanblethian, and Castell Llanfleiddan. It sits in what appears to be a quiet, out of the way village in Llanblethian, Cowbridge, Wales.

It’s thought to have started out as a ringwork with a bank and ditch in around 1102 with the stonework being added in the late 12th century and then reinforced in the early 14th by the Earl Gilbert de Clare. However, Gilbert was killed before the castle was completed, and because the castle lacks certain features, it is possible that the building work was discontinued as a result of the Earl’s death. By 1740 it was was said to be in a ruinous state.

The gatehouses did see some use as a prison in the 15th century and was briefly occupied as a dwelling in 1820.

Haverfordwest Priory

A Priory of Augustinian Canons Regular on the banks of the Western Cleddau at Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, Wales, thought to date to the late 12th or early 13th centuries. Between 1983 to 1996 the site was excavated revealing the outlines of buildings and unearthing a unique medieval garden with raised beds.

A River, a major road and a railway line now flank the Priory. It was probably a major route at the time being so close to the river and the valley bottom.

Better Death Than Dishonour At Old Beaupre Castle!

Old Beaupre Castle is actually a ruined medieval fortified manor house rather than a castle, built circa 1300 and located in the community of Llanfair, outside Cowbridge in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales.

It was owned by the Basset family who carried out intensive remodelling in the 13th century, adding other buildings to what was originally an L-shaped building to create a courtyard, with an impressive outer gatehouse, a three-storeyed Renaissance porch and buildings around the middle court. After the English Civil War, the Basset family fortunes went into decline it is thought because they supported King Charles I. Spoiler alert! He lost!

At the beginning of the 18th century, the Castle passed by inheritance to the Jones family who chose, in 1709, to sell it and live to the more modern New Beaupre. Oh, and in case you were wondering, ‘Better Death Than Dishonour’ is the motto of the Bassett family and can be found on a heraldic panel above the front door.

The Ruin In A City – Swansea Castle

This castle was founded by Henry de Beaumont in 1107. Henry was a Norman Lord and the 1st Earl of Warwick. He acquired the Lordship of Gower in Wales around 1107 from the favour of King Henry I and subsequently built Swansea Castle. A few years later Henry returned to Normandy and entered the Abbey of Saint-Pierre de Préaux and became a monk. He died there on 20 June 1119. The castle Henry left behind was of timber construction but was rebuilt in stone, probably between 1221 and 1284 after it was unsuccessfully besieged in 1192 by Rhys ap Gruffydd. After a series of failed attacks, the castle fell in 1217 and was subsequently restored to the English in 1220.

Part of the interior of the castle, in particular the large motte, was demolished between 1909 and 1913 to make way for the construction of the newspaper office’s of the South Wales Daily Post which once employed the poet Dylan Thomas.

Birthplace of King Henry V – Monmouth Castle

In the Welsh town of Monmouth, in the county of Monmouthshire, hiding down a narrow street on a hill above the River Monnow are the remains of the scheduled monument that is Monmouth Castle. It was established by William FitzOsbern between 1066 and 1069 as a counterpart to his other major castle at Chepstow. Once an important border castle, and the birthplace of Henry V of England on the 16 September 1386. It stood proudly until it was damaged during the English Civil War. Eventually, it was slighted, putting it beyond military use.

If Oxwich Castle Isn’t A Castle, What Is It?

Oxwich Castle or Castell Oxwich in the Welsh Tounge is, in fact, a Fortified Tudor manor house. It overlooks Oxwich Bay on the Gower Peninsula, and while the current building, built in the sixteenth century is not a castle, its predecessor, built in the thirteenth and fourteenth century, really was. The building we see today, built by Sir Rice Mansel and his more extravagant son Sir Edward Manse was constructed to attract the Royal Court as it made its Progress around its realm. Sadly Oxwich Castle was a little too far off the beaten track for this to be successful.

The Sprawling Oystermouth Castle

A wonderful maze of a place, Oystermouth Castle began its life in the 12th century. It was built by William de Londres, who also owned Ogmore Castle. The castle was destroyed twice by the Welsh, and the De Londres line ended in 1215 when the Welsh retook the Gower. The Barony of the Gower was then given to John de Braose by Henry II in the 13th century and with it Oystermouth castle. The de Braose’s not only rebuilt Oystermouth in stone but increased its size, extravagance, and defensive capabilities. It was one of the last DeBraos’s, Aline de Braose, who revamped the chapel and put it on the map as one of the finest examples of a castle chapel in South Wales. It was her marriage to John de Mowbray that passed the castle and the Lordship of Gower to the de Mowbrays. She is said to haunt the castle to this day. It fell into decline in the middle ages, but was restored once more in the 19th century, and again in the early 21st. Upon completion of these restorations, Oystermouth was opened to the public.

Is Wiston Castle The Best Example of a Motte and Bailey in Wales?

So there was this Flemish geezer called Wizo who, with a name like that sounds like he should be a wizard. Sadly he wasn’t. Despite his lack of magical abilities, he was granted a piece of land by Henry the first who had taken control of it from the previous owner who was in revolt against Henry. Wizo built a motte and bailey castle, ‘cos why wouldn’t you? It is considered one of the best examples of its type in Wales. It is situated in the Pembrokeshire village of Wiston in south west Wales which is named after Wizo – Wiston being an Old Flemish/Saxon for Wizo’s enclosure/town.