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.

What did the Romans Ever Do For Us? Caerwent Roman Town (Venta Silurum)

If you happen to be bimbling along the lovely leafy lanes of Monmouthshire in Wales, you might just happen across Caerwent Roman Town, also known as Venta Silurum.

It was established by the Romans in around AD 75 as an administrative centre for the defeated Silures tribe in Roman Wales.

Venta Silurum seems to mean “Market town of the Silures” As you can see there are plenty of ruins to explore, including the town walls and the foundations of a number of buildings.

The site even boasts a Norman Motte. It has a bit of everything we love!

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.