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Carew Castle

Carew Castle stands above the tidal waters of the River Carew on a low limestone outcrop, just off the main Pembroke road. When I first visited this castle many years ago it was used to graze sheep and keep old farm equipment. Today the tangled ivy and undergrowth that filled the courtyard, together with the old farm cart I recall being left there to rot, have all gone, as have the sheep. Manecured lawns and tourists exploring its rooms and magnificent tudor gallery have breathed new life into this once neglected ruin. There are so many fabulous features in this medieval castle, come tudor mansion to see. Across the tidal waters you can see the tidal mill which is well worth a visit for lunch, and to get a terrific view of the castle.

History of Carew Castle

1095 - A Norman knight, Gerald de Windsor, who already held Pembroke Castle in the name of King Henry I, received the castle at Carew as part of his wife's dowry. Before the welsh princesses marriage, Nest had been hostage to Henry I, and legend has it she bore his illegitimate son. Outstanding though he was as Castellan of Pembroke and Lord of Carew, Gerald de Windsor suffered the embarrassment of having his wife Nesta, and two sons kidnapped from the castle by Owain ap Cadwgan, son of the Prince of Powys. Gerald escaped ignominiously down the lavatory. He eventually got her back, with two additional sons, and later killed Owain.

1116 - Gerald dies. Nesta later remarries, this time to Stephen, Constable of Cardigan. Nesta and her various husbands founded the main families to conquer Ireland: Fitzgerald, Fitzroy, Fitzhenry, Fitzowen and Fitzstephen.

1200's - Nesta's great grandson, Giraldus Cambrensis (Gerald of Wales) writes his famous books recording life and the people of Wales in 1200's. Gerald was a vigorous opponent of Anglo-Norman authority over the Church in Wales. (more in the History section)

Access to the castle is now very easy with its own car park, well sign-posted off the main road. Look out for the fabulous Celtic Carew Cross, which is easily overlooked and is well worth taking a close look at, close to the car park and road.

Text by Fred Vincent: