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Carmarthen Castle

Camarthen Castle sits on its rocky hilltop overlooking the River Twyi, dominating the town, a little way east to the Roman fort that precedes it.

History of Carmarthen Castle

1094 ~ The Norman William fitz Baldwin builds a castle at Camarthen to consolidate gains made from the native Welsh princes.

1196 ~ The elderly Lord Rhys, self aclaimed prince of South Wales, having been imprisoned by his troublesom illegitimate son Malegwn in Nevern Castle, eventually secures his release by his other son Hwel Sais. Determined to control his unruly sons, he decides to focus their warring behaviour against a common enemy, the Anglo-Norman Marcher lords. The sixty-four year old prince leads his last major campaign, in which he burns Carmarthen and defeats one of the most powerful Marcher lords in mid-Wales, Roger Mortimer. The Lord Rhys dies the following year.

1215 ~ Llywelyn the Great destroys the castle. (more in the History section)

Castle today

The castle is surrounded by town buildings along its high street that have developed over the centuries along with the building of the Council offices and car park that sadly dominate the castle's interior.

Access to the castle can be made either from the High Street through the gatehouse, or from the carpark at the rear of the castle. Whilst there is not much of the castle that has survived, what you can see is a good example of a Norman frontier castle.

Text by Fred Vincent