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Dinefwr Castle

The ivy-clad silhouette of Dinefwr Castle stands at the edge of a river cliff, its defensive ditches cut from the solid rock. In its day it was the most important Welsh castle in all south Wales. It had been the seat of Howel the Good, long before there was a castle, and it remained the princely seat of Deheubarth, the premier kingdom of Wales. Dinefwr castle was the principle seat of the Lord Rhys, one of the most powerful Welsh leaders of the twelfth century, who was able to withstand the Anglo-Norman lords and their King, Henry II.

History of Dinefwr Castle

1165 - Rhys ap Gruffudd (the Lord Rhys) 'takes Cantref Mawr and the royal castle of Dinefwr, holding them for his own'.

1171 - Following twenty years of conflict with the Marcher lords and the Crown of England, Rhys's position is finally recognised as prince of Wales by King Henry. During this period of non aggressive activity Rhys is able to take advantage of the peaceful and stable conditions to consolidate the security of his dominion.

1189 - King Henry dies. He is succeeded by Richard I. Rhys is forced to go on the offensive to counter new aggression. The campaigns are also used to divert his sons away from the damaging conflicts they have with each other. (more in the History section)

Castle today

Access to the castle is via a long but very beautiful walk through a deer park. As far as native Welsh castle's, this has to be one of the most important, complete and impressive. The castle itself is is a remarkably good state of repair with spectacular views in all directions.

Text by Fred Vincent