Cardiff Castle

Cardiff Castle, Glamorgan

~ History ~

51 ~ The resolute native Silures tribe is finally defeated by determined Roman legions after several years of continued warfare.

By the end of the decade the Roman's have built a fort andnaval base to control this hard fought key strategic position. Over the next four hundred years it defences are rebuilt and strengthened to counter the growing threat both native and from across the sea.

1081 ~ The Norman invaders establish a castle at Cardiff, using much of the stone from the ancient Roman fortifications.

1093 ~ The Norman Robert Fritzhamon is established as Earl of Gloucester and Lord of Glamorgan. Over the next thirty years the Norman's grip on South Wales is strengthened as each of the native Welsh kingdom's are either destroyed or brought under their control.

1126 ~ Robert Curthose, King Henry I’s brother, is imprisoned in Cardiff Castle for eight years

1135 ~ Following a serious Welsh uprising against their Norman overlords the keep at Cardiff is rebuilt in stone by Robert the Consul. It's defences are further strengthened by the addition of a moat surrounding the high motte and stone walls.

1158 ~ The Welsh leader Ifor Bach leads his men under cover of night, crossing the moat and scaling the high walls. The Earl, his wife and their infant son are abducted until their ransom demands for the return of their lands are returned to them.

1217 ~ The de Clare family begin a 100-year ownership of Cardiff Castle and make many defensive improvements.

1314 ~ The Despenser dynasty begin a 100-year ownership of Cardiff Castle.

1316 ~ Cardiff Castle and the town are devastated by the Welsh rebel Llywelyn Bren.

1318 ~ Llywelyn Bren is captured and executed at Cardiff Castle on orders of Hugh Despenser.

1321 ~ Rebel barons attack all Despenser castles, including Cardiff Castle.

1404 ~ Owain Glyndwr's rebellion reaches Cardiff. The town is destroyed and castle severely damaged.

1420's ~ The castle is repaired by Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick. A more comfortable residence is made of the ancient fortress.

1449 ~ The Castle passes to Richard Neville – “Warwick the Kingmaker”.

1485 ~ Cardiff Castle passes from King Richard III to King Henry VII.

1551 ~ King Edward VI grants the castle to Willam Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke. The castle is further modernised and enlarged.

1643 ~ During the Civil War, King Charles I seizes Cardiff Castle from Philip Herbert, a supporter of Parliament’s cause. The King stays at the castle.

1645 ~ Parliamentary forces retake Cardiff Castle.

1648 ~ Oliver Cromwell visits Cardiff Castle.

1649 ~ The castle is spared from demolition by Parliament, but remains badly damaged and out of repair for more than a 100 years.

1683 ~ Charlotte Herbert inherits the castle and its Glamorgan estates from the 7th Earl of Pembroke.

1766 ~ Charlotte's grand-daughter marries the 1st Marquess of Bute. Over the next thirty years the Bute family transform the castle, demolishing ancient buildings within the castle that obscure the Marquess vision of what a fasionable setting the castle should take.


Cardiff City Centre


Castle Street


CF10 3RB

Cardiff Castle stands at the lowest point of the River Taff.

Before the Roman's arrived the area was controlled by the Silures tribe.

Today the castle is more lavish 18th century palace than a medieval fortress, with spectacular towers, high walls and ceilings of blue and gold. However, still taking centre stage within its high walls sits the ancient keep built in the early 12th century and probably the best preserved shell keep of its type anywhere in Europe.

Exploring the grounds further still reveals an even more ancient past in its Roman walls which links the castles story back to the early first century.

A visit to the Welsh capital's castle is a must, with plenty to see and do.