Cardigan Castle

Cardigan Castle, Ceredigion


Green Street, Town Centre




SA43 1JA

Cardigan castle stands on the northern bank of the River Teifi in the district of West Wales known as Ceredigion.

The castle is best viewed from across the river and provides a pleasant walk across the stone bridge to what is left of the castle walls.

Its early history has been one of a frontier fortress constantly fought over and captured by Norman and later English forces aganst the native Welsh princes.

~ History ~

1093 ~ Roger de Montgomery builds an earthwork castle as a frontier outpost to lands taken by the Norman invaders.

1110 ~ An earth and timber castle is constructed by Gilbert de Clare downstream from the abandoned earthwork castle built by his predecessor Roger de Montgomery.

1136 ~ Robert fitz Martin successfully defends the castle against an attack by Owain Gwynedd which sees the town destroyed.

1166 ~ The castle is captured by Rhys ap Gruffydd of Dehuebarth, 'the Lord Rhys', togthere with nearby Cilgerran Castle.

1171 ~ The Lord Rhys rebuilds the castle in stone to hold against the continued Norman aggression.

1197 ~ After the death of the Lord Rhys, the castle is sold by his son Maelgwn to King John of England.

1204 ~ Repairs are made to the castle.

1215 ~ The castle is recaptured for the Welsh  by Llewelyn The Great, prince of Gwynedd.

1216 ~ Cardigan is granted to the sons of Gruffydd ap Rhys of Deheubarth by Llewelyn during the Welsh Parliament in Aberdyfi.

1220 ~ Further repaired and improvements are made to the castle.

1223 ~ The castle is recaptured for the English by the most powerful and influential Earls in all the land, William Marshall, Earl of Pembroke.

1231 ~ Cardigan castle is recaptured for the Welsh by Llewelyn The Great by Rhys Grug.

1240 ~ The castle is regained by the Normans after the death of Llewelyn.

1244 ~ Earl Gilbert of Pembroke rebuilds the castle.

1248 ~ A new keep and town walls are added to the castle.

1299 ~ Repairs to buildings, a new bridge and a fireplace costing 104 shillings and 7pence.

1320 ~ King Edward II orders the completion of a turret "recently begun in the angle of the wall" and also "a small wooden door in the same wall".

1341 ~ A survey records that the gatehouse posseses a turning bridge, a double gate and a collapsed tower while its other tower is in good condition. Recommendations are made that include replacing the prison doors and the chamber's fireplace, re-roofing the hall, renewing whitewash and repairing a covered walkway in the curtain wall.

1343 ~ A second survey records the castle is in a poor state of repair and needs repairs at an estimated cost of £814.

1378 ~ The new roof is reported as being in danger of collapse.

1405 ~ French troops land at Milford Haven to support Owain Glyndwr's rebellion against the English. Soon the army 10,000 strong have laid siege to Haverfordwest Castle, before moving on to and taking Cardigan and Carmarthen castles.

1428 ~ Extensive repairs are carried out on the castle.

1429 ~ Oaks are transported from Cilgerran for use in a palisade to replace a collapsed wall at the gate.

1644 ~ The castle is refortified during the civil war using cannons from a wrecked warship.

1645 ~ The castle is captured by Royalists and then recaptured by the Paliamentarians who then slight it to prevent its further use.