Lamphey Bishops Palace

Lamphey Bishops Palace, Pembrokeshire




Off A4139


SA71 5NT

Lamphey Bishop's Palace was built by the powerful Bishop's of St Davids.

During the Middle Ages they were also Marcher Lords in their own right, owing allegiance only to the king, above both Lords and Earls of South Wales.

Even in ruin, this once sumptious palace is still very impressive. It's defensive features and impressive architecture earn its place alongside the castles and defensive manor houses featured in this web site.

The name is derived from the Welsh 'the church of the Tyfai'.

Well worth a visit.

~ History ~

1096 ~ The Norman's are under siege by the Welsh in Pembroke Castle. The Norman leader, Gerald of Windsor, sends a letter to his Lord, Arnulf of Montgomery, saying that his provisions will be sufficient for the next four months.

As intended, his letter falls into the hands of Bishop Wilfred at Lampheym who passes it on to the Welsh commander. Discouraged at this news he calls off the siege.

1115 ~ Upon Bishop Wilfred's death the church lands are transferred to the Norman, Bernard, former champlain to King Henry I's queen, Matilda. In doing so Lamphey is transferred from Welsh to Royal Norman influence.

1284 ~ King Edward I of England and his Queen pay pilgrimage to nearby St David's. The inadequacies of the early medieval palace leads to a major building program sponsored by Bishop Thomas Bek.

1330's ~ Bishop Henry de Gower undertakes major building words at Lamphey.

1340's ~ The Black Death takes a heavy toll on the population of Lamphey, sereverly impacting on the agricultural production, critical to the local economy and income to the palace.

1486 ~ The chaplain of Pembroke, Roger Burley,is interogated at Lamphey on the charge of heresy.

1507 ~ The palace hosts the influential and powerful Sir Rhys ap Thoma, ahead of the great tournament at Carew Castle

1546 ~ Bishop William Barlow is forced to surrender Lamphey, his richest manor, to King Henry III, in return for the valuable rectory of Carew.

Later the same year the manoris granted to Richard Devereux, despite the efforts of Bishop Robert Ferrar to prevent this and recover the palace.

1601 ~ Robert Devereux, a favourite of Queen Elizabeth I, is executed on the charge of high treason on Tower Hill, London.

1604 ~ Robert's thirteen year old son has his father's estates restored to him by King James I. However Lamphey has already been leased to Rhys Philip Scarfe.

1610 ~ In order to eject Rhys, Robert's supporters bring a trumped up case against him, claiming Rhys entered the palace at the head of a band of'disordered and vagrant persons', seixinggoods worth £400, and corn worth £200, together with 400 sheep. The innocent Scarfe is ejected.

1642 ~ Upon the outbreak of Civil War Lamphey is the home of Major John Gunter, who is leasing the palace from Devereux.

Despite being Lord Chamberlain to King Charles I, he becomes chief of the Parliamentary army and garrison's Lamphey against the King.

As winter closes in the local Royalist commander Captain Crowe, raids the estates of Lamphey for its cattle in order to feed his men.

1683 ~ The estates are sold to the Owens of Orielton, who in turn convert the palace to farm buildings.