Laugharn Castle

Laugharne Castle, Dyfed

Location

14 miles Southwest of Carmarthen

Road

A4066

SatNav

SA33 4FA

Llaugharne Castle overlooks the peaceful waters of the Taf estuary. Probably best known for its association with Dylan Thomas.


There is a car park near the castle which can be accessed by crossing a picturesque stone bridge.


Once in the castle the grounds form a beautiful rose garden surrounded by elizabethian towers and walls.


The views from the top of the castle out across the estuary is stunning.

~ History ~


1116 - Robert de Courtemain builds an earth and timber ringwork and bailey castle.


1172 - King Henry II meets the powerful Welsh leader the Lord Rhys at Laugharne on return from Ireland. At this meeting the Lord Rhys agrees to acknowledge Henry as King, whilst in return the king appoints Rhys 'justice on his behalf', fully deserving the title he claimed for himself as 'rightful prince of South Wales'.


1189 - King Henry dies. The Lord Rhys takes swift and merciless action, taking Laugharne and other castles by force.


1215 - Shortly before Christmas, the Anglo-Norman lords are once again left reeling after a bloody and devastating three-week campaign by the Welsh, under the brilliant leadership of Llywelyn the Great.

It is recorded, Llywelyn's forces 'overthrew to the ground Llansteffan, St Clears and Laugharne.


1223 - William Marshal the younger recovers Laugharne, together with many other castles from the Welsh.


1247 - The remains of the castle are granted by Henry III to Guy de Brian,  who commences re-building of the castle.


1257 - After years of simmering resentment Welsh forces under the leadership of Llywelyn the Last overrun English controlled territories of the southern and eastern march. English forces under Stephen Bauzan suffer a devastating defeat in the Tywi Valley. The Welsh go on to attack and burn towns and castles, including Laugharne. Guy de Brian is taken prisoner by the Welsh during Laugharne's capture.


1258 - Guy de Brian is released upon payment of a ransom raised by his tenants with a contribution from the King.


1268 - Guy de Brian dies. During the tenure of his son, Guy de Brian V, Laugharne's inner and outer wards are strengthened and the overall accommodation improved. A gatehouse, round towers and a new stone curtain wall are built.


1307 - Guy de Brian VI succeeds to the lordship upon his fathers death. As a result of his frailty, perhaps verging on insanity, the management of his South Wales estates are handed over to his son. Upon his fathers death in 1349, Guy VII formally inherits the lordship of Laugharne, rising to the position of Admiral of the Fleet and Knight of the Garter by 1370.


1403 - Due to the threat of the Welsh uprising under Owain Glyndwr, King Henry IV issues a writ to Lord Carew  instructing the defences of Laugharne to be in good order. Before the full weight of Glyndwr's approaching forces can be bought to bear on Laugharne castle, Lord Carew takes the fight to Glyndwr. His forces ambush Glydwr's forces laying siege to Dinefwr castle, providing relief at a critical time its constanble is making plans for him and his garrison to flee the castle for Brecon castle.

Lord Carew's forces then defeat in battle an advanced contingent of Glyndwr's forces.


1464 - a licence is granted for the town to be walled and ditched, though this is never taken undertaken.


1488 - Following years of inheritance disputes the lordship and castle pass to the powerful Earls of Northumberland.


1584 - The ruined and neglected ruins are restored and modified by Sir John Perrot, half brother to Queen Elizabeth and bastard son of Henry VIII.


1644 - The castle is captured by Royalists but is quickly re-taken by 2,000 Roundheads following a week-long siege, culminating in a night-time attack. The castle is partly destroyed afterwards and gradually falls into decay, never to be occupied or rebuilt.