Wiston Castle, Pembrokeshire
3 Cawdor Terrace, Wiston, Haverfordwest
B-roads off A40
Wiston Castle is one of the best-preserved motte and bailey castles in Wales. It was named after and built by, an early Flemish settler and freebooter named Wizo.
Encouraged by a deliberate policy of King Henry I of England in the early 12th century to encourage flemish settlers into South Wales, Wizo had come to southern Pembrokeshire with a group of Flemish Colonists in search of lands and economic fortune under the Norman's.
It was one of their leaders, Wizo, ‘chieftain of the Flemings’, who established the castle, church, and borough at Wiston. Wizo was an entrepreneur - who put together groups of families to come to Wales and settle his new estates which he had been granted by the king. In due course, Wizo was to establish a second colony in Lanarkshire, Scotland.
Wizo seems to have chosen an existing Iron Age enclosed settlement for his castle. The unusually large bailey of Wizo’s stronghold probably served to house the borough occupied by the first group of settlers. The prehistoric defences would have provided them with ready-made protection against the newly-dispossessed Welsh.
The castle can be found in a walled meadow in the village that stills bears its name. You can park with consideration outside the wall by the side of the road. The castle is a short walk from the road.
~ History ~
1112 ~ Wiston castle is built as part of encouraged Flemish colonisation of South Wales by the Norman's under King Henry I.
1130 ~ Wizo, builder of Wiston Castle dies.
1147 ~ The castle is taken by the Welsh, led by Hywel ab Owain, from Wizo’s son, Walter fitz Wizo, only for it to be retaken soon after.
1193 ~ The castle is again taken, this time with the aid of treachery, to Hywel Sais, the son of the Lord Rhys.
1195 ~ Wiston is recaptured by the Flemings.
1220 ~ The castle is again taken by the Welsh, during the campaigns against Norman rule by Llywelyn the Great, prince of Gwynedd. The town in burnt to the ground. The local people are told to help William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke, to rebuild it. The castle is instead abandoned for good.