Narberth castle is first mentioned in 1116 as Castell Arberth when it was burned by Gruffydd ap Rhys (d.1137), although it is often claimed that this refers to Templeton motte and bailey earthwork 2 miles further south.  The land, if not a castle, was burned again in 1215.  The Flemings then rebuilt the fortress, only to have it 'thrown to the ground' by Llywelyn ab Iorwerth in 1220.  After the battle of Cymaru on 2 June 1257, the castle was again destroyed by the Welsh.  It was obviously rebuilt because it apparently burned again in 1299.  The fortress was described in a full survey of 1539 and was still inhabited as late as 1657.

The castle occupies a ridge end site with a round keep of some 43' diameter and at least 3 stories, occupying and blocking the highest point of the ridge.  The tower had a large rectangular internal garderobe block attached to its south side.  Close to its west side was an internal rectangular gatetower, possibly similar to those at Ogmore, Llanstephan outer ward and Manorbier.  This lay beside a small round tower at the north-west corner of the site.  At the south end of the castle were 2 round towers marking the south-east and south-west corners, the south-east tower containing a chapel at first floor level.  Such a layout is similar to that found at White Castle.  North of these were a hall block and centrally in the curtain walls were D shaped east and west turrets.  There was an outer ward towards the town on the north side.

Why not join me at other Lost Welsh Castles next Spring?  Please see the information on tours at 
Scholarly Sojourns.


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