Carew Castle

Carew Castle

Introduction

In 1102 King Henry 1st appointed Gerald of Windsor a castella of Pembroke Castle. This was a royal possession so Gerald was permitted to acquire land for himself. He made Carew, five miles north-east of Pembroke and situated above one of the innumerable creeks of Milford haven, his private seat. Here he built a stronghold, no doubt originally a ‘motte and bailey’ defence of the Norman sort – legend has it that Carew came to him as dowry from his wife Nesta – maybe so. Nesta’s history makes fascinating reading.

In 1102 King Henry 1st appointed Gerald of Windsor a castella of Pembroke Castle. This was a royal possession so Gerald was permitted to acquire land for himself. He made Carew, five miles north-east of Pembroke and situated above one of the innumerable creeks of Milford haven, his private seat. Here he built a stronghold, no doubt originally a ‘motte and bailey’ defence of the Norman sort – legend has it that Carew came to him as dowry from his wife Nesta – maybe so. Nesta’s history makes fascinating reading.



The original castle has been rebuilt many times being replaced, before the end of the

12th C by a stone walled building. The greater half of the present Carew appears to be

13th C. It was by 1250, a square castle of one strong ward with drum towers projecting at its corners. The western drums were strengthened by projecting ‘spurs’. The eastern front – the main approach, was strengthened by an outlying base-court, or slightly projected bailey inside which was a barbican blocking the main gate. The early front had small windows which would have made the small rooms very dark.



In the reign of Henry V11th the west front was renovated by Sir Rhys ap Thomas. The style of the new side of Carew is rich early Tudor with plenty of light windows and armorial decoration. The very large banqueting hall occupies most of the west side of the court and has at its entrance a tower over whose door appear the shields of King Henry, with the Tudor red dragon and its supporter and of Arthur, Prince of Wales and his bride, Catherine of Aragon. This fixes its date as 1501-1502.



Given by Elizabeth 1st to Sir John Perrott, he set about major renovation taking out the two upper storeys on its north side and replacing them with long galleries and chambers with broad mullioned windows looking outward as well as inward. In fact, he made a good third of this long front into a show of stained glass.



The castle was left derelict in the late 17th C. Carew now makes a most attractive ruin as Tudor buildings always do. Empty mullioned windows silhouette against the sky, remains of battlements festooned with ivy and ruins of Norman keeps and 13th C drum towers.


Click here for the Carew Castle website

Last Updated: 28 Apr 2015