Kidwelly Castle

his castle was built and controlled by the Normans as they attempted to take control of South Wales. A wooden castle was built on the banks of the river Gwendraeth by Roger, bishop of Salisbury in around 1106. Roger was a trusted supporter of Henry I and was responsible for other construction work. He built Sherborne Old Castle and a Cathedral at Old Sarum. The steep banks of the river provide protection on one side of the castle while a ditch provided protection on the other. The wooden structure was replaced by a stone castle in the late thirteenth century. The castle changed hands several times being captured by the Welsh and then retaken by the Normans.

When the male line of owners ended the castle passed into the hands of Hawise de Londres. She married into the powerful de Braose family but her husband died in 1233 and the castle at this time was back in Welsh possession. In around 1244 Hawise married Peter de Chaworth who won back the castle. Peter de Chaworth successfully held the castle until 1258 when he was killed and the castle was inherited by the elder of his two young sons, Payn. Hawise took control of the castle until Payn was old enough to do so himself. Payn died without an heir and after his brother's death the castle was inhirited by his brother's daughter Matilda.

Kidwelly Castle Key Facts
CountyCarmathenshire (7 castles)
RemainsNot complete but much survives
Access to siteOnly open at certain times

1106   Construction of Kidwelly Castle
 Roger, bishop of Salisbury, is granted land in south Wales and started construction of a wooden castle on the banks of the river Gwendraeth. 
1190   Kidwelly Castle rebuilt
 In this year Rhys ap Gruffydd, The Lord Rhys captured the castle at Kidwelly from the Normans. It is possible that he repaired its structure at this time.[1] 
1201   Kidwelly Castle captured by the Normans
 The Normans recaptured the castle at Kidwelly in around 1201, when Meredith, the son of Lord Rhys, was killed by the garrison of the castle.[2] 
1215   Kidwelly captured by the Welsh
 Rhys Grug, another son of the Lord Rhys, captured and burnt the castle at Kidwelly. The Welsh held the castle for several years until Llywelyn the Great forced its restoration to the Normans .[2] 
1403   Kidwelly Castle attacked
 Owain Glyndwr's forces attacked Kidwelly Castle managing to set fire to the unfinished gatehouse but did not capture the castle.[1]

Episode: Glendowers Revolt  


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