Carreg Cennen Castle
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
It was Giffard who rebuilt the Welsh fortress in impressive style. Between 1283-1321 Giffard and his son created a complex structure which makes the best possible use of the rocky hill on which the castle stands. The west and south side of the hill falls away steeply, providing natural defenses.
In 1321 the younger Giffard rebelled against Edward II and lost the castle. In the 14th century it was owned by the Lancaster family, owners of Kidwelly Castle. John of Gaunt married a Lancaster heiress and through their son, the future Henry IV, the castle passed to the crown.
Owain Glyndwr captured Carreg Cennen after a seige, but it was retaken after Glyndwr's rebellion failed. It was refortified by Gruffudd ap Nicholas in 1455. Nicholas was a supporter of the Lancastrian side in the Wars of the Roses, and his sons fought at the Battle of Mortimers Cross in 1461. With the battle lost, they fled to Carreg Cennen for refuge.
They did not stay in peace for long, because in 1462 Yorkists under Sir Henry Herbert of Raglan and Sir Roger Vaughan of Tretower took the castle. The Yorkists slighted the castle so that it could not be held against them. Henry VII gave Carreg Cennen to Sir Rhys ap Thomas, and it eventually passed to the earls of Cawdor. Finally, in 1922 it was granted to the Office of Works. It is now in the care of Cadw, Welsh Heritage.
I can't recommend a visit highly enough. The location is utterly superb. You can only reach the castle by way of a stiff uphill climb, but the reward for your climb is wonderful views across the surrounding countryside. It is easy to see why Carreg Cennen has drawn artists over the centuries; the scenic beauty of the very substantial ruins is undeniable.
About Carreg Cennen Castle
Address: Tyr-y-Castel Farm, Trapp, Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire, Wales, SA19 6UA
Attraction Type: Castle
Location: 5 m SE Llandeilo, off A4383
Website: Carreg Cennen Castle
Phone: 01558 822291
OS: SN668 191
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
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Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
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