John Fish B.Sc. Publishers of Tenby in Wales (UK)


The Castles and Bishops' Palaces of Pembrokeshire


Lise Hull

Tenby Observer: Whilst not all the castles in Pembrokeshire owe their origins to the Normans - some being built by the Welsh in response to the Norman Conquest - it is with the Norman arrival in the area around 1093 that castle building commences. It was then that Arnulf de Montgomery founded Pembroke Castle as the centre of his 'castellarium" which later grew into the seat of the earldom of Pembroke.

Welsh resistance pinned the Normans back for the next few years, but in the 11OOs what became Pembrokeshire saw a spate of castle building by the Normans - initially of earth and timber structures. Within 50 years of their arrival, the invaders had built a line of such castles on the southern side of the Preseli Mountains that was to become known as the 'Landsker Line', with a second string of castles to the north of Preseli. In time, stone castles upgraded the fortifications.

Pembrokeshire has a rich heritage of still standing castles; to name but a few: the early foundation of Manorbier on the south coast; the towering remnants of Pembroke and Haverfordwest, the Bishops' castle at Llawhaden. Cilgerran in the north of the county and the much upgraded Carew, along with those still occupied nowadys as private residences such as Roch, Picton and Upton.

Often clustered around these are the remains of an assortment of mottes or ringworks, sometimes with a bailey, which may have formed part of the early Norman encroachment and presence, or perhaps served as the bases for knights who owed allegiance to the nearby lord.

All these castle types are covered in this book by Lise Hull, together with the Bishops' Palaces that also form part of Pembrokeshire's rich heritage. Following on from a series of chapters that give an overview of the County's military history from 905 to the Civil War of the 1640s, each site is given its own entry detailing its construction and history, together with a note about specific location and access arrangements.

Lise Hull has been avidly exploring and studying the castles of Wales, particularly those of Pembrokeshire, for 20 years. She holds a Masters Degree with Distinction in Heritage Studies from the University of Wales, and a Master of Public Affairs degree, specialising in historic preservation, from Indiana University. Her website, Castles of Britain, is located at

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