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Haverfordwest Castle

Town Centre
Haverfordwest
SA61 2EF

The shell of the castle dominates the small riverside town, which huddles around its base. Although it's impressive from the riverside, very little remains other than the outside wall.

It's probably more interesting as an example of how castles can withstand repeated attempts to destroy them!

History

  • It is first mentioned by Giraldus Cambrensis (See Manorbier Castle) as one of the places he visited in 1188 with Archbishop Baldwin. The castle, then, was only an earth and timber construction.
  • The castle was probably a strong stone castle by 1220, when it withstood an attack by Llewelyn the Great, who had already burned the town.
  • It was acquired by Queen Eleanor (wife of Edward I) in 1289, who immediately began building on a large scale.
  • In the 14th century the castle was held by a series of owners, including Edward, the Black Prince, from 1359-67.
  • In the hands of the crown from 1381-85, the castle was repaired. It was strong enough to repulse an attack in 1405 during Owain Glyndwr's War of Independence.
  • By the 16th century, however, the castle was derelict, but was hastily re-fortified during the Civil War. It was occupied successively by Royalists and Parliamentarians, changing hands four times.
  • Cromwell ordered the castle destroyed in 1648. Copies of his letters are on display in the town museum, which is inside the keep. The demolition was only partially succesful.
  • Part of the castle was converted to a prison in the 18th century. This building now houses the County Archives.

Features

  • Well preserved shell of the inner ward and curtain wall.
  • Several towers on the south east and south west corners are still standing but there's no access to the ramparts.
  • A small postern gate in the south east tower allows access to a grassy terrace outside the walls.
  • The county archives occupy the old prison, which was built inside the outer ward.
  • The town museum occupies an interesting bow fronted building also inside the outer keep.

Facilities

Small car park inside the outer ward. Access via Barn Street and Church Street. Shops, cafes and restaurants in the town below the castle.

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