Friends of Cardigan Castle: History

The story so far.

Norman's built the first castle in Cardigan. It was wooden and situated 1 km downstream on the site of an existing Welsh fortress. The present site was seen as better and a second castle was built here, where the town eventually grew around it. The Welsh, however, challenged the Normans and in 1165 Lord Rhys ap Gruffydd conquered and demolished the wooden structure.

Lord Rhys recognised Cardigan as strategic to trade and built a new castle in stone and mortar. To celebrate, he invited bards and musicians to a contest. Thus began the Eisteddfod.

When Lord Rhys died the castle passed to the English crown. It passed back and forth a few times being attacked and repaired until its demise when it was attacked and largely destroyed by the Roundheads.

During the early part of the 18th century the grounds were levelled and used as a public bowling green.

In the early 19th century work began on the house you can see today. A dwelling that had been established within the mediaeval North Tower was extended and a little later a much grander frontage was added.

Unfortunately, after the second world war, the owners' fortunes changed considerably and the grand house fell into disrepair. A small pillbox still stands here as a monument to its downfall.

In 2003, after a public campaign, the 2-acre site was purchased by the local authority from the elderly lady owner and for the first time in its history the castle became unoccupied.

  Cyfeillion Castell Aberteifi

© Friends of Cardigan Castle 2008