by  • August 21, 2012 • Cardigan, Ceredigion, House, Masonry Castle, Medieval, Modern, Post-Medieval • 2 Comments

    1093 - References to a castle established by Earl Roger de Montgomery at the Teifi estuary probably refer to the site at 
    Old Castle, a mile downstream.

    1094 – The early earthwork fortification at Old Castle was destroyed by the Welsh.

    1110 – The present castle site was probably first occupied by Gilbert fitz Richard de Clare.

    1116 – Stephen de Mareis, the Castellan, married Nest (b. ca. 1085), daughter of Rhys ap Tewdwr and widow of Gerald de Windsor.

    1117 – Gilbert fitz Richard de Clare died. Cardigan passed to his eldest son, Richard fitz Gilbert.

    1136 – Richard fitz Gilbert was assassinated near Llanthony on 15th April. Welsh forces attacked the castle during the Battle of Crug Mawr on 10th October, but failed to capture it. Later in the year, the widow of Richard fitz Gilbert, Adeliz de Mesolin, was resident with a small garrison. King Stephen sent Miles of Gloucester, Lord of Brecknock, to escort her safely to England. The castle passed to Richard fitz Gilbert’s eldest son, Gilbert fitz Richard.

    1138 – Owain and Cadwaladr, aided by Anarawd and Cadell ap Gruffydd attacked the castle with the aid of fifteen ships manned by Danish mercenaries. The attack failed.

    1145 – An attack by Hywel and Cynan failed to capture the castle. Robert fitz Stephen held it for the De Clares.

    1153 – Gilbert fitz Richard de Clare died without issue and the castle and town passed to his younger brother, Roger de Clare (1116-73), 2nd Earl of Hertford.

    1162 – Stephen de Mareis died. His son, Robert was the Constable of Cardigan.

    1165 – In early November Rhys ap Gruffydd (“Lord Rhys”) (ca1132-97) captured the castle using scaling ladders and demolished it. Robert fitz Stephen (d. ca 1182) was captured and the castle was entrusted, following some form of refortification, to Hengyfraith, the Constable. Reference was made to the Chapel of St. Peter in the castle.

    This could be the base of a square tower or a portion of a building

    12th Century masonry platform found by archaeologists, Cardigan Castle, 2012 (c) Glen K Johnson

    1171 – Rhys ap Gruffydd moved his chief court here and began to rebuild the castle in stone for the first time. This was possibly the first stone castle ever built by a Welshman.

    1172 – Rhys ap Gruffydd became the Justiciar of South Wales.

    1176 – At Christmas, to celebrate completion of his new castle, Lord Rhys held what is now accepted as the first National Eisteddfod in the castle hall. A harpist from the court was one of the victors – the son of Eilon the Crowder.

    1188 – Lord Rhys entertained Archbishop Baldwin and Gerald de Barri (Geraldus Cambrensis) whilst they were recruiting for the Third Crusade. John Spang was Rhys’ Court Jester.

    1189 – Following the death of King Henry II, with whom Rhys had remained on friendly terms, Rhys revolted against Richard I.

    1194 – Lord Rhys was briefly held prisoner at Nevern Castle by his own sons.

    1196 – William de Braose unsuccessfully attacked the castle.

    1197 – Lord Rhys died on 28th April.

    12th Century wall footing uncovered at the castle in 2012 (c) Glen K Johnson

    12th Century wall footing uncovered at the castle in 2012 (c) Glen K Johnson

    1200 – July “…Maelgwn ap Rhys, for fear and also in hatred of Gruffydd, his brother, sold to the Saxons the lock and stay of all Wales, the castle of Cardigan, for a small, paltry sum…” As a result of this sale of the castle to King John, Cardigan Castle was regarded as a Royal Castle from this time onwards.

    1202 – William Marshall (1147-1219), Earl of Pembroke, was granted custody of Cardigan.

    1205 – King John paid the sum of twenty marks for repairs to the castle.

    1208 – A further twenty marks was spent on fortifying the castle. King John had granted it to Robert fitz Richard of Haverford by that date.

    1214 – King John ordered Falkes of Breaute’ (d. 1226) to hand the castle over to William Marshall – Lord Marshal of England.

    1215 – Llywelyn ap Iorwerth (1172-1240) and his followers captured Cardigan Castle during a general uprising.

    1216 – Rhys Ieuanc and his brother, Owain, received the Castle.

    1218 – Prince Llywelyn ap Iorwerth paid homage to King Henry III and kept his recent gains, but Cardigan was regarded as a Royal Castle and Llywelyn as custodian, rather than owner.

    1221 – King Henry III had Cardigan Castle granted to Rhys Ieuanc.

    1222 – Rhys Ieuanc died. Llywelyn then entrusted the castle to either Maelgwn or Owain ap Gwynedd.

    1223 – With the aid of an army, William Marshall jnr. (1190-1231), 2nd Earl of Pembroke and Lord Marshal of England, captured the Castle on Easter Monday.

    1225 – Henry de Audley (1173-1236) became the governor.

    1226 – August. King Henry III dispossessed William Marshall and entrusted the castle to his own officers. John de Breos (1197-1232) replaced Henry de Audley.

    1228 – Repairs were undertaken at Royal expense. Walter de Clifford (1190-1263) received custody that year.

    1229 – Richard Marshall (1191-1234) and William Marshall (1190-1231), were invested with the Lordship and received custody.

    1230 – On 2nd April, six thousand cut stones were ordered from St. Briavel’s on the Wye for the castles of Carmarthen and Cardigan. The quarry there produced plum-coloured limestone.

    1231 – In April Richard Marshall became the 3rd Earl of Pembroke upon the death of his brother, William. That year Maelgwn ap Maelgwn ap Rhys ravaged Cardigan. “…Maelgwn and Owain ap Gruffydd and their men, and with them the Lord Llywelyn’s men, went a second time to the town of Cardigan, and they laid siege to the castle. And after a few days they breached it with catapults, till the garrison was forced to surrender the castle and to leave it…” Before this attack, Hugh de Burgh (1160-1243), 1st Earl of Kent, briefly had custody.

    1234 – In July Llywelyn made peace with King Henry III, and was allowed to keep the Castle, but in December Henry granted custody to the Marshall family, provided they could capture it.

    1240 – May. Following the death of Llywelyn, Walter Marshall (1196-1245) of Pembroke, brother of the Earl, captured it and re-fortified it.

    1241 – In June 1241 Gilbert Marshall, 4th Earl of Pembroke, was killed in a tournament and King Henry III took direct control of Cardigan. John of Monmouth (1182-1248) received custody on 30th October.

    1244 – Robert Waleran (d. 1273) arrived with a strong garrison and began to rebuild the castle and redesign the town and its’ defences.

    1245 – The men of Dafydd ap Llywelyn made a failed attempt to capture the Castle. Damages amounting to 300 marks claimed by the burgesses against the Welsh raiders were donated to the fortifications. In August Nicholas de Molis (b. 1195) had custody.

    1247 – The Constable, Miles de Hope, was attacked and robbed whilst crossing Cardigan Bridge, by John the Welshman.

    1248 – Robert Waleran became the Constable on 20th August.

    1250 – Waleran received £400 from King Henry III for work in progress on a new keep and for fortifying the town.

    The castle gate had three storeys, two turrets and an arch resembling the one at Strata Florida Abbey.

    Artist’s impression of the town seal showing the castle gate, ca1251

    1251 – The Common Seal of the Burgesses of Cardigan depicts the castle gate – a three storey, twin-towered structure with an arch resembling that of Strata Florida Abbey. The arch was presumably a remainder from Lord Rhys’ castle.

    1252 – Building work was probably still underway.

    1253 – In August Robert Waleran sailed with the King to France to serve in the Gascon campaign.

    1254 – Prince Edward was given the Castle on 14th February. On 17th May, 12,000 cut stones were ordered from St. Briaeval’s quarry for Cardigan and Carmarthen.

    1260 – Gwilym ap Gwrwared became the Constable.

    1261 – Robert Waleran received £284 for raising the keep a further stage some time earlier.

    1262 – Gwilym ap Gwrwared handed back the Castle.

    1264 – Roger Mortimer of Coedmore, Llechryd, was the Constable.

    1265 – The Lordship and Castle passed to Prince Edmund.

    1275 – The Castle buildings included “…a good Great Tower…” and “…an adequate hall with a chamber…” Repairs required were estimated at £66. 13s. 4d.

    1277 – John de Beauchamp (1249-83) of Somerset, became Constable of Cardigan and Carmarthen on 24th January. Prince Llywelyn petitioned Edward I for the release of a prisoner from the Castle.

    Arrow-slit in the North Tower basement, 25/04/2003 (c) Glen K Johnson

    Arrow-slit in the North Tower basement, 25/04/2003 (c) Glen K Johnson

    1279 – Edward I exchanged lands with his brother, Prince Edmund, and recovered possession of Cardigan Castle, which he made the centre of administration for his new county of Cardiganshire. Patrick of Chaworth succeeded John de Beauchamp as custodian.

    1280 – On 5th January Bogo de Knovill (d. 1307) received custody as Justiciar of South Wales.

    1281 – Robert de Tibetot (1228-98) received custody on 8th June, as Justiciar of South Wales.

    1282 – Robert de Tibetot and the garrison of 600 foot soldiers from Cardigan attacked the Welsh at Trefilan and took much booty.

    1284 – On 23rd November King Edward I was in residence at Cardigan Castle.

    1290 – Queen Eleanor received the Castle on 10th June, though it was still administered by Edward I, who resumed direct control after her death.

    1293 – William de Camville was granted custody in October. According to one source, Maelgwn and his army captured the Castle and slew the chief recruiting officer of the French War. The Castle was then blockaded in the absence of the Constable.

    1295 – From 1st to 3rd June King Edward I was resident with a massive military force.

    1298 – Robert Tibetot died on 29th May, the Justiciar of South Wales and Constable of several castles, including Cardigan. Walter de Blakeney then became Constable until 1301.

    1299 – Repairs to the buildings cost 104s. 7 ½ d. These included a new bridge.

    1300 – 64s. 11 ½ d. was spent on maintenance.

    1301 – On 7th February Prince Edward received the castle. At Michaelmas Walter de Malley became the Constable.

    1303 – Roger the crossbowman visited the castle to conduct repairs, as did William le Plummer. Works conducted to the castle amounted to 28s. 8d.

    1304 – Repairs amounted to a mere 11s. 9d.

    1307 – Robert Turberville became the Constable at Michaelmas until 1313.

    1313 – Walter de Malley became Constable again briefly.

    1317 – Geoffrey Clement became Constable on 10th November.

    1319 – Geoffrey Clement died on 6th January. Walter de Malley then became the Constable for the third time.

    This may be the tower completed ca.1321

    The medieval South-east Tower of the castle (c) Glen K Johnson 2008

    1320 – On 5th January Thomas de Chastiel became the Constable. King EDWARD II, in fear of a revolt by the barons, ordered the completion of “…a turret recently begun in the angle of the wall, and also a small wooden door in the same wall…”

    1321 – On 10th March Thomas de Chastiel was ordered to go to the castle in person. He was also fined 40s for allowing Ieuan Llygaid Baidd to escape from the castle prison.

    1326 – On 17th April Gwilym ab Einon received custody of the castle.

    1327 – On 22nd October, after the death of Edward II, Gwilym ab Einon was ordered to hand over the castle to Geoffrey Beaufou.

    1330 – On 18th December Hugh de Frene was granted custody of Cardigan Castle.

    1336 – In February 1336 Hugh de Frene abducted Alice de Lacy, the Dowager-Countess of Lincoln from the Royal castle of Bolingbroke. His estates in 10 counties were seized for a month, but he retained the position of Constable at Cardigan until his death in December. From Michaelmas until 9th February 1337 John de Hampslope was the Deputy-Constable of Cardigan Castle.

    1337 – On 28th January Gilbert Turberville (1302-47) became the Constable.

    1338 – From Michaelmas William Deneys was the Deputy-Constable. On 17th October repairs were ordered.

    1341 – A survey was made of defects in the buildings. We learn that “…the bridge of Cardigan castle is a turning bridge with a great double gate and the half of a little tower…The tower which is for the prisons is completely collapsed…the roof of the tower which is covered in lead is fairly good…”. It was deemed necessary to replace the doors of the prison and to re-roof the hall, replacing “…the fireplace of the chamber…”

    East Tower garderobe in 2003 (c) Glen K Johnson

    East Tower garderobe in 2003 (c) Glen K Johnson

    1343 – A more extensive survey in August was conducted by William Deneys, Deputy-Constable. Defects were observed in a bakery; kitchen; larder; two rooms on either side of the Great Gate; A hall, room, garderobe, pantry, store for victuals – all under one roof; a room; stable; the garret of the Great Tower; a certain tower joined to the Great Tower called “…the Prisontower…”; the bridge of the Great Gate between the castle and town; and the Chapel. The survey concluded that Cardigan was the most dilapidated Royal castle in Wales – needing £814 worth of repairs. In August the castle was handed over to the officers of Edward, the Black Prince.

    1344 – John de Turberville was the Deputy-Constable. In September Trahaiarn ap Maredudd was imprisoned for having falsely imprisoned John ap Leisian in the castle.

    1347 – On 20th August Gilbert Turberville, the Constable, died – possibly at the siege of Calais. On 1st September Roland Deneys became the Constable.

    1348 – Prior John of Cardigan supervised some repairs.

    1349 – Before 30th January John of Castle Goodrich had been the Deputy-Constable. He died of the Black Death in March.

    1353 – Roland Deneys joined the Breton expedition and was captured and ransomed by Edward III for £100.

    1355 – Roland Deneys was with the Black Prince in Gascony until 1357.

    1356 – Roland Deneys, Constable, was knighted.

    1359 – On 26th November Sir Roland Deneys was ordered to see to the provisioning of Cardigan castle whilst the prince was overseas.

    1361 – Roland Deneys, Constable, died in the autumn.

    1376 – Princess Joan (1328-85), widow of Edward the “Black Prince” (1330-76), ran an administration from Cardigan Castle that was answerable to herself and not to the Crown. The Castle was granted its’ own exchequer at this time.

    Door to newel stair, North Tower basement (c) Glen K Johnson

    Door to newel stair, North Tower basement (c) Glen K Johnson

    1377 – Following the death of King Edward III on 21st June, Princess Joan became extremely powerful as the mother of King Richard II, then aged 10.

    1378 – On 13th March Sir Lewis Clifford was appointed Constable.

    1385 – Princess Joan died on 7th August and Carmarthen immediately attempted to have Cardigan’s privileges abolished.

    1386 – A petition sent to Richard II stated that “…your castle of Cardigan, which has the Great new roof, is in such a condition that if it is not repaired in time, it will be a great loss to you and a disaster for your loyal people…”

    1388 – In May the Deputy-Justiciar of South Wales, John Clement, was accused of wrongly imprisoning men at the castle. William Dier was among these. On 10th August Dier became the Janitor – a position he held until March 1400. On 22nd September it was confirmed by the Crown that the exchequer at the Castle, carrying its’ own seal, should continue.

    1401 – Thomas de Percy (1368-1403) had custody in November and was licensed to buy military equipment to provision the castle against the Glyndwr rebels.

    1402 – On 26th September Richard, Lord Grey of Codnor (1371-1418) was appointed Royal Lieutenant in South Wales with custody of several castles, including Cardigan. By 2nd December Sir Hugh Mortimer (d. 1416) was the Constable.

    1403 – On 26th October, Edward of Norwich (1373-1415), Duke of York, received custody of the Castle and others in South Wales as Royal Lieutenant.

    1404 – Between March and November Thomas Burton had custody according to one source. On 12th May 1404 Sir Rustin de Villeneuve took custody of Cardigan, Carmarthen and Newcastle Emlyn, with a force of 350 men to garrison them.

    Probable portion of the gatehouse uncovered in September 2003 (c) Glen K Johnson

    Probable portion of the gatehouse uncovered in September 2003 (c) Glen K Johnson

    1405 – On 24th March Sir Thomas Beaufort the Duke of Exeter, (1377-1426), Constable, elected to stay at the Castle with sixty men-at-arms and three hundred archers for one year from 27th April. On 20th June orders were given for the county commanders to relieve the heavily besieged garrison at Cardigan. Supporters of Glyndwr attacked the Castle, but it is unlikely to have been taken.

    1406 – Prince Henry had custody from 29th January as Lieutenant of Wales. On 20th June Andrew Lynne was Deputy-Constable with John Smyth, a Cardigan merchant, acting as his Deputy.

    1408 – Between Michaelmas and 1409, Sir Hugh Mortimer was the Constable once again.

    1409 – Between Michaelmas and mid-1413 Andrew Lynne was variously described as Constable, Deputy-Constable and porter of the Castle. By 4th September Richard Oldcastle was the Deputy Constable and remained so until at least 1413.

    1410 – On 19th July 1410 Andrew Lynne received a pardon for allowing a number of Welsh prisoners to escape from the Castle some time earlier.

    1413 – The Deputy-Constable for 1413-5 was Hugh Eyton.

    1414 – Between 19th February and 1st May a garrison was maintained at the Castle “…lest John Oldcastle and other heretics, adherents, should take the castle by night after they had fled from England into Wales as the King is informed and rumour hath it…” A Lollard leader, John Oldcastle was the son of former Deputy-Constable Richard Oldcastle, and was eventually burnt as a heretic. At Michaelmas Sir Hugh Mortimer was Constable again. He held the post until his death c.23rd May 1416.

    1416 – On 7th June John Burghope was appointed (absentee) Constable of Cardigan Castle for life.

    1426 – From 1426-32 William Burghill acted as Deputy-Constable.

    1427 – After returning from France John Burghope concentrated his activities on Cardigan.

    East Tower, 18/02/2013 (c) Glen K Johnson

    East Tower, 18/02/2013 (c) Glen K Johnson

    1428 – Extensive repairs and renovations began. Hugh Eyton was Deputy-Constable for 1428-9. Elements of the castle referred to during the work included:- The King’s Stable; the exchequer; the Exchequer Ward; the kitchen; The Ward of the Great Tower or Constable’s Yard; the Hall; Justiciar’s Hall; the Stable; the larder; the yard; the Chamberlain’s Stable; Justiciar’s Room – the gable was rebuilt; Chamberlain’s apartment over the Great Gate; and two rooms for the constable, possibly in the Great Tower.

    1429 – In October thirty oaks were brought from Cilgerran for use in repairs to the Castle. John Rous, Officer of the King’s Works, assembled the workmen. Reference was made on 7th October to “…costs concerning the manufacture of a palisade at the gate of the castle of Cardigan for lack of a wall there…” suggesting great dilapidation, “…the forester of Cilgerran was paid for 46 oaks for use of the said wall…”

    Vaulted N Tower basement, April 2003 (c) Glen K Johnson

    Vaulted N Tower basement, April 2003 (c) Glen K Johnson

    1430 – John Underwood, Master Mason, was at work at the castle.

    1434 – A petition to King Henry VI from Griffith Goughe ap David ap Yeuan of Caerwedros resulted in an enquiry into the detention of an aged prisoner at the Castle.

    1435 – William Burghill was the Deputy-Constable and Richard Hampton, master plumber, was working here.

    1438 – William Burghill was acting Deputy Constable again for 1438-40. On 13th April John Burghope and Giles Thorndon were the joint Constables of Cardigan Castle.

    1442 – William Burghill and Owain Mortimer of Coedmore, Llechryd, acted as Deputy-Constables. On 14th September Sir Walter Scull was appointed Constable for life. James Ormond, Sheriff of Cardigan, Giles Thorndon, Constable, and William Burghill, Deputy-Constable, were fined for the escape of three prisoners from the castle, in separate incidents. The fine on each occasion was £5.

    Parapet of NE Bastion, March 2011 (c) Glen K Johnson

    Parapet of NE Bastion, March 2011 (c) Glen K Johnson

    1449 – On 1st March Hugh Scull briefly shared with his father, Sir Walter Scull, the position of Constable, though he appears to have died shortly afterwards.

    1457 – Sir Walter Scull and his former deputy, William Harry, were fined £5 for the escape of Rhys ap Gwilym Adda from the castle.

    1461 – On 2nd August William Herbert (1423-69), Earl of Pembroke, became the Constable. He was killed in battle in 1469 at Edgecote.

    1469 – On 28th July Morgan and Henry ap Thomas ap Gruffydd ap Nicholas seized the castle. On 17th August Richard Neville (1428-71), Earl of Warwick, was appointed Constable of Cardigan Castle for life as Justiciar of South Wales. On 16th December 1469 Richard, Duke of Gloucester, was empowered to recover the castle from Morgan & Henry.

    1470 – On 16th February Sir Roger Vaughan was appointed Constable of Cardigan Castle for life. He was a Yorkist and after the Battle of Mortimer’s Cross he was said to have led Owen Tudor to the block.

    1471 – After the Battle of Tewkesbury Sir Roger Vaughan fell into the hands of Earl Jasper Tudpr of Pembroke, who avenged his father’s death by having Vaughan executed. On 27th June Robert Dwnn was appointed Constable of Cardigan Castle for life.

    1472 – At Michaelmas custody of the Castle until 1479 was granted to Dafydd ap Robin, by agreement of the Prince’s Council and in the absence of the Constable.

    1479 –Thomas Bole had custody.

    1483 – On 16th May Henry Stafford (1455-83), Duke of Buckingham, became Justiciar of South Wales and Constable of Cardigan Castle. He rebelled in October, sending for Henry Tudor, and was executed as a traitor in Salisbury on 2nd November. On 15th November William Herbert II, Earl of Huntingdon, succeeded him as Constable.

    1485 – On 10th August Richard Griffith and John Savage met Henry Tudor here, all en route to Bosworth. Only a janitor occupied the castle. On 23rd September Owain Lloyd became Constable.

    1486 – On 27th February Rhydderch ap Rhys ap Maredudd ab Owain of Towyn, Ferwig, became Constable.

    1491 – On 1st February William Vaughan of Glandovan, Cilgerran, became the Constable.

    This square tower was probably attached to a range of internal buildings

    The medieval North-east Bastion of Cardigan Castle (c) Glen Johnson 2011

    1501 – Rhydderch ap Rhys ap Maredudd ab Owain, was William Vaughan’s deputy. He was fined £40 for the escape of a prisoner from the castle. He was succeeded that year by Maurice Rede. In November Katherine of Aragon received the castle, along with many other possessions, as part of her dowry upon marrying Prince Arthur.

    1514 – Sir William Tyler, who had fought alongside Henry Tudor at Bosworth, became the Constable until 1527.

    1519 – Small-scale repairs were conducted under the orders of Sir Rees ap Thomas, Chamberlain of South Wales.

    1520 – Sir William Tyler, Constable, was present at the Field of the Cloth of Gold.

    1527 – Sir William Tyler was dead by 30th September. On 30th September Morris Parry was the Constable, holding the office until he died in 1541.

    1541 – On 5th January Henry VIII granted the Constableship to William Abbot.

    1564 – On 29th March William Abbot, the Constable, Sergeant of the Queen’s cellar, appointed John Tamworth as his Deputy.

    1599 – This may have been the location of the town gaol.

    Cardigan Castle by John Speed (Glen Johnson, 1610 Collection)

    Cardigan Castle by John Speed (Glen Johnson, 1610 Collection)

    1610 – John Speed illustrated the castle ruins. The Great Tower appears to be free standing, and in a state of collapse. He wrote “…The Castle is higher built upon a Rock, both spacious and fair, had not storms impaired her beauty, and time left her carkasse a very Anatomie…”

    1633 – On 9th October Richard Steele of Newtown; Valentine Oldis of London and Thomas Herbert of Bridgewater assigned the castle site, to Sir John Lewis of Abernantbychan and Coedmore, Llechryd, and it was included in a document of sale two days later.

    1641 – On 13th October “…the castle or manor house called Cardigan Castle…” formed part of a marriage settlement between Sir John Lewis and James Lewis on the first part and John Wogan the younger of Wiston and George Lewis of Cardigan on the other part. On 9th November Sir John Lewis leased the castle for 4 years to his son, James Lewis.

    1644 – In June Col. John Gerrard took the castle for the Royalist cause. In doing so he captured or killed 200 Parliamentarians. The castle was fortified with ordnance from a wrecked frigate called “The Convent” and considerably strengthened by the construction of a “half-moon” earthwork in the castle yard, enabling the guns to fire over the walls. In December General Laugharne and his forces reached Cardigan. The town surrendered to Parliament and the castle was attacked:-

    “…The castle being a considerable place, ably manned, having the ordnance of the Convent frigate, there shipwrecked, most obstinately held out, until a semi-culverine [cannon] of brass belonging to the Leopard [ship], was mounted and played three days upon them, forcing a breach which was gallantly entered and made good by our party, and the castle stormed, wherein were 100 commanders and soldier with their arms and good plunder, not forgetting the Convent’s ordnance, returned by Divine Providence, and works of mercy in a commander, adding honour to acts of chivalry – invited the General to give the Steward life, who contemned quarter. The town and castle reduced and the country in the major part as conceived well affected…”

    There had already been a fortnight-long siege before the cannon fire began. One of the prisoners held by the Puritans at Cardigan Castle after being captured when it was taken, was the distinguished divine and scholar, Dr. Jeremy Taylor (1613-67). Another prisoner here was Evan Gruffydd Evans of Penywenallt – “Captain Tory”, who had served in Charles I’s army.

    Cover of 1645 letter regarding the siege of Cardigan Castle (Glen Johnson Collection)

    Cover of 1645 letter regarding the siege of Cardigan Castle (Glen Johnson Collection)

    1645 – On 1st January, following the capture, General Laugharne sent Col. Rice Powell to hold Cardigan. On 4th January, just three days after the capture, Col. John Gerrard, released from North Wales, appeared before Cardigan with 1200 horse and 1300 foot soldiers. He occupied the town without difficulty and seized the boats carrying provisions for the garrison, who were then called upon to surrender. Col. Powell sent to General Laugharne and a defiant reply was received. Col. Gerrard’s men then demolished the greater part of Cardigan Bridge, but lost 150 men besieging the castle without success. General Laugharne’s troops marched to the Pembrokeshire side of the river and 120 men crossed the river with supplies under heavy Royalist fire. On 22nd January the town was attacked, Cardigan Bridge crossed using faggots of wood, and the Royalists driven out again. In May, after hearing of a Royalist victory in Newcastle Emlyn, the garrison at Cardigan “slighted” the castle, set fire to the buildings and left. After the war ended it seems that the castle was returned to the Lewis family of Coedmore, Llechryd.

    The North Tower with its vaulted basement survives to a height of three storeys

    The 13th Century North Tower, now with attached mansion house, in 2004 (c) Glen K Johnson

    1653 – On 9th May a Grand Inquest, sworn in at the Leet Court at Cardigan Castle, resolved to create Cardigan Borough Council to govern the town. The castle gate appeared on the new town shield.

    1666 – By this date houses had been built beyond the castle ditch along Bridge Street.

    1673 – According to one source, Abel Griffith was living here.

    1700 – The Lewis family sold Coedmore, Llechryd and its estates, including the Castle, to Nathaniel Wade of Bristol.

    1712 – On 26th March Nathaniel Wade sold “…all that piece of ground in Cardigan aforesaid called by the name of the Castle green…” together with other lands for £360 to Thomas Brock of Haverfordwest and others.

    1713 – In November the Cardigan Borough Council devised and oversaw a massive landscaping project here, capping tons of earth and rubble from the demolition of mediaeval and later buildings here, with turf from the Cardigan Common to make a bowling green. From this date the site was generally known as “Castle Green”.

    1725 – On 26th May Thomas Brock wrote his will.

    1741 print of the castle by S & N Buck (Glen Johnson Collection)

    1741 print of the castle by S & N Buck (Glen Johnson Collection)

    1741 – The Buck brothers produced an engraving of the ruins, later plagiarised by many other artists.

    1761 – On 17th June Hannah Mathias, widow, daughter of Thomas Brock, leased Castle Green to Thomas Lloyd of Bronwydd and John Morgan of Cardigan for a year.

    1763 – In May Mary Pryse, widow, died, leaving her property to her sister, Jane Pryse. She had been granted the castle by the late Thomas Brock and left the castle and other property to Jane & Phyllis Pryse.

    1784 – The Castle Green was leased by Phyllis & Jane Pryse on 6th April to Thomas Colby of Rhosygilwen, Cilgerran. The lease included the remains of the North Tower, by then converted and extended for use as a barn.

    Cardigan Castle from 1786 print by J Greig (Glen Johnson Collection)

    Cardigan Castle from 1786 print by J Greig (Glen Johnson Collection)

    1786 – Two towers and a wall appear on an illustration by J Greig, based upon another by F Grose. Phyllis Pryse, spinster, wrote her will, leaving her property to her sister, Jane Pryse. She also refers to her sister, Mary Bowen, the wife of surgeon John Bowen.

    1788 – On 22nd December advertised for sale was “…one half part, of all that very desirable Estate, well known by the general name of The Castle Green Estate. N. B. The last mentioned premises consists of the seite of the old castle, several messuages or dwelling houses and gardens, a barn, a malthouse and a certain piece of ground called the Castle Green, with a lime kiln contiguous thereto, all situate in the town of Cardigan…”

    1793 – On 11th June Sir Richard Colt-Hoare visited the ruins and made a painting of them. He remarked that the ruins, which he described as “…trifling…”, were washed by the tide.

    1795 – Mary Bowen, wife of John Bowen, surgeon, died leaving her property to her husband.

    1797 – Wigstead stated that ‘…the remains of the castle are covered with ivy, and may be passed unnoticed…’

    1799 – John Bowen leased ‘Castle House’ to Thomas Colby of Rhosygilwen, Cilgerran.

    1801 – On 17th January the “…parcel of ground called Castle Green…” was surrendered by Thomas Colby to its owner – John Bowen. The property included “…all that Vault or Cellar under a certain Building called the Barn …”

    1802 – G Lipscomb described it – “…A few old walls and towers matted with ivy and built with the dingey, slatey stone of the country…mark the ancient site of the castle…”

    1803 – Malkin thought the ruins “…inconsiderable fragments…”

    1805 – John Bowen died, leaving his property to his daughter Elizabeth Bowen. This may have been at the castle and comprised “…all that House that I now live in with the Two Houses under the garden, outhouses, garden, stable, carthouse and the Quay with all the appurtenances therto belonging, during her life…” She must quickly have passed it on to his namesake and possibly relative, John Bowen of the Priory, barrister, who began landscaping of the site.

    Seen from Carrier's Lane is John Bowen's East Wing and Ty'r Ardd of ca.1805-08

    Castle Green from Carrier’s Lane in 1987 (c) Glen K Johnson

    1808 – S R Meyrick described a house “…being built…” by John Bowen on the site of the keep, utilising its’ basement as his cellars. Aside from this, “…All that now remains of it are two towers and a wall…” It is likely that the architect was David Evans.

    1809 – On 14th January John Bowen married his second wife – Elizabeth Hughes of Aberllolwyn near Aberystwyth.

    1811 – During landscaping of the site, N Carlisle described “…the wall between the two towers being lowered and the Green sloped down so as to form a hanging Garden…” The castle was sold that year to David Powell Lucas, a solicitor and Collector of Customs for the Port of Cardigan.

    1812 – Fenton wrote of the castle that ‘…but from the trifling ruins that now appear of a few truncated bastions surmounted and disfigured by a modern house, you can hardly form an idea of the capaciousness of its ancient outline…’

    Recessed ceiling in the E Wing, Castle Green House (c) Glen K Johnson

    Recessed ceiling in the E Wing, Castle Green House (c) Glen K Johnson

    1815 – Thomas Rees noted: “…Cardigan Castle occupied a commanding, though not a very elevated, situation close to the river, above the present bridge. The existing remains are not considerable, consisting chiefly of the wall on the river side, and a portion of two towers by which this part was protected. Its original extent may be traced without much difficulty. It does not appear to have covered at any time a very large space of ground, but was evidently a place of great strength…’

    ‘…The ground is now the property of John Bowen Esq. who has erected an elegant mansion on the site of the keep, the dungeons of which he has converted into cellars…”

    On 4th February John Bowen died aged 61.

    Hand-painted 1820's Parisian wallpaper, Castle Green House, August 2003 (c) Glen K Johnson

    Hand-painted 1820′s Parisian wallpaper, Castle Green House, August 2003 (c) Glen K Johnson

    1827 – By May the property had been sold to Arthur Jones, Sheriff of Cardiganshire, who then added a new front range to Castle Green House. According to Rev. John Herring of Cardigan, writing in August “…The architect and master builder is Mr. Daniel Evans of Eglwyswrw and his son, John Evans. On the occasion of laying the foundation stone of the mansion on May 31 of that year…”, Arthur Jones held a magnificent banquet for the forty men employed in the work. Rev. Herring continues “…The work of the masons is a revelation to the neighbourhood. It is not inferior to the wonderful work executed here 700 years ago, the foundations of which will remain a part of the new building. Immense stones have been brought here such as have not been seen within living memory. The foundation stone has a niche carved out of it, into which Arthur Jones Esq. deposited gold and silver pieces as a memorial for some future generations. A flagstone measuring 78 square feet, has been laid at the entrance, under the verandah. In a like manner, the work of the carpenters is excellent. There are 43 men regularly employed in the construction, not counting smiths etc….”

    Arthur Jones lived here with his wife Mary Anne Jones, and their daughter Anna Jane Jones (born 6th December 1825). On 14th September Arthur Jones donated a new organ to St. Mary’s Church.

    1829 – On 16th July Harriet Catherine, daughter of Arthur and Mary Anne Jones, was born.

    1830 – A large hot house was built at Castle Green. On 25th August David Lewis, coachman of Castle Green, and Ann, his wife, had their son, Thomas Lewis, baptised at the parish church.


    The Regency front range in elegant Italianate style.

    The 1827 front range of Castle Green House, taken in February 2005 (c) Glen K Johnson

    1832 – On 13th July an auction advertisement appeared in the Carmarthen Journal: – “…Capital modern mansion. Drawing room and dining room each 27’ by 18’ by 11’ high with mahogany doors, breakfast room, study, kitchen, bathroom and dressing room, six bedrooms and arched cellar being part of old castle. Hot house and pinery 87’ long recently erected at great expense. Four stall stable and coach house…” The purchase included the house of Dr Noott, Strand; the Custom House, St. Mary Street; another dwelling house with a billiard room; a stable, cottage and smith’s forge; and Penlan, Moylegrove. David Davies of Carnachenwen near Fishguard, formerly of Aberystwyth, Sheriff of Cardiganshire that year, purchased it. He moved here with his wife, Mary Davies nee’ Evans.

    1833 – In Samuel Lewis’ ‘Topographical Dictionary of Wales’ published in 1833, but written slightly earlier, the castle is described: “…The remains at present consist only of two bastions and a portion of the curtain wall. The site of the keep is at present occupied by a handsome modern villa, the cellars of which are formed out of the dungeons of the ancient tower, of which the walls in some parts are nine to ten feet thick. The outer ward has been converted into a verdant lawn, tastefully disposed in parterres, the whole effected by John Bowen Esq. but the property now belongs to Arthur Jones Esq. by purchase in 1827…”

    Drawing Room fireplace in August 1986 (c) A W J Greenland

    Drawing Room fireplace in August 1986 (c) A W J Greenland

    1834 – The property is shown on J Wood’s map of Cardigan. In September Frances Jones of the Stable Yard died aged 60. In December Mary Anne, daughter of David & Mary Davies, was born.

    1836 – In January Miss Mary Ann Davies died aged 13 months. David Davies died in May aged 31.

    1838 – In June 1838 Henry Thomas of Castle Green died aged 16 months.

    1839 – On 17th September Mary Davies of Castle Green, widow, married John Parry of Glanpaith, near Aberystwyth, solicitor.

    1840 – On 28th January the funeral was held of the late Mary Richards, 87, of the Stable Yard. Mary and John T H Parry of Glanpaith, put Castle Green up for auction on 8th February. It was purchased by David Davies of Bridge House, comprising “…the mansion house, garden, pleasure ground, stable, saddle room, coach house and other outbuildings known as Castle Green…”. David Davies was a merchant and ship owner, Lloyd’s agent for the port of Cardigan, and owned sail-lofts and other businesses, as well as an extensive estate. His wife, Anna Letitia, was the daughter of Rev. D Griffith, Vicar of Nevern. On 30th May the funeral was held of Edward Thomas, 15 months, of the Castle Green Stable Yard.

    1841 – Castle Green was occupied by David and Anna Letitia Davies; their young sons David Griffith and Thomas and 8 servants. The Groom’s Cottage at the stable yard was occupied by David and Hannah Thomas and their three children.

    1843 – By 4th October Evan Elias of Green Street was the gardener.

    1844 – David Davies became the Mayor of Cardigan.

    Castle Green House by T Nicholas, 1875 (Glen Johnson Collection)

    Castle Green House by T Nicholas, 1875 (Glen Johnson Collection)

    1851 – The Census returns list the occupants as:- David and Anna Letitia Davies with three servants. Living at the Groom’s Cottage in the Stable Yard were Mr Owens, the groom with his wife, Mary, and their teenage son and daughters. On 5th November Anna Letitia Davies was buried at the parish church, having died aged 55.

    1856 – David Davies married his second wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Rev. John Holcombe, Rector of Cosheston and Rhoscrowther, Pembrokeshire.

    1859 – On 7th August James and Martha James of the Stable Yard had their son, James, christened at the parish church. The Cambrian Archaeological Association visited Cardigan in August 1859. On August 16th 1859 they described the castle ruins: “…the castle, which is so surrounded by buildings, and has suffered such dilapidations, that, without more careful examination, it was not easy to ascertain all its original details. It appears, however, to have been of a triangular form. Of the external works, two bastions and a connecting curtain are the principal remains, the latter later than the former, as appears from its junction with the towers. In the most northern of the bastions are two passages descending towards the river, one of which is said to have communicated with it by a sally-port, the other to lead to a chamber where a well supplied the inmates of the castle. In addition to these remains is what is called the keep, now converted into the mansion of the present owner, – a circular tower of massive and strong masonry, still retaining its underground apartments and passages, now used as cellars, and presenting some peculiarities of vaulting. Whether this tower was connected with the outer defences of the castle, or occupied a more central position, was not stated, that portion of the castle not being easily made out. The masonry is decidedly superior, and older than that of the bastions, which exhibit none of the work usually found in Norman castles. Gilbert Marshall is said to have rebuilt this stronghold in the middle of the thirteenth century, or rather to have increased and strengthened the works; for it is doubtful whether any part of the original structure still remains, unless the keep be a portion. Few castles appear to have undergone more assaults…’

    Hot-house, Castle Green, circa 1872 (Glen Johnson Collection)

    Hot-house, Castle Green, circa 1872 (Glen Johnson Collection)

    1861 – The occupiers were David and Elizabeth Davies; his adult sons David Griffith and Thomas Davies; and four servants. At the Groom’s Cottage in the Stable Yard lived James and Martha James and their three children. On 15th December their daughter, Martha, was christened.

    1862 – D K W Webley-Parry, sold to David Davies the foreshore rights to the south bank of the Teifi estuary, and much of the former St. Dogmaels Abbey estate.

    1864 – On 6th August Thomas Davies, younger son of David Davies, Castle Green, was buried at the parish church having died aged 27.

    1865 – David Davies passed his business on to his son, David Griffith Davies, and his son’s business associate, Launcelot Lowther.

    1866 – J R Phillips wrote that “…it is quite clear that a …underground communication with the river exists at Cardigan castle…”

    1869 – On 18th June the Davies-Lowther partnership ended and David Griffith Davies continued with the business alone.

    1871 – The occupiers were David and Elizabeth Davies and five servants. David Owens, groom, lived at the Groom’s Cottage in the stable yard. David Griffith Davies married Arabella Ann Berrington, daughter of the Vicar of Nolton, on 30th June and they moved to Castle Green on 7th July 1871.

    1872 – A son and heir, David Berrington Griffith Davies, was born to Mr & Mrs D G Davies on 28th June.

    1873 – On 8th February David Davies, J. P., Deputy-Lieutenant, died aged 77. Anna Elizabeth Davies was born to Arabella and David Griffith Davies on September 15th. On 19th December D G Davies opened the Bridge Steam Saw Mills.

    1874 – On 29th March Anna Elizabeth Davies, infant daughter of Mr & Mrs D G Davies, died aged six months.

    1875 – On 16th January another son was born to Mr & Mrs D G Davies. Named William Bowen Davies he died on 18th March. At about this time it is alleged that David Griffith Davies allowed a party of visitors to descend the “Secret Passage” at Castle Green. At the bottom of a very steep and narrow flight of steps, a passageway led for some distance before terminating in a roof fall. The tunnel was said to be very well constructed.

    The vaulting of the ceiling is an interesting design and mimicks the position of the steps beneath

    Inside the medieval inter-mural passageway, East Tower, showing vaulted ceiling (c) Glen K Johnson

    1876 – On 1st January D G DAVIES announced via letter that his business interests would be transferred to a new company called “The Cardigan Mercantile Company”. On 27th January another son, Thomas Bowen Davies, was born to Mr & Mrs D G Davies. On 27th October D G Davies took £1000 in shares in the new Whitland-Cardigan Railway.

    1878 – On 11th April a daughter, Arabella Elizabeth Anna Davies, was born to Mr & Mrs D G Davies. On 12th June the “South Wales Eisteddfod” was held in the town and David Griffith Davies was the President.

    1879 – On 26th April Arabella Elizabeth Anna Davies, daughter of Mr & Mrs D G Davies, died aged 1 year. On 26th October a son, George Aubrey Davies, was born to the same couple.

    1881 – Archibald Arroll the gardener; his wife, Janet; and their infant son, Robert, occupied the property. The Davies’ were probably at their Clifton house at this time.

    1882 – On 29th September Mr & Mrs Cobb were resident. They may have been staff or tenants.

    1883 – Mr & Mrs D G Davies were living at Clifton, Bristol. William Phillips was employed as the gardener – and remained here until the family sold the property in 1923.

    1885 – On 7th August Thomas Thomas of the Mwldan, fell 22ft whilst working on some repairs here.

    1886 – In November Mrs. Elizabeth Davies, formerly of Castle Green, died aged 78. She had long been an invalid and had lived in Tenby.

    Dining Room cornice, September 2003 (c) Glen K Johnson

    Dining Room cornice, September 2003 (c) Glen K Johnson

    1890 – On 5th September David Griffith Berrington Davies, eldest son and heir to D G Davies, went out in a canoe, armed with a gun for hunting. The gun accidentally discharged, shattering his arm, which was later amputated, “…a little above the elbow…”

    1891 – Castle Green was occupied by David Griffith Davies, his wife Arabella Anne; their teenage sons David Berrington G Davies and George A Davies; and three servants.

    1897 – On 18th December George Aubrey Davies, 18, son of D G Davies, was killed in a shooting accident.

    1898 – In April 1898 David Griffith Berrington Davies married Charlotte Stewart Benfield.

    1899 – On 31st January a son was born to the wife of D B G Davies of Pencraig, Boncath.

    1901 – On 28th October 1901 John Rowlands, valet to D G Davies, was the subject of an inquest after falling to his death down the cellar steps. The inhabitants of Castle Green were David Griffith and Arabella Ann Davies and four servants.

    1903 – D G Davies had the 510-ton steamer “Castle Green” built.

    1906 – On 4th January David Griffith Davies died aged 70. His widow Arabella Ann Davies remained resident until 1923.

    Castle Green House ca 1880 by J T Mathias (Glen Johnson Collection)

    Castle Green House ca 1880 by J T Mathias (Glen Johnson Collection)

    1907 – On 21st February Mrs Arabella Ann Davies entertained 80 children here who were members of a penny savings scheme.

    1912 – Mrs. Arabella Ann Davies was the Vice-Chairman of the Teifi Lawn Tennis Club.

    1913 – Mrs Arabella Ann Davies was Chairperson of the local Red Cross branch. On 22nd August she treated her staff to an outing to Aberporth.

    1914 – Tewdwr Griffith Bowen Davies came to live here until 1923 with his grandmother – Mrs Arabella Ann Davies. On 3rd December sixteen Belgian refugees were entertained here during their stay in Cardigan.

    1917 – On 17th October all of the Castle Green tenants were splendidly entertained here.

    1919 – On 15th January Mrs Arabella Ann Davies paid for a dinner for former Prisoners of War at the Victoria Coffee Tavern, Priory Street.

    1920 – On 14th May part of the estate was sold off.

    1922 – On 7th December 1922 Henry Starkey, a member of the Welsh Regiment, married servant Sarah Smith of Castle Green. Mrs Arabella Ann Davies gave Miss Smith away, hosted the Wedding Breakfast at Castle Green and supplied her car for the young couple to enjoy a day trip to Newcastle Emlyn.

    1923 – On 25th June Arabella Ann Davies, widow of David Griffith Davies, died here aged 80. By 13th July D Berrington G Davies had purchased Plas Llangoedmor and was intending to sell or rent out Castle Green. He took with him gardener William Phillips who had tended the gardens here since 1883.

    1924 – On 8th February Castle Green was advertised for sale or let. On 2nd July a fete was held here for Mr & Mrs D Berrington G Davies in aid of the Cardigan Nursing Association. On 21st-22nd August a furniture sale was held at Castle Green. Soon afterwards, it was leased and later sold to John Evans, a local auctioneer.

    Stables, circa 1920 (Glen Johnson collection)

    Stables, circa 1920 (Glen Johnson collection)

    1925 – On 3rd April there was discussion regarding filling up “…holes in the wall…” of Castle Green, following the demolition of cottages at Carrier’s Lane. On 20th November Cllr. John Evans presided over a meeting to establish a sports field in Cardigan.

    1926 – In December it was proposed to demolish two more cottages in Carrier’s Lane in order to provide stone for the new retaining wall here.

    1927 – On 1st July Miss Mary Elizabeth Morfydd Evans, daughter and only child of Mr. & Mrs. John Evans, married Dr. John Stuart Spickett. J G Evans and Mr. Esau redecorated the Breakfast Room.

    1928 – John Evans was the President of Cardigan Agricultural Show.

    1930 – On 28th February the writer “Kuklos” of “The Daily News” wrote “…Cardigan…has a ruined castle, of course, but doesn’t think much of it, and had camouflaged and concealed it…”

    1931 – On 9th November John Evans became the Mayor of Cardigan.

    Castle Green House in 1938 (Glen Johnson Collection)

    Castle Green House in 1938 (Glen Johnson Collection)

    1932 – On 6th February a son, Goronwy, was born here to Dr & Mrs John S Spickett. On 27th July a garden fete was held here, opened by Lady Weblwy-Parry-Pryse. It was noted that for some years, the Mayoress had allowed the playing of tennis here for a small charge. During 1932 ‘E G’ conducted some alterations or repairs to the north range of the stables.

    1933 – Mrs. Morfydd Spickett died on 24th March, aged 29.

    1934 – In March John Evans was re-elected Chairman of the Cardigan Gas & Coke Consumers Company. On 23rd March he became the Sheriff of Cardiganshire. In May he was elected Chairman of the Cardigan County Secondary School Board of Governors. On 24th October John Evans opened the new playing field at the school. On 16th November reference was made to the new garden below the castle wall on Bridge Street – part of the wall there having been rebuilt.

    West wall and Bridge Street, circa 1932 (Glen Johnson Collection)

    West wall and Bridge Street, circa 1932 (Glen Johnson Collection)

    1935 – John Evans was President of Cardigan Agricultural Show again and Mrs Elizabeth Evans was President of the Cardigan Tennis Club.

    1936 – On 8th April John Evans opened new extensions at the Cardigan County Secondary School.

    1937 – On 8th February Cllr. John Evans presented a new mayoral chain to Cardigan Borough Council. In March he became the Chairman of Cardiganshire County Council. In May John Evans was seriously ill at that time, but had fully recovered by late July.

    1938 – In February there was a presentation to Cllr. John Evans in recognition of his services towards Cardigan & District Memorial Hospital.

    1939 – On 9th February John Evans died aged 73. On 12th May Castle Green was advertised for sale. An article appeared in the “Cardigan & Tivy-Side Advertiser” that week calling for the buildings to be used as an extension of the National Museum. In early November some evacuees that had been housed at Castle Green, left.

    Barbara Wood bought Castle Green House in 1940 - it was then in good repair.

    Castle Green House remained in good order until 1940. Image from the author’s collection.

    1940 – On 17th May the castle and Castle Green House were sold to Miss Barbara Olwen Wood of Hertfordshire. Miss Wood and her mother, Gladys Mary Wood, moved in on July 25th. It was noted that dry rot was present in the Drawing Room at that time. The garden immediately began to decline. In October a contingent of forty South Wales Borderers were billeted here, having requisitioned the East Wing of Castle Green House and part of the grounds. A ‘pill-box’ gun emplacement was built on top of the curtain wall at about that time by the Home Guard. By November several window panes at Ty’r Ardd had been broken. There were weeds growing freely from part of the roof of the stables at that time. That December, the basement was requisitioned separately. A concrete hearth was installed in the former Dining Room that month.

    1942 – The troops were removed on 20th February. In March the East Wing of Castle Green House was again requisitioned and occupied by the Deputy Commander, Royal Engineers. Also requisitioned were a drive, two entrances and Ty’r Ardd. In May the troops were digging up the driveways to install new drains. In October the electricity supply to the main house was cut off.

    1944 – In April Francis (“Frank”) Arthur Wood, father of the owner, died.

    1945 – Following the end of the war, the wing was released from requisitioning circa 16th November.

    1946 – The Housing Committee of Cardigan Borough Council requisitioned Ty’r Ardd on May 20th. The roof and floors of the Coach House collapsed, flattening the Morris 8 and Armstrong-Siddeley cars inside. The gas supply was cut off.

    1947 – Barbara Wood alleged that the demolition of Manchester House, High Street, caused damage to her boundary. In September the tenancy of the stables was terminated.

    1950 – By this date the stables were becoming vandalised and boards and fittings were being stolen.

    Mrs Gladys Wood, Castle Green House, 1940's (Glen Johnson Collection)

    Mrs Gladys Wood, Castle Green House, 1940′s (Glen Johnson Collection)

    1952 – On 28th September the south-west corner of the castle was said to be in a very poor state of repair.

    1953 – On 16th January the same corner was said to be in danger of collapsing – £200 would be needed to repair it. By 4th December Cardigan Borough Council were seeking grants to repair it, but on that date they received a letter from Barbara Wood, informing them that they had no right to do so.

    1954 – On 15th January it was announced that the medieval remains of the castle were to become a Scheduled Ancient Monument. On 15th March Ty’r Ardd was left empty. The telephone service was cut off.

    1961 – On 16th June Cardigan Castle became a Scheduled Ancient Monument and Castle Green House became a listed building.

    1968 – On 22nd March Cllr. Dr. Gwyn Jones of Tymawr, High Street, proposed the use of Castle Green as a car park.

    1970 – On 17th April a Health Officer was allowed into the property following a “siege” of three months, during which time a warrant for entry had to be obtained. He was quite happy with the living conditions, despite the lack of water, electricity, gas or proper sanitation.

    1971 – On 14th May Cardigan Borough Council announced their intention to buy the property. On 28th May came the owner’s response – “…Tell them to go and fry themselves…”

    1973 – On 18th March 1973 Mrs Gladys Mary Wood died.

    Erecting the steel raking shores, September 1975 (Glen Johnson Collection)

    Erecting the steel raking shores, September 1975 (Glen Johnson Collection)

    1975 – On 8th August 1975 a special stamp was issued commemorating the 800th anniversary of the first Eisteddfod. That September, the south wall was reinforced by three unsightly metal buttresses. A dispute over repairs to the wall between Castle Green and No. 43 St. Mary Street resulted in the serving of a repairs notice.

    1976 – Barbara Wood began the occasional practice of admitting visitors at 50p a head until 1990.

    1977 – On 7th June a Mediaeval Pageant was held in the grounds to celebrate the Queen’s Silver Jubilee.

    1981 – In December a number of dead and diseased elms were felled in the castle grounds by Dyfed County Council.

    1983 – The year 1983 was the Welsh “Year of the Castles”. Cardigan Town Council organised an exhibition on the history of the site, held in August, and set up a special committee to look at the restoration of the site. Cllr. H Gwynfi Jenkins was the chairman. Teenager Kevin Moses assisted Barbara Wood in opening the castle to the public on selected days during the summer. Miss Wood appeared in a television documentary for “Wales This Week” on HTV.

    1984 – Castle Green House was declared “unfit for human habitation”. Barbara Wood moved into the first of a series of caravans in the grounds. Trial excavations by the Dyfed Archaeological Trust, under Ken Murphy, proved disappointing. Part of the west wall was the subject of a ‘Dangerous Structures Notice’. A 30ft long stretch of the wall collapsed in December. A feasibility study was drawn up by the Castle Sub-committee of Cardigan Town Council, including some good maps of the site.

    1985 – In April a group of teenagers formed themselves into ‘The Cardigan Castle Volunteers’, led by teenager Glen K Johnson. During the Spring a grass bank was created on the site of the collapsed section of the west wall. In August the Henry Tudor March visited the castle – commemorating the 500th Anniversary of the Battle of Bosworth. Clearance of some of the dense vegetation by the ‘Cardigan Castle Volunteers’ began.

    The outer walls in 1986

    Cardigan Castle in November 1986 (c) Glen K Johnson

    1987 – In April “The Forgotten Castle of Cardigan” guide book went on sale. The first print run of 1,000 copies sold in just seven weeks and a second edition appeared in August. A section of wall by the Strand was declared unsafe, and had to be dismantled and rebuilt in the summer.

    1988 – The reported theft of a valuable painting made the newspapers. In April local haulage contractor, Brian Rees, acquired a new caravan for Barbara Wood and had it lifted over the castle wall with a crane. The Cardigan Castle Volunteers ceased work in September. Part of the Northeast Bastion collapsed that month.

    1990 – Ove Arup & Partners conducted a structural survey of the castle that year, estimating that Castle Green House and the Outer walls could be restored at a cost of £390,000. Portions of the ancient fabric were discovered during the digging of test pits.

    1992 – Additional elements were added to the various Scheduled and Listed portions of the complex.

    1993 – Hanes Aberteifi erected a plaque commemorating Cardigan Castle as the birthplace of the National Eisteddfod, and staged an exhibition on the 900 years of the castle’s history, mainly from the files of Glen Johnson and Adam Greenland. The plaque was unveiled on 9th October by Rev. John Gwilym Jones, the Arch-Druid of Wales.

    1997 – In April Glen Johnson released a new book, entitled ‘The History of Cardigan Castle’. By 23rd April Ceredigion County Council had enacted that no further discussion on the future of the castle could take place while Barbara Wood remained resident. The Menter Aberteifi Town Audit highlighted public feeling that the castle should be restored.

    1999 – Barbara Wood left the property for the last time, entering Brondesbury Lodge Nursing Home soon afterwards.

    2001 – A row began over comments allegedly made by CADW in September. The local ‘Tivy-Side Advertiser’ newspaper began a ‘Save the Castle’ campaign in October and launched a petition calling for Ceredigion County Council to acquire the site. Cardigan Town Council agreed to form a working group to look at the problem, with Cllr. Glen Johnson as the Chairman.

    2002 – In January Cardigan Castle was advertised for sale for £1.25 million. The Cadwgan Building Preservation Trust, in association with the Cardigan Castle Working Group, the latter now independent of Cardigan Town Council, decided to offer to take the castle on if it came into public ownership. On 31st July Ceredigion County Council elected to serve a Compulsory Purchase Order on the castle. On 5th August the ‘Tivy-Side Advertiser’ launched their booklet ‘Castle in Crisis’ at the National Eisteddfod of Wales at St. David’s. On October 12th a number of items from Castle Green House were sold at auction on the instructions of Brian Rees. These included a half-relief ship’s hull from the Dining Room.

    The building was completely enveloped in creepers and ivy.

    Castle Green House in April 2003 – vanishing under vegetation (c) Glen K Johnson

    2003 – In January the roof of the stables finally collapsed. In February Brian Rees announced that the asking price had been reduced to £500,000. Money granted towards the regeneration of Cardigan by the National Assembly for Wales included a sum towards the purchase of the castle. The Secretary of State for Wales, Rhodri Morgan, said that the castle was the key to the regeneration of the town. On April 14th Cardigan Castle finally became public property when it was sold by Barbara Olwen Wood to Ceredigion County Council for £500,000. In early July 2003, Glen Johnson, Maz Sherwood and Oliver Forsyth began clearing some of the vegetation in the grounds and the caravans and storage containers were removed from the site. The vegetation was removed from the façade of the house before work was halted because of the horseshoe bat on site. HTV filmed at the castle on August 6th 2003 and the programme was broadcast later that month. The same month, a pair of cottages at 1 & 2 Gren Street, near the entrance, were acquired as part of the estate. An archaeological dig at the Green Street cottages in September revealed part of the medieval structure – perhaps a wall tower or part of the gatehouse.

    On 17th October an exhibition of the castle opened at the Upper Market. The castle was opened to the public on November 12th for four days. Visitor numbers totalled nearly 2000. A further opening on 22nd November brought 460 visitors in just two hours. On 18th December No. 43 St. Mary Street was acquired by Ceredigion County Council as part of the Cardigan Castle complex.

    The pill-box in 2004 (c) Glen K Johnson

    The pill-box in 2004 (c) Glen K Johnson

    2004 – In February temporary supports were placed in the kitchen to support the ceiling. On 2nd March filming of the BBC television programme ‘Restoration’ began at the castle in secret. On 4th March the partition dividing the East Wing from the main house was removed and the Back Hall connected with the Library Corridor for the first time in 64 years. In late April Glenys Kinnock visited the site. On 28th April, Griff Rhys-Jones, host of ‘Restoration’ visited the site. In May singer Aled Jones and M E P Eluned Morgan visited the site. The castle opened to the public again from 29th – 31st May, attracting 2000 visitors over the three days and raising more than £1600 towards the recently-launched ‘Cardigan Castle Appeal’ Fund. A set of four postcards went on sale that weekend. Cardigan’s annual Gwyl Fawr Eisteddfod was launched from the castle on 30th June. The castle gates were opened to the public at weekends through July and daily from mid-July until early September.

    2005 – In February work began on constructing a protective cocoon around Castle Green House. Clearance work in the grounds by Glen Johnson and Maz Sherwood ceased at the end of that month. By December 2005 Cadwgan Building Preservation Trust were intending to take on the site.

    2006 – On 3rd July H R H Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, visited the castle and met with members of the Cadwgan Building Preservation Trust. Work on a feasibility study was undertaken from October.

    2007 – In September Cadwgan B P T revealed their plans to covert the front range of Castle Green House into a Welsh Language Learning Centre and the remainder of the building and all of the outbuildings into holiday accommodation. They also proposed creating an historic garden in the grounds and building a restaurant on the site of the hot house. In December Ceredigion County Council agreed to lease the property to the Cadwgan Building Preservation Trust.

    2008 – In January extra sections of mesh were added to the stanchions at the south-west corner of the wall. On 23rd December it was announced that Cadwgan BPT had been granted funds for the next phase of their £10 million Lottery bid.

    2009 – Former castle owner Barbara O Wood, died on 9th February, aged 91. Cadwgan BPT signed a lease of the site from Ceredigion County Council.

    2010 – In September test pits were dug on the site of the Fern House and to the south of Ty Castell. In November, CADW began repairs to the Northeast Bastion, East Tower and curtain wall between, including some archaeological work. In December planning permission was given for the Cadwgan B P T proposals, including alterations to the entrance, building of a restaurant and installing a steel and glass staircase into the former Breakfast Room.

    2011 – In March it was announced that Cardigan Castle had secured £4.7 million of funding towards restoration.

    2012 – In February a number of trees were felled – notably in the Croquet Lawn and along the Strand. In March and April a number of new officers were employed by the Trust to oversee the restoration. An archaeological dig was undertaken in July and August.

    Recently-repaired S wall, 17/05/2013 (c) Glen K Johnson

    Recently-repaired S wall, 17/05/2013 (c) Glen K Johnson

    (c) Glen K Johnson 2012



    1. Darren Robert Smith
      April 26, 2013 at 1:42 pm

      Dear Mr Johnson,

      I have very recently, today in fact, discovered from my father’s family tree research that the extraordinary Barbara Wood is (was) my 1st cousin, twice removed. I would love to learn more about her and especially to see any pictures you have of her. I saw a pdf, online, of a newspaper cutting from the Tivy Side tribute to her dated 17:02:09 and reproduced two delightful pictures of her – one when she was a young woman. Would you consider allowing me to see a better reproduction of them? I currently live in Berlin Germany, my parents in Deal, Kent. I would love to correspond with you, if you have time. Best wishes Darren Robert Smith

      • glen
        May 23, 2013 at 9:17 am

        Hi Darren

        Thanks for your comment. Very interested to hear of your connection with Barbara Wood – I’d love to know more about the family background. Regards. Glen

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