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Historic Buildings of Pembrokeshire, Wales

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Historic Buildings of Pembrokeshire


Image right - Pembroke Castle

See Historic Buildings of Britain and Ireland - Main Page

See Table of Welsh Place names (Table listing where places are in Current [Post 1974/1996] Welsh Counties/Historic Counties

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If you have information about any of the Buildings mentioned below please share it here. If you have ancestors linked to any of the places please add them to the project.

The object of this project is to provide information about historic buildings in the county of Pembrokeshire, with links to sub-projects for specific buildings as appropriate. GENi profiles of people associated with those establishments can be linked to this project and/or to individual projects where they have been set up.

Castles, Baronial and Historic houses

... in alphabetical order

❊ Indicates an available image in Gallery attached to the project

Including Castles, Abbeys, Manor Houses, Mansions, Stately Homes, Country houses, Estate houses, Courts, Halls, Parks and other listed buildings of historic interest

Bold links are to GENi projects and profiles; others are to external websites


  • Amroth Castle❊ a.k.a. Eareweare. Nothing remains of Amroth Castle other than a restored gateway, parts of which may date from the 14th century. The castle was a small stone built construction that is believed to have replaced a castle mound to the north-west. Now owned and run by the same family since 1969 who developed a Holiday Park located within the grounds. ( see Sub-project )


  • Carew Castle ❊ - The famous Carew family take their name from the place, and still own the castle, although it is leased to the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, which administers the site. The present structure was begun in the 13th century by Sir Nicholas de Carew, a high ranking officer and frequent campaigner in Ireland. Sir Edmund Carew son of Sir Nicholas), mortgaged the castle to Sir Rhys ap Thomas,, the Welsh military leader, who inherited the estates of Dinefwr, including Carew, on his father's death. Rhys was knighted on the battlefield and made Governor of Wales, by King Henry VII. The last great Welsh tournament of knights was staged by Thomas at Carew in 1507. Spread over five days, the tournament drew over six hundred knights and retainers, with Rhys presiding over and judging the various contests. The castle was remodelled by Sir John Perrot during the Tudor period. Perrot was the illegitimate son of King Henry VIII. Henry Tudor's crest is featured above the carved fireplace in the Lesser Hall, and coats of arms adorn the entrance to the Great Hall. The castle eventually returned into the hands of the Carew family and was reinforced during the Civil Wars. It changed hands between Royalists and parliamentarians in 1643-44, fiercely besieged by the parliamentarians in 1646. In 1686 the Carew family abandoned their castle and moved to England. The castle was never attacked by the Welsh. The Carew family descendants still own Carew and leased it to the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park in 1983. See Castles of Wales
  • Castell Fflemish - Roman fortlet
  • Cresswell Castle


  • The French Mill, Carew - a tidal flour mill on a dam across the Carew inlet. The present building dates from the 18th century, but the French Mill was mentioned in 1476. The mill has not functioned since the 1930s, but its equipment is all still in place. It has two large undershot water wheels, driving seven sets of mill stones.


  • Haverfordwest Castle - The castle was established during Norman times in 1120 but much of the architecture remaining today is dated to 1290. For centuries the castle was an English stronghold. It is said that the Castle was founded by Tancred, a Flemish marcher lord. The castle is elsewhere recorded as having been founded in 1100 by the Norman Gilbert. It is recorded that the Constable of the castle in 1207 was Itohert son of Richard Tancard, possibly a descendant of the first Tancred. The vast majority of sources indicate that the structure was originally a Norman architecture stone keep and bailey fortress, founded by the Englishman Gilbert de Clare, earl of Pembroke in 1120. Pembrokeshire Records insist that the castle was actually originally built by Tancred the Fleming. The original castle is believed to have been first attacked (unsuccessfully) by Gruffydd ap Rhys, Prince of Deheubarth, in 1135 - 1136. In 1173 the castle had its first royal visit by Henry II of England who passed by the town on coming back from a trip to Ireland. By 1200, many of the original timber buildings had been replaced with the first stone buildings, including a rectangular north eastern tower to serve as the castle's keep. In 1210 King John took the castle from the Tancred family and Robert Fitz Richard, and in 1213 he gave concessions for the extremely wealthy William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke, to run the castle. Marshal was responsible for replacing most of the original timber walls, towers and gatehouse with stone in the 1210s, and even by 1220 little remained of the original castle. Today all that remains of the 1120 establishment is a large square keep in the north-east corner of the inner ward. In 1217, Llywelyn Fawr (Llywelyn the Great), Prince of Wales threatened the Marshal and in 1220 he burned the town but failed to take the castle. In 1248, Humphrey II de Bohun acquired the castle and resisted an attack in 1257 by Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, Prince of Gwynedd (Llywelyn the Last). In 1265, Haverfordwest castle was taken by William de Valence, Earl of Pembroke, during the Barons War, but in 1274 royalty intervened and granted it back to the de Bohun family, to the next generation, Humphrey de Bohun III.

In 1284 King Edward I and Queen Eleanor of Castile visited the castle for the first time during a royal pilgrimage to St Davids. Eleanor was said to be in love with the castle. Four years later she borrowed a huge amount of money in those times to purchase the castle from the de Bohun family and loaned £407 (an extreme amount in those days) to fully rebuild the castle and complete its transition fully into stone. A massive scale reconstruction took place, and it was completed a year later in 1290, shortly before she died, although it long became known as the "Queen's Castle at Haverford". Today much of what remains is dated to Queen Eleanor's 1290 version, including the extensive curtain wall. The castle remained in Royal possession after Eleanor's death and it was granted out to various wealthy tenants. In the 14th century, the castle was occupied by many owners, amongst them was Edward, the Black Prince, from 1359-67. The castle was owned by the crown from 1381–85, who paid for restoration works. These works proved important later, as in 1405 the castle was strong enough to fend off an attack during Owain Glyndŵr's War of Welsh independence.
By the 16th century the castle had become dilapidated and subsequently was re-fortified during the English Civil War. In 1644 Haverfordwest Castle is documented as being occupied by the Royalists, but they abandoned it on misinterpreting the noises of cows for a Parliamentary army. Although it was recaptured and held for the king for a year, who finally surrendered after the Battle of Colby Moor nearby. Shortly afterwards, in 1648, one wall of the inner ward was slighted and it was abandoned soon after. Oliver Cromwell sent letters to the castle, ordering it to be destroyed in July 1648 and threatened to imprison the townsfolk unless it was demolished. These letters were only unearthed in 1986 and are currently on display in the town museum. The derelict medieval castle was converted to a prison in 1779, although Giraldus Cambrensis records that part of the castle was used as a prison as early as 1188.
In 1820 a new prison building was erected within the castle grounds, mainly within the inner bailey. It had a capacity for 86 prisoners. In 1878 the remaining inmates were transferred to the gaol in Carmarthen. The building has subsequently been used as a police station and council offices. Today it houses the Pembrokeshire Record Office and is operated by the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority


  • Llawhaden Castle is owned and managed by Cadw. It was built by the bishops of the Diocese of St David between the 12th century and 14th century. The first castle on the site was constructed in 1115 by Bishop Bernard. Only the moat and the earth bank from this period survive. The vast majority of the ruins seen today date from the construction commissioned by Bishop Adam de Houghton between 1362 and 1386. This was much grander, with two suites of residences situated on the first floor. The gate house shown in the picture was probably added at a later date.


  • Manorbier Castle ❊ - the original seat of the Anglo-Norman de Barry family originally built on land granted to Odo de Barri, a Norman knight, at the end of the 11th century. Initially he constructed a Motte-and-bailey on the site which had a wooden keep defended by a palisade and earthworks embankments. But it was Odo's son, William de Barri, who began work on the stone fortification in the early part of the 12th century. In 1146 Gerald of Wales - Geraldus Cambrensis, the great twelfth century scholar was born at the castle. As the fourth son of William de Barri, he was related on his mothers's side, to the legendary Welsh princess Nest verch Rhys. Ther castle was only attacked twice; both were minor skirmishes. In 1327, Richard de Barri assaulted Manorbier in a dispute over family succession. 300 years later during the English Civil War, the castle was seized in 1645 by Parliamentarian forces. It was then slighted to prevent further use by the Royalists. Through the 17th and 18th centuries Manorbier was allowed to decay. However in 1880, the castle was partially restored by J.R.Cobb, a tenant who carried out repairs on the buildings and walls. The castle is today open to the public. Along with the castle, there are also gardens, dovecote and mill. The castle is very popular for wedding venues and has a holiday cottage which can be rented for wedding guests or private individuals wanting to stay in a castle.


  • Narberth Castle - a ruined Norman fortress first mentioned in 1116. The current ruins seem to date from the 13th century, having been built by Andrew Perrot. However the castle is mentioned in the Mabinogion ('Castell Arberth') as the place where Rhiannon was imprisoned and forced to carry travellers through the gates as penance for killing her son. Although there is some controversy over the actual location of the castle in the Mabinogion (there are at least two other earthworks nearby that are contenders, but neither are in good defensive positions compared to the site of this one), the Normans often built castles on top of earlier defensive structures and it is plausible that the original was obliterated. The castle never changed hands throughout the Glyndwr rebellion and was slighted after being taken by Oliver Cromwell in the English Civil War. Excavations have found more than 20 graves on the north side dating from the 12th century to the 13th, hinting that the area may have once been the site of a church.


  • Pembroke Castle ❊ medieval castle originally the seat of the Earldom of Pembroke. In 1093 Roger of Montgomery built the first castle at the site when he fortified the promontory during the Norman invasion of Wales. A century later this castle was given to William Marshal by Richard I. Marshall, who would become one of the most powerful men in 12th-Century Britain, rebuilt Pembroke in stone creating most of the structure that remains today.
  • Picton Castle ❊ a medieval castle near Haverfordwest. Originally built at the end of the 13th century by Sir John Wogan and is still inhabited by his descendants, the Philipps family. The estates, gardens and parkland of Picton Castle was once part of the larger Manor of Wiston, but became a separate holding, replacing Wiston Castle by the 13th century. Picton Castle began as a motte castle and was reconstructed in stone by the Wogan family during the 13th century. In 1405, French troops supporting Owain Glyndŵr attacked and held the Castle, and it was seized again during the English Civil War in 1645 by Parliamentary forces. The Picton Castle estate was acquired by the Philipps family when Sir Thomas Phillips II, Knight, Esquire to Henry VII (1456-1520) married Jane, daughter and heiress of Sir Henry Dwnn, of Picton in the 1490s. Sir John Philipps, who inherited the castle in the 15th century, remodelled the building and created a new entrance which remained until the 1820s when a new entrance was designed by Thomas Rowlands. The estate remained with the Philipps family until the death of Lord Milford in 1823, when it was inherited by his cousin Richard Grant, who assumed the surname Philipps and was created a Baronet in 1828 and Baron Milford in 1847. His heir was his half-brother, the Reverend James Henry Alexander Philipps (formerly Gwyther), who assumed by royal licence the surname and arms of Philipps. On his death the estate passed to his son-in-law, Charles Edward Gregg Philipps, who was created a Baronet, of Picton, in 1887 (see Philipps Baronets) then to his son Sir Henry Erasmus Edward Philipps, Baronet, then to his son Sir John Erasmus Gwynne Alexander Philipps (1915 - 1948). Followed by Sir Richard Foley Foley-Philipps (1920-1962). The estate is now run by the Picton Castle Trust, and the present board member, Susie Philipps, lives in a lodge in the grounds. History if the Philipps Family of Pembrokeshire Others associated - Sir John Wogan; Sir John Philipps, 4th Baronet of Picton Castle;


  • Slebech Hall ❊ and Park home of the families of Barlow, Symmons, Knox, Phillips, developed from estates belonging to the Knights Hospitaller and their Commandery at Slebech Church. After the dissolution the Barlow family built Slebech Mansion near the site of the Commandery, and established Slebech Park. The Hall is a grade II* listed building. After the death of George Barlow in 1756, his daughter Anne married William Trevanion of Cornwall and after his death, John Symmons of Llanstinan. Symmons sold the estate to William Knox of London, High Sheriff of Pembrokeshire for 1786, who in turn sold it to Nathaniel Phillips (High Sheriff for 1796). Nathaniel Phillips was born in England in 1733, the illegitimate son of a merchant trading between London and Kingston, Jamaica. Following his father he arrived at Kingston in April 1759 and used his father's connections to join a partnership with the Kingston merchants who owned sugar plantations which supported the slave trade to obtain workers. Over a period of twenty five years he built a fortune and his Jamaican properties were valued £160,000 Jamaica currency, as well as ownership of 706 slaves valued at £50,000. In 1793, he bought the estate at Slebech from a bankrupt slaver. As well as Slebech Hall, which he had re-modelled by Anthony Keck, Phillips bought 600 acres (2.4 km2) of park land and woodland. In 1796 he married Mary Dorothea, a Philipps forty years younger than him and had two sons (Nathaniel and Edward Augustus) and two daughters (Mary Dorothea and Louisa Catharine). After his death, Phillips' heirs continued to operate the Jamaican estates but they became unprofitable after the end of slavery in 1834. After the death of Edward, the estate passed to Mary Dorothea and her sister, Louisa Catherine, the Countess of Lichfield, as co-heiress. In 1821 Mary Dorothea met Charles Frederick Baron de Rutzen of Germany in Rome. A Polish nobleman and descendant of Field Marshal Potemkin, they married in 1822 and became Lords of the Manors of Slebech. Their eldest son, Baron Frederick Leopold Sapieha Manteuffel (High Sheriff of Pembrokeshire for 1871), died and the estate passed to his younger brother, Baron Rudolph William Henry Ehrard (High Sheriff for 1895), who was succeeded by his nephew, Alan Frederick James. Their third son, Albert Richard Francis Maximilien married Horatia Augusta Stepney Gulston, of Carmarthenshire and their eldest son, Alan Frederick James (a casualty of WW1) married Eleanor Etna Audley Thursby Pelham, in 1908. Their only son, John Frederick Foley de Rutzen married Sheila Victoria Katrin Philipps, of Picton Castle, and their only child, Victoria Anne Elizabeth Gwynne de Rutzen, married Sir Francis Dashwood of West Wycombe Park. Their descendants managed both estates and in 2003 owners Geoffrey and Georgina Philipps created a £4m business and leisure development converted the 18th Century coach house in Slebech Park into a 26-bedroom conference and exhibition centre. It was the first project in Pembrokeshire to attract European Objective One funding and was also funded by the Welsh Development Agency (WDA) and the Wales Tourist Board.

Lieutenant-Colonel Augustus Henry Archibald Anson VC MP, (5 March 1835 – 17 November 1877), recipient of the Victoria Cross during the Crimean War, was born at Slebech Hall.


  • Wiston Castle

References and Sources

Pembrokeshire Specific


  • Castles in Wales - a Handbook by Gerald Morgan. 2010


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