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Swansea Castle

Inextricably linked with the most powerful and ambitious men and women of the medieval period, the castle's history reads like a medieval who's who, full of murder, marriages of convenience, double crossing and devious alliances.

Swansea's medieval fortress has withstood siege, rebellion and the Blitz - a true survivor at the heart of the city. Come along with us to discover the castle's hidden stories.

The first timber castle was built on this naturally defensible knoll above the River Tawe around 1106 by Henry de Beaumont, the first Norman Lord of Gower. This was the start of a 200 year battle for control of Swansea and Gower - between the Marcher Lords and the Welsh princes.

Castle Square

The castle today

Although today the castle is dwarfed by surrounding buildings, it remains a survivor at the heart of the city.

Postcard of Swansea Castle © City & County of Swansea: Swansea Museum Collection

Life after the Lords of Gower - 20th century

The castle continued to have many uses with alternations and additions frequently being made.

Swansea Castle c 1800 © West Glamorgan Archive Service

Life after the Lords of Gower - 19th century

In the 19th century a grand Post Office replaced the town hall in the courtyard and industrial buildings filled the ditch between the old and new castle.

Engraving of Swansea Castle 1741 © Private Collection

Life after the Lords of Gower

Things were much quieter once the Marcher Lords and Princes of Deheubarth stopped fighting, although gunports were added to the tower around the time of the Wars of the Roses (1455-87), when Lord Herbert of Raglan held Gower.

Statue of Owain Glyndwr - Corwen © Crown copyright (2014) Visit Wales

1400 - More Welsh rebels and some English spies

After a hundred attack-free years, the castle was again threatened when Owain Glyndŵr's supporters proclaimed him Prince of Wales in 1400.

Hugh Le Despenser the Younger from the “Founders' and benefectors' book” of Tewkesbury Abbey, Bodleian Library, Oxford

1320 - The De Mowbray Years

After William's only son died, he decided to make his eldest daughter Alina, and her husband John de Mowbray, heir to the Lordship of Gower.

Swansea Castle with ships c. 1797 © West Glamorgan Archive Service

1200 - 1320 - The De Breos Years

This conflict wasn't as simple as Welsh vs. English. This was an age of constant political jostling, especially around the time of the Magna Carta.

View of Swansea c.1860 © Glynn Vivian Art Gallery

1100 - 1200 - Welsh Princes and Marcher Lords

When William the Conqueror seized the English throne in 1066, he didn't take control of Wales.

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