• Lucy

Oystermouth Castle (Gower, South Wales)


The first thing you notice when approaching Oystermouth Castle is the peculiar look of its gatehouse, with two distinct curved areas on each side. It is unknown whether towers were ever built here or if they were simply planned and never came to fruition, but the end result is a gatehouse that stands out from the crowd.


Oystermouth Castle was built as part of the Norman invasion of Wales. Founded by William de Londres, who also founded nearby Ogmore Castle, the first building on the site was erected soon after 1066 following the capture of the Gower Peninsula. This was most probably a ringwork of which nothing remains. The first stone building was the keep, constructed in the 12th century.

The Gower Peninsula was retaken by the Welsh in 1116, causing de Londres to flee his castle and Oystermouth castle before it was torched. Oystermouth was rebuilt soon after but for held again in 1137 when the Welsh once again took the Gower



Layout of the castle provided by 'Friends of Oystermouth Castle'

The Londres family died out in 1215 and the Gower was once again taken by the Welsh under Llewellyn the Great. The peninsula was retaken by the English in 1220 and was gifted to John de Braose by the king. De braose then rebuilt both Oystermouth and Swansea castles.

As Lords of the Gower the de Braose rebuilt Oystermouth in stone. They built a high curtain wall, internal stone buildings, a Chapel, basements, and west range buildings. It is uncertain whether the gatehouse was flanked by towers, as there are footings, but it is unknown if these were ever completely constructed.



Source: medievalheritage.eu

The castle declined in importance in the 14th century and it passed through marriage to the de Mowbray family, then to the Herbert family, then to the Marquis of Worcester, and finally to the dukes of Beaufort.

By 1650 the castle was decayed and ruined.

In 2010 the castle underwent a £1 million refurbishment funded by the Welsh government and reopened to the public in 2011. It is now managed by volunteers and open to visitors. The visitor reception is within the chapel,

The castle consists of the gatehouse, the renowned Chapel, both a south and north keep, and various other buildings and halls including a structure built to likely collect rainwater as the rock on which the castle is constructed is not able to be well.

The castle is supposedly haunted by the ghost of a' white lady' who is said to walk the castles walls.


Pictures taken May 2019


Sources:


Oystermouth Castle - Visit Wales

Wikipedia

The Castles of Wales

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