Picton Castle (Pembrokeshire, Wales)
Updated: Jan 15, 2019
Picton Castle was built by an unnamed Flemish knight who was granted the land by Wizo, who built Wiston Castle nearby. The site of the original castle was within a couple of hundred yards of the current building, possibly on a mound just east of it. The current building was built by the Wogan family sometime before the end of the 13th Century, who moved to the castle from Wiston castle,essentially abandoning the latter.
Picton began as a motte castle which was reconstructed in stone by Sir John Wogan at the end of the 13th Century. The castle had no internal courtyard and had seven circular towers that projected from the walls. On the east end two of these towers served as a gatehouse, leading into the main hall at the centre of the castle.
The castle was occupied by the Welsh forces of Owain Glyndwr in 1405. Shortly before this the narrow window slits had been replaced by large windows as the castle became as much about comfort as it had been about defence previously.
The castle was also seized by the parliamentarians during the Civil War in 1645 as it was being used as a Royalist stronghold.
The castle came into the hands of the Philipps family in the 1490s and has remained in the hands of descendents ever since. After the death of Lord Milford in 1823 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.
The estate is now run by the Picton Castle Trust a Registered Charity. The castle is a Grade I listed building and the walled garden is listed at Grade II. Picton Castle is open to visitors for guided tours from spring to autumn and the gardens are open all year round.
There is a free large car-park but the site itself is paid entry. That said, as someone who rarely has to pay to visit castles (I have lots of memberships) I felt it was well worth the money. The gardens are beautiful, and the castle is really quite breathtaking. I was also the only one on my guided tour because it was a quiet period, and the lady who led me around the castle was an absolute trove of information (hence the lack of inside photos, much more interested in listening!). The castle itself is also always in need of upkeep and restoration work, so the entry fee goes towards a good cause.
And if that wasn't enough of a reason to go?
It also has a secret owl garden with dozens of owls from across the world, and a kookaburra called Brian! (Who had just had a bath when I visited)
Pictures were taken in April 2018.