Carreg Cennen Castle
Eating Near the Castle Staying Near the Castle
Carreg Cennen Castle is probably the most spectacularly situated of all Welsh castles, perched high above the River Cennen, a tributary of the Towy. It is visible for miles around and must have been an awe inspiring sight 700 years ago. The Reverend Eli Jenkins in Dylan Thomas' Under Milk Wood refers to "Carreg Cennen King of Time".
There is evidence that the site was used in pre-Roman times and a cache of Roman coins suggests that they too occupied the castle. Legends refer to a castle on this site belonging to Urien Rheged, Lord of Iscennen and his son Owain during the time of King Arthur. The Lord Rhys established a castle in the 12th century, but from the mid 13th century the stronghold changed hands among Lord Rhys's descendants and the English until seized by King Edward I in 1277.
Edward passed the Castle to John Giffard who demolished the Welsh castle and began the stone building. Subsequent owners included Hugh le Despenser, John of Gaunt and Henry Bolingbroke who subsequently became King Henry IV. The castle was besieged and damaged by Owain Glyndwr in 1403. It was held by the Lancastrians during the Wars of the Roses but was destroyed in 1462 following the victory of the House of York the previous year.
While under the care of Cadw, the Welsh Historic Monuments agency, the castle stands in a working farm with sheep keeping the grass short.
Carreg Cennen from the North
The castle was entered through an outer gate and then via a ramp against the East wall which led at right angles up a protected ramp along the North wall before turning again to enter the Keep.
The remains of the Outer Gate
The South Walls have a precipitous drop to the valley of the River Cennen below
Of particular interest is a passageway along the South of the castle leading down to a cave the slits in the wall seen above mark the course of the passage along the cliff edge before it goes underground. A torch is recommended for the underground section.
The East Wall and the Remains of the Kitchen and Lord's Chamber to the Right
The Window of the second floor Lord's Chamber, is very ornate for a castle of this period and indicates the degree of security provided by the 300 foot cliff face below the wall.
Looking West. Notice how the walls are built on the Limestone. In the North West Tower an arrow slit has been transformed to a musket firing position
Looking South East to the Black Mountain. Three Bronze Age Cairns can just be seen on the skyline at the centre of the picture.
The Castle in Winter
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