Castles In Pembrokeshire -
Carew Castle & Tidal Mill
An enormous stone castle in a picturesque location next to the mill pond, which powers the tide mill. The castle is ruined now, but was once a powerful stronghold and a grand Elizabethan mansion.
- The first fortification on the site was an Iron Age fort with 5 ditches.
- An earth and timber castle that was built here by the Norman Gerald of Windsor around 1100. He was given the site of Carew Castle in a dowry when he married Nest, the most beautiful woman in Wales.
- Owain ap Cadwgan, son of a Welsh Prince, was so overwhelmed by Nest's beauty that one night in 1109 he is said to have scaled the walls of Carew Castle and captured her.
- 6 years later, Gerald killed Owain in battle and retrieved his wife, along with two new children.
- When Gerald died the following year, Nest then married Stephen, Castellan of Cardigan, and had yet more children by him.
- A stone structure probably stood in its place in 1212, when for some reason, King John seized it for a short time when passing through Pembrokeshire on his Irish expedition.
- The castle remained in the hands of the Carew family who built the strong medieval castle that stands today.
- In about 1480, Sir Edmund Carew disposed of it to Rhys ap Thomas who set about converting it into a home worthy of an influential Tudor gentleman.
- The castle was granted to Sir John Perrot, by Queen Mary, in 1558 after the downfall of Rhys ap Thomas's grandson, who was executed for treason.
- Sir John converted the castle into an Elizabethan mansion but was himself convicted of treason in 1592 and died (of natural causes) in the Tower.
- Sir John's son, Sir Thomas Perrott (d.1594) and Lady Dorothy (1564-1619), younger daughter of the deceased Sir Walter Devereux, 1st Earl of Essex, were secretly married in July 1583 at Broxbourne, Hertfordshire. For eloping with Dorothy, Sir Thomas was imprisoned in the Fleet prison; Dorothy's guardian William Cecil, Lord Burhgley, arranged his release.
- The castle was abandoned about 1686.
- It is now owned and run by the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.
FeaturesEntrance is via a gatehouse into a small inner ward, facing the east wall of the castle.
- This east aspect has two 13th century towers and the rounded end of the Elizabethan wing lies beyond on the north corner.
- The magnificent north wing was the last major addition to the castle, overlooking the mill pond.
- The skeleton of the large glazed windows, installed at this time, are in stark contrast to narrow arrow slits & tiny windows on more defence orientated castles such as Pembroke.
- Inside the keep, there are plenty of rooms, stairs and passages to explore.
- A working tide mill is adjacent to the castle and is included in the admission charge. A mill of some kind existed here as early as 1542, although the present building probably dates from the early 19th century.
- Next to the car park is an intricately carved Celtic Cross.
- It is well known as a haunted castle, including a ghostly ape.
Gift shop. Toilets. Daily guided tours. Ample parking. Pub & cafe nearby. Regular activities, events and re-enactments.
Carew Castle & Tidal Mill
Carew, Nr Tenby
Tel: 01646 651782
Fax: 01646 651782
ID: 7164 Revised: 19/8/2011