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Newport Castle

S edge of town, Pembrokeshire, west Wales

Map link for Newport Castle

Photographs copyright © 2002 by Irma Hale.

Tony Roberts 1989

The first Norman invader in north Pembrokeshire was Robert Martin, who, not content with his estates in Somerset and Devon, was greedy for land in Wales. Landing first at Fishguard near the mouth of the Gwaun Valley, he later moved to Nevern and became the first Marcher Lord of Kemes. His grandson William married the daughter of the Lord Rhys who in 1191 ejected him from Nevern. William then built a castle at a new place, Trefdraeth (Newport) along with a town and church. Proximity to the sea, better than at Nevern, was probably a strong point in favor of the site.

The Marcher Lordship of Kemes passed to the Audleys, but twice in the 13th century the castle at Newport was destroyed by the Welsh. The present castle was probably built after these destructions. In 1543 the lordship was bought by a prosperous Welsh lawyer, the father of George Owen of Henllys, famous for his Description of Pembrokeshire. The Owens wanted the lordship rather than the castle, but eventually the castle was restored and a residence made from the gatehouse by the Lloyds of Bronwydd in 1859.

The castle consists of a massive gatehouse flanked by two circular towers, the dungeon tower on the southwest and the Hunter's tower on the northwest. The relatively vulnerable southeast side was protected by a large D-shaped tower. Adjoining this are the remains of part of the chapel and a vaulted crypt. A vaulted dungeon remains in the aforementioned southwest tower. The castle is privately owned and some restoration work is being done, after which there will be some access for the public. Part of the castle can still be viewed from across the road.

The castle is in private ownership and viewing is from the surrounding area only.


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Copyright © 2009 by Jeffrey L. Thomas