Last month, I visited Llansteffan Castle, Carmarthenshire at dusk. This is a special place, situated on a high ridge dominating the Tywi estuary and enjoying views inland towards Carmarthen and out to sea to Worm’s Head on the horizon. The bats came out and flew about me as I navigated the ruins and I enjoyed phenomenal views; I watched trains navigate the coastal line from Kidwelly to Carmarthen via Ferryside and then walked back via the beach to my car.
This is a monument with many phases of use:
- a 6th-century BC promontary fort
- an early 12th-century earth and timber ringwork castle, held by the Norman Marmion family, although it later passed to the de Camvilles.
- a late 12th-century stone castle including a square gate-tower
- in the early 13th century, the upper ward was afforded with a heightened curtain wall and a round tower, while a lower ward was added
- two D-shaped towers were added to the outer ward in the late 13th century, and possible slightly later still, an impressive gatehouse was added.
at some later date, the division between the wards was broken with the demolition of the dividing wall
- a new smaller gatehouse was constructed adjacent to it in the 16th century, possibly when the castle was held by Jasper Tewdwr
- an agricultural building still used in the 19th century sits against the northern wall of the castle
Sadly, there were no archaeodeath dimensions, but this is a truly favourite place of mine and deserves a blog entry for that reason alone.