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Carreg Cennen Castle

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Map ReferenceSN61NE
Grid ReferenceSN6678919075
Unitary (Local) AuthorityCarmarthenshire
Old CountyCarmarthenshire
CommunityDyffryn Cennen
Type Of SiteCASTLE
PeriodPost Medieval
Carreg Cennen was the centre of the Welsh commote of Is-Cennen before the Anglo-Norman incursions. During the twelfth and thirteenth centuries it was part of the inheritance of the princes of Deheubarth and it is probable that construction of the castle took place between 1287 and 1321. Owned by the Giffard family from 1283, it remained with them until 1299 when John Giffard II was executed for his part in the baronial rising against Hugh Despenser in 1321. Ownership changed hands between various lords, until it was granted in 1340 to Henry lord of Kidwelly (later Duke of Lancaster), and thence it passed to the crown on the accession of Henry IV. In 1403 Carreg Cennen was taken by Owain Glyndwr. The castle was rendered unusable in 1462 by Yorkists after its involvement in the Wars of the Roses. In the nineteenth century Earl Cawdor carried out extensive conservation work.

Carreg Cennen consists of a strongly walled and towered square court about 28-33m across resting on a precipice to the south. Although built in one operation the towers are all of different shapes; circular, polygonal and square. There is a great twin towered gatehouse on the north side and a splendid range of apartments on the east side of the court. The outer court had small round towers at its corners and a small gatehouse. A long walled passage leads from the inner court to a natural cave beneath the outer court (NPRN 84030). The mouth of the cave is fitted out as a dovecot.

Ancient human remains have been found in the stalagmite accretions within the cave and several Roman coins and other objects have been recovered from the scree beneath its mouth as well as from the castle proper (NPRN 84005).

Source: Lewis, J.M. 2006. Carreg Cennen Castle. Cardiff: Cadw: Welsh Historic Monuments.
Cadw Listing database record number 20923
RCAHMW, 11 March 2008