Saturday, 14 April 2012

M is for Manorbier Castle, Pembrokeshire

Manorbier Castle, Wales is one of the few Norman castles containing comfortable, spacious living quarters.  

Manorbier Castle from the south
The fortress was begun in the 12th century on a promontory by the coast. Little now remains of the outer ward, but the inner court remains intact.

The vast gate-house, hall and chapel form the nucleus of the castle and with the domestic buildings have windows looking on to the inner court. 

The castle was never attacked; but because of this seclusion has often been used by smugglers in the past.  

The Parliamentarians in the English Civil War (1642 – 1651) slighted it to prevent further use by the Royalists. 

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The castle is privately own by Lady Dunsany but is open to the public together with gardens, dovecote and mill.  

The drive to the village and Castle will take you through some of the most scenic parts of Pembrokeshire, winding dramatically along leafy hedged lanes towards the coast.

The Castle-Wales site has the most comprehensive descriptions and wonderful pictures.  Here they describe Manorbier as unique, giving an all-encompassing impression of feudal life during the Middle Ages ...

Inner Ward of the Castle
... with the castle as the hub of activity, the church on the opposite hillside, and the extensive agricultural lands merging with the sea and its riches below.

The lands comprised orchards, food crops, a mill, a fine fish-pond, a vineyard and a hazel tree woodland... while along the coast there was a

‘most excellent harbour for shipping ... This country is well supplied with corn, sea-fish, and imported wines ...’

as described by Gerald of Wales – the great twelfth century scholar, known as Geraldus Cambrensis, who was born in the Castle.

The Pembrokeshire coastline
A Castle well worth venturing deep into south-west Wales to visit, and then to perhaps camp, or bed and breakfast, while taking in the sites at Manorbier, before picnicking on the fairly deserted beach below.

That is M for Manorbier Castle – a feudal castle, relatively intact, reflecting land and sea defence, but at the same time realising the wealth of local produce for its inhabitants .... part of the ABC series of Aspects of British Castles

Bob Scotney featured Lindisfarne Castle, yesterday

ExperiencePembrokeshire – has a comprehensive article on the heritage ... pre-history to early 20th century ... of Manorbier and its surrounds: it makes an interesting read.

Hilary Melton-Butcher
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Good morning Hilary, we are lucky here in the UK with the heritage that has been left us, This castle was no exception.

Thanks for the visit and the great comments made,

Enjoy your week-end.

Diane said...

I have barely been to Wales, I just cycled up the border a few years ago. This castle looks lovely but I guess I am not likely to go to Wales now. Great post. Diane

Bob Scotney said...

That's an area of Wales I have never visited. Looks beautiful; and another new castle to add to my list.

writing and living by Richard P Hughes said...

I would so love to go to England and see all of these castles. You make Manorbier Castle and south Wales sound like one of the most interesting places to visit.

Jo said...

How little we really know of our heritage. You and Bob have covered 26 castles, most of which I have never heard of.

Unknown said...

Wow, so beautiful and in such beautiful surroundings.

Inger said...

That's quite a castle. A place I would like to visit. Wales is so beautiful. You do such great research for your posts. You make me feel lazy.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Yvonne .. we are extraordinarily lucky - this Castle hold some treats too .. just getting the weather right might be the challenge!!

@ Diane - I have seen a little of Wales - but not enough ... as I spent lots of time in Cornwall. This one definitely tempts me to visit ..

@ Bob - as I mentioned to Diane - it's not an area I know .. but I should go as my great aunt painted St David's .. and I'd like to see it one day.

@ Richard - well we're here and always happy for the $$$s!!?! Delighted you found Manorbier so interesting .. great food they have in Wales too!

@ Jo - it is extraordinary that Bob and I have managed 26 castles and not duplicated one .. yet?! Bob's haunted ones are just great to read about ..

@ Clarissa - it's a lovely part of the world - where Stone Henge stones came from they think ...

@ Inger - it looks very pretty and the west coast of Britain is very beautiful. Thank you - I just try to find castles that interest me, as well as points that I know you great commenters will I hope enjoy reading. It's educating me .. and I have time ..

Thanks so much everyone - see you all soon on your blogs .. cheers Hilary

klahanie said...

Hey Hilary,
Thought it time to drop by and comment on your latest alphabetical castle whilst I'm on my A to Z tour and dazzling everyone doing it, with my eagerly anticipated comments. Note my humbleness..
Now then, this is great and thanks for mentioning Manorbier Castle. I shall be heading to Cardigan, Wales in the next little while. Have been working in the background helping some friends with their new mental health charity in Cardigan.
That castle seems like a most superb side trip.
All the best and thanks for another excellent posting on castles in your alphabet theme.

Golden Eagle said...

Beautiful pictures! And I love that it's along the coastline.

Julie Flanders said...

This one sounds so beautiful! And, I even love the name. The photo of the coastline is gorgeous, I'd love to be driving along that on my way to the Castle now. :)

Hope you're having a wonderful weekend, Hilary!

Luanne G. Smith said...

Oh, this was perfect for today. I've been deep in research all morning about the pirates who came from the Pembrokeshire coast.

Lynn said...

I'd love to see all these castles one day.

Tracy said...

Oh my goodness, how beautiful and looking over the coastal waters? Just gorgeous!

Heather Murphy said...

Beautiful scenery at this one!

Nick Wilford said...

Haven't heard of this one. Pembrokeshire is certainly stunning, I'll have to get to that area - not been to Wales in years.

Bish Denham said...

I so want to visit the UK and see all these castles that you and Bob are featuring. I'm learning so much of the history, but I want to walk the halls.

MTeacress said...

A castle for every letter of the A-Z? I'm impressed. This is one of my favorite themes, Hilary. :)

Have a lovely weekend.

Denise Covey said...

Hi Hilary. I was especially interested in this castle as one of my dear blogger friends, Francine Howarth, hails from Pembrokeshire. I just saw a repeat of a program on the restoration of Big House on the estuary in Pembrokeshire.

We've missed each other for awhile. I've reverted to pop up window if that commenting problem came back.


Manzanita said...

You chose eye-catching photos to acquaint us with Pembrokesgure Hilary, I've been trying to comment. Don't be surprised if you get 3 or 4 comments.

You chose especially lovely pictures for the post. The surrounding grounds and extended area looks so moist and green.
Smugglers.... hummm, the imagination can go wild with that one. Ha

Chuck said...

I bet that drive along the coast is awesome! And your castles are awesome...I wish we had some catles in the states (not Disney World or Vegas but real castles).

Patricia Stoltey said...

This looks like a wonderful setting for a historical romance novel, Hilary.


Juliet said...

What a grand site, with such spectacular views.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Gary .. thank you - I am still working my way round I'll be along today .. Cardigan isn't that far and a detour might be interesting - hope you have weather like these photos. If you get there - let us know thoughts.

The mental health charity sounds a very worthwhile venture - I wish it every success ..

@ Golden - many thanks .. a beautiful site, as you mention

@ Julie - it does look wonderful .. and those lanes are just lovely to drive down, or fields to walk across .. Cornwall has these colours too

@ Luanne - co-incidence .. glad it might help a little .. the Experience Pembrokeshire website may well have something useful in it .. good luck with your pirates!

@ Lynn - I do hope you can get over sometime ..

@ Tracy - isn't it a gorgeous situation ..

@ Heather - yes a stunning setting

@ Nick - at least we don't have so far to travel .. far enough - I hope we both get there one day - Pembrokeshire looks gorgeous

@ Bish - Bob and I do seem to be tempting everyone to visit this little land of ours .. but walking the halls will make a difference to your appreciation of them - you're right there ..

@ Michelle - not quite .. but I've worked a way round I hope! So appreciate your thoughts and that you're enjoying the theme so much ..

@ Denise - ah Francine hails from there .. I must find her on the list. They've had a few restoration projects going on in the last few years - I wonder where it was ..

re commenting - I think it's just I'm trying to get round as many as I can .. and I've sorted of been gathering posts to comment on in one go .. such is A - Z life!?

@ Manzanita - sorry about the comment problem - one's come through. I like choosing appropriate photos - like you and your Hunza peoples ..

Smugglers ... lots to set the imagination rolling!

@ Chuck - you're so right the drive would be beautiful - we're just very lucky to have so many historical sites still standing ..

@ Patricia - certainly many a novel has been written using our beautiful coastline and manorial houses or castles .. eg Daphne du Maurier ..

@ Julie - beautiful place to do Tai Chi? it is a lovely part of the world.

Thanks so much for visiting .. have a lovely weekend .. see you soon - cheers Hilary

Talli Roland said...

What a stunning location! I've only been to one castle in Wales... the one in Chepstow. It's beautiful but nowhere near the size of this one!

Deniz Bevan said...

Yay for Wales!

I'd like to visit all the castles Charles II might have a link to...

Empty Nest Insider said...

This castle really looks like it's out of a fairytale! I think this is the first one that you described as being "comfortable," so this might be one of my favorites thus far! Julie

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

When you're finished, do you suppose you could show the letters with a castle for each? It'll give me a chance to pick my favourite. Hmm. Sounds like a lot of work, never mind. I'm amazed that you're just scratching the surfacing.

Susan Scheid said...

Love that inner ward!

Anonymous said...

Castles are so cool! I'm glad I found your blog and can learn more about their history:)

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

I was going to ask if you'd been to visit this castle, but I see that you've already said you're "tempted" to go. Good grief. It's gorgeous, in a gorgeous setting, it's intact, AND it's open to the public! I sure hope you get to go there sometime. Soon. With your camera. Cheers!

Julie Daines said...

Wow! Another great list of places I need to visit. All of them sound lovely. How to choose...

Marja said...

From the 12th century Amazing so old and well preserved. Would love to visit as well as the coastline which looks stunning

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Talli - I haven't been this far into west Wales either .. I've been further north .. it's a beautiful area that is for sure ..and lovely food! and wine!!

@ Deniz - Charles II had rather a lot of connections around England - it would be very interesting to follow his route, if one could. Even Nottingham today's castle -

@ Julie - I think Dover would be more comfortable now - as it's been modernised .. but this one is extremely picturesque and with good weather would be lovely!

@ Joylene - I'm going to do some summaries .. perhaps I can do the picture one in May .. I'll do it sometime though ..

I wouldn't think we'd have more castles than Europe ... but perhaps we have - interesting thought ... lots of coastline to protect from the main route of invasion across the seas.

@ Susan - it's an amazing space isn't it.

@ MJ - lovely to meet you and thanks for following and commenting .. and see you back here sometime soon ..

@ Susan - I'm sure I will .. I'd love to do a tour around the West coast of Wales sometime. I might even be brave with my camera by then!

@ Julie - yes, we have a lot of history and therefore castles and and and ... how to choose - that is a very difficult question!

@ Marja - stone stands the test of time - they were good builders then .. While the coastline is stunning in that part of the world .. especially on a fine and beautiful day ..

Thanks everyone - have brilliant weeks .. I'll be over soon - cheers Hilary

Glynis Peters said...

Now I could live there! Lovely situation.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Glynis .. isn't a pretty setting - somewhat windy and wet at times .. but no doubt there's a lee side somewhere out of the wind and rain ..

Good to see you - thanks for coming by .. cheers Hilary

Amanda Trought said...

It really is a great setting, I like the idea of the gardens as well. Amanda

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Amanda .. it is a glorious setting isn't it .. I think most castles had to be self-sufficient .. much as the Romans were .. so the gardens/ vegetable plots and orchards were really introduced around then ..

It's a good point though .. cheers Hilary

Robyn Campbell said...

Simply beautiful, Hilary. That coastline is awesome. The Inner Ward lovely too. :-)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Robin - thanks .. it does look just wonderful doesn't it .. warm sunny days ... and a beautiful drive to get there ..

Cheers Hilary