Weobley Castle, aka Webley Castle, stands on a prominence overlooking the River Burry and the Lanrhidian marsh. It is a fortified manor house with some defensive features, which is quite uncommon in Wales.
The early history of Weobley Castle is undocumented. Its construction suggests that it was built in the early 14th Century reflecting a growing sense of security in Wales after Edward I's conquest.
The castle was probably started by David de la Bere as he acquired a lease to land near the castle site in 1304. He was a relatively minor nobleman in the service of William de Baraose, Lord of Gower, but he built a comparatively spacious and comfortable castle.
The castle itself consists of residential buildings grouped around a central courtyard. All the main rooms were at first floor level. The main hall is on the north side of the courtyard and it had the kitchen just below it.
The gate is on the west side of the courtyard and it would have only been defended by a pair of wooden gates – further emphasising the domestic nature of the building.
The other defensive features include arrow slits in the battlements and a parapet wall which extends right round the castle. There is a tower house occupying the north-west corner which could provide limited covering fire to the gate.
There is evidence that Weobley Castle was intended to be a grander project. The east range never rose above ground level, but it was probably intended to be a second guest suite. Instead a plain curtain wall fills in the gap in the defences.
In 1403 Weobley was attacked by forces loyal to Owain Glyndwr who managed to inflict some damage on it. Given its poor defences it's unlikely that they had much trouble taking it.
By the 15th Century Weobley was within the gift of the Crown and it was given to Sir Rhys ap Thomas. He had helped Henry VII to the English throne and was rewarded with extensive estates in Wales. He modified quite a number of the castles under his control.
He didn't make any real changes to the fabric of Weobley Castle though. He probably added the castle's only stone vault under the solar. He also added a porch block to the entrance to the hall in the courtyard.
When Sir Rhys ap Thomas was executed for treason his estates reverted back to the Crown. Weobley Castle passed through a number of families until it became a property of the Dukes of Beaufort. Weobley was a minor property in a far-off land for these powerful families and so it was let out to tenant farmers and allowed to fall into disrepair.
Much of Weobley Castle is still intact today. The south range, which would have had the chapel, has only some low walls remaining. However, the apartments in the north are well-preserved and give an idea of what life in a 14th Century manor house would have been like.
Weobley Castle is in the care of Cadw who run it as a heritage site and visitor attraction. Facilities available at the castle include exhibitions on the castle's history, a gift shop, toilets and car parking.
Status: Visitor Attraction / Heritage Site
Tel: +44 (0)1792 390 012
Opening Times: April to October Daily 9.30am-6pm / November to March Daily 9.30am-5pm
West wall and entrance to Weobley Castle
Inside the courtyard