A view of beautiful Carew Castle across the historic meadows where the Great Tournament of 1507 was held.
We have had a busy weekend, doing car boot sales back-to-back to try and get rid of excess "stuff" we no longer need and to swell the coffers a wee bit too. The electricity meter was read last week and you know what THAT means . . .
Anyway, as we were right by Carew Castle, we had a stroll around once we'd packed up. An unexpected . . . bonus . . . meant we actually had almost exactly the amount to pay to go round the castle, so we threw caution to the winds as with moving next year, it may be our last chance and K had never seen Carew on the inside. It always reminds me of Raglan - I suppose it is the Elizabethan extension carried out by Sir John Perrot which does the memory jogging, because those tall Elizabethan windows are so similar, and the water partly surrounding them - and indeed, both castles have quite a family air about them. You can easily imagine people living there. For a different angle - and a superb photograph from across the river - go HERE.
Carew is on a very historical site. The Norman, Gerald of Windsor, who laid the foundations and built the first wooden castle here in the early 12th century was only following on from Iron Age people who had made their own settlement there. It is usually found that what was considered a good site in prehistory, was often settled throughout the ages right up to the present period. Indeed, utilized by the Normans is a massive rock-cut ditch which formed part of the defensive system of a pre-historic promontary fort which had the river forming two more defensive arms.
My cheerful husband (who LOVES castles, as I do) in the other hall. Behind him is a tapestry showing the great Tournament here in 1507.
The beautiful window above shows Princess Nest, who had quite an . . . eventful and fruitful life. Follow the link to read about her story.
One of the ruinous fireplaces with its typical circular Pembrokeshire chimney jutting skywards.
The ramp up to the Great Hall was once a flight of steps. The Great Hall was built in the early 14th century, I believe by Sir Nicholas de Carew. The coats of arms above the entrance are those of Henry VII; his son Arthur (sickly brother of THE Henry who was to become Henry VIII) and of Catherine of Aragon, his wife, who his brother also subsequently married. This three-storied porch was a later addition by Sir Rhys ap Thomas. The hall had a minstrel's gallery, and two fine fireplaces and a projecting tower which housed the Chapel.
From the upper reaches of the Castle, there was a wonderful vista of the Tidal Mill and river beyond.
The warm walls provided footing for brambles which offered a lovely crop of blackberries, but sadly, way out of reach above our heads!
Sir John Perrot's extension seen from inside the small inner ward. Strange to tell, but one of our not-too-far-off neighbours here (in a nearby valley) is a Perrot . . . One of the displays inside the hall to the right of this picture mentioned that Sir John Perrot could well have been one of Henry VIII's bastard sons and indeed bore a strong resemblance to him . . . He was born in 1528, to Mary Berkeley and her husband Sir Thomas Perrot of Haroldstown. He was a staunch Protestant during Queen Mary's reign of terror, much of which he spent abroad in France, for the good of his health shall we say! Queen Elizabeth made him first lord of Munster, a post which left him exhausted after just two years in office and he was glad to return to his lands in Pembrokeshire. Eventually his talent for making enemies and his indiscreet remarks about the Queen led to his arrest and imprisonment in the Tower of London. If Elizabeth was aware that she had condemned her half-brother to death, she was spared the mental anguish of actually signing a death warrent as he died of natural causes in 1592.
A view through an arrow slit in the back curtain wall, looking towards the river beyond the tidal mill.
Double click on this photo to read about the Great Tournament held here in 1507, one of - if not THE - last Tournament held in Britain. Below are details of what took place during the five days of the Tournament. It must have been an amazing site, especially to our present-day eyes.
I love the tile on the left, which was unearthed during excavations here in the past. I think that the stripes down his neck and the large set of teeth must mean he was a lion - eating a rose?
The photo above shows the original tower with the north wall of Perrot's Elizabethan extension abutting it.
Windows in the north wall of what was known as the Long Gallery. To the left of the picture was a massive bowed window, which can be seen in the link in the 2nd paragraph (towards the bottom of the link page).
Now there are owls here instead. At the bottom of the picture, if you enlarge it, you will be able to see the remains of an owl pellet with vole skull and bones and fur.
Looking down the Long Gallery.
View of the castle from the Tidal Mill.