Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Attempt 2 at photos AND history for Crickhowell

Firstly, a photo of the remains of Crickhowell Castle.  It was originally a wooden edifice (as they all were when the Normans began controlling Wales), built around 1121.  The name of Robert Turberville is linked with its building.  Around 1242 the castle began to be rebuilt in stone, the instigator of this work being Sir Grimbald Pauncefote who had married the Turberville heiress Sybil.  On a tourist board in the car park, it mentions Lady Sybil cutting off her hand and sending it in payment as a ransom in order to free her husband (who had been captured when on Crusade).  But perhaps all is not as it seems, as this wonderful blog which I've just discovered explores.  I hope that the blog owner does not mind my linking to their blog.  The Turbervilles (John) also had land holdings in Dorset, and are linked with Bere Regis.  If you know your Thomas Hardy, you will remember that Tess of the D'Urbervilles was also descended from them . . . on paper anyway!

Sker House, almost on the beach near Porthcawl, also has links with the later Turberville family, and a Jenkin Turberville lived there in the 16th C. 

All Turbervilles are descended from Sir Payne de Turberville who came from France in 1066 at the time of the Norman conquest.

Here is a LINK to more information about the castle.

We had a little perambulation around the town, and came across this little tower on a side street, but I don't know its significance.

Then we turned left to look down the street.  This reminded me of Chagford.

I couldn't resist a photo of these beautiful flowers in the flower shop window.  We went into a nearby charity shop and I found a woollen jumper for me and a man's down jacket, so 2 good bargains were had!

A view over the rooftops looking N-W.  I think this is Table Mountain.

Heading West down this little side-street, which led . . . .

. . . . to the Church.  This is St. Edmund's Church, which was built by (or caused to be built and funded by) Lady Sybil Pauncefote - she and Sir Grimwald are both buried here.  We must go and check this out next time we are down that way.


The Bear Hotel, once a coaching inn, as you can see, dates back to 1432 in its history.  It was one of four overnight stops on the route from London to West Wales (and on to Ireland).   In summer it as the most amazing display of hanging baskets.  The whole town does, come to that. 

Finally, the road home.  This is the A40 and that crenallated gatehouse is where my husband would dearly love to live!

Oh, and before I forget, Crickhowell get its name from the Iron Age hillfort above the town, Crug Hywel, on top of Table Mountain.  Hywel Dda (Hywel the Good) - 880 - 950 - died as king of much of Wales.  By 920 he was the sole king of Seisyllwg and then established the Kingdom of Deheubarth.  Eventually he controlled all of Wales from Prestatyn to Pembroke.


  1. Wonderful post. I would love to walk around the town.

    cheers, parsnip

    1. Parsnip - how I wish you could join me on my walks. Wales has SUCH a history.

  2. So much history in one little town, great views and some bargains to boot! Thanks for that link about Lady Sybil's hand, I'll read it next. I bet that old coaching inn has had some interesting people through the doors and it's good to know that 'Health & Safety' nonsense hasn't managed to ban them from hanging out their flower baskets!

    1. Elaine - I am sure there is much much more that I haven't even discovered yet! I could write a great long post just about Hywel Dda, who was SO important to Welsh history. I didn't realize that the coaching inn had such ancient roots - but then facades change down the years and there will be a nub of the Medieval building hidden inside. We'll have to go there for lunch - when the weather improves!

      As for the flower baskets - this is a robust little town which spoke of becoming an offshore tax haven in recent years, so I guess Health and Safety get short shrift there!!

  3. A really interesting post and looks a super place to walk round. I don't think I have ever visited there but it has a fascinating history. Good to hear about the hanging flower baskets :)

  4. That castle oozes presence. If stone walls could talk, eh? Hope you're ok in all this snow.