Wednesday 17 May 2023

Crickhowell Castle and some of its history

 I am not feeling my best again today - did the grocery shopping yesterday morning, got home and suddenly felt quite unwell.  In the night my lungs felt like they were brewing a chest infection.  Jury still out on that but some crap being coughed up.  Sorry, if TMI!

I cannot go out and garden and oversee kittens, so we have opened the French windows and they are coming and going as they please and Pippi is much closer to home.  Phew.

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.

I 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. I'll do a post about that tomorrow.


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 Keith 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.

This was growing in a wall edging the path on the way to the castle.  It's Ivy Leaved Toadflax - I first spotted this growing on a Dorset walk in Swanage, more than half a lifetime ago.  More wild flowers tomorrow.


  1. Crickhowell is a nice wee place.

    If you are coughing up green or yellow coloured aliens...that's an infection. Hope you clear that soon x

  2. I hope you get well quickly and completely. I am glad Pippi is staying closer to home. Hugs.

  3. I do hope you feel better soon. I love that you share your visits to various places. When we were in the UK and Ireland we only got to see certain areas, you have expanded my knowledge of a place I loved when we visited.

    God bless.

  4. Oh, do be careful and look after yourself. Wouldn't it be better to try and get some antibiotics to kick this infection before it starts? I know all too well from being a caregiver how important it is to look after yourself. lots of very familiar photographs today, I'm beginning to wonder when I've been through Crickhowell, although the name doesn't register on my list of places I've been.

  5. I love these handsome Welsh towns. I think I said once that Crickhowell reminds me of Talgarth. The story of the hand sounds gruesome. Hope you are feeling better. It has been lovely in the south this week, shorts and sun hat weather and the ground is slowly drying out. We walked around the RSPB reserve at Pulborough Brooks yesterday and the wetlands are still very wet. There was an explosion of newly hatched dragonflies and that had attracted a flight of Hobbies which was a first sight for me.
    We stopped at the farm shop on the way and bought local new potatoes and tomatoes and Kentish strawberries. It has been a struggle in the kitchen garden this season (it is ever thus!), lots of molluscs and the ground too damp and sticky for direct sowing, but every year has its challenges. I dug up four dead lavender plants from the parterre and won’t replace them, instead I stretched out the thyme by pegging it into the spaces left to make new plants. I’m at work this morning and we are back at Chi Crem for our second funeral of the week this afternoon. I have to say that the funeral of a 94-year-old led by a celebrant last Saturday was just that, a celebration of a long and happy life well lived and no maudlin sentiments or mention of God - it was a breath of fresh air. After the funeral this afternoon I think we will go down to the sea and walk barefoot in the water and remember. Do look after yourself BB. Sarah x

  6. Surely the little crenellated tower that Keith wanted to live in is very noisy with traffic going by. A good wander round Crickhowell for us all to participate in.

  7. Wow. You've got a nasty bug going 'round your neck of the woods! Get well soon. Aren't thrift store bargains just the best feeling? PS: I really enjoyed the blog post teasing apart the legend of the Turberville woman (women?). Nothing more interesting than a game of fact or crap!

  8. Thank you for the tour of Crickhowell Castle and town. Hope you are feeling better.