Isle of Albion
Photographed: Wednesday 31st March 2010
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Laugharne Castle began life as a Norman earth and timber fortification during the early part of the 12th Century. It was established by Robert Courtemain around 1116AD. In 1171-72AD, it served as a meeting place for Henry II and Rhys ap Gruffudd, during which time they agreed a peace treaty. However, following Henry's death in 1189AD, Rhys seized the castle, possibly destroying it.

Laugharne Castle was rebuilt by the Normans at some stage, as it is known to have fallen to Llywelyn the Great in 1215AD. By 1247AD, Laugharne was in the hands of the de Brian family. However, in 1257AD, it fell to Llywelyn ap Gruffudd (son of Llywelyn the Great) and was again destroyed.

During the latter part of the 13th Century, the castle fell back into the hands of the de Brian family, and was re-built as as stone fortress over the following decades. The round keep tower and gatehouse to the inner bailey survive from this period.

Guy de Brian VII completed work on the castle, but following his death in 1340AD, there was no clear line of succession, and Laugharne fell into decline. Its fortunes didn't improve until passing to Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland, in 1488AD.

When Elizabeth I granted Laugharne Castle to Sir John Parrott (the rumoured illegitimate son of Henry VIII) in 1575AD, he transformed it into an luxurious Tudor manor house. However, he was convicted of treason in 1591AD, and the castle was slowly looted, with anything of worth being opportunistically removed.

Laugharne Castle was utilised as a Royalist stronghold during the English Civil War. In 1644AD, it was placed under siege by Parliamentary forces, eventually falling after a week-long bombardment. Following its capture, the fortifications were "slighted" to prevent any further use.

Laugharne Castle dropped out of history until the 19th Century, at which time its grounds were landscaped and transformed into a romantic garden.

Today, Laugharne Castle is perhaps best known for its association with Dylan Thomas, who wrote 'Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog' in the gazebo in the castle gardens. It has also served as an inspiration for William Turner.

The castle stands on a low cliff by the side of the Coran River, overlooking the estuary of the river Tāf. The setting is dramatic, with a picturesque, rustic village to its rear, the views out over the water are spectacular - wide vistas, framed beneath vast open skies. A beautiful and tranquil setting, well worth a visit.