Cilgerran Castle

Backed onto a cliff face, the ruins of the castle date back to the 13th century. Today its is maintained by CadW and can be visited with price of admission.  The castle was the most heavily fortified on its inland aspect, and the two drum towers remain for visitors to admire. The two towers were unusual in castle construction at the time and replaced the traditional castle keep.

Visiting Cilgerran Castle

Parking

There is no parking access at the castle proper, and visitors may find a car park with 15 spaces in the village roughly 250 m (820.21 ft) away on the banks of the River Teifi at the P sign on High Street.

Price

Prices April 2020 - March 2021:

Adult - £4.50

Family (2 adults and up to 3 children) - £12.50

Senior £3.60

Juniors (Aged 5–17) / NUS / Armed Forces and Veterans - £2.60

Children under 5 - Free

There is no charge for visitors between November and March when the castle and store remain unstaffed.

Opening

30 March – 31 October; Daily 10 am-4 pm

Last admission is 30 minutes before closing time

1 November – March; Daily 10 am-4 pm

Last admission 30 minutes before closing time

Closed 24, 25, 26 December and 1 January

Location & Access 

Castle Square

Cilgerran 

SA43 2SF

Sat Nav: SA43 2SF

Visitors may access Cilgerran Castle three miles south of cardigan on the rock above the left bank of the River Teifi. The castle stands approximately 1 ½ miles (2.41 km) east of the A478. Access paths to the castle are sloping and level and are both tarmac and grass. Due to the terrain, custodians caution that the towers and ditch present challenges to those with compromised mobility. 

Know Before You Go

  • Cilgerran Castle is under the guardianship of Cadw, who urge visitors to follow the Welsh government regulations and visit the historic site responsibly.
  • The disabled toilet on the site is not fully adapted, and visitors may access the disabled toilets in the car park in the village.
  • There is a gift shop that offers souvenirs for visitors.
  • The site provides picnic tables for visitors to enjoy the scenery while having their packed lunches.

History of Cilgerran Castle

Cilgerran Castle spans over 800 years of history on its vigil above the Teifi gorge. The earliest build of stone and clay mortar dates to the 12th century, and the stone castle proper dates back to 1223. The castle was pivotal in the early power struggles between the English and Welsh.

Time Line


-1108-1115 (Kidnapping)

Gerald of Windsor built the first timber castle on this site, on Anglo-Norman land taken from the Welsh. A year later, the Welshman Owain ap Cadwgan took the castle back into Welsh control. Historians tell of the kidnap of Nest, Gerald's wife, by the Welsh invader while he made a rather embarrassing escape down a privy shaft.  

-1165 (Anglo-Norman Attacks)

Rhys ap Gruffydd conquered the Welsh at this time and historical documents refer to a partly stone fortification at the Cilgerran site. A year later, Anglo-Normans twice tried to recapture the castle but were met with failure. After severe losses, the Anglo-Normans were forced to retreat.

-1172 (Truce)

King Henry II and Rhys formed an agreement, and a period of truce commenced that lasted until Rhys ap Gruffydd died in 1197. 

-1197 (Succession Struggles)

At the death of Rhys, political unrest arose once more as the heirs fought for control of Rhy's dynasty. Maelgwn seized his brother, the true successor to Rhys, and handed him over to the English.

-1198

When the English released Gruffydd, Maelgywn sold the castle to King John in return for royal protection. 

-1204 (Capture)

The Anglo-Normans took advantage of the unstable state of the ap Gruffydd Clan and recaptured the castle. William Marshall, the first Earl of Pembroke, ousted Maelgwn from the Cilgerran Castle.

-1215

Prince Llywelyn ap Iorwerth recovered much of the southwest of Wales, including Cilgerran, Cardigan, and Newport Castles. By 1218, all of southwest Wales (excluding Pembroke) was under his rule or that of his supporters. 

-1223 (Capture)

William Marshal the Younger, the eldest son of Marshall, arrived with a great army from Ireland and captured both Cardigan and Cilgerran. This capture marked the last time that Cilgerran Castle would fall under Welsh control. 

-1258 (Attack)

After the defeat of English forces nearby, forces briefly used Cilgerran Castle to repel the attack of the Princes of Deheubarth. The castle suffered extensive damage but managed to withstand the onslaught.

-1273 

Ansel Marshal, the sixth Earl of Pembroke, died, and the castle changed hands to the Cantilupe family. In 1273, when the Cantilupe Clan died out, the castle became the property of the Hastings family. In 1275, the occupants conducted limited repairs on the castle curtain walls.

-The First Half of the 14th Century

In 1326, historical documents referred to the castle being in a ruined state and worth nothing in terms of rent. 

-The Second Half of the 14th Century

John de Hastings, Earl of Pembroke, was defeated in battle at La Rochelle, causing a fear of French retaliation during the Anglo-French War. Edward III ordered repairs for the castle in 1377, which ultimately was not attacked by the French. 

-1389 (Abandoned)

John de Hastings, the last heir to the Hastings fortune, died, and the castle was likely deserted by 1400. However, the property continued to pass down through the Earls of Pembroke. 

-The Early 1500s

Historians suggest the castle suffered damage during the Welsh Rebellion of Owain Glynd┼Ár.

-1509

Gruffudd Vychan became the Steward of the Lordship of Cilgerran and the Constable of Cilgerran Castle.

-1938

Cilgerran Castle was presented to the National Trust and is now a designated Grade I listed monument. Cadw is currently in guardianship of the castle and allows visitors access to the site.

Cilgerran Castle Occupants

Images of Cilgerran Castle

Cilgerran Castle Cilgerran Castle
Cilgerran Castle

Images Supplied and licensed from Shutterstock Standard Licence Package

Cilgerran Castle Q&A

What Remains of Cilgerran Castle?

The ruins of Cilgerran Castle consist of the surrounds of the inner ward, with two large, circular towers built in the 13th century joined by a curtain wall on the south side. Remains of the outer part of the 13th-century gatehouse occupy the west and remains of what is thought to be the chapel occupy the first floor. 

The curtain wall in the west overlooking the Afon Plysgog is of later 13th-century construction. 

Visitors will find the partial remains of a tower in ten northwest, built in the 1400s, along with insubstantial remains close to the northern side above the Teifi River. 

Which Famous Artist Painted Cilgerran Castle?

J.M.W.Turner painted several scenes of Cilgerran Castle, including the famous: Kilgarran Castle on the Twyvey; Hazy Sunrise, previous to a Sultry Day, Cilgerran Castle on the Teifi, Looking Upstream, and View in Wales: Mountain Scene with Village and Castle- Evening. The paintings are on view at the National Collection at the Tate Gallery.  

Location of Cilgerran Castle

Cilgerran Castle stands in ruins in Cilgerran, Pembrokeshire in Wales. Two towers overlook the deep gorge of the River Teifi and the Plysog River. The steep drops on either side of the site offered protection in the 12th-century battles of the Norman barons and the Welsh Princes.