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Laugharne Castle and Castle House

Introduction

The larger part of the garden is an unusual example of a picturesque garden laid out within a medieval castle. It contains an early-19th-century gazebo with fine views out over the Taf estuary. Restoration has been undertaken by Cadw. The Castle is no longer inhabited but Castle House, which occupied part of the grounds, is run as a bed and breakfast.

Terrain

low lying, coastal

The outer ward is five-sided and laid to lawn with several mature trees. West of the castle is a deep shrub border, and, facing the castle is the seat and shelter erected in memory of Richard Avent. North-west of this is the reconstructed 19th century parterre of 18 irregularly sized box-edged rose beds. The paths are of crushed cockle shell from the estuary. The tall brick castellated garden wall on the north margin formerly supported a lean-to glasshouse.

The shrubbery north of the castle is planted with evergreens, scented shrubs and honeysuckles. The path through the shrubbery leads to the gazebo on the south-west wall which overlooks the estuary. Here is a small exhibition about the writers who worked here, Richard Hughes and Dylan Thomas.

The grounds of Castle House are accessed through a connecting door in the north-east wall, but this is private property and access cannot be assumed.

Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts

Telephone

01443 336000

Access contact details

The site is open daily from 1st April - 31st October, 10 am - 5 pm.

Directions

In the village of Laugharne, on the A4066 from St Clears.

Bus: route 222 Carmarthen - Laugharne

Owners

Cadw

Plas Carew, Unit 5/7 Cefn Coed, Parc Nantgarw, Cardiff, CF15 7QQ
History

The first known garden at the castle was created in the 16th century when the castle was converted to a Tudor mansion by Sir John Perot. The outer ward became a garden and the inner ward was a courtyard with decorative cobbling and a fountain. The castle was reduced to a ruin after Sir John's disgrace and during the Civil War. In 1787 Elizabeth Ravenscroft inherited the castle from her grandfather, and in 1798 she married Col Richard Isaac Starke.

The Starke family built Castle House in the grounds and developed the setting as a picturesque garden around the ruins. Castle House was substantially altered and improved in 1810. The 19th-century features included the reconstruction of part of the curtain wall in brick as a garden wall, a glasshouse, a gazebo on the south-east wall, a shrubbery and formal rosebeds. Mature trees include horse chesnut in the outer ward and cedar of Lebanon outside the castle walls.

The main garden, in the outer ward, was restored and replanted by CADW in the early-1990s within its early-19th century layout.

A semi-circular oak and glazed shelter and seat was erected on the west lawn in 2007 to mark the untimely death of Cadw Chief Inspector of Historic Monuments Richard Avent who had been an expert on Laugharne Castle.

Associated People
Features & Designations

Designations

  • CADW Register of Landscapes Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in Wales

  • Reference: PGW(Dy)2(CAM)
  • Grade: II
  • Scheduled Ancient Monument

  • Reference: Laugharne Castle
  • CADW Register of Listed Buildings in Wales

  • Reference: Castle House
  • Grade: II*
  • CADW Register of Listed Buildings in Wales

  • Reference: gazebo
  • Grade: II
  • CADW Register of Listed Buildings in Wales

  • Reference: Laugharne Castle
  • Grade: I
  • CADW Register of Listed Buildings in Wales

  • Reference: walls
  • Grade: II

Features

  • House (featured building)
  • Description: The Castle House was built around 1730, and modified around 1810.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Ruin
  • Description: This feature is the ruin of the medieval castle, which was partially destroyed during the Civil War. It was retained as a romantic garden feature when the gardens were laid out in the 18th century.
  • Gazebo
  • Border
  • Description: West of the castle is a deep shrub border.
  • Garden Seat
  • Description: The seat and shelter erected in memory of Richard Avent.
  • Parterre
  • Description: The reconstructed 19th-century parterre of 18 irregularly sized box-edged rose beds.
  • Path
  • Description: The paths are of crushed cockle shell from the estuary.
  • Garden Wall
  • Description: The tall brick castellated garden wall on the north margin.
  • Shrubbery
  • Description: The shrubbery north of the castle is planted with evergreens, scented shrubs and honeysuckles.
Key Information

Type

Garden

Purpose

Ornamental Garden

Principal Building

House

Survival

Part: standing remains

Hectares

1

Open to the public

Yes

References

References

Contributors

  • Caroline Palmer