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St Fagans Castle

Visited April 2014

Location St Fagans,  nr.Cardiff
Entrance Fee No
Railway Station Nearby No
Parking Yes- fee payable
Facilities Toilets, Café, Gift Shop







The building known as St Fagans Castle today is an Elizabethan manor,  thought to be built by a Dr. John Gibbon in the 1580's. However, many years previously it had been the site of  medieval castle raised by Peter de Sore, a Norman lord who defeated the native Welsh Lord ap Hywell in 1071. 


The only piece of military action to occur here was the Battle of St Fagans, fought during the Civil War. The battle saw 8,000 Royalists clash with just 3,000 Parliamentarians.  The outcome was in favour of the King's forces, with many prisoners taken and subsequently shipped off into exile. After that things quietened down, with the castle eventually coming under the ownership of the Earl of Plymouth, who donated it for use as a museum in 1946.







Admittedly not much of the original Norman castle exists- some of the stonework was incorporated into the manor house, and parts of the heavily re-built curtain wall date back to the 13th century. However, the Elizabethan house is interesting in itself and well worth a visit. In additional the surrounding grounds make up the National History Museum of Wales, which consists of historical buildings collected from all over Wales and reconstructed as a living museum. 


There is a large variety of buildings, from the Elizabethan House, St. Teilo's Church with its fabulous wall paintings, a whole terrace of iron workers cottages from Merthyr Tydfil (the owner of the Iron works, Richard Crawshay also owned Cyfarthfa Castle), right down to a 19th century pigsty!





The gardens are also well worth a look, with parts of the canal thought to be possibly incorporated from the original castle moat, although this has not been proven.


There are plenty of facilities on site, many options for eating, a good gift shop, and some of the traditional shops that have been reconstructed actually sell goods- the bakery, for example is a thriving business.  The museum is free to visit, although there is a fee for parking. Not surprisingly, this makes it very popular, and it was very busy when we were there during the Easter holidays.





More info: St Fagans

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