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Manorbier Castle

Manorbier Castle's basic plan is almost rectangular, and consists of a sturdy battlemented curtain wall with niches and powerful corner towers, impressive gatehouse, a complex hall-range, and a huge barn. The Norman knight Odo de Barri was granted the lands of Manorbier, Penally and Begelly in gratitude for his military help in conquering Pembrokeshire after 1003. He built an earth and timber fortification, which was gradually replaced with a stone structure. His fourth son was Gerald de Barri, born in the castle. Known commonly as Gerald of Wales (the great twelfth century scholar and writer, known as Giraldus Cambrensis, whose major works remain in print) who was born at the castle. Renowned today for his chronicles and descriptions of life in his time. The de Barris owned the castle until 1359, after which time ownership changed hands on several occasions, becoming property of the monarchy in the late 15th century. By 1630 Queen Elizabeth sold the castle (then considered "ruynous ... quite decayed) to the Bowen family of Trefloyne. The Philippses of Picton Castle bought the castle in 1670 who leased it to J.R. Cobb in the late 19th century. It was Cobb who undertook much of the restoration work. The castle only suffered two minor assaults: the first, in 1327, when Richard de Barri stormed Manorbier to claim what was rightfully his, and, then, in 1645 during the English Civil War, when the castle was seized and slighted by Cromwell's Roundheads. Other writers to find inspiration here included George Bernard Shaw and Virginia Woolf. Opposite the castle, on the slopes of the wooded vale, is the equally impressive Norman church of St James.

For a selection of West Wales cottages with charm and character, look no further than the pretty village of Manorbier.