Castell Coch

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After leaving Carmarthenshire, we stopped near Cardiff to see Castell Coch.  

According to the "Castle Wales" website, the castle is "chiefly known as a romantic folly supposedly reproducing a small medieval Welsh chieftain's stronghold, built in the 1870s, for the 3rd Marquess of Bute to a design by William Burges, and possessing the most remarkable interior decoration. However, it was built upon the remains of a genuine 13th century castle built in two stages. Evidence was found of the building having been deliberately slighted by mining.

The castle was probably founded by a Welsh lord in c1240-65 and had a round tower keep at the SW corner of a tiny D-shaped courtyard with a hall on the south side, all built of rough rubble sandstone from which the building took the name Castell Coch, or "Red Castle." It stands upon a platform commanding the gorge of the River Taff and was protected towards the higher ground by a deep dry moat from the bottom of which the walls rise with a very broadly battered base. The keep contained vaulted rooms, and probably had a fourth storey and a conical roof like it has now. The walls are over 3.3m thick above the square battered base from which it rises with pyramidal spurs.

The two eastern towers, the square gatehouse between them, and the upper hall on the south side were superior ashlar faced buildings added slightly later, perhaps by Gilbert de Clare, who is likely to have taken over the castle in the 1270s or 1280s. These works were more damaged than the older part and not much survived of the towers above the rooms at courtyard level. The curtain wall also thickened at the second building period and now has two fighting galleries, a series of embrasures at courtyard level, and a roofed over wall walk open to the court on the inner side."

Peter, Tarythe, and the vorpal bunny in front of the drawbridge.  (286kb)


A better shot, showing the castle in the background. (369kb) A view of the castle entrance. (383kb)
Because a wedding was going to happen, we had to see the drawing room first, before it was closed off to the public. 

The three fates of Greek mythology sit over the fireplace. (280kb)


A general shot of the room. (245kb) The panel above the main door show the coats of arms of the three earldoms of the third Marquess of Bute. (283kb)
A close up of the three Fates. (234kb) Aesop's fables are painted around the room, with neat moulding around the doors. (211kb) Another door in the room with 3D birds in the plaster moulding. (197kb)


The vorpal bunny sitting on one of the chairs in the drawing room. (136kb)


One of the walls in the drawing room. (217kb)


The vorpal checking out the fireplace in the drawing room. (198kb)
The portcullis. (316kb) The fireplace in Lord Bute's bedroom. (318kb)  Detail of the intricate moulding for the mantle. (221kb)


Detail over the door to Lord Bute's bedroom. (204kb) The fireplace in the Lady Bute's bedroom. (406kb)


The fancy washstand. (222kb)
The richly painted wardrobe. (292kb) Lady Bute's bed, a reproduction of a supposed 14th century bed illustrated by Violet-le-Duc. (203kb)


Looking across Lady Bute's bedroom. (204kb)
The big cabinet with some neat hinges, in the Victorian kitchen. (141kb) The serving hatch from the kitchen into the great hall. (121kb)


The victorian era kitchen. (170kb)
The castle had a chapel but there wasn't really anything to see. Here is an info panel on the chapel (157kb)


The bride entering the castle. (271kb) Another shot. (257kb)
A scale model of the castle. (276kb) One of three info panels on the castle. (296kb)


Info panel 2 of 3. (323kb)
Info panel 3 of 3. (338kb) A neat coat and umbrella rack inside the entry of the tower. (135kb)


Inside the great hall, this coat of arms is on one end of the great hall. (211kb)


The fancy mural at one end of the great hall. (233kb) The mural at the other end of the great hall. (228kb)
The hood over the fireplace in the great hall. (383kb)


A neat bench in front of the fireplace. (168kb) A fancy chair. (193kb)
Deb in one of the seating alcoves in the great hall. (336kb) Tarythe relaxing in the great hall. (170kb) Tarythe, in mid stride of getting up. (261kb)
A piece of Victorian furniture. (297kb) The top of a massive Victorian cupboard in the great hall. (151kb)


Another shot of the cupboard. (211kb)
The doorway into the great hall, showing the fancy windows over the door. (336kb)


The vorpal bunny checking out the table in the great hall. (221kb) Peter getting a lecture from the vorpal bunny on good behaviour.  (135kb)
The vorpal bunny with a nice view across the castle courtyard. (346kb) The exterior of the castle, from the right side. (253kb) Another broader view of the exterior. (340kb)

Go back to the Carmarthenshire museum | Go on to Chepstow Castle