Sitting at the top of the now bustling Wind Street, it’s hard to imagine Swansea Castle amongst its true historical surroundings. What is visible now is only a glimpse of what it once was as the castle once reached from Caer Street all the way up to Welcome Lane.

Swansea Castle was a Norman fortress built for the headquarters of newly appointed Lord of the Gower, Henry de Beaumont. It was built by the west bank of River Tawe so as maintain order of the peninsula and to keep lookout for any attacks from the sea.

The first castle was of motte and bailey type, however after being demolished by the Welsh in the late 12th to the early 13th Century it was rebuilt in stages between 1221 and 1284. The Castle fell into gradual disuse as it lost military importance, and was instead used for more diverse purposes such as a poorhouse as it became surrounded by townsfolk.

The visible remains consist of the north and south blocks which were most likely the works of William de Braose III, 3rd Lord of Bramber. The well-preserved south block is particularly remarkable – the arcitchecture of which can be attributed to Henry de Gower and recalls similar features to his palaces at Lamphey and St. David’s.

The castle was given a Grade 1 listing in 1953, and since 2010 the castle has been opened to the public on a more permanent basis by Cadw.

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