Manorbier Castle - History and Facts | History Hit

Manorbier Castle

Manorbier, Wales, United Kingdom

Described as the most pleasant spot in Wales, Manorbier is a well preserved medieval castle located on the Welsh coast in Pembrokeshire.

Lily Johnson

11 Jun 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Manorbier Castle

Nestled in a tranquil spot amidst the Welsh Countryside, Manorbier Castle is a pretty, partially-ruined Norman fortification which overlooks the scenic coastline.

Manorbier Castle history

The notable 12th century author, Gerald of Wales, may have been biased when he exclaimed that “In all the broad lands of Wales, Manorbier is the most pleasant place by far”. It was his grandfather Odo de Barri who first built Manorbier in the 11th century, and Gerald himself was born there in 1146, yet with its well-preserved and impressive ruins set amongst a beautiful landscape, his words still ring true today.

Odo de Barri was a Norman knight who was granted land in Wales, including Manorbier, as reward for his assistance in conquering Pembrokeshire. Odo initially built a structure out of earth and timber, but this was replaced by his descendants with the stone structure that remains today.

The castle was owned by the de Barri’s until in the 14th century it came into the possession of the royal family, and soon fell into disrepair. J.R. Cobb, who was a tenant at Manorbier in the late 19th century, was responsible for much of the restoration work.

Unlike many other of Wales’ great castles, Manorbier largely avoided conflict throughout its history, suffering just two minor assaults. Richard de Barri stormed the castle in 1327 to reclaim his property, and the Parliamentarians also seized the castle during the English Civil War.

Manorbier Castle today

Today, Manorbier Castle is located in a beautifully unspoilt corner of Wales and sits atop a hill overlooking the beach. The beauty of Manorbier and its surroundings provide a contrast with its past – as Manorbier under the de Barris would have played an important role in subjugating the Welsh population after the Norman conquest.

Manorbier Castle itself is a basic rectangular-shaped Norman fortress with imposing corner towers, in addition to an impressive gatehouse, attractive gardens and a huge barn.

Today, visitors can explore various, towers, rooms, staircases, battlements, and even the dungeons and hidden passageways that lurk under the fortress. There are also a number of historical displays and life size waxwork figures on display.

Getting to Manorbier Castle

Manorbier Castle is located in the village of Manorbier near Tenby in Wales, just off the A4139. Parking at Manorbier Beach Car Park is recommended, from which it is a short walk up the hill to castle’s ‘Secret Entrance’. Manorbier train station is a 25-minute walk away, while the 349 bus also stops at Manorbier House, a 3-minute walk away.

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