Images of Wales
Saturday 3 January 1998
(Photography by John Ball - 2 Jan 1998 & 27 Nov 1997)
The first Swansea Castle is said to have existed by 1116 AD, built by Henry Beaumont, Earl of Warwick. It was enlarged over the next 200 years, but some of the gateways, courtyards and towers were sold off, compromising the integrity of the castle as a defensive structure. Early in the 15th century, under threat of attack by the armies of Owain Glyndwr, desperate (and unsuccessful) attempts were made to put the castle bailey into fighting order. From this time onwards the castle was never an effective fortress, and as early as 1583, the castle buildings were described as being "..in decay".
The early 19th century engraving (below) shows the castle as it was in the mid 18th century, with the river Tawe in the foreground.
Above: In present-day Swansea, the tall multi-storey building, partly concealed by the branches of a tree, is in the same line of sight as the castle. Sadly, post Second World War commercial buildings obscure the ruins of Swansea Castle from this spot near St Mary's Church......
... but a slight change of viewpoint (left) allows us to see the castle, albeit dwarfed by the modern development beyond.
Left and below: The surviving ruins of what was once a fine mediaeval castle.