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Wiston Castle

Visited May 2015

Location Wiston, Pembrokeshire 
Entrance Fee No
Railway Station Nearby No 
Parking Roadside
Facilities None
Map

 

Wiston Castle is situated in a field in the village of the same name. It is somewhat remote but as a perfect example of an early motte & bailey castle, it is certainly worth seeking out for a quick visit. We stopped off on the way home from Picton Castle, about 10 minutes drive away. 

 


 

 


Review

 

First the practicalities: There is a large bus stop opposite the castle field, there is easily room for a couple of cars plus room for buses to pull in, so we parked there (There does not seem to be any other parking option anyway) To get to the castle there is a small kissing gate in the hedgerow, with a track leading to the castle. This is private farming land, so watch out for cow pats and the like! The top of the motte is reached via some stone steps. The site seems well maintained, and on the day we went, totally deserted. There are no facilities here at all.

 

 

 


 

 


 

The castle was established in the 12th century, by a Flemish settler called Wizo. Henry I encouraged immigration to Wales with the promise of lands, as he wanted to keep Wales under Norman control but was running out of local lords who were prepared to settle in this troublesome area. Wizo built his castle on the remains of an iron age fortress, creating a motte for his castle and a large bailey to accommodate the other Flemish families  he later encouraged over. 

 

The local population did not take this situation lying down, as in 1147 the castle was taken from Wizo's son, Walter fitz Wizo, in the first of several altercations between the displaced local population and the newly founded colony. In 1220 the castle and village were totally destroyed by the Welsh. William Marshall, the Earl of Pembroke was ordered to rebuild it. The remains that survive today are probably dated from that time, with evidence being found to suggest the castle was occupied until the 14th century. 

 

At that point the castle was owned by the Wogan family, who had built their main residence at Picton Castle. A smaller branch of the family then built a  house near to the ruins and incorporated them into the garden as a feature. Wiston Castle then fell into a peaceful slumber, a state it remains in to this day. 

 


 

 


 

A quick visit to this castle is a must if you are in the area, just because it is so pleasant to climb up the motte and walk around the masonry remains. The round keep is no longer complete, but can still be walked around on the outside. The interior still has the remains of some dividing walls, and there is a good view over the bailey towards the church. 

 

It is a quiet site, which can be nice if you have had a busy day in one of the more bustling tourist areas of Pembrokeshire. Take your own food though as there are no facilities at the castle and the village of Wiston also seems very quiet and lacking in tourist amenities. Haverfordwest is the nearest big town, but there is a visitors centre which serves food at the Llys-y-Fran reservoir, approx. 6 miles away. Click on 'Other Places of Interest' for details. 

 

 

 

 


 

More info:  CADW Wiston Castle

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