Re-opened to the public in the July
of 1996 after twenty years of extensive excavation and
restoration, Laugharne castle stands on a low ridge
overlooking the wide Taf river estuary and perhaps is
today better know for its associations with the poet
Dylan Thomas instead for its picturesque location. One
of a string of fortresses controlling the ancient road
of communication along the south Wales coast line the
castle as a long and chequered history. It was originated
as a Norman earth and timber stronghold, mentioned in
about 1116 as the castle of Robert Courtemain, (but
the first record of the Norman castle is dated 1189),
re-built in stone during the 13th and 14th centuries
by the various successive generations of the de Brian
family. Great parts of their works still survive, including
the domed round keep tower and the protuding mighty
gatehouse of the inner bailey constructed in a warm
red-brown sandstone with distinctive green stone addictions.
In the year 1488 the lordship and castle
passed to the earls of Northumberland, and in 1584 to
Sir John Parrott, said to have been the illegitimate
son of Henry VIII. The castle was converted into a luxurious
Elizabethan manor house by Perrot and reverted to its
military functions only during the Civil War: after
a week long siege and bombardment, it fell to a night
attack of the Parliamentarian troops in the year 1644.
In the following centuries the romantic ruins of Laugharne
castle became the backdrop for a magnificent Georgian
and Victorian garden, recreated using exclusively Victorian
flowers and plants.
Laugharne has also inspired two great
modern writers, who worked in the garden gazebo overlooking
the river. Richard Hughes wrote its novel 'In Hazard'
here and Dylan Thomas, Laugharne most famous resident,
worked in the castle on its 'Portrait of the artist
as a young dog'.