Oxwich – castle


   Oxwich Castle was built in the sixteenth century on the site of an earlier, medieval building belonging to the Penrice family, which in 1459 passed into the possession of Philip Mansel. Work on the new castle began between 1520 and 1538. It focused on providing a comfortable place to live, although the isolated location of Oxwich required the erection of light fortifications. Probably it was also affected by the so-called “Oxwich Affray”, that is the skirmish between Sir Rhys Mansel and Sir George Herbert, fighting at the end of 1557 over the rights to the cargo of a wrecked French ship. Rhys Mansel died in 1559, long before the construction of the new castle was completed, but his son, Sir Edward Mansel, continued his work. However, Oxwich did not satisfy the ambition of the family, which soon moved his main residence to Margam. The castle was rented and began to fall into neglect. Until 1631, part of the eastern range collapsed and was never repaired, although the older southern range continued to serve as a farm, until the beginning of the 20th century.


   The oldest part of the castle was the southern range, erected in the first half of the 16th century. It was a rectangular building with a small projection in the southern part, having two floors and an attic. In its eastern part, in the ground floor there was a kitchen, next a central room and two internal rooms. The upper floor was divided into two parts by a timber partition wall.
In the second half of the 16th century, the east range was built, consisting of a long, rectangular building with three projections from the east of the tower-like character. All projections were quadrilateral, the middle was slightly smaller than the other two. The entrance was from the side of the courtyard and led to the first floor, through the stairs placed in the vestibule. At the entrance there was a centrally located, main room of the castle, that is a great hall, rising to the level of the second floor. It was a place of eating, lavish feasts and greeting guests. The space of the entire third floor was occupied by a long gallery, and the communication was made possible by stairs located on the southern and northern sides. The tower projections probably housed living quarters. The surviving south-east tower had six floors, each of which had windows and a fireplace. A latrine was probably placed in the corner niche.
The defensive devices of the castle were confined to the wall on the south-western side, which made a small courtyard. It was reinforced with a horseshoe tower on the south side, which flanked the gate next to it.

Current state

   The castle survived to modern times in a state of partial ruin. The southern range has been preserved in its entirety, although it has been rebuilt over the centuries (lowered attic). Of the east range, the south and south-eastern walls and the south-eastern tower have been preserved to the full height, partly the north wall of the building has been survived, the remaining fragments have unfortunately collapsed. Visible is also the horseshoe tower and the castle gate, although the wall adjacent to it preserved only in the lower part. On the north side you can see the ruins of the dovecote. The castle is open to visitors from March 24 to November 4, from Wednesday to Sunday from 10.00 to 17.00.

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Website castlesfortsbattles.co.uk, Oxwich castle.
Website wikipedia.org, Oxwich castle.