The Tenby Castle was erected in the 12th century during the Norman invasion of West Wales. In 1153, the castle was conquered and destroyed by Maredudd ap Gruffydd and Rhys ap Gruffydd, the future ruler of the smaller kingdom of Deheubarth in central Wales. In 1187 it was again besieged by the Welsh. Although Llywelyn ap Gruffudd plundered the town during a campaign trying to regain south-west Wales in 1260, the castle was not captured. At the end of the 13th century, Tenby became part of the lands of William de Valence, the first Earl of Pembroke. He initiated the construction of the town walls, which, after completion, reduced the military role of the castle, somehow separated from the rest of the land by the town. The castle fell into disrepair and was abandoned at the beginning of the 15th century. For the last time, the ruins of the castle were used during the English Civil War in the 17th century.
The castle was erected on a high rocky promontory, connected to the mainland by a narrow isthmus. The entrance to it was placed in a simple gate in the defensive wall, but its additional protection was provided by a D-shaped barbican that stood on a sloping access road. In the central point of the castle there was a small cylindrical tower with a four-sided part added. Eighteenth-century engravings depict in the castle the remains of additional buildings, probably economic – residential. The fortifications of the castle were probably connected with the town walls and presumably were reinforced by a few towers on the land side.
To this day, a ruined entrance gate in the form of a barbican, a single cylindrical tower with a four-sided communication turret and smaller fragments of the defensive wall have been preserved. Entrance to the castle area is free.
Kenyon J., The medieval castles of Wales, Cardiff 2010.
Lindsay E., The castles of Wales, London 1998.
Website castlewales.com, Tenby Castle.