The castle was erected by David de la Bere in 1304-1327, probably on the site of an earlier building. David was the steward of William de Braose, Lord of Gower, and received lands from him around Weobley. In the years 1403-1406 the castle was attacked several times during the great Welsh rebellion led by Owain Glyndŵr. It is possible that the then owner of the castle, John de la Bere, was killed in one of those invasions. Although the rebellion was finally suppressed in 1410 by Henry of Monmouth (later king Henry V), the castle was ruined. The de la Bere family resigned from its repair and moved to Berkshire.
At the end of the fifteenth century, the castle passed to the Sir Rhys ap Thomas. He was a supporter of Henry Tudor and fought on his side in the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, and then he was appointed governor of Wales. In Weobley he made many modifications, transforming the castle into a more comfortable residence.
In 1531, the owner of the castle was Rhys ap Gruffudd, grandson of Sir Rhys ap Thomas, but was executed for betrayal by Henry VIII and his property took over the English Crown. Henry VIII awarded Weobley to Catherine Edgecumbe, and after her death in 1547, to Sir William Herbert. Eventually, the castle was bought by the Mansel family of Llanrithrid, but they did not live in it and let it fall into ruin. In 1911, the last owner of Weobley, Emily Talbot, handed the castle over to state care.
The castle consisted of a number of buildings, towers and a defensive wall connected together in various configurations and defining an internal four-sided courtyard. The main gate was located in the western curtain and contained an additional living room in the upper floor. On the north side, a rectangular building of a tower-like character was adjacent to it, housing the private chambers of the castle’s owner (solar), latrines and pantries. To the south of the gate there was a small Cistern Tower, in which a rainwater storage tank was located. It adjoined the great South-West Tower, which was originally a separate, probably the oldest building. From the east to the tower, a rectangular chapel with a piscine in one of the walls was placed.
The most important range of the castle was on the north side. A rectangular building was erected there with a great hall on the first floor and a kitchen on the ground floor. Interestingly, inside, the main chamber had a special recess for hanging up tapestries or wainscot. This range was, apart of the south-west tower, the oldest. At the end of the 15th century, the porch with a communications tower was added from the side of the inner courtyard.
The eastern part of the castle consisted of a south-eastern building, erected near a lime kiln. Lime was needed as a mortar during construction. Probably the building was supposed to have at least three floors, judging by the outflows of the latrines, but presumably it was never completed. The next latrines were provided by a polygonal tower at the north end of the eastern range. The latter building provided accommodation for guests on the first floor, and a ground floor was intended for economic use. At the end of the fifteenth century, the second floor was added, by lowering the first floor.
The castle has survived in the form of a ruin with the preserved northern part. It consists of a great hall building, a fifteenth-century porch, range with private chambers (solar) and two corner turrets. The monument is open to visitors from April 1 to October 31 daily from 9.30 to 18.00.
Kenyon J., The medieval castles of Wales, Cardiff 2010.
Website castlewales.com, Weobley Castle.
Website gatehouse-gazetteer.info, Weobley Castle.