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|Restoration work at Castle Green House, 2004|
|Coordinates||grid reference SN17704594|
|Type||Motte and bailey|
The forerunner of the present castle was built by Gilbert Fitz Richard Lord of Clare after the former was destroyed. The castle was handed down to Gilbert's son, Gilbert de Clare, 1st Earl of Pembroke in 1136. The same year, Owain Gwynedd led the defeat of the Norman rulers in the town of Cardigan at the Battle of Crug Mawr. The town was taken and burnt, though the castle was successfully defended by Normans commanded by Robert fitz Martin.
The castle was later recaptured by the Normans, and was held for Earl Roger of Hertford. In 1166 it was captured by Rhys ap Gruffydd, who rebuilt it in stone in 1171. In 1176 the first ever Eisteddfod was held at the castle. On Rhys's death in 1197 his sons, Maelgwn and Gruffydd, disputed their inheritance resulting in Maelgwn surrendering Gruffydd to the Normans and selling the castle to King John. The castle was later held for William Marshall.
Llywelyn the Great captured it in 1215 and at the parliament held at Aberdovey in 1216 made it over to the sons of Gruffydd ap Rhys of Deheubarth, but in 1223 William Marshall the Younger recaptured it. In 1231 the castle was again captured for Llywelyn by Rhys Gryg and his allies. Llywelyn held it until his death in 1240. On Llywelyn's death it fell back into Norman hands, and in 1244 Earl Gilbert of Pembroke rebuilt it with town walls for added protection. It is the remains of this building that still stands overlooking the river.
It was badly damaged during the English Civil War in Wales and until the 18th century it was only used as a prison. At the beginning of the 19th century a residence, Castle Green House, was built inside the walls incorporating the North Tower. This fell into disrepair in the 1940s and was allowed to decay further by the owner to the extent that the outer walls needed supporting.
The castle was purchased by Ceredigion County Council in April 2003 and it is being repaired as part of the regeneration of Cardigan. In 2004 Castle Green House appeared on the BBC's second series of Restoration, presented by Griff Rhys Jones.
Renovation work has continued for some years since its purchase by the Council, and when completed the castle will be reopened to the public, hopefully in 2014. It is anticipated that there will be luxury accommodation for hire, a heritage centre with education facilities, a restaurant, an events an open-air concert area, and rooms for hire for classes.
- Wilkinson,P (2004) "Restoration - the story continues..." Pages 148-155
- Tivyside Advertiser - Cardigan Castle restoration work
- Cardigan Castle - When we open
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