White Castle and Abergavenny South Wales UK


The entrance to White Castle. Credit:Chris Heaton from geograph.org.uk

The histories of the Welsh market town Abergavenny and White Castle, seven miles to the east of it are closely entwined.  There is a ruined castle in Abergavenny which was probably founded around the same time as White Castle (circa 1075). Both castles were in the southern Marches and were built to defend the Norman interests against the Welsh. Abergavenny was a Roman settlement with a small auxiliary fort there to defend against the warlike tribe, the Silures. White Castle is thought to be the oldest of the Three Castles.


A view of the interior of White Castle. Credit: John Phillips from geograph.org.uk

White Castle was built on a low hill and is about a mile away from Llantilio Crossenny. It is one of the Three Castles in the Monnow Valley which include those of Skenfrith and Grosmont. For me White Castle is the one which most captures my vivid imagination. When you  enter it you have to walk over a wooden bridge which is over the moat. I love sitting on the grass and picturing the women in their long, flowing mediaeval gowns wandering around the courtyard.


The inner ward of White Castle. Credit: Andy Dingley

This castle has an interesting history as it was, like the other two a Royal castle, and was given to Hubert de Burgh by King John. Later it returned to royalty as it passed into the hands of Lord Edward who became Edward I in 1254. In 1267 it passed to his younger brother, Edmund, Earl of Lancaster and it is probable that during these years the Gatehouse and circular towers were added. The extra fortifications were deemed necessary because of the possibility of a Welsh uprising against their foreign rulers.


An arrow slit in White Castle. Credit: Andy Dingley

There is an older fortified motte and bailey castle close to White Castle too. White Castle has some stunning views of the surrounding countryside, and it is easy to see why it was built in such a strategic position.


Part of the ruins of Abergavenny castle. Credit: Jeremy Bolwell from geograph.org.uk

The castle at Abergavenny passed through a number of hands, including those of the Williams de Cantelupe and ending in those of William de Braose. In 1177, de Braose invited all the Welsh chieftains to a Christmas feast at his castle. They were all slaughtered. These deaths were eventually avenged by Owain Glyndwr in 1404 when he destroyed the town and castle.


The “Butter Market” at Abergavenny. Credit: Stephen Wilks from geograph.org.uk

Abergavenny today is a thriving market town (still) and one I like to visit. There are several good places to eat and drink and some have courtyard areas where you can sit and bask in the sunshine (if there is any!). There’s also the Sugarloaf Vineyard to visit or stay at – they have accommodation and their wines have achieved “Quality Status” from the European Wine Standards Board. (You receive a complimentary bottle if you stay there.)


The Sugar loaf (mountain) in the Brecon Beacons. Credit : Simon Powell

The Sugarloaf is a mountain and people paraglide and hang glide off it. The whole area is just within the Brecon Beacons National Park (as is the Penderyn distillery). There are amazing views over the Usk Valley and you can wander along the river banks in Abergavenny and watch kingfishers fly in and out of their nests in the river banks.

Visit Grosmont and Skenfrith Castles too for a great day out.

About lynnee8

I have travelled extensively both for business (I am a teacher and teacher-trainer of English as a Foreign Language) and pleasure. I have just come back from Pakistan where I lived for 4 years. I love Greece and have lived there for more than 10 years although not all at one time.
This entry was posted in eating and drinking, South Wales, Travel, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to White Castle and Abergavenny South Wales UK

  1. Kati says:

    This is so cool. I’ve only been to the Edinburgh castle, and didn’t have enough money to go inside- I regret it now.


  2. lynnee8 says:

    I love castles – all of them, even if they are now in ruins!


  3. Pingback: Cardiff Castle in the City Centre | Writing and Travel

  4. Pingback: Skenfrith Castle, Skenfrith, Monmouthshire, South Wales | Writing and Travel

  5. Pingback: Grosmont Castle, one of the Three Castles in the Welsh Marches | Writing and Travel

  6. Pingback: Raglan Castle, Monmouthshire, South Wales | Writing and Travel

  7. Pingback: The Bear Inn, Crickhowell | Writing and Travel

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s