Anyone who has seen my previous posts knows that Wales is littered with castles and while many are in a good state the vast majority of the survivors are in a ruinous state.
These ruins have much more appeal for me and the content of this post is one of these ruined castles.
Pennard Castle is a ruined castle on the Gower Peninsula near the village of Pennard in South Wales. Like many Norman castles built in the early 12th century, it started as an oval shaped timber ringwork and the walls were rebuilt in stone in the late 13th or early 14th century.
Perched on the edge of the valley of the Pennard Pill the castle overlooks the sea at what is now called Pobble Beach and Three Cliffs Bay. The closeness of the coast and the encroaching sand dunes sealed the fate of the castle and it was soon abandoned and then fell into a ruinous state.
The only entrance was through the gatehouse on the east side, which consisted of an archway.
A small settlement grew up around the castle, and to its east, a solitary section of wall is all that is left of St. Mary's church which was the last element of the settlement to be abandoned in 1532. The Castle, village and church were all subsequently overwhelmed by sand.
The castle was listed in a survey in 1650 where it was described as being desolate, ruinous and surrounded by sand.
By the 1920's Penard Golf Club had acquired the site and a beautiful golf course had been developed with the castle ruins at the beachside of the course.
In 1923 funds were being raised to help preserve what was left of the castle but the cost was too high and only some remedial work being "patched" with concrete was carried out.
After the disaster of the remaining southern wall collapsing at the beginning of 1960 a public appeal launched by local newspapers and urgent masonry repairs were then carried out in 1963, paid for by a combination of the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works, the Gower Society, the golf club and the public appeal funds.
Thankfully now The ruins are protected under UK law as a grade II* listed building and a scheduled ancient monument.
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The Legend of Pennad Castle and the fairies.
There is a legend that goes with the ruin of the castle. It is said that the castle was owned by a fearsome baron who was great in battle.
King of Gwynedd needed an aid to help in a battle and asked the Baron to help and promised him anything he desired if the battle was won. After they were successful in the fight the Baron requested the hand of the king's daughter ( of whom it was said was friends with the fairies) in payment. The king although reluctant gave the baron his daughters hand.
During a banquet the Baron grabbed the Princess and carried her to his chambers, intent on having her before the wedding.
Suddenly there was a cry let out that an army was approaching the castle. The Baron in a drunken stupor grabbed his sword and went out to fight the assailants but although he slashed and cut with his sword he could not deliver any harm to them and collapsed exhausted to his knees.
He looked at the lights around him and saw they were gossamer wings.
He realised this was not an army but a host of fairies came to join the wedding.
A strong wind then came up and blew the fairies away. The wind turning into a storm blew a mountain of sand from the sea and battered the castle.
By morning The castle, the Barron and the Princess vanished.