Weobley Castle stands evocatively upon a northern hilltop overlooking the Burry Estuary and most of the North Gower coast. Along with a few other castles on the Gower Peninsula, this building is not an actual Norman castle but is in fact, an early 14th century fortified manor house.
The castle was built by the de la Bere family who lived here for over a century. Although the manor house had been built to sustain military attack, its main purpose was one of grand residence. It was therefore hardly surprising that the building was significantly damaged when Owain Glyndwr, leader of the Welsh rebellion, raided Gower between 1403-1406 with the purpose of reclaiming Wales from its Norman rule. However, not suffering the full treatment from Glyndwr and his army that Swansea Castle received, the Weobley manor house recooped and continued to be the home of the de la Bere family until the mid 15th century when it seems the family moved to Berkshire. The residency was then taken up by the powerful Sir Rhys ap Thomas.
Sir Rhys ap Thomas had been knighted and made Governor of Wales on the battlefield of Bosworth in 1485, after triumphantly slaying Richard III, and had become the close friend of the new Tudor king Henry VII. During his ownership of Weobley Castle he made several improvements and additions of typical Tudor-style.
After Sir Rhys ap Thomas relatively short residence, the castle was owned by the Crown. Henry VIII at first gave the castle as a gift to Lady Catherine Edgecumbe, but when both the King and Lady Catherine died in 1547 the Crown leased the castle to Sir William Herbert for 10 years.
Finally, the Mansel family of Llanrithrid procured the castle, which they owned for many generations until 1911, when Miss Emily Charlotte Mansel Talbot of Penrice Castle signed the castle over to the appropriate government department dealing with architecture.
Over more recent years a certain amount of renovation and restoration work has been carried out and maintained by the Welsh Government department CADW - who deal with Welsh historic monuments. Today, the well maintained castle is open to the public (for a small fee) and hosts a comprehensive exhibition on both its own history as well details of other historic attractions of the peninsula.
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