Sir Rice Mancel was the owner Oxwich Castle, near the treacherous Oxwich Bay. He found ways to gain advantage of their proximity to the beach so he built the castle on the hill with the view out to sea and bay.
He plundered the treasures of numerous sailing vessels that wrecked themselves on the coast there. Basically Sir Rhys Mancel was a pirate.
However, such eager salvaging would brought disaster upon him when, on 27th December 1557.
Sir Rhys Mansel took possession of the riches from a certain French trading ship that had come to grief off Oxwich Point during a gale.
The salvage rights to this vessel, belonged to a Sir George Herbert, one of the most important and powerful men of Swansea at the time…
Sir George and his men descended upon Oxwich Castle forcibly arguing their rights on the cargo on the ship.
An ensuing argument, between Herbert and his men and Mansel would turn bloody. Sir Rhys Mansel’s daughter, Anne, rushed outside the castle to plea for resolution between the two sides.
However, as she intervened, she was struck by a stone thrown by Sir George’s angered servant and fell to the ground bleeding from her head.
This episode resulted in her death six days later.
Sir Mansel, took his case to the Star Chamber, which imposed heavy fines on Sir George and his men for the death of Anne.
Mansel was ordered to return the salvaged goods and to repair all damage caused. Additionally the servant stood trial for his part in Anne Mansel’s death.
However, as far as the Mansel family were concerned justice had not been done. But the court decided to pardon the stone-throwing servant.
Sir George craftily avoided paying his fine, as he decided to put all his possessions into trust with his wife as beneficiary.
By the time of his death in 1570 he had managed to avoid paying the sum owed. The bitter feud between the Mansels and the Herberts lasted for many years.
Oxwich Castle was abandoned by the Mansel family in the late 16th century for their new residence at Margam.
The building was leased out to tenant farmers who inhabited the smaller south wing.
The large east block of the castle fell into ruin.