About Oxwich Castle

Oxwich Bay Castle; a hilltop fortress haunted

Rising from ruins of early Tudor times,

It’s appearance more of a fortified stately home;

A magnificent mansion it was.

It was built to impress the influential.

Made from the treasures of shipwrecks there.

Rising on the site of an earlier fortification.

With a castle gate bearing of innocent blood,

A scene of a once mortal battle.

The daughter of Sir Mansel who’s grief is bared.

Men Fighting over lost stolen treasures there.

Barrels of wine from France; and the like;

Pots, pans, fancy dress and mustard seed.

Fighting were two of the Gower’s families;

The Mansel’s and the Herberts; disputing

When Sir Mansel’s daughter appeared,

Her aim was to the resolve,

Sir Mansel, it was her innocence he feared.

Over the stolen booty Sir Mansel held.

Refusing the real owner to reconcile or detour,

A feud engaged over this stolen treasure,

But there within the Mansel household,

When his daughter appeared at the gate amure.

Caught in the fire; for it was too late,

There was no peace to be made

As Sir Mansel refused to negotiate.

For the booty was Herberts stolen from the sea,

And it was not to be had; not owned by he.

Miss Anne was killed for the treasures taken,

She was met by a miss thrown stone.

A Stone was meant for Sir Mansel himself.

Instead of gain; his daughter struck lain.

An innocent life; Miss Anne was gone;

Sir Mansel, her life was lost; he grieved in pain,

Bereaved for what he had exchanged;

A shipwrecked treasure feigned,

All for the life of his daughter he gave.

******

From the shores of Oxwich Bay the Mansel family found many an opportunity to gain advantage of their location to the beach were the first to plunder lots sailing ships that wrecked near the rocks at Oxwich Beach.

However, such eager salvaging brought disaster upon the family when, in 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, to some extent, also belonged to a Sir George Herbert, one of the most important and powerful men of Swansea at the time, and he and his men soon descended upon Oxwich Castle.

Fearing an ensuing argument, between Herbert and his men and Mansel and his own, would turn bloody, when Sir Rhys Mansel’s daughter, Anne, rushed outside the castle to intervene and reconcile the two sides.

However, as she intervened, she was struck by a stone thrown which resulted in her death six days later.

References from:

http://cadw.gov.wales/daysout/oxwichcastle/?lang=en

All That Remains 


From the “Wild Irish Way, the road that leads to Minard Castle where it stands proud on a hill overlooking the Irish bay. 

It’s ruins prominent; with views across the Irish Sea to the edge of glaciers to Ireland’s southern Peninsula. J took me there today. I loved it. 


A castle commanding one’s attention; one of only three of the 16th century built; it’s forbidden to enter now. 

At high tide it remains a citadel submerged; once beautiful but left in despair. 


There are places where time and nature toss the waves rolling, weakening the sea walls leaving all thrown; left at the shore…


And that is all that remains. 

Spain

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We drove through the Pyrenees and across France to Spain following the mountain bends; the roads curving in alternate succession forming our path along the way and it almost seemed if the mountains alternated rather that the road ascending to the rise and fall of the pitch.  And it was there I witnessed for the first time near Valencia these majestic mosaic fields of white rock and limestone where orange trees seem to grow in groves for miles and miles from right out of the white sands.

There were the olive trees too that covered every surface area defending the glistening inlets from the Mediterranean Sea with villages nestling in valleys pointing the way to the to Tarragona; one of the most ancient parts of southern Spain. We were heading to Barcelona, Cartagena then Madrid. Each a Roman City with visual evidence of remains even older than before recorded time and places that have been inhabited by humans for more two millennia.

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The land is massive and diverse with incredible biodiversity and where everything survives from these limestone mountains. They hills are dotted with cave homes and castles forts every ten miles just to give you an idea of the scale of the countryside.

Driving beneath these ridges we had made our from Tarragona to Barcelona by sunset. Just an hour from Cartagena we could have been in Portugal or Morocco depending on our direction of our destination.

Destiny is the universal principle and the ultimate by which the order of things is presumably prescribed; the decreed cause of events and time. These are the Argons and maybe if these mountains had eyes, they would wake to find us standing in admiration of them. I can feel them and it is as if they could breathe life into me like the wind upon the earth’s shore. These Argon Mountains have seen untold sunrises with the many who have longed to conquer; not to forget the Crusaders who passed through here when they came only to thunder praise standing reverent and so silent.

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We were in these mountains in January near Valencia. We had just left Barcelona and on our way to Catalonia. It is close to Morocco was just thinking of the Moors and who fought and failed to take possession of this lands. When I look at them the land seems almost impenetrable for those who might have attempted to enter with the idea of conquering. There are just too many hilltop castles and  fortresses along the way to the East, North, and South and beyond.

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They left traces of history and probably built for protection from the Moors. It’s there in these mountains where I can almost feel the traces of destiny that they left behind. And it was here where I see proof that destiny is part of the life’s journey; and I know it does not come about without some tension and maybe we’re are not always supposed to know how things will be or turn out, but perhaps we were just lead hear by Faith. I don’t know for sure, but I think the mountain is in us; and maybe its just a part of the daily climb; where it continues to kindle my every enthusiasm, making my every nerve quiver, filling every pore and cell of me.

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Llangoed Hall

 

While on holiday we found a great place to stay. It was once a castle, situated in the stunning Wye Valley, dating from 1632, and it was formerly known as Llangoed Castle. 

It is a fascinating and luxurious; in equal measures and it is a rare thing for a building to be associated with a legendary story, but Llangoed can lay claim to being just that. 

Local folklore has it that Llangoed was the site of the White Palace where the First Welsh Parliament was held amongst the native princes of the 6th century. 

  

Set amongst stunning countryside and close to the economically and militarily important spa town of Builth Wells, it is easy to imagine the Welsh princes meeting to discuss the politics of war.

Llangoed Hall Hotel is set within 17 acres of beautiful landscaped gardens. It is the ‘home from home’ that you would expect from your ‘best friend’s Country House’. Blazing log fires help create the cosy, welcoming ambience that Llangoed Hall is renowned for. 

Adorning the walls at Llangoed Hall Hotel are an outstanding collection of paintings, drawings and various pieces of fine art including artists such as Whistler, Herman Dudley Murphy and James Cowie.

  

Llangoed Hall is near the village of Llyswen, in the Powys, Mid Wales with its decoration known for the Laura Ashley fabrics and styles. 

It was owned by the late Sir Bernard Ashley, the widower of the late designer. He was her business partner from the founding of their fashion-textiles-centred business.

An engineer with a love of trains, planes and boats. Ashley was often portrayed in the media as a businessperson instead of a designer. 

  


He had a huge love of colour and design, with interests in Laura Ashley Holdings and the country-house hotel Llangoed Hall, ranking 796th as the richest person in the UK ranking to a tune of £60m in fashion and hotels by the Sunday Times Rich List

He lived mainly in Brussels, but had houses in Hay-on-Wye and France. 

I would go back in a heartbeat. Plus it is dog friendly. 

   

 


References: http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/historic-welsh-building-llangoed-hall-2036255

http://www.hotelsthatwerenot.com/product.php?shopprodid=101

http://www.pauldonovanphotography.co.uk/2008/03/llangoed-hall/

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Llangoed_Hall

Swansea Bay ~  South Wales Evening Post

Swansea Bay (WelshBae Abertawe)

On the southern coast of Wales

Where five rivers flow through it

Banking into the bay, out into the Irish Sea

And all the upper reaches of the Bristol Channel

Experiencing one of the largest tidal ranges 

In the entire world.

 

Maybe missing a place,  are about the places that call you back. Like the feeling you have to return, or go there again or else you you might die. Wales is that place for me. 
Even though we had our writing; We write everyday, but I think it’s was our way communicating and our way of staying connected. 
What I miss walks in the park and long conversation, lots of beach time, cooking, dining out, cooking, reading and writing everyday, there’s lots to see and everywhere to go to take lots of photographs, and day trips, shopping in the Markets and Sunday fairs and river cruises down  the Tawe River to Landovey.
Wales is a place of bed & breakfast stays and morning coffee, Sunday paper, galleries and museums, and long weekends in London with you. Weekend drives to the mountains or all day at the beach. I never did get bored hanging out.
 
Maybe take a antique road trip to find a treasure or something to set our heart afire. I can hear your sweet words of excitement when you do. 
 
I am already almost ready to return to the the British Isle’s. To begin a life long romance with life in Wales. For this and all the summers to come. Looking forward, maybe see you next Sunday.
 
All I know is that, its everything that feels right in this world. 

23 startling pictures which show this isn’t just a bay, it’s Swansea Bay | South Wales Evening Post.

Swansea Castle

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I love exploring castles. Mostly I think what I love most is the history behind the castle walls. It’s as thrilling than any book I could read and Swansea Castle is one of them. I hope you enjoy.

Swansea Castle was built by the Normans just 40 years after William the Conqueror’s famous victory over King Harold at the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

After various other unsuccessful attacks the castle fell in 1217 but was restored to the English in 1220 as part of the settlement between Llywelyn ap Iorwerth and Henry III of England. Immediately after this the inner castle was probably walled in stone with at least one tower.

Swansea Castle, with its turrets, arrow openings and intricate stonework has survived numerous attacks from Welsh rebels and even the German Luftwaffe.

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The visible remains consist of the north and south blocks, probably the work of William de Braose III, connected by a short stretch of much-altered curtain wall. The curtain wall originally continued up Castle Bailey Street on the west, and west from the north block to enclose a roughly rectangular area, with an entrance on the west side.

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The well-preserved south block, which occupied most of the south side of the castle, is the most spectacular part, with its picturesque arcaded parapet on top of the outside walls.

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The small rectangular tower to the ed into a debtor’s prison. It had probably been used as a prison for a long time before, and still has grim air.

Other usable parts of the castle had very heterogeneous uses at the beginning of the 19th century – as a town hall, poor-house, a new market house, store cellars, a blacksmith’s and other shops, a Roman Catholic chapel (in the hall) and a dovecote.

References:
http://www.castlewales.com/swansea.html
http://www.clickonwales.org/2011/09/opening-a-door-to-our-heritage/
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_castles_in_Wales
http://cadw.wales.gov.uk/daysout/swanseacastle/?lang=en

Wales… Someone Like You

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Sir Robert de Penres, was a Welsh Knight, who married into the powerful de Camville family during the time of Edward III wrath in 1362. The castle was nearly destroyed. All that ramains today is the outerwalls t North and East and the Castle Keep.

The castle continued to be in use as a tenanted farm held from a branch the 18th century.

Penrice Castle is the largest Norman fortification in Gower. It was built during the mid 13 Century replacing an early 12th century ringwork known as Monty Bank located a short distance away.

It was in its glory at a time when the Gower belonged to the princes of Deheubarth where they led many campaigns in an attempt to protect it from the invaders.

Penrice Castle is privately owned and there is no public access to the site, other than by foot. We were there and walked the entire estate. Currently work is in progress to safeguard its future.