Picton Castle was one of numerous fortifications raised by Norman invaders in the late eleventh century. Originally an earth and timber castle, it was rebuilt in 1300 on a slightly different site by Sir John Wogan. It was attacked by Owain Glyndŵr in 1405 and by Royalist forces during the Civil War.
Pembrokeshire was invaded by Arnulf de Montgomery, Earl of Shrewsbury in 1093. He established a substantial fortress at Pembroke and, over the subsequent years, both he and his retainers expanded their territory and built castles to secure their conquests. Picton Castle, which was raised to control the Eastern Cleddau, was one of these new fortifications. The original structure was an earth and timber motte-and-bailey fortification.
By the late thirteenth century, Picton had become part of the Barony of Wiston which was owned by Sir John Wogan. He was appointed as Justiciar of Ireland in 1295 and, to mark his new status, he decided to move his family seat from Wiston Castle to a new stone built fortification at Picton. Work started circa-1300 on the new structure which consisted of a hall block with large, D-shaped towers on each corner. A double drum gatehouse was located on the eastern side and a Solar Tower was located to the west.
Picton Castle was attacked and possibly briefly occupied by Owain Glyndŵr's forces in 1405. How much damage was incurred in this attack is unknown but, shortly after the suppression of the rebellion, then owner, Owen Dwnn, embarked upon a rebuilding programme which included remodelling the windows on the hall and upgrading the gatehouse.
The castle passed through marriage to Sir Thomas Philipps of Cilsant in 1485. In the subsequent centuries his descendants rose in prominence to become one of the most important in Pembrokeshire. The castle avoided any significant damage during the Civil War although it was captured by a Royalist force in 1645. Picton Castle was placed in the ownership of a charitable trust in 1987.
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Picton Castle is a major tourist attraction. The castle has been extensively modified since its construction circa-1300.
Gatehouse. The Norman style front entrance was added in 1697 by Sir John Philipps. The medieval entrance is buried directly below.
Carriage Circle. The ground in front of the castle was raised in the 1820s to form a carriage circle.
Great Hall. The central range in the castle was the Great Hall. Note the two D-shaped towers that project from the hall.
New Block. An older medieval Solar Tower was replaced by this block in the 1790s which added new accommodation and a Grand Staircase.