This castle, designed by William Burges in conjunction with his patron and friend, John, 3rd Marquess of Bute, was constructed on the earlier site of an earthern motte (earth and timber) fortress. The original fortress was built just after the Norman conquest, in the eleventh century, and was subservient to the much bigger castle at Cardiff.
The fortress was one of three built by the Normans to protect the lowlands of Glamorgan from the Welsh in the Uplands. Of course, the lowland Welsh had to fund the building.
The 3rd Marquess of Bute was a keen medievalist and, as he was the richest man in the world in the nineteenth century, he engaged several people to excavate the site. Later, William Burges and he, not having much evidence of what the original fortress looked like, cobbled together a fairytale.
The curtain wall and towers follow faithfully the boundary of the original walls, but that is about all that is genuine. Burges designed the exterior of the castle from other castles he had seen all over Europe. The interior, though, is pure Victorian gone mad. There are three towers – the Keep Tower, the Well Tower, and the Kitchen Tower. The three have conical roofs and the towers surround an inner courtyard with a covered verandah at the height of the second floor accessed by a roofed stairway from the yard. As you would expect there are narrow stone staircases in the towers themselves.
The living quarters are furnished sumptuously with replica furniture of the medieval period. The interior walls of the living quarters are truly a sight to marvel at.
Enough of the outside of the castle and the inner courtyard. Here are some views of the living quarters.
These are a taste of what you can see in the castle. Phenomenal, I can assure you. Some of the photographs are a bit shaky that’s because I’m knocking on a bit and I was trying to keep other visitors out of the picture. The link at the top of the page takes you to the Cadw website for Castell Coch. Any errors in the narration are of course my own and I apologize most sincerely.
As a matter of interest Castell Coch was the setting in 1954 for the Arthurian film The Black Knight starring Alan Ladd.