The Norman Castle

The Norman invaders built St Clears Castle in about 1100. By the middle of the 12th century it had become the centre of a Norman lordship despite the fact that it was besieged, burnt and captured by the Welsh princes in 1153, 1189 and 1215. It was surrendered to Owain Glyndŵr in 1405 but was abandoned shortly afterwards.

In 1188, 12 archers from the castle murdered a young Welsh noble and were ordered to go on the crusade as punishment.

St Clears Castle is a motte and bailey. Shown in the picture on the interpretative panel is the immense motte or mound, which rises to 12m – one of the tallest in Wales.

At first it would have carried a timber tower but foundations seen in the past suggest that a stone-keep was built later.

The courtyard or bailey has been levelled and is unexcavated. However old photographs show that the defensive banks that may have carried stone walls (possibly built by William Marshal the Younger when he received the castle in 1230), and also the outline of buildings within the bailey. These would have included a Great Hall, where the entire garrison ate, drank and slept, the kitchens, a chapel, stables and workshop.

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Y Castell Normanaidd

Fe adeiladwyd Castell Sanclêr gan y Normaniaid tua 1100. Erbyn canol y 12fed ganrif, roedd yn ganolbwynt arglwyddiaeth Normanaidd, er iddo gael ei warchae, ei losgi a’i gipio gan y Tywysogion Cymreig yn 1153, 1189 a 1215. Fe’i hidlwyd i Owain Glyndŵr yn 1405 a’i adael am byth yn fuan wedi hynny.

Yn 1188, cosbwyd 12 saethwr o’r castell drwy eu hanfon ar Grwsâd fel cosb, am iddynt lofruddio Cymro ifanc o dras uchel.

Castell mwnt a beili yw Castell Sanclêr. Yn y llun, gwelir y mwnt yn anferth, sy’n codi i 12m – un o’r uchaf yng Nghymru. Yn wreiddiol, safai twr pren arno, ond darganfuwyd seiliau cerrig ar y mwnt sy’n awgrymu y codwyd twr cerrig yno mewn cyfnod diweddarach.

Mae cwrt neu feili y castell wedi cael ei wastadu erbyn hyn ac nid ydyw wedi ei gloddio gan archeolegwyr erioed. Dengys hen luniau gwrthgloddiau’r castell a oedd unwaith, o bosibl, yn sail i welydd cerrig (rhai a godwyd, efallai, gan William Marshal yr Ieuengaf pan ddaeth y castell i’w feddiant yn 1230). Gwelir cysgod hen adeiladau yn y llun hefyd, gan gynnwys y Neuadd Fawr, lle byddai’r gariswn wedi bwyta, yfed a chysgu, y ceginau, capel, ystablau a gweithdai.

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