Expert articles and latest updates about Nevern Castle

  • Nevern Show 2023
    Nevern Show 2023
    Friends of Nevern Castle
    Nevern Show 2023
    Once again, Friends of Nevern Castle took a stand at Nevern Show, to promote knowledge of the castle and connect with visitors and local residents who might not know of it. Gaynor, Mick, Kath and Alan chatted to people who'd turned out on a very pleasant day to enjoy the competitions, crafts, and exhibitors at the lively Show.
    We talked to lots of people! Of the 35 conversations we made a note of:


  • Castles come to Wales
    Friends of Nevern Castle
    A devastating innovation
    The castle was an important tool of conquest. Initially built quickly in wood, it served as a base for the invading soldiers, a place to protect their equipment and provisions, and a place to defend from counter-attacks.


  • Throne and motte
    Friends of Nevern Castle
    Throne and motte
    The first Annual General Meeting of the Friends of Nevern Castle was held at the Trewern Arms on 12th July.
    During the past year, we have:


  • Making sense of the fragments
    Friends of Nevern Castle
    Dr Chris Caple, the archaeologist who led the digs at Nevern Castle for ten years, gave a popular and fascinating talk at the Trewern Arms on Wednesday 12/7/2023.
    Since its destruction in 1196, ploughing and weathering have obscured what remains of the castle. Only fragments remain - and the task of the archaeologist is to piece them together, to reveal the dramatic events of the time, and the life that people led.


  • PCNPA tour
    Friends of Nevern Castle
    Tomos Jones, PCNPA Community Archaeologist, led a group on a tour of Newport Castle, St Brynach's Church, and Nevern Castle.
    Early Purple Orchid seen at the Castle today


  • Pilgrimage conference
    Friends of Nevern Castle
    Alan represented Friends of Nevern Castle at the Pilgrimage Today conference in Enniscorthy, Co.Wexford in March 2023. The gathering celebrated the opening of the Wexford-Pembrokeshire Pilgrim Way from Ferns in SE Ireland across the sea to St Davids. The meeting, sponsored by the Ancient Connections project and British Pilgrimage Trust, was attended by about 80 people including artists, businesses and places of interest along the route, officers of Visit Pembrokeshire and Fáilte Ireland, together with academics studying tourism and pilgrimage.
    Alan was also there for his part as a software developer in Pererin Wyf, a project sponsored by Ancient Connections which links people of the Irish and Welsh diasporas worldwide.


  • School children being shown a drawing of the tower atop the motte
    School visit
    Friends of Nevern Castle
    School children being shown a drawing of the tower atop the motte
    Friends of Nevern Castle conducted a tour of the Castle for a group of 9-10 year olds from St Dogmaels Primary School on 14th November 2022.
    While walking around the site, we looked at mock-up pictures, talked about the characters of the time, and had great fun role-playing the coming and goings between Norman and Welsh control. And of course we talked about archaeology.


  • Speaking to a party of visitors in the bailey
    Wexford visit to Castle
    Friends of Nevern Castle
    Speaking to a party of visitors in the bailey
    Friends of Nevern Castle showed round a group of visitors from Ireland on Sunday 23/10/2022.
    The visit was a first trial of a guided tour round the castle. We told the story of the main characters in its 90-year history, while explaining the visible remains and showing artists' impressions of what it looked like at the time.


  • People picnicing at the barbecue August 2022
    BBQ Aug 29th
    Friends of Nevern Castle
    People picnicing at the barbecue August 2022
    We had a great time at the barbecue in the castle bailey on bank holiday Monday.
    Good company in lovely surroundings, and delicious barbie food!


  • Friends speaking to people at Nevern Show 2022
    Nevern Show
    Friends of Nevern Castle
    Friends speaking to people at Nevern Show 2022
    Friends of Nevern Castle had a stand in the craft tent at Nevern Show on 10th August. Gaynor, Mike, Kath and Alan chatted to show goers about the castle.
    The aim was to raise awareness of the existence of the site and the importance of the castle in the 12th century. We told visitors how the castle's history, with its alternation between Norman and Welsh control, encapsulated that pivotal period in the history of Wales.


  • Map/aerial photo of Nevern for updated trail guide leaflet 2022
    Trail guide update
    Friends of Nevern Castle
    Map/aerial photo of Nevern for updated trail guide leaflet 2022
    Nevern Trail Guide leaflet was published in 2016 by Nevern Community Council and Pembrokeshire National Park Authority. It's now due for a reprint, and so there's an opportunity for updates and improvements.
    Friends of Nevern Castle recently had a meeting with other residents of Nevern to discuss changes to the leaflet. We've also had discussions with representatives of St Brynach's Church, the Village Hall, and the Trewern Arms.


  • Nevern’s Apotropaic Slates
    Chris Caple
    by Dr Chris Caple
    In 2011, we unearthed a series of slates forming a threshold in the gateway of the southern entrance to the castle. A number of these slates contained faint scratched designs. As the slates were bedded on their edges, these designs could not be seen by the people passing over the threshold; only by supernatural forces. The designs were almost certainly incised into the slates by the workmen building the gateway (constructed circa 1170-1191).


  • Barbecue 2021
    Friends’ Meeting – Trewern 30/3/2022
    Nevern Community Council
    Barbecue 2021
    Inaugural meeting of the Friends of Nevern Castle
    Enthusiasts for Nevern Castle met on Wednesday 30/3/2022, kindly hosted by the Trewern Arms. We created a formal association, with a constitution and the usual officers. We’ll be able to open a bank account, apply for grants, etc.


  • Great Hall in Stokesay Castle
    The Great Hall
    Rob Anthony
    Great Hall in Stokesay Castle
    The brief life and times of the Great Hall, Nevern Castle
    Fig 1 Artist’s impression of Nevern Castle:


  • My Dig Memories
    Gaynor Bussell
    Gaynor Bussell, Volunteer at Nevern Dig 2009-2018
    After working over 30 years in London, in June 2008 I decided to give it all up. I was not sure what I wanted to do with the rest of my life; I was not quite 50! But I had developed hiraeth for the lands from where my family had come and where many of my relatives still lived.


  • Podcast: Tomos Jones, PCNPA
    Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority
    The Archaeology of Nevern Castle
    Tomos Jones, Community Archaeologist at Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority, talks about the archaeological excavations at Nevern Castle between 2008 and 2018.


  • The Lord Rhys’ Oath
    Rob Anthony
    The broken oaths of the Lord Rhys would have put him at risk of eternal damnation, according to the tenets of the 12th century.
    Dr Robert Anthony


  • Was Nevern really a borough?
    Rob Anthony
    Were there really 18 burgage plots within the castle? Can we believe the claim by George Owen, 16th/17th century antiquarian and lord of Cemais, that Nevern was once a borough, with special privileges?
    Dr Rob Anthony explains, and examines the evidence.


  • A decorated key
    Chris Caple
    An object that has come up recently in the research on Nevern is the shaft of a key, a slide key for a padlock, with inlaid spiral decoration.
    Keys like this only turn up on 12th century sites such as York, Winchester, Castle Acre. Unnecessarily decorated and expensive, they were probably mainly owned by aristocratic ladies safeguarding things which they wanted to keep safe: perhaps documents, jewellery, clothes or shoes.


  • Family feuds
    Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority

    Delun Gibby tells the story of Rhys' imprisonment in his own castle. (Delun was Community Archaeologist for Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority.)


  • Archbishop Baldwin 1188
    Rob Anthony
    Dr Robert Anthony
    Monday, 28 March 1188: it is not often in medieval history that an event can be dated with such precision, especially when concerning Wales, and we have Gerald of Wales (Giraldus Cambrensis), scholar, canon of St David’s and Archdeacon of Brecon, to thank for this. The event in question is described in his book: The Journey Through Wales (1191), an account, almost in diary form (although with lavish digressions), of the six week mission to south and north Wales by Baldwin Archbishop of Canterbury to preach the Cross in support of the Third Crusade.


  • The Throne
    Nevern Community Council
    It is said of the bleeding yew tree in Nevern churchyard, "The Yew will bleed until a Welsh King sits upon the throne in the Castle!"
    The saying goes back a long way. We don't have a Welsh king yet, but in 2008, Nevern Community Council took the first step by providing a throne.


  • Barbecue
    Nevern Community Council
    About 50 people attended the barbecue in the bailey in the August bank holiday 2021. We're looking to hold more events in the future.