June 5, 2014 by

Carew Castle, Pembrokeshire


Categories: Research, Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

According to CADW, Wales has more castles per square mile than any other nation. Carew Castle is one of them.

Carew Castle, located on the Caeriw River in Pembrokeshire, southwest Wales, is one of the few castles that displays architecture from the Norman period through the Elizabethan, with archaeological evidence showing indications of settlement dating back 2000 years.   The name ‘Carew’, Caeriw in Welsh, is an anglicized combination of, “caer” meaning fortress, and “rhiw” meaning hill–not that the area on which it stands is hilly:  “Its position is low-lying, but still prominent in the flat land around the tidal reaches of the Carew river. The castle stands at the end of a ridge at a strategically excellent site commanding a crossing point of the then-still navigable river.”  http://www.castlewales.com/carew.html

The name also might come from ‘Caerau’, simply the plural, ‘forts’.

Tradition states that the original castle was built by Gerald de Windsor, a Norman who came with Arnulph de Montgomery, the first Norman Earl of Pembroke.  Gerald married Princess Nest, daughter of Prince Rhys ap Tudur of Deheubarth.  Her daughter, Angharad, was the mother of the travel writer, Gerald of Wales.  (source:  Carew Local History Group/Dyfed Archaeological Trust).   Sir Nicholas’ ancestor William, eldest son of Gerald de Windsor, was the first to adopt the title ‘de Carew’ (‘from Carew’), according to the Norman (rather than Welsh) tradition.

In the 13th century, Sir Nicholas de Carew was a high ranking officer and distinguished soldier in the time of Edward I.  He fought on behalf of the king in Ireland and in Europe (he does not appear to have played much of a role in the Welsh wars up until 1282).  He was responsible for much of the medieval construction of Carew Castle between 1280 and 1310. He died in 1311 and was buried the parish church of Carew Cheriton, where an effigy of a knight believed to be that of Sir Nicholas remains today. He was succeeded by his son John.  http://www.carewcastle.com/

The castle passed to Rhys ap Thomas in 1480, who was the leading Welsh supporter of Henry Tudor, later King Henry VII of England, who knighted him after the Battle of Bosworth Field.   After that family fell into disfavor, it came to Sir John Perrot in 1558.  He was convicted of treason in 1592, at which point the castle was let to tenants.  http://www.castlewales.com/carew.html.  According to the Carew Local History Group, it returned to the descendants of the Carew family in the 17th century (Thomas Carew, 3rd Baron Kesteven died in 1915 of wounds recieved in WWI), and the family retains ownership today.

My eldest son is named ‘Carew’, so we have a particular affinity for this place 🙂




12 Responses to Carew Castle, Pembrokeshire

  1. Dale C. Rice

    SINCE I FOUND THIS: We have establihed that NESTA verch TWDDRR or Tudor is my mother’s 23rd or 24 great grandmother. We were never told anything about her Ancestory, nor did we ever have any inkling of how we were connected to this great PLace. My 8th great grandfather was raised here from 1565 to 1592 by his foster father Sir JOHN PERROTT 1528 believed to be the Queen’s 1/2 Brother. I have tracked down the DNA to the man my 93 year old father named: Sir Robert Dudley 1532 . We Rice males share a Unique DNA that matches 91% of all the markers of Sir Robert Dudley’s 5th Cousin Robert Sutton, proved by DNA to be a grandson of the Sutton Dudley lines. I want to thank you again for posting this marvelous tour of the CASTLE, some Family are still not able to process where we came from and who our proved ancestor’s are. DC Rice 1948 of the NEBRASKA RICE’s

  2. verna devney (parrott)

    I have been researching for 3 months now. I am so glad I found this. I was able to walk around the castle with my Grandfather in my thoughts. Sir John Perrot was my 12th Great. He lived in Carew Castle for 35 years. His accomplishments and drive to help make the British crown succeed over and above all other countries can sometimes get distorted. He served King Edward VI, Queen Elizabeth I and Queen Mary I. Edward knighted him, Elizabeth like him so much she made him Admiral of her naval fleet and Mary admired his ability to stop wars in the making and join two countries by marriage. His strength and power was not liked by parliament and they turned on him by making up lies. But then that’s he kind of stuff they did back then. Everyone lied on everyone because of jealousy. Sir John’s name is on a plaque in the north tower, which he had built. His coat of arms is also there. I really enjoyed the tour of the castle. (How did the women back then with those large dresses walk those steps?)

    • Sarah Post author

      Hi Verna! Maybe they had servants to carry their skirt:) I suspect servant women wore less elaborate clothing.

      That is really neat about your ancestor. I didn’t notice the plaque when I was there, but I’ll make a point to see it next time 🙂

    • Dale C. Rice

      Hello Ms Verna Devney: My 8th great grand father is said to be John PERRATT 1565 raised here at the castle along with fostered brothers Sir James PERROTT and William Perrot both born to SYBILE Johnes Perrott. Your 12 th great grandfather was FRENCH extraction from Thomas Perrott and his wife Mary Berkeley -Pughe, She married Sir Thomas Perrott and then after he died suddenly, she placed Your grandfather with the JOHNES family, where he met Sybile. She was his 3rd wife I believe….Women didn’t last long in Child Birth back then, sad to say. You may be aware that his reputation also included being the King’s son H.VIII by Mary BERKLEY….Her father was a treasurer to HENRY VII so their aquaintance while not well known would have been quite natural for her father’s role as advisor to HENRY VII. In any event: We are certain his blood Haplogroup was FRENCH R1b which nearly every PERROTT in the system has proved to be. The experts also say that HENRY VIII was likely R or R1b. We know for certain that my ancestor Raised by your 12th great grandfather was NORMAN I-1 Haplogroup so no blood relation to my 8th great grandfather. I would be interested to know if there are any downline brothers or Uncles from Sir John Perrott that survived into the present time in your family….That could clear up a great deal in the Minds of Geneaologists who think HE was not the KINGS son, even though Queen Mary I gave him Carew Castle and 6,000 acres of land in 1558 and Queen Elizabeth called upon him to carry her canopy during her coronation and seated him in the family section at the CAthedral and chose him to tame IRELAND. I think he was treated like the KINGS SON, Edward VI knighted him Knight of the BAth and made him an ADMIRAL of the fleet just prior to the Spanish invasion. KInd regards Dale C. Rice 1948 of the NEBRASKA RICE’s proved descendant of JOHN PERRATT II 1565.

  3. Dale C. Rice

    Your article is invaluable to me as I try to piece together the story of my Ancestor who traces to Sir John Perrott’s son John Parrott II. I won’t go into detail here but I visited the castle in September on the 13th with the air hung with humidity that I described as “Sweating Air” in the poem I composed in honor of the occasion and the profound effect it had upon me….Kindest Regards Dale C. Rice Palm Springs Ca.

  4. Colton

    ok so my parents are doing research on our family tree and i guess somewhere down the line we was some type of royalty. and some of the castles came up and this castle is one of em our last name is garrett and i was wondering if u could help me out on finding out if this castle could’ve been ours? another castle that came up was kingsley castle or the castle cob. but i havent found really anything on that one so… care to help?

    • Sarah Post author

      I read that too–one web site said that it was a combination of “caer”, fortress, and “iw”, water. Thus it was a “fortress by the water”. Yet, 1) “iw” or “ew” doesn’t appear to mean ‘water’ in Welsh, and 2) the name predates the castle. Thus, I opted for the other citation which combined “caer” and “rhiw”.

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