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.