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Carew, Pembrokeshire. Carew Castle, set almost exactly half way between Tenby and Pembroke, was near enough neighbour to Manorbier not only to be known to Gerald de Barn hut also for him to make note of the outlaw spirit that was the great failing of the Welsh princes.

The Castle was founded. Apparently, in the first wave of Norman invasion that, having subdued England, went on almost to complete the conquest of Wales twenty years later. At the death of the Conqueror himself. Brecon, Cardican, Radnor, Pembroke, Glamorgan were held by Norman force, and the castles of Brecon, Maesyfed (Radnor), Cilgerran, Pembroke, Aberlleiniog stood as monuments to their sovereignty. Under the leadership of Gruffydd ap Cynan and Cadwgan ap Bleddyn, the tide was effectively turned. The invaders were driven out of Anglesey and the North, and Cheshire, Shropshire, and Herefordshire were overrun. In Pembrokeshire and Cardiganshire, the only Norman strongholds left standing were at Pembroke itself and a smaller one at Rhyd-y-gors. Ten years later, the Normans made a counter-attack and settled on the South shores of Wales at Kidwelly, Loughor, and Swansea. Carew seems to belong to the earlier wave of entry; Manorbier to the second.

But Carew Castle came to its possessor, the Norman Gerald of Windsor, in 1095, by down, to the woman he married, Nest, daughter of Rhys ap Tewdwr, Prince of South Wales. When she was abducted by Owain, son of Cadwgan, Prince of Powys. the policy of stabilization that Cadwgan had initiated was ruined; Welsh and Norman fell again into conflict, and the family of Cadwgan dissolved into a bitter feud that reached even into Ireland. When Gerald chose to lecture the Welsh on the failings they must overcome if they were to keep their ancient land for themselves, he found no better text than in the story, fresh for him, of Nest and her reckless lover.

Carew Castle is as it was when re-adapted into the style of the Edwardian Conquest. It is chiefly associated with the Rhys ap Thomas whose welcome to Henry Tudor on his first landing sealed the fate of Richard III. At Carew he held the great tournament in celebration of the new dynasty in 1507, and the West side, great hall, entrance porch, and stair were built by him. It was taken with some ease by Parliament in 1644, and lay quiet in the Second Civil War that ended in 1648.

The church at Carew, and its cross, arc at least as important as the Castle. The church is at the turning of the road towards Carmarthen. It dates from what is, for this part of Wales, the recent date of 1400 and is of English style. The tower is even later, of about 1500; but it has the particular interest of the tombs of the family of Carew, keepers of the Castle and perhaps distinguished by kinship with the Kentish-born Thomas Carew who followed Lord Herbert of Cherbury on missions to France and, like him, wrote poems in the style of Donne. But there are even earlier traditions belonging to the place. Its name is properly pronounced Carey and is believed to be no other than the Welsh word “caerau” (forts), a term descriptive of the scattered camps, set up long before history began on the hills around it. The high cross speaks of times that history has forgotten, for it belongs to the age made deliberately dark by religious controversy, the sub-Roman period that did not end, for Wales, until Hywel Dda (the Good), grandson of Rhodn the Great, ally of Alfred of Wessex against the Dane, accepted the ways of the Roman Church and set his face against those who would have overthrown Alfred's successors. The cross, 14 ft high and carved with intricate ornament in the reef-knot fashion of the Celtic Church, is given a date slightly earlier than Hywel's. the 9th century. It has a Latin epigraph: Margiteut Receit Rex. If the inscription could be read as commemorating Maredudd, King of Rheged, it would probably have to fall into the 10th century, when such a Maredudd, grandson of Hywel, came to power in the South. Whoever he was, this king lives only in his name.

Between Manorbier and Carew runs the long, high Ridgeway, which gives splendid views of the sea and the dark outline of the Mynydd Preseli, known to the English as the Prescelly Hills.

Nearby towns: Narberth, Pembroke, Saundersfoot, Tenby

Nearby villages: Amroth, Begelly, Bosherston, Boulston, Burton, Cosheston, East Williamston, Freshwater East, Freystrop, Gumfreston, Haverfordwest, Hodgeston, Jeffreyston, Johnston, Kilgetty, Lampeter Velfrey, Lamphey, Landshipping, Langwm, Lawrenny, Llangwm, Llanstadwell, Ludchurch, Lydstep, Manorbier, Minwear, New Hedges, Neyland, Paterchurch, Pembroke Dock, Penally, Redberth, Reynalton, Rosemarket, Saint Florence, Saint Twynnells, Stackpole, Stepaside, Templeton, Uzmaston, Warren, Wisemans Bridge, Yerbeston

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