Part of Pembrokeshire
UK grid reference SM953157
51°48′11″N 4°58′12″W / 51.803°N 4.97°W / 51.803; -4.97
Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority
Gilbert de Clare, earl of Pembroke
Queen Eleanor of Castile
Until mid 18th century
Haverfordwest Castle is a castle located in the town centre at Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, south Wales, located in a naturally defensive position at the end of a strong, isolated ridge. The castle was established during Norman times in 1120 but much of the architecture remaining today is dated to 1290. For centuries the castle was an English stronghold. There are several other notable castles in area; Wiston Castle lies 6 miles (9.7 km) to the northeast and Pembroke Castle lies 12 miles (19 km) to the south.
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Pembrokeshire Records indicate that there was an Iron Age hill fort on the site of the castle although there is no physical evidence to suggest this on the present location. Haverfordwest was believed to have been a Danish settlement prior to the Norman conquest of West Wales in 1093/94. The Flemish settled in the area in 1108 to protect the main Norman stronghold at Pembroke Castle from Welsh raiders from the north.
Haverfordwest Castle, painted in 1794
The vast majority of sources indicate that the structure was originally a Norman architecture stone keep and bailey fortress, founded by the Englishman Gilbert de Clare, earl of Pembroke in 1120. While this date is generally consistent, although some indicate 1110 or 1113, Pembrokeshire Records insist that the castle was actually originally built by Tancred the Fleming, so the original medieval town and castle would have been Flemish not Norman and they claim that the castle remained in the possession of the Tancred family until 1210. The original castle is believed to have been first attacked (unsuccessfully) by Gruffydd ap Rhys, Prince of Deheubarth, in 1135 – 1136. In 1173 the castle had its first royal visit by Henry II of England who passed by the town on coming back from a trip to Ireland.