Posted by: marymarthatours | March 13, 2010

Dinefwr Castle, Wales – Our Family Home

clip_image002 Dinefwr Castle on the hilltop

I wonder how many other people besides Martha and me can claim that Dinefwr Castle, near Llandeilo in Wales, is their “family home”. A whole lot I’m sure.  Our family line dates back 27 generations to Rhys Gryg, builder of the currently ruined castle in 1220 A.D.  Even before Rhys Gryg, our ancestors had lived at Dinefwr for over 300 years. Tradition puts the family roots at Dinefwr in the 9th century when Rhodri Mawr, King of Wales, first built a castle there.  By 950 A.D., Dinefwr was the principle seat of Hywel Dda (Howell the Good) who created the first uniform system of laws in Wales.

clip_image004 Newton House in Dinefwr Park

I had long dreamed of the day I would visit “my castle”. My chance came in the summer of 2000, when my husband and I spent an entire week at a wonderful B&B near Llandeilo. A visit to the castle was my top priority. We parked near the disappointing Newton House on the Dinefwr Park property. I understand that the house is much nicer now that the National Trust has invested some money and effort into its restoration.


While Jess stayed with the car, I went on my solo pilgrimage. To get to the castle, I first had to cross a sheep pasture and a field full of the famous Dinefwr White Cattle. Then it was up the wooded hillside on a narrow path which opened up at the top to reveal the massive wall where the outer gatehouse once had stood. The Castle itself has now seen 7 centuries of changes, alterations, dereliction, and repair, but some of the original 13th century building is still there.


It was an amazing feeling to climb the hill on which the ruin is perched, look out over the beautiful Tywi River valley, and think that my ancestors had lived there when it was new.

(by Mary)

For more information on Dinefwr Castle,



  1. I don’t know if we ever discussed this, but my paternal grandmother was Mary Ann Yeager( nee Howells) I wonder…..

  2. […] addition to Welsh gardens, there are wonderful castles (like Caernarfon and my own Dinefwr) and marvelous scenery to take in. We might even have to schedule a dinner at one of the Welsh […]

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