PREVIOUSLY, we looked at life at Cardigan Castle into the early 1400s and left off as the Duke of York – Edward of Norwich – took control in 1403.

During the early 1400s, there was a garrison at the castle, with up to 350 men stationed there at a time.

In 1406, Prince Henry – who would later be King Henry V – took custody of the castle under his position as Lieutenant of Wales. He appointed Andrew Lynne as deputy constable that June and he appointed local merchant, John Smyth, as his deputy.

During Lynne’s time as deputy constable, constable and porter (which ran from June 20, 1406, to some time in 1413 aside from the period of Michaelmas 1408 and 1409) a number of prisoners in the castle’s jail had escaped and in 1410, he was pardoned for allowing the escape.

Tivyside Advertiser: King Henry V was Prince Henry at the time he gained Cardigan Castle. Picture: National Portrait GalleryKing Henry V was Prince Henry at the time he gained Cardigan Castle. Picture: National Portrait Gallery

Sir Hugh Morgan took over as constable of the castle again in 1414 until his death two years later.

On June 7, 1416, Henry V gave the castle to John Burghope who served as a diplomat for the king in France and unlike previously when kings gave the castle to their nobles for life and it lasted a short period of time, Burghope was actually in charge for a number of years and led a refurbishment of the castle when he returned from France in 1427.

The repairs and renovations began the following year. Work was carried out on the King’s Stable, the exchequer, the Exchequer Ward, the kitchen, the Ward of the Great Tower or Constable’s Yard, the hall, the Justiciar’s Hall, the stable, the larder, the yard, the Chamberlain’s Stable, Justiciar’s room and Chamberlain’s apartment over the Great Gate.

It was believed that during this work – which lasted for around three years – the castle was found to have parts in very poor condition as in records dated October 7, 1429, there is a reference to: “…costs concerning the manufacture of a palisade at the gate of the castle of Cardigan for lack of a wall there…”

The reference continues: “…the forester of Cilgerran was paid for 46 oaks for use of the said wall.”

Burghope was still in charge of the castle in 1438 and he was joined as joint constable on April 13 by Giles Thorndon, however the following year, Thorndon was named constable of Wicklow Castle in Ireland for life.


It is not known when Burghope died, but Sir Walter Scull was named constable for life on September 14, 1442. In March, 1449, Scull’s son Hugh shared the role of constable with him, but is believed to have died shortly afterwards.

In 1461, William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke, became constable of the castle until his 1469 death in battle in Edgecote.

That same year, the castle was seized by Morgan and Henry ap Thomas ap Gruffydd ap Nicholas but less than a month after this seizure, Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick, was made constable of the castle for life as Justiciar of South Wales, although this didn’t last for long as the prominent peer was killed in 1471 when he was fleeing the battlefield during the Wars of the Roses.

On December 16, 1469, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, was empowered to recover the castle and the following February, Sir Roger Vaughan was appointed constable for life. Sir Roger Vaughan was step-brother of the 1st Earl of Pembroke. He was a Yorkist and said to have led Owen Tudor – grandfather of Henry VII – to the block following the Battle of Mortimer’s Cross in 1461.

He was executed at Chepstow by Earl Jasper Tudor, avenging his father’s death, in 1471. On June 27 that year, Robert Dwnn was named constable for life but was absent between Michaelmas 1472 and 1479 when the Prince’s Council granted custody of the castle to Dafydd ap Robin for that period. For a short period (1479-80) Thomas Bole had custody and he was paid 30s.

Tivyside Advertiser: Cardigan Castle and bridge. Picture: John DaviesCardigan Castle and bridge. Picture: John Davies

On May 16, 1483, Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, became constable as he was appointed Justiciar of South Wales. However, he was executed at Salisbury on November 2, 1483, as a traitor after turning on the crown and sending for Henry Tudor (Henry VII) that October. William Herbert II, Earl of Huntingdon, succeeded to the role of constable that same month.

Only a janitor was present at the castle in August 1485, as Henry Tudor met at the castle with Richard Griffith and John Savage while en-route to the Battle of Bosworth.

Owain Lloyd became constable in September 1485 but the following February Rhydderch ap Rhys ap Mauredudd ab Owain of Towyn, took the position, paying Lloyd £10 annuity for the honour. By two years later, the court sessions that were held at the castle were moved to Shire Hall.

William Vaughan took over as constable in 1491 and in 1500, Rhydderch was his deputy.

Next we will look at life at Cardigan Castle under the Tudors, including the inheritance of the castle by Katherine of Aragon.

With thanks to Glen Johnson for the information.