LAST time in our series on the history of Cardigan Castle, we took a look at the castle during the Civil War.

Today, we take a look at life at the fire-damaged castle after the war when it was returned to the Lewis family of Llechryd.

Not much can be found between the end of the Civil War and 1653 so it is not known exactly what was done at the castle to repair the fire damage.

On May 9 that year, a leet court was held at the castle to decide the future government of Cardigan. It was presided over by the mayor David Morgan. There were 12 jurors: Abel Griffine, Hector Phillips, Hugh Bowen, Rees Gwyn, Richard Johnes, William Griffiths, John Dassy, Griffith Mathias, Abel David, Thomas Rees, Hector Gwyn, Owen Lloyd, Thomas Morgan, William Shealds and William Gambold.

Tivyside Advertiser: Cardigan Castle as we know it todayCardigan Castle as we know it today

It was decided the following would be those to be on the counsell: David Morgan, Abel Griffine, Sir John Lewis, David Scorlocke, James Lewis, James Philipps, Hugh Bowen, James Lewis Junior, Hector Phills, Rees Gwyn and Richard Johnes.

John Lewis and Hugh Bowen however would not take up the positions as they would be replaced by Robert Lloyd, Matthew Griffiths, John Morris and Thomas Lewis.

Houses has been built beyond the castle ditch and alongside Bridge Street by 1666 and it is believed that Abel Griffith was living there in 1673.

The castle was sold by the Lewis family in 1700 to Nathaniel Wade in Bristol. He purchased the estates owned by the family.

12 years later, he would sell the castle green with other meadows and lands to a number of people for £360. One of those people was Thomas Brock from Haverfordwest.


A landscaping project would take place on the green the following year. It began in the November and included capping earth and rubble from the demolition of the medieval and later buildings and a bowling green was made from turf from Cardigan Common and from then on it has been known as that name.

In his will. Thomas Brock left his estates to his sons Thomas, George and Edward, his brother John and his widowed sister-in-law Mary, as well as his wife Joan and daughters Betty and Hannah.

The castle ruins were immortalised in 1741 by Samuel and Nathaniel Buck when the brothers produced an engraving of the ruins. The engraving – which has been plagiarised by numerous artists – showed what today can be classed as the recognisable features of the castle as well as what has since been lost to time.

Thomas Brock Jr had inherited the castle and green from his father and in turn, his daughter Hannah inherited the green from him. She leased Castle Green to Thomas Lloyd and John Morgan in 1761. The castle had been inherited by a Mary Pryse who left it to her sister Jane on her death in May 1763.

Tivyside Advertiser: Castle Green House by T. Nicholas in 1875. Picture: Cardigan CastleCastle Green House by T. Nicholas in 1875. Picture: Cardigan Castle

The castle’s ruins were mentioned by an American visitor on July 13, 1776. Jabez Maud Fisher wrote: “…In this town is a noble castle, built on a rock now tottering from its case, and mouldering to dust, through sheltered from the inclemency of the air by a Garb of green Ivy…”

Thomas Colby leased the castle from Phyllis and Jane Pryse on April 6, 1784. This lease includes Tuy Brith, a property on High Street and the remains of the North Tower which had been converted and extended for use as a barn.

Phyllis Pryse would die a spinster in 1786 and left the castle in her will to her sister Jane.

The grounds were put up for sale on December 22, 1788 with the following advert: “…All the undivided moiety, or one half part, of all that very desirable Estate, well known by the general name of The Castle Green Estate. N.B. The last mentioned premises consists of the seite of the old castle, several messuages or dwelling houses and gardens, a barn, a malthouse and a certain piece of ground called the Castle Green, with a lime kiln contiguous thereto, all situate in the town of Cardigan…”

Sir Richard Colt-Hoare described the castle ruins as: “…The walls of this castle are washed by the tide. The ruins are trifling and do not form a picturesque object. There is a platform at top commanding a good view of the river…” He wrote this after visiting the ruins on June 11, 1793, when he made a painting.

Mary Bowen, sister of the aforementioned Jane and Phyllis was left the castle by her sister. She left it to her surgeon husband Dr. John Bowen on her 1795 death.

John Bowen had leased the Castle House to Thomas Colby of Rhosygilwen, Cilgerran, by 1799, which alludes to there being a habitable dwelling on the site.

Next we will look at the castle in the 1800s.

With thanks to Glen Johnson for the information.