LAST time we looked at the history of Cardigan Castle, we focused on the late 19th century and the history of the castle ruins and Castle Green house during this time.

This week, we will move into the first half of the 20th century and look at how the ruins and the house fared and the role played during the Second World War.

The Davies family were still residing in Castle Green in the early 1900s as the 1901 census shows David Griffith Davies, 65, and wife Arabella Ann Davies, 57, living in the house. Mr Davies is listed as ‘living on own means.’

They are also joined in the house my Sarah James, 38, a cook and domestic servant, housemaid Ellen Davies, 36, kitchen maid Ellen Owen, and valet William Hartnett, 53.

Thomas Bowen Davies, younger son of David Griffith Davies, married Katherine Mary Anne Taylor of Natal, South Africa on June 23, 1902. He was working in the country as a member of the Natal Mounted Police and had served in the war there.

David Griffith Davies died on January 4, 1906, at the age of 70. He had been suffering from illness for a long time.

The Cardigan & Tivy-Side Advertiser reported: “After a period of intense suffering lasting over many years, Cardigan is again bereft of a member of an old resident family, who in his earlier years was an active public personage, and one of Cardigan’s magnates.

“We allude to the death of Mr. David Griffith Davies, J.P,. of The Castle. Very few indeed of the present generation remember him owning to his latent afflictions, but those who had the privilege of doing so in the time gone by, will long regard him as an ardent supporter of every good cause in the town, and as an owner of property always a considerate landlord.

“Blunt in exterior and speech, he wore a warm heart underneath, and probably none but those who knew him intimately know what he felt under a somewhat severe countenance.

“After all there was a sunny smile which greeted his acquaintances as long as affliction allowed him to be about and those who remember him at all will cherish his memory as a kindly friend, a good neighbour, and as one innocent at heart who would wrong no man, and the old family vault in St. Mary’s churchyard will receive no member of the family more respected.

“As an agriculturalist the deceased was always to the fore, and the many improvements introduced by him will be of lasting importance.”

He was buried in the family plot on January 10. A later article stated he had suffered for around eight years, with the latter months of his life being confined to his chamber.

David Berrington Davies, his eldest son, inherited the estate and Arabella remained a resident there until her death in 1923.

Arabella provided tea at the castle on February 21, 1907, for 80 children who were in a penny savings scheme.

Thomas and Katherine returned home on a visit in 1908 and their four children – Tudor Griffith Bowen Davies, Joyce Rose Davies, Arabella Katherine Davies and Gwenllian Mary Muriel Davies - were christened at St. Mary’s Church.

David Griffith Davies’ legacy continued when a memorial window for him was installed at St Mary’s Church in 1910.

In 1914, Arabella's grandson Tudor Griffith Bowen Davies moved to live with her.

Tivyside Advertiser: Castle Green House in Cardigan Castle. Picture: Owen Howells/Cardigan CastleCastle Green House in Cardigan Castle. Picture: Owen Howells/Cardigan Castle

The family entertained 16 Belgian refugees on December 3, 1914 and three years later, David Berrington Griffith Davies’ son George Stewart Berrington Davies married Joyce Prioleau, daughter of Captain St. William Louis St. John Prioleau.

The family entertained all the tenants at Castle Green on October 17, 1917, in a large marquee as a celebration of the wedding.

The Cardigan & Tivy-Side Advertiser wrote two days later: “The tenants of the Castle Green Estate were entertained to dinner at Castle Green on Wednesday afternoon, at the invitation of Mr & Mrs D Berrington G Davies, Parcygors, and Mrs. Davies, Castle Green, to celebrate the wedding of Sec.-Lieutenant George Stuart Berrington Davies, the young heir to the estate, to Miss Joyce Prioleau, the daughter of Major W L Prioleau of Penylan.

“About 75 of the invited guests attended, others being unable to be present owing to various causes, and the function proved a most pleasant one for all concerned.

“A spacious marquee had been erected in the grounds, and flags of all descriptions lent a note of colour to the scene. A dinner of excellent quality had been prepared by Mr. W L Miles, Victoria Restaurant, and his staff, and all were satisfied with the good fare provided.”

George died at the age of 20 from an illness he contracted in north Russia while on active service on October 26, 1919.

The following year, parts of the Davies’ Castle Green estate began to be sold off. On May 14, numbers 12, 13, 14, 17, 18, 19, 22 and 24 Castle Street, the Coach Building premises, the Sculptor’s Yard, Mr. J. E. Jones’ shop, three houses on St Dogmells Road, three houses at the lime-kilns, Cardigan, Bridge End Steam Laundry with adjoining house and yard, three houses in Davies Street, St Dogmells, and four fields at Bridge-End, Cardigan were all sold.


In December 1922, Arabella gave away servant Sarah Smith at her wedding to Henry Starkey, with the Cardigan & Tivy-Side Advertiser writing: “After the ceremony, the party drove back to Castle Green, where Mrs. Davies had generously prepared a sumptuous wedding breakfast, after which the happy couple went for a motor trip to Newcastle-Emlyn in a car also provided by Mrs. Davies.”

In 1923, Tudor Griffith Bowen Davies was living at the address and on June 25, Arabella died at Castle Green and was buried in the family vault.

Less than a month after her death, David was intending to sell or rent out Castle Green, having purchased a new property in Plas Llangoedmor. It was advertised for sale or let on February 8, 1924.

A fete was held in July that year at the estate in aid of the Cardigan Nursing Association and a month later, a furniture sale was held with a wide range of items on offer.

It was leased and then sold to John Evans. He was a local auctioneer who’s father was a tenant of the Castle Green estate.

Early in 1925, there was discussion of filling up ‘holes in the wall’ of Castle Green after the cottages in Carriers lane were demolished to provide stone for a new retaining wall.

A writer named Kuklos wrote in The Daily News on February 28, 1930: “Cardigan… has a ruined castle, of course, but doesn’t think much of it, and had camouflaged and concealed it…” In July of that year, a sale took place at the stable yard.

A fete was held on July 27, 1932 in the estate and it was revealed that for a small fee, a number of people had been playing tennis on the estate for a number of years. That same year, a number of small alterations or repairs were done to the north range of the stables.

Part of the castle wall had been rebuilt in November 1934.

On February 9, 1939, John Evans died at the age of 73 and he had a private funeral at Castle Green. Just over three months later, Castle Green was advertised for sale.

Tivyside Advertiser: Cardigan CastleCardigan Castle

The same week as the advert, the Cardigan & Tivyside Advertiser ran an article calling for the buildings to be used as an extension of the National Museum.

Gladys Mary Wood had made an offer on property by October 27 that year. The stables were being rented out and evacuees were being housed at Castle Green, however, they left in early November.

The castle and Castle Green estate was sold to Barbara Olwen Wood of Radlett in Hertfordshire – daughter of Gladys who had initially made the offer - on May 17, 1940. On July 25, 1940, the mother-and-daughter duo moved into Castle Green, adays after another sale was held on the grounds.

They advertised the east wing to let out as accommodation or offices and were expecting to install a new bathroom. A gale in mid-September blew down a greenhouse and Barbara altered the room usage in the property. She changed the drawing room to a music room, the dining room to the lounge and the morning room to the dining room.

The garden began to decline and in October of that year, the east wing of Castle Green House was requisitioned for the war effort, with 40 South Wales Borderers being billeted there.

A pill-box gun emplacement was built on top of the curtain wall by the Home Guard and the basement was requisitioned for the war effort in the December.

The troops were removed in February 1942, however, a month later, the east wing was requisitioned again, this time occupied by the deputy commander of the Royal Engineers. They also requisitioned a drive, two entrances and Ty’r Ardd, the Gardener’s Cottage – which had been vacated by gardener and housemaid Mr & Mrs Sharpe just two months earlier.

The troops dug up the driveways in the May to install new drains.

The wing was released back to the Wood family around November 16, 1945, and the following March, the housing committee on Cardigan Borough Council attempted to requisition it to use as flats.

They requisitioned Ty’r Ardd instead on May 20, 1946. Barbara and other residents in the town opposed the proposal, with many saying that Castle Green would be better used as a nursing home but the Kirkpatrick family moved to Ty’r Ardd.

The Coach House’s roof and floors collapse in 1946 and this flattened the Morris 8 and Armstrong-Siddeley cars inside.

Henry D. James wrote on August 16, 1946, that the National Trust should acquire the castle and demolish Castle Green.

The castle and Castle Green began to run downhill from here, with Barbara alleging the demolition of Manchester House on High Street in 1947 damaged her boundary. She terminated the tenancy of the stables that same year and in the October, vegetation from the castle was overhanging the Strand and needed removing. It was noted that there were still some pear trees in the region.

The council tried to requisition the east wing for flats again in 1948, and the following year the Kirkpatrick family moved out of Ty’r Ardd, being replaced by the Davies family.

Next time we will look at the estate in the latter half of the 20th century and how plans were being put in place to restore the property.

With thanks to Glen Johnson for the information.