Castles are mysterious places. They fire our imaginations as we wonder who built them and what their lives were like. They are full of history.
The family of knights who owned the land in the 13th century took their name, Penres, from Penrice. There was a simple wooden castle there before but when Sir Robert de Penres married in 1237 he decided to build in stone and chose another location nearby. Like many castles, it was built in stages. Originally there was just a keep and a thin curtain wall cutting off the promontory on which it stands.
In the 1250s and 60s Robert strengthened the site by enclosing it in stone walls with tiny round flanking turrets. More buildings were added – a barn, hall block and gatehouse. His son, also called Robert, added a solar block and a chemise around the turn of the century.
The great park around Penrice Castle, the deep woodlands that encircle it, and the strange marshlands at its foot are still intact and form a landscape composition that is hard to beat in the whole of South Wales. If you add glimpses of the prow of Oxwich Head and the rich brown background of Cefn Bryn, the whole area lying at the back of the dunes of Oxwich Bay takes on an Arcadian quality.
~ Wynford Vaughan Thomas 1976