I’m not sure why, but one of my favourite things to do on holiday is to visit castles, and fortunately all of our holidays of late have allowed this desire to be entertained. Camping in the Gower was no exception, we were within walking distance of Oxwich Castle.
Built in the early 16th century, Sir Rice Mansel (1487-1559) chose a spot on the wooded headland above Oxwich Bay to build his dream house on the site of an earlier family home.
A Tudor home, built around a courtyard, Sir Mansel gave his manor a mock-military gateway with the family’s coat of arms cut in stone.
It was Sir Mansel’s son Edward who went on to extend the property with a much grander multi-storey range. Taking full advantage of the panoramic sea views, the long gallery was added. To appreciate the size of Oxwich, the south-east tower provides an insight into the six-storey accommodation with its many fireplaces and windows.
Whilst the Mansels investment extended Oxwich Castle, they moved out after only a few decades, to Margam Abbey.
The Bevan family went on to occupy the property from 1698-1917, during this time the focus was converted to farming and eventually fell into disrepair.
In 1949 Oxwich Castle was saved from demolition and is now in the care of Cadw.
For our family, it didn’t have the feel of other Welsh castles, predominantly because it has the name only in title, but Cadw are doing fantastic work in making the site family friendly, with activities to undertake around the grounds to engage and enthuse.
We had a fantastic afternoon and the children each received a little piece of history to take home.
For more information about Oxwich Castle, visit cadw.wales.gov.uk or call 01792 390 359.