The latest edition of the Heritage In Wales magazine have featured the incredible new gates at Llansteffan Castle in their latest edition, excerpt below.
There’s no denying it, Llansteffan Castle boasts one of the most stunning locations in Wales.
Crowning the top of a headland overlooking the lush Carmarthenshire countryside, with panoramic views across the sand-flats of the Tywi Estuary, its strategic position meant that it was fought over for hundreds of years.
The remains of the castle itself are significant too. Llansteffan’s original timber castle was gradually replaced in stone as Anglo-Norman Marcher lords and native Welsh rulers of Deheubarth (south-west Wales) sparred over its ownership. Its massive twin-towered gatehouse, built around 1280, still looms large.
The castle was held for the Welsh during Owain Glyndŵr’s war of independence, but eventually passed to the English Crown. In the late fifteenth century, King Henry VII gave Llansteffan to his uncle and guardian, Jasper Tudor, earl of Pembroke.
It was at this time that the medieval gatehouse was blocked up to provide more living space. A smaller, simpler entrance was added alongside and it is this Tudor gateway that you pass through as you enter the castle today.
Working closely with the castle’s owner, Marian Evans, we commissioned artist Rubin Eynon and blacksmith Glen Adams to create a new pair of gates for the gateway. Our brief was ‘functional as well as beautiful’ — we wanted the gates to secure the castle and keep it safely closed at night but to also reflect and celebrate the Tudor period of Llansteffan’s history.
The artists took inspiration from contemporary metalwork, such as the wrought-iron gates at Chichester Cathedral, with their repeating forms and fixings of pins and rivets. Look out for the small brass plaques featuring emblems found on Jasper Tudor’s coat of arms, including a martlet — a swallow-like bird.
We hope our new gates will welcome you, inspire you and impress you — just as any Welsh prince, Marcher lord or Tudor noble would have wanted to do, back in the day!