St Quentin’s castle gets its name from the St Quentin family, friends of Robert Fitzhamon, in the late 11th century. Fitzhamon was the first lord of Glamorgan. The St Quentin family had scattered estates in Yorkshire, Dorset, Wiltshire, and Lincolnshire.
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It is not known what the early castle looked like but it could have taken the form of a timber ringwork with bank and ditch. In the 12th century a rectangular stone keep was constructed.
The St Quentins held the castle and lordship until 1233. At this time Richard Siward took over during a rebellion against Henry III. Although reconciled afterwards with the king, Siward got involved in another rebellion, this time against the earl of Gloucester and lord of Glamorgan, Richard de Clare, who took the castle from him.
In 1254 the village of Cowbridge was formed, and the castle became more important. The castle ruins that exist today date from 1314. The castle was restored in 1317 by the then owner, Hugh Despenser the younger. However it was set on fire in 1321, but was later restored.
The castle served as administrative offices for the area in the 1400s when the countess of Warwick owned it. The southern guard chamber was used as a prison in the 1530s. By the 1800s the castle was mostly ruined.
The ruins sit by the river Thaw. Only parts of the foundations of the south-east tower remain, while all that remains of the keep is some buried masonry. The north and west curtain walls survive in parts.
The rectangular north-east tower, only parts of which remain, served as the castle entrance.
The twin-towered gatehouse was faced with local limestone. Arrow loops are found in the gatehouse. A murder slot and portcullis added to the defenses. There were two guard chambers: one south and one north. The upper floor of the gatehouse no longer exists. The first floor was one large room with a fireplace and latrine chamber. It might have served as a guardroom.
St Quentin’s castle, Llanblethian, is located .5 mile south of Cowbridge, off the A48, west of Cardiff.
Gatehouse open 10am-4pm; the rest of the site is open.
Under the care of Cadw