History

13th Century Beginnings

The original castle at Castell Coch is thought to have been constructed in the late 11th century. It was built to defend Cardiff and control the land around the river Taff.

English nobleman, Gilbert de Clare, built a new castle between 1267 and 1277 to protect his land.

This castle was probably destroyed in the native Welsh rebellion of 1314.

The site was acquired in 1766 by John Stuart, the 4th Earl of Bute and later the 1st Marquess of Bute, when he married Lady Charlotte Windsor.

Ink sketch of Castell Coch from 1874

John Crichton-Stuart, the 3rd Marquess of Bute, inherited the castle in 1848.

Photo of the 13th Century Castell Coch ruins in 1875

The Victorian Rebuild

George Clark surveyed Castell Coch in 1850 and published the first major scholarly work about the castle.

Lord Bute met William Burges in 1865 and they began their long collaboration with Cardiff Castle.

In 1871, Bute asked his chief Cardiff engineer, John McConnochie, to excavate and clear the castle ruins.

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Bute commissioned Burges to rebuild the castle in a Gothic Revival style. The construction took place between 1875 and 1879.

Into the 20th Century

Burges died in 1881 after catching a severe chill during a site visit to the castle.

William Frame directed the work on the interior until its completion in 1891.

John Crichton-Stuart, the 4th Marquess, acquired the castle in 1932 but made little use of it.

Photo of Castell Coch by William Booth 1891
Photograph of Lord Bute

Lord Bute

Lord Bute married Gwendolen Fitzalan-Howard in 1872 and had four children

He died in 1900 at the age of 53.

John Crichton-Stuart, the 5th Marquess of Bute, succeeded in 1947. In 1950, he placed the castle in the care of the Ministry of Works.

The Modern Castle

Since 1984, the Grade I listed building has been administered by Cadw.

The Cadw website has all the latest news and information about visiting Castell Coch.

Illustration of old Cadw logo

“Cadw is a Welsh word meaning ‘to keep’ or ‘to protect’. And that’s exactly what we do. We are working for an accessible and well-protected historic environment for Wales.”

Postcards of Castell Coch

I’ve developed a love of postcards over the years and have a collection of examples from the late 19th century to more recent ones.

My “Postcards of Castell Coch” series will take a closer look at a postcard to see what it can tell us about the castle, its surroundings and the community.