Dyndryfan: Dunraven Castle

Dyndryfan: Fortress of the three rocks or triangle fortress

The Castle of Dunraven was built on the site of an early Iron Age Fort.  It is said to have been a Royal-Roman stronghold during the time of Bran, the son of Lear.  There is record of the Saxons burning the residence of Dunraven during 1050, it is also noted that Rhys ap Tewder destroyed the residence some thirty years later (1080) when it was the home of Iestyn ap Cwrgan, the last native Prince of Glamorgan.  

During the time of the Normans ‘Donrevyn’ fell under the Lordship of William de Londres, one of Robert FitzHamon’s Twelve Knights of Glamorgan. In about 1128 the manor and land of Dunraven was awarded to Arnold de Boteler  (the Butler of the Ogmore residence of the de Londres family) after he bravely defended Ogmore Castle against the attack of the Welsh.

The Boteler (Butler) family held Dunraven throughout the 12th , 13th, 14th and 15th centuries until the male line of the Boteler’s died out.  During this time it (15th century) is reported that Owain Glyndwr destroyed the Castle.  Ann, the daughter of Jane and John Boteler  married the soon to be notorious Walter Vaughan thus bringing the estate into the Vaughan family.  During the 1540’s Dunraven is described as a “Manor Place” owned by Walter Vaughan.  In 1642 Sir Richard Vaughan sold the estate to Humphry Wyndham the husband of Jane Carne of Ewenny whose descendants were the Earls  of Dunraven.

Dunraven House, 1776!

In 1803 Mr Thomas Wyndham made alterations to the Manor House as did his grandson Edwin (the son of Countess  Caroline of Dunraven) in 1858! After these works the Manor House attracted the named Dunraven Castle due to its many castellations.

During World War One and World War Two the ‘Castle’ was used as Glamorgan Red Cross County Hospital. (Still in the hands of the Earls of Dunraven)

After the Second World War the Manor House was used as a WTA Guest House.  The property and grounds were rented and run by the W.T.A from the 6th Earl of Dunraven Richard Southwell Windham Robert Wyndham-Quin.  The property was managed by Mr & Mrs Anderson.

 The BBC and Bridgend County Council claim that after 1940's the castle was not used and it was later demolished in 1963 as it was derelict and crumbling. (the BBC has since changed the article)

“The building was used as a convalescent hospital during the World War I and was occupied until the 1940s. After falling into disrepair, it was demolished in 1963 for safety reasons.”  - BBC

"More a fortified mansion than a castle, it was lived in right up until the 1940's but was demolished in 1963 as it was crumbling and considered unsafe." - Bridgend County Council

A former chambermaid and waitress who worked at the Castle would like to share her story in the form of a letter!

Thelma, Gwenan, Sylvia and Eirwyn all staff at the Castle,  'The Private Beach' c.1960!

In answer to some disputes of Dunraven Castle being used as a guest house, let me tell you my story…

I went to work at Dunraven Castle in 1959, it was run by the W.T.A (Workers Travelling Association). The manager and manageress were Mr & Mrs Anderson.

I was a chambermaid and waitress. The year I started they had just put a brand new stair case in the main hall.

There was the north wing, main wing, Lords and Ladyships wing, a Ballroom, Dining Room, Main Lounge, Antie room, armoury, Lordships Lounge, Post Office and shop, a huge conservatory with exotic plants; there was also a Cafe in the conservatory where guests used to sit whist having a break from dancing in the ballroom. There were organised trips for the guests and coastal walks.  We even had guests from Holland.

We girls had a dorm at the top of the Castle and a lady Mrs Lewis who was the head waitress slept up in the tower room.

The boys and Chef cook slept adjacent to the kitchen at the bottom of the Castle. There was also a house keeper. The Manager and Manageress had a flat at the front of the castle.
There was a gardener and his boys who looked after the rose garden, greenhouses, tennis court, putting green, bowling green and orchard.

The gardener and his family lived in a flat that was the Coach house and stable yard. The entrance lodge still stands today and is still manned.

There were deer in the grounds and the would have a cull, that was my first taste of venison.

I worked at the castle for two seasons very happy tomes but worked very hard I also go engaged there in 1960. So did I dream all of this? I think not. When I left there were no crumbling walls or decay. I often remiss with friends who worked there at the same time as me.

I have also enclosed some snaps of the Castle; can you see it in disrepair?


Sylvia Rees.

Palm Court, The Conservatory! 

Dunraven Castle Entrance Lounge!

The Armoury showing Charlie the Suit of Armour!

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