Castle to 'come in from the cold'?
12:00am Sunday 21st October 2012 in News
AMMANFORD Castle may be about to finally come in from the cold.
That is the view of a group of enthusiasts following “an extremely positive” meeting called by Carmarthenshire county council leader Kevin Madge to ponder ways of raising the profile of the town’s forgotten motte and bailey.
Officials from Dyfed Archaelogical Trust, Carmarthenshire county council’s tourism section and Cadw, the Welsh historical monuments association, met at Ammanford Town Hall to hear Terry Norman, of Ammanford Historical Society, outline Ammanford’s “unique and wonderful” history.
He revealed the castle, the remains of which lie off Tirydail Lane, was built around 1160 in the times of Lord Rhys – the only Welsh prince to regain land previously conquered by the Normans.
“It overlooked the Rivers Amman and Loughor which were international borders between the Welsh and the Normans,” he said.
“Ammanford was at the centre of Welsh resistance – for around 200 years this area saw constant warfare.
If you stood on the Ammanford side of Betws Bridge you could have shaken your fist at a Frenchman standing in Betws – having made sure you were at least an arrow’s shot away first!”
Referring to the area’s turbulent history, BBC presenter Huw Edwards recently likened it to “the 12th century equivalent of Afghanistan”.
Mr Norman said it was possible Ammanford Castle was actually the work of Lord Rhys who fought a lone battle against the Normans for many years.
“It took William the Conqueror just five years to conquer the English – but it took the Normans 200 years to take Wales,” he said. “The fact there are 60 motte and bailey castles in Dyfed alone indicates the strength of Welsh resistance.”
The Society are now trying to raise funds to clear the site prior to turning it into a visitors’ attraction.