Ogmore Castle, situated in the village of Ogmore-by-Sea in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales, is a medieval castle that stands as a testament to the region’s rich history and architectural heritage. With its strategic location near the confluence of the River Ewenny and the River Ogmore, the castle played a vital role in the defence of the area.
The origins of Ogmore Castle can be traced back to the Norman period when it was constructed in the early 12th century. It was built by the de Londres family, who were powerful Marcher Lords, to secure their control over the area. The castle was strategically positioned to control access to the ford across the River Ogmore and to oversee the nearby crossing point of the River Ewenny.
The castle initially consisted of a simple motte and bailey design, with a wooden keep atop a man-made mound and a courtyard enclosed by a wooden palisade. Over time, the castle underwent various expansions and improvements, transforming it into a more substantial stone fortress.
One of the notable features of Ogmore Castle is its impressive gatehouse. Built in the 14th century, the gatehouse provided a formidable entrance to the castle and featured a drawbridge, portcullis, and murder holes from which defenders could repel attackers. The gatehouse also served as a symbol of the lord’s power and authority.
The castle’s architecture reflects a blend of military fortification and residential features. The curtain walls, constructed from local limestone, enclosed the inner ward, which contained the domestic buildings and living quarters. The remains of the Great Hall and other structures give insights into the castle’s past grandeur.
Ogmore Castle played a significant role in the history of the region. It was involved in numerous conflicts and sieges, including battles during the Welsh Wars of Independence in the 13th century. Its strategic position made it a target for attacks and counterattacks as rival factions vied for control over the area.
Over the centuries, Ogmore Castle changed hands multiple times, often falling into disrepair before being rebuilt and modified by successive owners. In the 16th century, the castle lost its military significance and gradually fell into ruin. Its stone was repurposed for nearby buildings, and nature began to reclaim the site.
Today, Ogmore Castle is managed by CADW, the Welsh government’s historic environment service, and is open to the public. Visitors can explore the castle’s ruins, climb the remaining towers, and imagine its past splendour. The site offers panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, including the picturesque Ogmore Estuary and the nearby sandy beaches.
The castle is also a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, as it is situated within the Ogmore Valley and Heritage Coast, offering opportunities for walks, picnics, and wildlife spotting. The nearby village of Ogmore-by-Sea provides amenities such as cafés, shops, and parking facilities.
In conclusion, Ogmore Castle stands as a reminder of Wales’ medieval past and its strategic importance in the defence of the region. Its ruins offer a glimpse into its architectural grandeur and provide visitors with a chance to explore its history and enjoy the natural beauty of its surroundings.
Ogmore Castle, St. Brides Major, Bridgend. CF32 0QP
- Monday10:00 am - 4:00 pm
- Tuesday10:00 am - 4:00 pm
- Wednesday10:00 am - 4:00 pm
- Thursday10:00 am - 4:00 pm
- Friday10:00 am - 4:00 pm
- Saturday10:00 am - 4:00 pm
- Sunday10:00 am - 4:00 pm
These are the peak summer opening times.
Other times may vary. For full details please visit the CADW website.
Last admission 30 minutes before closing.
Closed 24th, 25th, 26th December and 1st January.