Coch Castle - Wales

coch castle - walesCastle Coch which means Red Castle in Welsh is perched high upon a hillside, located a few miles north of the city of Cardiff close to the village of Tongwynlais.  With its impressive turrets, Castell Coch is very much a fairytale kind of castle.

The castle as we see it today was only built in 1870 AD, designed by the architect William Burgess for John Crichton Stuart second Marquess of Bute. The Marquess was one of the richest men in the world mainly through the mineral resources of his Glamorgan Estates and so the enormous cost of the project was not a problem.

This left Burgess free to create the beautiful palace which stands today as a reminder of the opulence and wealth of yesteryear. The William Burgess design even incorporated a fully operational drawbridge!  Although Burgess died in 1881 AD, fortunately he had left clear instructions for the continuation of the restoration of the castle and these were completed 10 years after his death.

Not very much is known of the history of the earlier original constructions on the site.  The first probably started out as an earth and timber motte castle constructed possibly early in the 12th century.  The next construction was probably built by Gilbert de Clare (who erected a series of large fortresses including Castell Coch and Caerphilly Castle nearby) and this is believed to have been triangular in shape with gently curving curtain walls connecting three towers.  Sometime in the 15th century however Castell Coch was extensively damaged in a fire and the castle was left to go to ruin until the aforementioned complete renovation by the Marquis of Bute.

One of the ghosts of Castell Coch is said to be a ghostly 'White Lady' who is said to haunt the castle because her young son fell into a bottomless pool of water somewhere within the area of the castle and disappeared forever. Apparently his desolate mother never recovered from the tragedy and died of heartbreak. Her ghost is often seen walking around the castle apparently still desperately searching for her lost son.

Another story concerns the ghost of a Cavalier which several people have claimed to have seen.  Legend has it that the Cavalier possibly hid treasure somewhere in the castle during the civil war and that his ghost returns to Castell Coch to make sure it remains safely hidden!