A Scheduled Ancient Monument recalling the history of Swansea's development
Not to be confused with Castlemorris (Welsh: Casmorys), a village in Pembrokeshire (Welsh: Sir Benfro), Morris Castle (Welsh: Castell Graig) is a structure with a prominent profile in the Swansea (Welsh: Abertawe), Glamorgan (Welsh: Sir Forgannwg), area, overlooking as it does some of the suburbs of the City. While immediate access to the Castle is limited, Trewyddfa Road is a reasonably close public thoroughfare; in any case, Morris Castle is a highly conspicuous ruined building with a hillside setting.
So: are the ruins of Morris Castle another example of the many Medieval castles of Wales, telling tales of conflicts and sieges many centuries ago?
Well, no, Morris Castle does not give rise to such recollections, although by North American standards it would still be regarded as a rather old building.
It was built by Sir John Morris, 1st Baronet (1745-1819) between 1768 and 1775(1).
Sir John was a prominent member of the Morris family with copper-smelting and coal-mining interests, for whom Morriston (Welsh: Treforys) — now a suburb of Swansea — was named. Originally what is now known as Morriston was called Morris Town, a planned village for the workers of the Morris family's industrial undertakings.
Rather than with sinister stories about Medieval sieges, cruel tortures, fair maidens and feuding semi-legendary historical figures, it is against this background that the inception of Morris Castle is associated.
The structure rose to four storeys, a castellated building with four towers and an interior courtyard. The building was occupied until about 1850, and was in a ruined state by about 1880.
Today, Morris Castle is owned by the City of Swansea and has been designated by Cadw, the Welsh Government's Historic Environment division, as a Scheduled Ancient Monument.
So this ruined 18th century structure is an industrial archaeological site, significant in the local history of Swansea's development, which has long been referred to as 'Morris Castle'.
(And why not?)
May 31, 2019
(1) See also: https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/3879098 Sir John Morris had socially prominent family connections; a daughter-in-law, the Hon. Lucy Juliana Byng (c.1790-1881), daughter of John Byng, 5th Viscount Torrington, was thus — by way of a curiosity with an oblique, later Canadian connection — a collateral forebear of Field Marshall Sir Julian Byng (1862-1935), who, as Viscount Byng of Vimy, served as Governor-General of Canada from 1921 until 1926. Sir John Morris's sister Margaret Desenfans (c. 1737-1814) was painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds, perhaps very far removed from the concerns and interests of students of industrial archeology who today probably make up a sizeable proportion of those who are interested in the history of the ruined building called Morris Castle. (See also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portrait_of_Margaret_Desenfans)
Some sourcing: Wikipedia
Also worth seeing
In Swansea itself, the Medieval Swansea Castle is situated in Downtown Swansea; Oystermouth Castle , at Mumbles, is a Norman structure. Singleton Abbey is a striking old building, set in parkland, belonging to Swansea University.
Castell Coch, Tongwynlais (distance: 65 kilometres) is a 19th century restored castle, prominent on a hillside.
How to get there: United Airlines flies to London Heathrow Airport , from where car rental is available. London Heathrow is 286 kilometres from Swansea. There are also rail (from London Paddington railroad station) and bus links to Swansea. Some facilities may be withdrawn, without notice. You are advised to check for up to date information with the airline or your travel agent.
MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.
Other of my hubpages may also be of interest
- Visiting Wales's Swansea Castle: Imposing, Late 13th or Early 14th Century Ruins
The Downtown area of Swansea, Wales, has as among its prominent landmarks the late 13th or early 14th century Swansea Castle.
- Visiting Singleton Abbey and Park at Swansea University, Wales: Historic Setting for an Institution
Historical accounts of Singleton Abbey and its Park and their associations with prominent personalities read like a cross-section of United Kingdom history
MJFenn (author) on June 04, 2019:
Liz Westwood: Indeed, Wales is rich in castles and Medieval history (although not all buildings called castles necessarily date from the Middle Ages). I am in fact glad of any encouragement to write further hubpages about castles in Wales with which I am acquainted. Thank-you for your comment.
Liz Westwood from UK on June 04, 2019:
Wales is a scenic part of the British Isles, rich in heritage and castles. We had an enjoyable time once following a recorded commentary around Cardiff Castle.