Perhaps best known generally for its use as the name of Captain Cat’s ship in Dylan Thomas’s masterpiece Under Milk Wood, the small Welsh town of Kidwelly also boasts a splendid 13th century castle and is known to generations of Welsh school children for the nursery rhyme, the Dear Old Lady of Kidwelly – which may be based upon the bountiful Lady Hawise de Londres who lived in the castle in the 13th century.
Although the original Norman structure was built at the start of the 12th century, it was significantly extended in 1275, and again at the very end of that century by Edward I’s nephew, Henry of Lancaster.
The modernisation was completed in the early 14th century when the fortress became a concentric castle with an impressive southern gatehouse with the east wall following the line of the Gwendraeth River.
The castle is now in the hands of the Welsh Historic Monuments and is open to the public. Kidwelly, or Cetgueli as it was first recorded, was established as a Borough back in 1115, and it is visible, five miles away, across the water, from Milk Wood and Dylan Thomas’s boathouse, but not from Kidwelly Close in Plympton!