The town of Cardigan was established in 1110 as an important trading point for woolen cloth (exported to Arras in France for use in the weaving of tapestries) and wine. Developed around the Norman castle built in the late 11th or early 12th century, by Elizabethan times, Cardigan had grown into one of the most important ports in Wales.
Cardigan is an anglicization of the Welsh Ceredigion (“Ceredig’s land”), which refers to the surrounding territory belonging to the castle. Ceredig was supposedly one of the sons of Cunedda Wledig, who invaded from the north to recover lands in Roman Britain from invading Irishmen in late antiquity.
Rhys ap Gruffydd fortified the town. In 1176 instituted the first eisteddfod, a cultural tournament, with contestants from all over the British Isles to compete for chairs in music and poetry.
In 1227 a weekly market was established, which continues to this day. During the Civil War, the town’s castle was held for a time by the Royalists.
What to See
Medieval Cardigan: Top 5 Attractions
Cardigan Castle is a Grade I listed building dating back to the late 11th-century, rebuilding in 1244. In 1176 the first recorded eisteddfod was held at the castle. After falling into disrepair, the castle was restored in the early 2000s and opened to the public in 2015.
St. Dogmaels Abbey
St. Dogmaels Abbey is an abbey on the River Teifi banks and close to Cardigan and Poppit Sands. It was founded between 1113 and 1115 for a prior and twelve monks of the Tironensian Order. The earliest surviving remains date from the first half of the twelfth century.
Cilgerran Castle is a 13th-century ruined castle thought to have been started by Gerald of Windsor around 1110–1115 and left to ruin and eventually abandoned by 1400. It was most heavily fortified where it faces inland and includes a pair of drum towers that remain standing.
Y Felin Mill Tour
This beautiful working watermill in the picturesque village of St Dogmaels offers traditionally produced stone-ground flours and offers guided tours of the mill. Close-up viewing of interesting mechanical goings-on and hands-on levers and pulleys for the children.
The Segranus Stone
The Segranus stone is found inside St. Andrews church. This standing stone has Irish Ogham hieroglyphic and Latin inscriptions, and was one of the local stones used to decipher the ancient Irish written language.
Reading is a large historic town dating back from the 8th century in Berkshire, England.
Knaresborough is a 12th-Century market town perched on the cliffs above the River Nidd.
Carrickfergus sits on the north shore of Belfast Lough and is County Antrim’s oldest town
Linlithgow in West Lothian was once home to one of the great royal courts of Europe
Durham is a historic city, its Norman cathedral was a centre of pilgrimage.
Elgin is a town and former cathedral city in Scotland, first documented in 1190 AD.
More to see in Wales
Chirk Castle is a Grade I listed castle built in 1295 near Wrexham, Wales.
Dinefwr Castle is a ruined castle that was the chief seat of the Kingdom of Deheubarth.
Cardiff Castle is a medieval castle built in the late 11th century by Norman invaders.
Conwy Castle is a fortification built by Edward I between 1283 and 1289.
Harlech Castle is a medieval fortification constructed atop a spur of rock in 1282.
Chepstow Castle is the oldest surviving post-Roman stone fortification in Britain.