Medieval Welsh Towns: Cardigan, Ceredigion
1110 AD

"There are few places in better spirits than this remote and ancient place."

Tom Dyckhoff for The Guardian

The town of Cardigan was established in 1110 as an important trading point for woollen 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 anglicisation 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 and in 1176 instituted the first eisteddfod, a cultural tournament, with contestants coming 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. 

Visit Cardigan

What to See

Museums
Exhibitions
Music
Bike Tours
Walking Tours
Shops
Cafes / Restaurants
Theater

Medieval Cardigan: Top 5 Attractions

Medieval Cardigan, Wales: Cardigan Castle

Cardigan Castle

Cardigan Castle is a Grade I listed building dating back to the  late 11th-century, though was rebuilt 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 banks of the River Teifi 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.

Medieval Cardigan, Wales: St. Dogmaels Abbey
Medieval Cardigan, Wales: Cilgerran Castle

Cilgerran Castle

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 which 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 pullys for the children. 

The Segranus Stone - What to see near Cardigan

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.

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