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Swansea Castle Illustration

My medieval history books are illustrated with beautiful line drawings by a very talented artist, Carrie Francis. I thought it would be good to do a series to show them to you and tell the part of the story they illustrate.

The first book I wrote was Alina, The White Lady of Oystermouth. The first illustration is what remains of Swansea Castle. The ruins are right in the middle of the city centre and they prompted my original interest in medieval Gower. I found out that Swansea was the capital of the Lordship of Gower, and guarded the mouth of the River Tawe. There was a ferry across the river which was the main gateway to West Wales.

What remains is part of the ‘new’ castle, built in the corner of the old castle, which was over four times larger. It had to be built because William de Braose, the Lord of Gower at the beginning of the 14th century, was always short of money and sold off bits of the old castle to local burgesses. Think what it would have done for a man’s status to say he lived in one of the castle towers!

The Lordship of Gower was given to the de Braose family (another William) by King John a century earlier in gratitude for services rendered, but it didn’t end well. That’s another story in another book. In recent times the castle grounds have been landscaped to make it more attractive.

Ann Marie Thomas is the author of four medieval history books, a surprisingly cheerful poetry collection about her 2010 stroke, and the science fiction series Flight of the Kestrel. Book one, Intruders, and book two Alien Secrets, are out now. Follow her at