Princess Nest was the daughter of Rhys ap Tewdwr, a Welsh prince and was born around 1080.
After her father’s death in 1093 she spent much of her youth in the court of Henry I, by whom she had her first son. In 1100 she married Gerald de Windsor, an Anglo-Norman baron who was much older than Nest.
He was constable of Pembroke Castle at the time and was given the site of Carew Castle as a dowry. Together they built the first Castle on the site in which to bring up their family of at least five children.
The Helen of Wales?
Nest was thought to be the most beautiful woman in Wales and Owain ap Cadwgan, son of another Welsh Prince, was so overwhelmed by her beauty that one night in 1109 he is said to have scaled the walls of Carew Castle, started a fire and raised the alarm.
In the confusion, Gerald escaped while Nest remained – perhaps not unwillingly – to be taken prisoner by Owain.
Gerald’s honour was finally satisfied six years later when he retrieved his wife, along with two new children by Owain, from Cilgerran Castle and killed Owain in battle.
Gerald died the following year. Nest then married Stephen, Castellan of Cardigan and had yet more children by him.
It is thought that Nest died around 1136 after a very colourful and eventful life!
More on Carew Castle's history
Ghosts of Carew Castle
Will you see the White Lady or the Barbary Ape? There are thought to be several ghosts haunting Carew.
Find out more about Carew Castle
Weddings and Civil Ceremonies
Step back in time and exchange your vows in the historic setting of Carew Castle
Shop and eat
There is a wide range of refreshments on offer in the Nest Tearoom as well as the Castle and Mill shops.
School Visits to Carew Castle
Carew welcomes school groups throughout the year introducing children to the tastes, smells and sights of life in a Castle.
Plan your visit
Carew Castle’s rich history spans over 2,000 years and tells of knights of the realm, kingmakers, Elizabethan intrigue and Civil War devastation.
Castle and Mill History
At the end of the 11th century, the Normans extended their conquest of England into Wales and Pembroke Castle became the centre of Norman rule in Sout...