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!
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