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
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Sir John was born at Haroldston, Pembrokeshire in 1530, allegedly the illegitimate son of Henry VIII by Mary Berkely, wife of Sir Thomas Perrot.
Sir Rhys ap Thomas
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Find out more about 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.
About Carew Castle
Carew Castle’s rich history spans over 2,000 years and tells of knights of the realm, kingmakers, Elizabethan intrigue and Civil War devastation.
About Carew Tidal Mill
Carew Tidal Mill is the only restored tidal Mill in Wales and one of just five in the UK.
Events at Carew Castle
From living history and ghost tours to wildlife watching and outdoor theatre events, Carew Castle has a packed programme of activities and events for ...
Carew Castle 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...