Picton Castle is a most unusual ancient building being in design half fortified manor house and half fully developed medieval castle.
From the outside with its four symmetrically spaced half round towers and gatehouse entrance flanked by two narrower towers it looks like a miniature version of a great Edwardian Castle such as Conwy in North Wales. However as soon as one enters inside it is revealed not to have an inner courtyard and keep but rather a series of finely planned rooms typical of the grand country house that it is. There is no other building quite like it in Britain.
Since the 13th century Picton has been in the hands of the Wogans, Baron of Wiston and it was Sir John Wogan Justiciar of Ireland circa 1295 – 1313 who is believed to have built the present castle.
The Philipps’s who are direct descendents of Sir John Wogan have held Picton since the days of Sir Thomas Philipps. In 1611 James I wanted to raise money to meet the cost of keeping his army in Ireland and he hit upon the idea of selling baronetcies. Sir John Philipps bought one at the cost of £1,095.
Throughout the 17th and 18th Century the Philipps’s of Picton Castle were the most powerful family in Pembrokeshire exercising both tremendous political, social and economic influence over all aspects of local life. They had vast estates were prominent philanthropists (being particularly supportive of the charity school movement). Patrons of the arts for generations supplied Pembrokeshire with Sherriffs, Justices of the Peace, Lord Lieutenants and MP’s.
If you wish to know more there are two books available:
- The Families of Picton by Hero von Friesen and Tomas Lloyd OBE DL
- Picton Castle and Woodland Gardens – The Guide Book