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Oystermouth Castle was built in 1106 following the capture of Gower by the Normans. Here on the battlements above the gatehouse one can see the slot for the portcullis and to the north, the Alina Chapel. The base of the castle, some 30m above sea level commands extensive views over the village of Mumbles, Mumbles Head and Swansea Bay. Attacked many times by the Welsh, it changed hands several times finally reverting to the English Lord of Gower, John de Braose under Henry III in 1220. It was then re-fortified and expanded and became the main residence rather than Swansea Castle. It was visited briefly by King Edward 1st in December 1284. A 1650 survey suggests the castle was by this time empty and in ruins. It was partially restored in the 1840’s for the then owner, the Duke of Beaufort. It was then passed onto Swansea Council in 1927. Having just undergone another extensive restoration, including a visitor centre and the opening of the Alina Chapel it has just re-opened to visitors. The castle has also been used in the film Ironclad which is due for release soon.
Wales (Cymru in the Welsh language) is part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The major cities are Cardiff, Swansea, Newport and Bangor. The city of St. Davids is the smallest city in the UK with a population around 2000. Wales itself has a population of around 3 million. The Welsh language is spoken by around 20% of the population.