Page last updated at 13:46 GMT, Thursday, 19 March 2009
Dunraven Castle - home of legends
Dunraven Castle as portrayed in a book by Earl of Dunraven, published in 1926
Dunraven Castle, as portrayed in a book by Earl of Dunraven, published in 1926

This famous landmark overlooked Southerndown beach on the Glamorgan coast until the 1960s.

Originally the site of an Iron Age hillfort, Dunraven became the location for a series of houses.

Tragic stories abound about the Vaughan family who once lived there, and the ghost of the Blue Lady.

The fortified mansion built by the Wyndham family in 1803 became known as Dunraven Castle due to its grand castellations.

The building was used as a convalescent hospital during World Wars I and II, and later as a Workers Tourist Authority guest house before being demolished in 1963.

Although long gone, Dunraven Castle is remembered by many as a local landmark, and its walled garden still exists.

The spectacular cliffs and beach at Southerndown and Dunraven Bay have been used as locations for Doctor Who and other TV programmes.

Do you have any memories of Dunraven Castle? Send them to

Sian from Bath

Coffer from Dunraven Castle

My grandmother went to the sale in the 1960s, when some or all of the furniture was sold from Dunraven. I have an old coffer that has the date 1663 and WC inscribed on the front, from the sale. Would love to know who it was made for. It is still lined with local newspaper dating from the late 1800s.

Julia Want, Norwich
In 1952 my parents, sister and I spent an enjoyable week there. I remember the large conservatory, wood panelled walls and wide staircase leading to our bedroom off the first floor landing. It was here that my mother 'saw' a lady in a long blue dress. The next day we were told that a ghost of her description haunts the castle. As I loved to draw, an artist staying there painted me a picture of the castle from the front drive. I still have it. His signature looks like CH Smith. The managers had two little girls, whom my sister helped to look after. To thank her, she was given a black labrador retriever puppy. We named him Raven.

Josephine Allen-Kemper
My sister Dulcie and her husband Nigel were the managers mentioned in the message from Julia Want, when Dunraven was a WTA holiday resort. I remember many happy times there and we were very upset to read that it had been demolished. I have no doubt that it could have been restored had someone with enough capital heard that it was available to buy. It was a most beautiful house, inside and out.

When the castle was closed to holidaymakers my father decided to mow the lawn. Never having used a motor mower before he managed to cut the lawn but didn't know how to stop the mower. He had to keep going round and round the edge until a gardener could be found to rescue him.

The black Labradors were called Ben & Judy, much loved by all the guests and they grew much fatter when they found that soulful eyes earned them many a tit-bit.

When the castle was totally full I once had to sleep in my sister's sitting room, situated at the front of the house. I was awoken by the crunch of feet on the gravel outside. I plucked up courage to peer through the curtains to find several small deer looking at me!

David T Williams
Dunraven Castle was a nice place to visit. We, my fellow workers, spent time there through the workers' education scheme, many years ago. I was deeply hurt to know that such a place was demolished for no apparent reason. It had a fine conservatory in which grew some of the nicest roses one could wish to see. I often used to wonder if there was a rose named after the castle 'Dunraven Rose'.

Jenny from Cardiff

Dunraven Gardens
Dunraven Castle is long gone but its walled garden remains

I used to play in the grounds when I stayed in Southerndown. My great grandmother nursed at the Castle during WWI when it was used as a military hospital. Apparently she saw the Blue Lady, the ghost, several times. She used to appear at the end of the bed of a soldier who was dying. I did Dunraven Castle as my thesis for history in 1966!

Frank Perretta, London
I was evacuated to The Rest, Southerndown, during the war and went to school at St Brides Major. I visited Dunraven Castle many times - at that time it was a convalescent home for wounded soldiers. I went to concerts and dances there and have happy memories of that area and the many friends I made there. During the war we had the beach at Southerndown completely to ourselves.

Colin Davies, Courtenay, British Columbia, Canada
I grew up in Southerndown. My parents ran the Three Golden Cups pub. That whole area was - and still is - a beautiful place, which I still visit every couple of years.

Doreen Driscoll, Newcastle Emlyn
I would like to know more about the history of Dunraven Castle. You know it goes back to the years of 75 BC? I have found that out by researching the family tree. One of our ancestors who lived there then was named Llyr Llediaith (King Lear II). What was the castle looking like then I wonder?

Book explores Doctor Who's haunts
26 Oct 08 |  Wales
Hidden Gems: Dunraven Walled Garden
19 Mar 09 |  Nature & Outdoors




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