History of St Brides Bay


Roch castle, a small fortress is perched on an undercut and isolated rocky outcrop overlooking the wide sweep of St Bride's Bay.  It is a prominet object for miles around, with its air of having been drawn by a monk to illustrate a medieval chronicle.  The original castle is claim to have been build by a Norman knight Adam de Rupe (rupe is charter Latin for rock.)  Legend says that Rupe built his castle on the rock to avoid the prophecy that he would die from the bite of a viper.  A viper was, however, carried by mistake into the castle with a bundle of firewood.  It bit Adam de Rupe and killed him.  The Roches were one of the important familes in the English conquest of southern Pembrokeshire, and held big estated in its north section. 

Roch Castle (the "e" was dropped during the 19-century) was built on the edge of "Landsker" - that invisible boundary which to this day, separates Welsh-speaking from English-speaking Pembrokeshire.  The direct line of the Roches ended in 1420.  By about 1601, the Castle was in the hands of the Walter family.  During the Civil War the castle changed ownership several times and Walter wisely took refuge in London.   Lucy, the daughter, entered history after the family had fled still further to the Hague.  She became the mistress of Charles II and gave birth to a son who afterwards was acknowledged by Charles as the Duke of Monmouth.