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Roger Turvey, in his detailed study of the Perrot family, concluded that
the two probably never existed.9
Tradition further has it that the early castle did not occupy its present
site, but was located at Sentence Castle, 2.6 km south of Narberth.
Whilst it is agreed that Sentence, a fine example of an earthwork castle,
is 12th century in origin, there is no reason to suppose that at any time in
history it represented the 'Narberth Castle' referred to in the sources.
Furthermore, it has also been suggested that the move to Narberth took
place, under the spurious Sir Andrew Perrot, after the Sentence site
was destroyed in 1257. The destruction of 'Narberth Castle' in 1257 was
a documented event,10 but there is no suggestion in the contemporary
chronicles that the castle was relocated.
The context of the settlement
What is now Narberth lay within the early medieval cwmwd (commote)
of Arberth, part of Cantref Penfro which comprised the south Pembroke-
shire peninsula, but excluded what are now the parishes of Llanddewi
and Lampeter Velfrey. They made up Cwmwd Efelffre, which was part
of Cantref Gwarthaf.
Cwmwd Arberth appears to have contained a pre-conquest cultural and
administrative centre, which appears in no less a work than The Mabinogion.
Whilst the location of this centre, with its llys or hall, is unknown, the present
castle site is a strong contender. It was common enough for the Anglo-
Normans to site their castles at existing administrative centres, while it has
been convincingly argued that the route of the A 478, at the foot of the
castle spur, pre-dated the Norman conquest (Fig. 1)." The nature of the
site suggests that an even earlier, iron age fort cannot be ruled out.
The Norman conquest of West Wales was a piecemeal affair conducted
by the Anglo-Norman aristocracy under their own initiative. Having estab-
lished a base at Pembroke with his father Roger, in 1093, the Norman
Amulf de Montgomery set about the task of subduing the surrounding
area. It must be stressed that during these initial few years no formal
government of these conquests was in place, and no boundaries drawn.
Neither the extent of Amulf's territories, nor the nature of his tenure
during this early period is known, but by 1102 a large slice of modern
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