St Donat's Castle home to UWC Atlantic College, is an inspiring venue - whatever the occasion. The vast picturesque grounds, seaviews and 12th century castle guarantee a unique and memorable setting for your event.
St Donat's Castle a medieval castle in the Vale of Glamorgan and located around 30 minutes from Cardiff, is available seasonally outside of the college season for a variety of events including weddings, conferences and filming.
St Donat's Castle stands above the Bristol Channel in the south of the rich agricultural lands of the Vale of Glamorgan. It is on the side of a steep wooded valley, with terraced gardens sloping southwards down to the sea.
The castle has had a long, vaired and interesting history. Its earliest still surviving parts were built in the late twelfth century by the de Hawey family, as was demonstrated by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales was recently as 1993. The first Stradling of St Donat's (Sir Peter) married Joan, the heir of the de Hawey family, in about 1298, and the Stradling family added the concentric outer curtain walls with their defences from about 1300. The completed Stradling castle consisted of a country house of the fifteenth to the seventeenth centuries, inside a heavily fortified castle started in the twelfth century but mostly of the early fourteenth century.
The Stradlings lived at St Donat's Castle for over 440 years. They were a most distinguished family, who besides managing their extensive estates holding many offices in the service of the county of Glamorgan, were widely travelled and well-known for their scholarly and literary tastes. The last male heir died in 1738 and the castle passed into other hands, but a nineteenth century owner, Dr Nicholl Carne, could trace his descent from the marriage of a Carne ancestor with the daughter of a Stradling of St Donat's, and some Stradlings of collateral descent continue to take an interest in the castle.
Architecturally, the castle was little altered in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In 1901 Morgan Stuart Williams, of Aberpergwm in the Vale of Neath, bought the castle, making many improvements without altering its medieval character. In 1925 it was bought my William Randolph Hearst, the American newspaper millionaire, a great collector of medieval things, many of which he incorporated into the fabric of the castle.
In 1962, Atlantic College, the first international sixth-form college in the world, opened at St Donat's Castle, where there are now drawn together more than 300 boys and girls of 16-19 years of age from over 80 countries. The grounds and buildings have been adapted with as little external change as possible to accommodate a library, dining hall, classrooms, offices, residential blocks and other necessities of a modern college.
(written by Alan Hall)