Orielton Banqueting Tower - Doesn't everyone need one?
Once a grand three storey building, Orielton Banqueting Tower, now stands alone and neglected in the south western corner of Wales. The tower’s gaily decorated rooms, bright fireplaces and fancy ceiling were abandoned more than a hundred years ago. Since then, nature has reclaimed it. The roof collapsed long ago and, exposed to the elements, the tower is now a decaying ruin. The Baronet John Owen built the tower in about 1850 but within a few years it was locked, never to be used again.
In 1571, Sir Hugh Owen married Elizabeth Wirriot, heiress to a fortune. Her dowry
included properties in Pembroke and the Orielton Estate, south west of the busy seaport. Sir Hugh came from an ancient Welsh family with estates on Anglesey and was a wealthy man. The Owens were a prominent family and Sir Hugh, a lawyer, served as the Sheriff of Pembrokeshire. When he died his Pembrokeshire estates passed to his grandson, also Hugh Owen, who was Sheriff of Pembrokeshire from 1634 to 1654. He was made a baronet in 1641, the same year the English Civil War began. During the ten year war Baronet Owen astutely vacillated between sides, intent on keeping his family’s fortune intact. At the start of the war, Owen supported Parliament but changed his allegiance in favour of the king. When the tide of war turned against King Charles, the opportunistic Owen changed sides again. His strategy worked and his position in society was secured.