Gower is a marvel. Heritage buffs and beach bums alike love this beautiful peninsula. In years gone by, the wealthy built wherever the view suited. The Mansel family chose a lovely spot on a wooded headland above Oxwich Bay to build their dream home. Proper ‘des res’ — although not a proper castle — equipped with the latest luxuries, including inside toilets. Built in courtyard style, Sir Rice gave his manor a mock-military gateway complete with the family’s coat of arms proudly cut in stone. His son Edward went on to create the much grander multi-storeyed range. An elegant long gallery – a fashionable Elizabethan feature – was added, positioned high up, taking full advantage of the panoramic sea views. The Mansels were a showy lot who liked to keep up with the latest building techniques and fashions. The family, however, moved out after only a few decades. With the grandiose Margam Abbey and Old Beaupre Castle in the Vale of Glamorgan also in their possession, the family was probably spoilt for choice.