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Castle Gwynn in Tennessee

Updated on May 28, 2015

About Castell Gwynn -- Site of the Tennessee Renaissance Festival

Castell Gwynn (also known as Castle Gwynn) is a castle in rural Triume-Arrington, Tennessee. The name means "White Castle." The beautiful structure is the fulfillment of owner/builder Mike Freeman's life-long dream which began in 1970. That year Freeman took a high-school architecture class where he drew the first sketches of the castle he wanted to build one day.

To accomplish his dream, Mike Freeman launched a professional photography career while he started his search for the right location for his castle. He found the ideal spot just south of Nashville, near the small town of Triune. A landowner named John Covington made it possible for Mike Freeman to purchase a portion of his land, and when Freemen established the Tennessee Renaissance Festival, the grounds for the festival would be called Covington Glen, in honor of Covington.

The first five-story tower of Castle Gwynn was begun in 1980. The first floor of that tower contains the kitchen where Mike Freeman worked for two years alongside a master mason molding 14,000 bricks into 60 arches. Tile maker David Wright topped the kitchen off with his reproduction of the Castle Gwynn coat-of-arms.

The second tower was started in 1985. The second tower is home to the Great Hall which features a huge, hooded fireplace which is 14' tall x 6' wide x 3' deep. The mantel is 7' thick and 6' long and finished with the Castle Gwynn coat-of-arms. The second tower was completed in 2007.

Today the castle serves as a home, a background for photos and videos and as the site of the Tennessee Renaissance Festival.

If you attend the Tenn. Ren Fest in May, make sure you plan some time to take the tour of Castle Gwynn. There you can meet Mike Freeman and listen to him tell the story of the castle he calls home.


Trivia: If you have seen Taylor Swift's music video, "Love Story" from her "Fearless" album, you have seen Castle Gwynn as the castle is featured prominently throughout the video!

Castell Gwynn in Taylor Swift's "Love Story"

Taylor Swift "Love Story" Video with Castle Gwynn

Popular singer Taylor Swift shot several scenes including most of the outdoor and balcony shots for the video from her hit single "Love Story (Romeo and Juliette)" from her "Fearless" album at beautiful Castle Gwynn. In fact, the castle is featured so prominently, the "Love Story" video is a great way to see some of Castle Gwynn.

Castell Gwynn before completion. Photo © Kathryn E. Darden. All rights reserved.
Castell Gwynn before completion. Photo © Kathryn E. Darden. All rights reserved.

Castell Gwynn, May 2005

2005 was my first year to visit the Tennessee Renaissance Festival and to tour Castle Gwynn. Even unfinished, Castle Gwynn was am impressive sight.

You can see the unfinished tower on the left as well as the unfinished roof on the middle section which was under construction that year.

More recent photos from Castell Gwynn and the TN Ren Fest can be seen at Tennessee Renaissance Festival's Bellevue connection: Queen Elizabeth

Castell Gwynn in Spring. Photo © Kathryn E. Darden. All rights reserved.
Castell Gwynn in Spring. Photo © Kathryn E. Darden. All rights reserved.

Castell Gwynn, May 2008

The castle is beautiful in the spring.

Castell Gwynn in 2009. Photo © Kathryn E. Darden. All rights reserved.
Castell Gwynn in 2009. Photo © Kathryn E. Darden. All rights reserved.

Castell Gwynn, May 2009

Visit Castell Gwynn every May during the Tennessee Renaissance Festival

Castell Gwynn's Castle Guard

During the Tennessee Renaissance Festival every weekend in May, Castle Gwynn is open for free tours to those who purchase a Renaissance Festival ticket. To keep crowds from private areas and dangerous activities, Castle Gwynn is guarded by the Castle Guard under the direction of the Lord High Marshall, his staff and volunteers.

Castle Guard Crusader Knight

A member of the Castle Guard at Castle Gwynn who participates in various historic reenactments and who volunteers to help protect the castle grounds during the Tennessee Renaissance Festival discusses the various parts of the clothing and armor worn by a Crusader Knight.

Crusader Knight at Castle Gwynn

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      Deborah J Borawski 16 months ago

      Hi,

      I was wondering if by chance you had small private weddings at your place? My daughter adores your place. We have no particular home because we are military but she spent her last senior yr in Franklin when we retired army. Since then the castle is all she talked about. She is now engaged. I thought I would give it a shot and ask. Please short me an email if so (armyfan2005@gmail.com) Thanks and God Bless!! Deb

    • profile image

      ChocolateLily 4 years ago

      I've seen this castle from a distance and wondered what it was like. I do believe I saw a magazine article on it quite a while back. I've also seen the prison many times and wished they would do something with it. It is an interesting building, but it's history is a bit unnerving I suppose. Thanks for sharing what you know about these sites!

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      Nancy Tate Hellams 5 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      I've never seen Castell Gwynn so appreciated this virtual tour. Thank you.

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      kelli320 5 years ago

      I live in Smyrna and pass this castle quite often. Although we've attended the Festival, we've never taken the tour, so I was excited to see this lens! Very cool.

    • KathrynDarden profile image
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      Kathryn Darden 6 years ago

      @Michey LM: Thank you! I just found your comment and appreciate your kind words!

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 6 years ago

      There is something romantic about the medieval casters, I love them, and you have a very well documented lens.

      Blessing on your way.

      Happy New Year

    • KathrynDarden profile image
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      Kathryn Darden 6 years ago

      @myraggededge: Thank you! That's very interesting - I would love to visit Wales one day and see your castle.

    • KathrynDarden profile image
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      Kathryn Darden 6 years ago

      @jgelien: Thanks! I like castles, too. Can you tell? :-)

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      jgelien 6 years ago

      I would have never have guessed that Tennessee would be home to a marvelous castle. I love castles and I enjoyed your lens very much.

    • myraggededge profile image

      myraggededge 7 years ago

      Castell Gwyn (one 'n') is Welsh for White Castle. I live in Wales about 10 miles from Castell Coch - the Red Castle. Have look on Google or Wikipedia and you might see some similarities. Castell Coch was also built in 'modern' times 19thC as a showcase building.

      Interesting lens and the festival sounds amazing! Blessed :-)

    • KathrynDarden profile image
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      Kathryn Darden 7 years ago

      Hi Karen! Thanks for stopping by and sharing your memories!

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      anonymous 7 years ago

      Hi Mike and Kathryn. Did you know Mike took the pictures my Senior Year 1977 at Franklin High School? I was on the Yearbook Staff that year. I chose not to go with a date to the Senior Prom but helped Mike, the photographer, most of the night set up the couples pictures. I got a ride to and from the Prom with my Yearbook teacher and her husband. Good Memories.

      The Castle looks great.

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      Kathryn Darden 8 years ago

      [in reply to jeff ] Hi Linda, Thanks for stopping by. When you say you are Mike's niece, I am guessing you mean Mike Freeman's niece? I hope you enjoyed th Castle Gwynn page!

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      anonymous 8 years ago

      [in reply to tdove] hi my name is Linda. Iam mike's niece. from Pa.

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      tdove 8 years ago

      Thanks for joining G Rated Lense Factory!