Monmouth Town Walls and Defences

Has been described as a Certain Urban Defence

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameMonmouth Town Walls and Defences
Alternative NamesMingui; Mouemewe; Clawdd Du
Historic CountryMonmouthshire
Modern AuthorityMonmouthshire
1974 AuthorityGwent

Apart from one tower incorporated into the Nags Head public house no upstanding remains of the town walls of Monmouth survive (murage grants of 1295 and 1315), however excavations have located almost the entire circuit of the defence. Clawdd Du, Over Monnow is a prominant ditch, with traces of a bank, extending c.550m but obscured at either end, enclosing the suburb of Over Monnow, across the Monnow Bridge from Monmouth. Excavation in 1966 indicated that the work was of two phases, divided by a layer provisionally dated 1250-1350. The outstanding surviving bridge gate is listed separately because of it particular interest. (Derived from Coflein)

On the historic north and east entry to the town, but now a cul-de-sac

Early C19, but incorporating in its structure remains of a tower of the eastern or Dixton Gate of the town. The medieval work is probably C15 and how much fabric from this date may survive in the present building is unknown. The Dixton Gate was otherwise demolished probably in the C18 and was replaced by the turnpike gate further down the street.

The medieval fabric is red sandstone rubble, the C19 fabric is probably also red sandstone but may be brick, particularly in the upper storey. The tower remains unpainted, the inn is rendered and painted and the south-east wing of the inn, formerly the stable, is painted rubble; Welsh slate roofs with red brick stacks. Main rectangular block with the half round tower on the north gable, east wing projecting from south-east corner. Two storeys with an understorey, the tower has a battered base. The entry to the main block is in the gable end and has a recessed door on the left with a flat hood on brackets. Two windows on each floor, all 4 over 4 pane sashes except at top left which is 6 over 6. Gable with wavey bargeboards

The street front has a small cellar door, a plate glass oriel on the ground floor left and two 6 over 6 pane sashes left above. Plain roof with stack on left wall front slope and another on right gable. The tower has a 6 over 6 pane sash on the ground floor and an 8 over 8 above. Small casement in timber framed gable of main block behind. The east wing, formerly the stable, has a plain door and a 2 x 2 light casement window, plain roof. Rear elevation not seen. (Listed Building Report)

The monument comprises the remains of a stretch of the medieval town defences. It consists of a long, curved, steep-sided ditch, 3m to 4m wide at the base and 2m deep, orientated roughly NW/SE to the W of the river Monnow. The ditch, which records show was also called the Black Dyke, was built to provide protection for the suburb of Overmonnow, which was an important iron and wool working centre during the medieval period. Originally there would have been a large bank on the inner (E) side of the ditch, possibly surmounted by a wooden palisade, but the ditch has been flattened. A stone bridge crosses the N end of the ditch, this is medieval in date and would have carried a road across the ditch towards the Monnow Bridge (MM008). (Scheduling Report)

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

This is a Grade 2* listed building protected by law

Historic Wales CADW listed database record number
The National Monument Record (Coflein) number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSO509129
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Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights ReservedView full Sized Image
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights ReservedView full Sized Image
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights ReservedView full Sized Image
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights ReservedView full Sized Image
Photograph by Peter E Presford. All rights reservedView full Sized Image

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  • Salter, Mike, 2013, Medieval Walled Towns (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 176
  • Clark, S., 2008, Down the dig: Monmouth – an adventure in archaeology (Monmouth: Monmouth Archaeological Society)
  • Creighton, O.H. and Higham, R.A., 2005, Medieval Town Walls (Stroud: Tempus) p. 27, 48, 95, 132, 143, 272
  • Kissack, Keith, 2003, Monmouth and its Buildings (Logaston Press) p. 45
  • Andrew Marvell (ed), 2001, Investigations along Monnow Street, Monmouth (British Archaeological Reports BAR 320)
  • Pettifer, Adrian, 2000, Welsh Castles, A Guide by Counties (Boydell Press) p. 133-4
  • Newman, John, 2000, The Buildings of Wales: Gwent/Monmouthshire (Yale University Press) p. 408
  • Salter, Mike, 1991, The Castles of Gwent, Glamorgan and Gower (Malvern) p. 24
  • Bond, C.J., 1987, 'Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Defences' in Schofield, J. and Leech, R. (eds), Urban Archaeology in Britain (CBA Research Report 61) p. 92-116 online copy (plan)
  • Soulsby, Ian, 1983, The Towns of Medieval Wales (Phillimore; Chichester) p. 181-5 (plan)
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 290
  • Barley, M.W., 1975, 'Town Defences in England and Wales after 1066' in Barley (ed) The plans and topography of medieval towns in England and Wales (CBA Research Report 14) p. 57-71 online copy
  • Kissack, K.E., 1974, Medieval Monmouth (Monmouth Hist and Educ Trust)
  • Turner, H.L., 1971, Town Defences in England and Wales (London) p. 207
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (Methuen and Co) p. 244
  • Bradney, J.A., 1904-33, History of Monmouthshire Vol. 1 p. 7, 16
  • Bagnall-Oakeley, 1896, Papers on Monmouth Castle (Mon. and Caerleon Ant. Ass.) p. 47-59
  • Coxe, W., 1801, An Historical Tour in Monmouthshire (London) Vol. 2 p. 302-3



  • Creighton, Oliver, 2006, ''Castles of Communities': Medieval Town Defences in England; Wales and Gascony' Château Gaillard Vol. 22 p. 75-86
  • Cotswold Archaeology, 2008, 'Medieval Britain and Ireland' Medieval Archaeology Vol. 52 [online copy >
  • Clarke, S.H., Jackson P. and R., 1992, 'Archaeological Evidence for Monmouth's Roman, and Early Medieval Defences' Archaeology in Wales Vol. 32 p. 1-6
  • Shoesmith, 1973, Archaeology in Wales Vol. 13 p. 53-4
  • Hogg, A.H.A. and King, D.J.C., 1967, 'Masonry castles in Wales and the Marches: a list' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 116 p. 71-132
  • (Clark), 1967, Medieval Archaeology Vol. 11 p. 296 download copy

Guide Books

  • Taylor, A.J., 1951, Monmouth Castle (HMSO) p. 10-13
  • Bagnell-Oakeley, 1896, The Fortification of Monmouth (Monmouth)

Primary Sources

  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1895, Calendar of Patent Rolls Edward I (1292-1301) Vol. 3 p. 307 (murage grant) online copy
  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1898, Calendar of Patent Rolls Edward II (1313-17) Vol. 2 p. 297 (murage grant) online copy
  • - < >Also see the Gatehouse murage pages for full details of murage [grants >], [petitions > ] and [other such >]. < >