Aberystwyth Castle

Has been described as a Certain Masonry Castle

There are major building remains

NameAberystwyth Castle
Alternative NamesLlanbadarn Fawr; Lampadervaur
Historic CountryCardiganshire
Modern AuthorityCeredigion
1974 AuthorityDyfed
CommunityAberystwyth

Begun by Edmund of Lancaster in 1277 as part of Edward I’s Welsh Castle building programme. The labour force was mainly recruited from the west of England by Master Williams of March. Destroyed by Gruffydd ap Meredydd and Rhys ap Maelgwm in the Welsh revolt of 1282 and cost a total of £4,300. Taken by Glyndwr in 1403, recaptured by Henry of Monmouth in 1409, slighted in 1645/6.

Concentric walled lozenge plan castle with dry moat to W, round corner towers to inner and outer wards; ruined coursed rubble masonry. Remains of Porth Mawr to E with footings of the hall to SW. To W lies the more complete inner gate tower with outer gate beyond; twin apsidal tower gateway with pointed entrance, portcullis chase, crenellated parapet and splayed stair turret to N. SW end has dungeon, mural tower to S side of inner ward. Now converted to recreational use with Druid Circle from 1916 Eisteddfod. Grounds laid out by John Probart architect of Shrewsbury ca 1800. Retaining wall to N has a terrace below, with Victorian crescent shaped 8-bay shelter with ornamented cast-iron columns. (Listed Building Report)

The monument consists of the remains of a castle, dating to the medieval period. A castle is a defended residence or stronghold, built mainly of stone, in which the principal or sole defence comprises the walls and towers bounding the site. Some form of keep may have stood within the enclosure but these were not significant in defensive terms and served mainly to provide accommodation. Aberystwyth Castle is a concentric-walled lozenge-plan castle measuring c.80m north-south by c.45m wide, built of coursed rubble masonry. It has a dry moat to the west and round towers to the inner and outer wards. There is an inner gate tower to the west with an outer gate beyond. The twin apsidal tower gateway has a pointed entrance, portcullis chase, crenellated parapet and splayed stair turret

There is a dungeon to the southwest and a mural tower on the south side of the inner ward. Work on Aberystwyth Castle commenced in 1277 under Edward I; it was taken by the Welsh in 1282 while still unfinished, and was completed (by the English again) in 1289. By 1636 the castle was largely ruinous and in 1637 a Royal Mint was established by Thomas Bushell in the castle hall. Around 1790 the ground in front of the castle was laid out in a series of walks by John Probert; this area is now partly covered by St. Michael’s Church. The castle remains have been much restored and now form part of a public park. (Scheduling Report)

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

This is a Grade 1 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 ReferenceSN579815
Latitude52.4132499694824
Longitude-4.08945989608765
Eastings257980
Northings281530
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Laitude 52° 24' 47.72" Longitude -4° 5' 23.61"

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Laitude 52° 24' 47.72" Longitude -4° 5' 23.61"

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Laitude 52° 24' 47.72" Longitude -4° 5' 23.61"

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Laitude 52° 24' 47.72" Longitude -4° 5' 23.61"

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Laitude 52° 24' 47.72" Longitude -4° 5' 23.61"

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Laitude 52° 24' 47.7" Longitude -4° 5' 23.25"

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Laitude 52° 24' 47.72" Longitude -4° 5' 23.61"

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Laitude 52° 24' 47.72" Longitude -4° 5' 23.61"

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Laitude 52° 24' 47.72" Longitude -4° 5' 23.61"

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Laitude 52° 24' 47.72" Longitude -4° 5' 23.61"

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Laitude 52° 24' 47.72" Longitude -4° 5' 23.61"

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Laitude 52° 24' 47.72" Longitude -4° 5' 23.61"

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Books

  • Goodall, John, 2011, The English Castle 1066-1650 (Yale University Press) p. 213
  • Kenyon, John, 2010, The Medieval Castles of Wales (University of Wales Press) p. 53-54
  • Browne, D.M., 2009, 'Builth Castle and Aberystwyth Castle 1277-1307' in Willams, D. and Kenyon, J. (eds), The Impact of the Edwardian Castles in Wales (Oxbow) p. 59-71
  • Purton, P.F., 2009, A History of the Early Medieval Siege c. 450-1220 (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press) p. 264
  • Morgan, Gerald, 2008, Castles in Wales: A Handbook (Talybont: Y Lolfa Cyf.) p. 74-7
  • Gravett, Christopher, 2007, The Castles of Edward I in Wales 1277-1307 (Osprey Fortress series 64)
  • Browne, D., 2001, 'The security of Aberystwyth Castle' in I. Manning (ed), Aberystwyth (Stroud: Ottackar's) p. 68-79
  • Pettifer, Adrian, 2000, Welsh Castles, A Guide by Counties (Boydell Press) p. 37-9
  • Davis, Paul, 2000, A Company of Forts. A Guide to the Medieval Castles of West Wales (Gomer Press) p. 57-9 (plan and reconstrustion)
  • Reid, Alan, 1998, Castles of Wales (John Jones Publishing) p. 27-8
  • Salter, Mike, 1996, The Castles of South West Wales (Malvern) p. 12-16 (plan)
  • Davis, P.R., 1987, Castles of Dyfed (Llandysul: Gomer Press) p. 59-61
  • Taylor, A.J., 1986, The Welsh Castles of Edward I (Hambledon Press) p. 7-16
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 44
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 323-4
  • Spurgeon, C.J., 1977, ‘Aberystwyth Castle and borough to 1649’, in Jones. I.G. (ed), Aberystwyth 1277-1977: Eight Lectures to Celebrate the Seventh Centenary of the Foundation of the Borough (Llandysul:Gomer Press) p. 28-45
  • Colvin, H.M., Brown, R.Allen and Taylor, A.J., 1963, The history of the King's Works, Vol. 1: the Middle Ages (London) p. 299-308
  • Owen, Henry (ed), 1936, The Description of Pembrokeshire (London) Vol. 4 p. 437-8
  • Lloyd, J.E., 1931, Owen Glendower (Oxford University Press) p. 152-3
  • Oman, Charles W.C., 1926, Castles (1978 edn Beetham House: New York) p. 220
  • Armitage, Ella, 1912, The Early Norman Castles of the British Isles (London: John Murray) p. 281-2 online copy
  • Evans, G.E., 1902, Aberystwyth and its Court Leet (Aberystwyth)
  • Morris, J.E., 1901, The Welsh wars of Edward I : a contribution to mediaeval military history, based on original documents (Clarendon) p. 249, 260 online copy
  • Timbs, J. and Gunn, A., 1872, Abbeys, Castles and Ancient Halls of England and Wales Vol. 3 (London) p. 472-4 online copy
  • Morgan, 1849 and 1872, History of Castle of Aberystwyth (Aberystwyth)
  • Williams, P., 1853, A Chronological Summary of the Chief Events in the History of the Castle of Aberystwyth_
  • Lewis, Samual, 1849, A Topographical Dictionary of Wales online copy
  • Buck, Samuel and Nathenial, 1774, Buck’s Antiquities (London) Vol. 2 p. 376

Journals

  • Coldstream, N., 2003 'Architects, Advisers and Design at Edward I’s Castles in Wales' Architectural History Vol. 46 p. 19-36 (reprinted in Liddiard, Robert (ed), 2016, Late Medieval Castles (Boydell Press) p. 41-60)
  • Walker, R.F., 1995, 'Two fourteenth-century surveys of Aberystwyth Castle' Ceredigion Vol. 12.3 p. 3-22 online copy
  • Burnham, H., 1992, 'Test pis at Aberystwyth Castle, December 1989: results of archaeological recording' Ceredigion Vol. 11.4 p. 337-56 online copy
  • Stewart, D.S., Browne, D.M. and Spurgeon, C.J., 1988, ‘Aberystwyth Castle’, Archaeology in Wales Vol. 28 p. 69
  • Stewart, D.S., 1987, ‘Aberystwyth Castle’, Archaeology in Wales Vol. 27 p. 56
  • Davis, A., 1986, ‘Aberystwyth Castle’, Archaeology in Wales Vol. 26 p. 51–2
  • Davis, A., 1985, ‘Aberystwyth Castle’, Archaeology in Wales Vol. 25 p. 35–6
  • Davis, A., 1984, ‘Aberystwyth Castle’, Archaeology in Wales Vol. 24 p. 61–2
  • Thorburn, J., 1983, ‘Aberystwyth Castle’, Archaeology in Wales Vol. 23 p. 51–2
  • Thorburn, J., 1982, ‘Aberystwyth Castle’, Archaeology in Wales Vol. 22 p. 30
  • Browne, D.M., 1978, ‘Aberystwyth Castle’, Archaeology in Wales Vol. 18 p. 54
  • Spurgeon, C.J., 1977, ‘Aberystwyth Castle’, 124th Annual Meeting in Abeystwyth, South Montgomery and North Radnor, CAA 1977 p. 10-11
  • Griffiths, R.A., 1977, ‘The three castles at Aberystwyth’, Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 126 p. 74-87
  • Webster, L.E. and Cherry, J., 1977, ‘Medieval Britain in 1976’, Medieval Archaeology Vol. 21 p. 240 download copy
  • Spurgeon, C.J. and Browne, D.M., 1976, ‘Aberystwyth Castle’, Archaeology in Wales Vol. 16 p. 38
  • Webster, L.E. and Cherry, J., 1976, ‘Medieval Britain in 1975’, Medieval Archaeology Vol. 20 p. 186 download copy
  • Spurgeon, C.J. and Whatmore, 1975, ‘Aberystwyth Castle’, Archaeology in Wales Vol. 15 p. 54-5
  • 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
  • King, D.J.C., 1956, 'The Castles of Cardiganshire' Ceredigion Vol. 3 p. 58 no. 1 online copy
  • Lloyd and O'Neil, 1946-7, Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 99 p. 137-9
  • Edwards, J. Goronwy, 1944, 'Edward I's Castle-Building in Wales' Proceedings of the British Academy Vol. 32 p. 30-1, 67
  • Hughes, H., 1931, Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 86 p. 398-402
  • Hughes, H., 1904, 'Aberystwyth Castle Excavations carried on in the year 1903' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 59 p. 317-23 online copy
  • Hughes, H., 1903, 'Excavations proposed to be carried out at Aberystwyth' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 58 p. 272-8 online copy
  • 1897, Archaeologia Cambrensis (5th series) Vol. 14 p. 151 online copy

Guide Books

  • Spurgeon, C.J., 1975, (2nd edition). The castle and borough of Aberystwyth (Aberystwyth: Ceredigion District Council)
  • Morgan, 1908, Short History of the Castle of Aberystwyth (Aberystwyth)

Primary Sources

  • Brut y Tywysogion 1282 (Several transcriptions and translations exist the best being Jones, T., 1952, Brut Y Twysogion (University of Wales, History and Law series 11)–based on the Peniarth MS 20 version. There is a flawed translation Williams ab Ithel, John, 1860, Brut Y Twysogion or The Chronicle of the Princes (Rolls Series) online copy)
  • Williams (ab Ithel), John, (ed), 1860, Annales Cambriae (444 – 1288) (London: Longman, Green, Longman, and Roberts)1282 online copy
  • Hog, T. (ed), 1845, F. Nicholai Triveti de ordine frat. praedicatorum Annales sex regum Angliae, qui a comitibus andegavensibus originem traxerunt (English Historical Society) p. 298 online copy
  • B.M. Add. Roll 7198 (Survey of 14 Edward II) British Library Reference
  • SP14/49/82 (survey 1609) The National Archives reference
  • Rickard, John, 2002, The Castle Community. The Personnel of English and Welsh Castles, 1272-1422 (Boydell Press) (lists sources for 1272-1422) p. 120-1
  • Phillips, J.R., 1874, Memoirs of the Civil War in Wales and the Marches (London) Vol. 2 p. 305 online copy