Kidwelly Town Walls

Has been described as a Certain Urban Defence

There are major building remains

NameKidwelly Town Walls
Alternative NamesCydweli; Kedwelly
Historic CountryCarmarthenshire
Modern AuthorityCarmarthenshire
1974 AuthorityDyfed
CommunityKidwelly

The earliest murage grant for Kidwelly is 1280; the town walls are thus likely to be in existence by 1300 or so. The trench excavated in February 1980 proved that the walls overlaid and followed the course of the earlier earthern defences. The best extant stretch of wall is that running west from the castle moat on the north side of the town, which is in the guardianship of the Ancient Monuments Branch of the Welsh Office. It is some 1.6m: wide and survives to an average height of 2.3m. Scaffolding holes through the thickness of the wall at a height of lm. above ground level occur at irregular intervals along the length of the wall. The trench cut by Dyfed Archaeological Trust referred to above showed that the wall has very slight footings. It is built of roughly dressed boulders, some derived from the glacial drift, others from the Mynydd y Garreg area, and also of thin slabs from the local Pennant beds. The wall splays out and terminates in the ditch to prevent access into the town and this part is built wholly of Pennant slabs. Most of the facing stones of the wall have been robbed. The town wall now terminates in the northwest corner of Castle Farm garden, at the point where it would have turned 90 degrees southwards. The town wall has a chamfered face here, which suggests that the corner may have been formed by a short cross wall between the two long stretches. Although the area is very overgrown it is clear that the short stretch of wall running westwards from the wider town wall abuts it and is secondary. Although breached by a small brick shed the narrower wall continues to a projecting, hollow, low arched gateway. The arch is 2.6m. wide though now crudely blocked to half its width. It is 56cm. wide, of the same stone as the town wall, with no brick visible in its makeup. The arch is at a lower level than the town wall and lies over the former course of the town ditch

(James 1980)

Situated at SW end of Castle Street, some 130m WSW of Kidwelly Castle.

Medieval gateway, probably early C14, though aid for walling the town was given in 1280-1. The principal gate to the small walled town SW of the castle. Reconstruction drawings suggest a single rectangular structure with chamfered spur-footed angles, of three storeys with battlements. Scheduled Ancient Monument.

Numerous window and fireplace embrasures to rear of front wall and rear of N wall, including two blocked N lancets. The gateway was originally stone vaulted.

Rubble stone ruinous gateway, the front and side walls of a substantial gatehouse with traces of three storeys within. Broad segmental-pointed main arch of four steps, chamfered to front, portcullis slot between 2nd and 3rd steps. Side to left is obscured by public house, but has corbelled first floor chimneybreast. Three upper floor broad cambered headed windows, presumably to a principal hall, robbed of ashlar. Side to right has two narrow first floor lancets, robbed of ashlar, and two ground floor loops. Chamfered SW angle with spur foot. S wall has mostly gone, N wall survives to full height with short return remaining of inner E wall. (Listed Building Report)

Gatehouse Comments

Murage for five year granted in December 1280 but this may have been rescinded since murage for three years was given in March 1281.

- Philip Davis

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 ReferenceSN408070
Latitude51.7384986877441
Longitude-4.30814981460571
Eastings240850
Northings207010
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved

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Books

  • Salter, Mike, 2013, Medieval Walled Towns (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 174
  • Creighton, O.H. and Higham, R.A., 2005, Medieval Town Walls (Stroud: Tempus) p. 27, 83, 170, 204, 217, 272
  • Pettifer, Adrian, 2000, Welsh Castles, A Guide by Counties (Boydell Press) p. 52
  • Davis, Paul, 2000, A Company of Forts. A Guide to the Medieval Castles of West Wales (Gomer Press)
  • 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
  • Soulsby, Ian, 1983, The Towns of Medieval Wales (Phillimore; Chichester) p. 152-4
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 61
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 360
  • 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 plan p. 63 online copy
  • Turner, H.L., 1971, Town Defences in England and Wales (London) p. 217
  • Beresford, Maurice, 1967, New towns of the Middle Ages: town plantation in England, Wales and Gascony (London: Lutterworth Press) p. 541
  • Richard, A.J., 1935, in Lloyd, J.E. (ed), History of Carmathenshire (Cardiff) Vol. 1 p. 316-7
  • RCAHMW, 1917, An inventory of the Ancient Monuments of Carmarthenshire (HMSO) p. 49-50 online copy
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (Methuen and Co) p. 247
  • Clark, G.T., 1884, Mediaeval Military Architecture in England (Wyman and Sons) Vol. 2 p. 160
  • Lewis, Samual, 1849, A Topographical Dictionary of Wales online copy

Antiquarian

Journals

  • Creighton, Oliver, 2006, ''Castles of Communities': Medieval Town Defences in England; Wales and Gascony' Château Gaillard Vol. 22 p. 75-86
  • Bond J., 2001, 'Earthen Castles, Outer Enclosures and the Earthworks at Ascott d'Oilly Castle, Oxfordshire' Oxoniensia Vol. 46 p. 65-6 (Appendix: Norman earthwork castles with failed towns in outer enclosures) online copy
  • James, H., 1980, 'Topgraphical notes on the early medieval borough of Kidwelly' Carmarthenshire Antiquarian Vol. 16 p. 6-17 online copy
  • 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

Guide Books

  • Kenyon, John R., 2002, Kidwelly Castle (Cardiff: CADW)
  • Kenyon, John R., 1986, Kidwelly Castle (Cardiff: CADW)
  • Radford, C.A.R., 1933, Kidwelly Castle (HMSO) online copy and [plan > http://www.kidwellyhistory.co.uk/PhotoGallery/Maps/pages/WalledTown.htm]

Primary Sources

  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1901, Calendar of Patent Rolls Edward I (1272-81) Vol. 1 p. 418; p. 427 online copy
  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1905, Calendar of Patent Rolls Henry IV (1401-05) Vol. 2 p. 319 online copy
  • - < >Also see the Gatehouse murage pages for full details of murage [grants > http://www.gatehouse-gazetteer.info/murage/murindex.html], [petitions > http://www.gatehouse-gazetteer.info/murage/mupindex.html ] and [other such > http://www.gatehouse-gazetteer.info/murage/muaindex.html]. < >