Newcastle Emlyn Castle

Has been described as a Certain Masonry Castle

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameNewcastle Emlyn Castle
Alternative NamesCastel Nowid; Newcastle Emelyn
Historic CountryCarmarthenshire
Modern AuthorityCarmarthenshire
1974 AuthorityDyfed
CommunityNewcastle Emlyn

The castle was probably founded by Maredudd ap Rhys around 1240, and if this is so, it is one of the few castles in Dyfed built by the Welsh in stone. His son, Rhys ap Maredudd, held the castle in 1287, and the castle changed hands three times during his successful revolt against the English crown from 1287 to 1289. After Rhys had finally been defeated and killed, the castle became crown property and remained so until 1349. During this time, three refurbishments are recorded, during which this time the gatehouse was constructed and a new town was founded outside the castle walls. In 1403 the castle was taken by Owain Glyndwr, but was described as being in ruins by 1428.

Shattered ruins remain of Newcastle Emlyn Castle. Excavation through the 1980s have revealed some details, but the castle is best known from a collection of medieval accounts and surveys. The new castle of Emlyn is first recorded in 1257 and was built by a local princeling as the centre for the commote of Emlyn Uwch Cych, later the lordship of Emlyn. Following a notable siege in the midwinter of 1287-8 the castle passed to the English Crown. Much work was carried out in the earlier fourteenth century, including the gatehouse that is now the main surviving feature. A borough was established without the castle gates (see NPRN 33072). The castle declined through the fifteenth century until in about 1500 it was restored as a grand mansion, associated with a great deer park. It was at this time that the large square windows were inserted into the gatehouse and there is notice of 'a little tower to view and see the country'. There were further alarms and excursions in the revolutionary wars of the mid seventeenth century, when the great earthwork ravelin bastion was raised before the great gate. The castle was thereafter neglected. The castle occupies the tip of a steep sided spur set within a great bend of the Teifi

It consists of a roughly triangular walled inner court, some 45m east-west and 25m across at the western end. This is thought to be the original thirteenth century castle to which the gatehouse and other buildings were later added. An outer court on the west, towards the town, is defined by earthworks. It is roughly 50m east-west by 40m, its eastern part obscurred by the seventeenth century ravelin. (Coflein–John Wiles, RCAHMW, 30 January 2008)

Sited on a peninsula of land to W of the town and almost surrounded by Afon Teifi. Pedestrian access from Castle Street. Ruins of a medieval masonry castle on a rocky eminence with substantial earthwork defences. Earliest references date back to mid-C13; the castle was derelict by the end of the Civil War. The twin-towered gatehouse to the inner ward stands about 8 m high and is the best-preserved section of masonry. There is a portion of a corner tower on the S with a stretch of masonry curtain wall adjoining. To N of gatehouse is a further stretch of curtain wall with corner turret and garderobe shute. (Listed Building 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 ReferenceSN311407
Latitude52.0391006469727
Longitude-4.46345996856689
Eastings231150
Northings240720
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
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Books

  • Goodall, John, 2011, The English Castle 1066-1650 (Yale University Press) p. 319
  • Kenyon, John, 2010, The Medieval Castles of Wales (University of Wales Press) p. 88-89
  • Butler, L., 2009, 'The Castles of the Princes of Gwynedd' in Willams, D. and Kenyon, J. (eds), The Impact of the Edwardian Castles in Wales (Oxbow) p. 27-36
  • Morgan, Gerald, 2008, Castles in Wales: A Handbook (Talybont: Y Lolfa Cyf.) p. 102-3
  • Davis, Paul R., 2007, Castles of the Welsh Princes (Y Lolfa) p. 79-80
  • Pettifer, Adrian, 2000, Welsh Castles, A Guide by Counties (Boydell Press) p. 57
  • Davis, Paul, 2000, A Company of Forts. A Guide to the Medieval Castles of West Wales (Gomer Press) p. 100-1 (plan)
  • Reid, Alan, 1998, Castles of Wales (John Jones Publishing) p. 109-10
  • Salter, Mike, 1996, The Castles of South West Wales (Malvern) p. 42 (plan)
  • Davis, Paul R., 1988, Castles of the Welsh Princes (Swansea)
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 59
  • Soulsby, I., 1983, The Towns of Medieval Wales (Phillimore)
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 368
  • Colvin, H.M., Brown, R.Allen and Taylor, A.J., 1963, The history of the King's Works Vol. 2: the Middle Ages (London: HMSO) p. 646-7
  • Richard, A.J., 1935, in Lloyd, J.E. (ed), History of Carmathenshire (Cardiff) Vol. 1 p. 285-6, 289-
  • RCAHMW, 1917, An inventory of the Ancient Monuments of Carmarthenshire (HMSO) p. 220-1 no. 648 online copy
  • Armitage, Ella, 1912, The Early Norman Castles of the British Isles (London: John Murray) p. 289 online copy
  • Lewis, Samual, 1849, A Topographical Dictionary of Wales online copy

Antiquarian

Journals

  • 1992, Carmathenshire Antiquary
  • Parry, C., 1987, ‘Survey and excavation at Newcastle Emlyn Castle’, The Carmarthenshire Antiquary Vol. 23 p. 11–27
  • Parry, C., 1985, ‘Newcastle Emlyn Castle’, Archaeology in Wales Vol. 25 p. 46
  • Stenger, C.M. and Isaac, J., 1983, ‘Newcastle Emlyn’, Archaeology in Wales Vol. 23 p. 58
  • King, D.J.C., 1972, ‘Newcastle Emlyn’ The 119th Annual Meeting in Lampeter and District, 1976, CAA p. 13-14
  • 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
  • Hogg, A.H.A. and King, D.J.C., 1963, 'Early castles in Wales and the Marches: a preliminary list' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 112 p. 77-124 (Late–attributed to origin in C12 but regarded as later)
  • Evans, 1922, Y Cymmrodor Vol. 32 p. 71-5, 97-9 etc.
  • Evans, 1912-3, Transactions of the Carmarthenshire Antiquarian Society Vol. 8 p. 73
  • Evans, 1907-8, Transactions of the Carmarthenshire Antiquarian Society Vol. 3 p. 39-40
  • Evans, 1905-6, Transactions of the Carmarthenshire Antiquarian Society Vol. 1 p. 74-5

Primary Sources

  • Jones, T., 1952, Brut y Tywysogion (Peniarth MS 20 version) (University of Wales, History and Law series 11) (1215)
  • Williams (ab Ithel), John, (ed), 1860, Annales Cambriae (444 – 1288) (London: Longman, Green, Longman, and Roberts)1287 online copy
  • Cole, H., 1844, Documents Illustrative of English History (London) p. 47-8 online copy
  • Edwards, G.E. (ed), 1935, Calendar of Ancient Correspondence Concerning Wales (Cardiff) p. 158
  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1906, Calendar of Close Rolls Edward I (1296-1302) Vol. 4 p. 337 view online copy (subscription required)
  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1893, Calendar of Close Rolls Edward II (1313-1318) Vol. 2 p. 241, 528-9 view online copy (subscription required)
  • Ellis, H. (ed), 1827, Original Letters illustrative of English History (London) Ser2 Vol. 1 p. 15, 19 online copy
  • Rickard, John, 2002, The Castle Community. The Personnel of English and Welsh Castles, 1272-1422 (Boydell Press) (lists sources for 1272-1422) p. 132-4
  • Phillips, J.R., 1874, Memoirs of the Civil War in Wales and the Marches (London) Vol. 1 p. 234, 337-9 online copy Vol. 2 p. 190, 192, 358 [online copy > http://archive.org/stream/memoirsofcivilwa02philiala#page/190/mode/1up]
  • C145/129(18) (Survey of 1336) The National Archives reference (calendared in Maxwell Lyte, H.C., 1916, Calendar of Inquisitions Miscellaneous (Chancery), preserved in the Public Record Office (H.M.S.O.) Vol. 2 p. 364 No. 1492 [online copy > https://archive.org/stream/calendarofinqu02grea#page/364/mode/1up])
  • B.M. Add. Roll 7198 (Survey of 14 Edward II) British Library Reference
  • SP14/49/82 (Survey of 1609) The National Archives reference