Caergwrle Castle, Hope

Has been described as a Certain Masonry Castle

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameCaergwrle Castle, Hope
Alternative NamesQueen's Hope; Kaierguill
Historic CountryFlintshire
Modern AuthorityFlintshire
1974 AuthorityClwyd
CommunityHope

Caergwrle Castle was erected by Dafydd ap Gruffydd in about 1278, and was thus the last native Welsh stone built castle. The remains of the late 13th century masonry castle are set at the south-south-west angle of an irregular enclosure defining the relatively level summit of a steep-sided hill. Excavation demonstrated that this enclosure, roughly 110m north-west to south-east by 120m, had been defined by a stone-revetted wall, radio-carbon dating indicating an early medieval date. (Coflein–J.Wiles 26.11.02)

Early medieval castle of importance during the period of the Edwardian conquest. It was granted by Edward I to his ally Dafydd ap Gruffydd (brother of Llywelyn) in 1277 and was damaged following the revolt of 1282. Some of the present fabric may relate to a programme of rebuiding and repair initiated by Master Richard of Chester and continued by James of St George, for King Edward. The castle was damaged by fire following its grant by King Edward to Queen Eleanor in 1283 and appears to have been little used subsequently.

Castle remains within a series of man-made earthworks. The surviving walls are ruinous and are constructed of local rubble with squared freestone facing blocks. The remains consist of a fragmentary inner bailey curtain wall of irregular plan with remains of projecting elongated D-shaped towers to the N and SE of the complex. Evidence for a newel stair and latrine chamber can be found in the thickness of the curtain wall just W of the N tower. (Listed Building Report)

Possible Roman use of site: Roman coin of Antonius Pius (PRN 101296).

Stone castle: built by Dafydd ap Gruffydd (1278), partially refurbished by Edward I (1282) but destroyed by fire 27.08.1282. There is no evidence it was repaired and it was ruinous by 1335

The present remains are of late 13th century.

Detailed roll of expenditure (including names and occupations of payees etc) by English in refurbishment of Hope (Caergwrle) Castle in 1282 (London, Public Record Office, Chancery Miscellanea, roll C47/2/3). Summarised in Taylor, A J 1992a).

Late 13th century remains of stone castle situated on steep sided isolate hill. Inner bailey undefended on west side. Other sides discontinuous. Outer bailey to north-east bounded by bank. Defended on north and east sides by rock-cut ditch and counterscarp bank. Outlying earthwork comprising low bank encircles hill (see PRN 17104) (Manley, J 1992a).

Excavations in 1988 and 1989 revealed clay and stone layer representing medieval levelling. Oven, rectangular buildng and two areas of smithying recovered. Area of stoneworking and mortar-mixing lcoated. Finds include medieval pottery, bronze items, slag, coin of 1280, nails and animals bones. Curtain wall and north tower investigated. Drystone bank with rubble core - late Roman or Dark Age C14 dates (Manely, J 1989b, 58-9).

13th century bread oven in south-east corner of castle, 4m square externally and 1m high. Rectangular platform with circular superstructre. Traces of pre-oven smithying. (Manley, J 1990a, 21-24; Gaimster, D R M, Margeson, S & Hurley, M 1990, 248).

Excavation in 1990 (final season): interior of E tower excavated - no floors in situ; around E curtain wall; on flat-topped platform in the middle of the defensive ditch to the N of the castle - this was an area of unquarried bedrock and soil which may have been used as a barbican (Nenk, B S, Margeson, S and Hurley, M 1991, 228-9). (Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust HER)

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 ReferenceSJ307572
Latitude53.1071510314941
Longitude-3.03711009025574
Eastings330700
Northings357230
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Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
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Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved

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Books

  • Goodall, John, 2011, The English Castle 1066-1650 (Yale University Press) p. 222
  • Kenyon, John, 2010, The Medieval Castles of Wales (University of Wales Press) p. 39-40
  • 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
  • Purton, P.F., 2009, A History of the Late Medieval Siege: 1200-1500 (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press) p. 82
  • Morgan, Gerald, 2008, Castles in Wales: A Handbook (Talybont: Y Lolfa Cyf.) p. 118-20
  • Davis, Paul R., 2007, Castles of the Welsh Princes (Y Lolfa) p. 36-39
  • Gravett, Christopher, 2007, The Castles of Edward I in Wales 1277-1307 (Osprey Fortress series 64)
  • Harston. C L. 2000. Caergwrle: an enigmatic castle. Spyglass History Series 1. (Ceiriog Press. Wrexham)
  • Pettifer, Adrian, 2000, Welsh Castles, A Guide by Counties (Boydell Press) p. 70
  • Reid, Alan, 1998, Castles of Wales (John Jones Publishing) p. 35
  • Salter, Mike, 1997, The Castles of North Wales (Malvern) p. 50-1
  • Burnham, H., 1995, A Guide to Ancient and Historic Wales: Clwyd and Powys (Cadw, London)
  • Higham, R. and Barker, P., 1992, Timber Castles (Batsford) p. 173
  • Clwyd Archaeology Service, Caergwrle Castle: the 1988 excavations (Clwyd County Council)
  • Davis, Paul R., 1988, Castles of the Welsh Princes (Swansea)
  • Taylor, A.J., 1986, The Welsh Castles of Edward I (Hambledon Press) p. 38-40
  • Hubbard, E., 1986, The Buildings of Wales: Clwyd (Yale University Press) p. 334
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 151
  • Avent, Richard, 1983, Castles of the Princes of Gwynedd (Cardiff)
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 327
  • 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. 330-2
  • Davies, E., 1949, Prehistoric and Roman Remains of Flint (Cardiff)
  • Neaverson, E., 1947, Mediaeval Castles in North Wales: A study of Sites, Water Supply, and Building Stones (London) p. 27-8
  • Lowe, W.Bezant, 1927, The Heart of North Wales (Llanfairfechan) Vol. 2 p. 213-17
  • RCAHMW, 1912, An inventory of the Ancient Monuments of Flintshire (HMSO) p. 47-8 online copy
  • Timbs, J. and Gunn, A., 1872, Abbeys, Castles and Ancient Halls of England and Wales Vol. 3 (London) p. 417-8 online copy
  • Lewis, Samual, 1849, A Topographical Dictionary of Wales online copy
  • Buck, Samuel and Nathenial, 1774, Buck’s Antiquities (London) Vol. 2 p. 390

Antiquarian

Journals

  • John Kenyon, Chris Jones-Jenkins and Neil Guy, 2015-16, 'The Castle Studies Group Conference 'Castles of North-East Wales' Castle Studies Group Journal Vol. 29 p. 8-9
  • Manley, J., 1994, 'Excavations at Caergwrle Castle, Clwyd, North Wales: 1988-1990' Medieval Archaeology Vol. 38 p. 83-133 download copy
  • Avent, Richard, 1994, 'Castles of the Welsh Princes' Château Gaillard Vol. 16 p. 11-17
  • Manley, J. and Jones, J., 1993, 'From bedrock to battlement: the geology, quarrying and construction of Caergwrle Castle, Clwyd' North West Geologist Vol. 3 p. 11-42
  • Taylor, A.J., 1992, 'The Hope Castle Account of 1282' Flintshire Historical Society Journal Vol. 33 p. 21-53 online copy
  • Manley, J., 1992, 'The outer enclosure on Caergwrle Hill, Clwyd' Flintshire Historical Society Journal Vol. 33 p. 12-20 online copy
  • Manley. J., 1990. ‘A medieval bread-oven from Caergwrle castle. Clwyd’ Archaeology in Wales Vol. 30 p. 21-24
  • Manley. J., 1989. ‘Caergwrle Castle’. Archaeology in Wales Vol. 29 p. 58-9
  • anon, 1988, ‘Caergwrle Castle — 1988 dig’ Clwyd Archaeology News winter p. 2–3
  • Grenter, S., 1987, ‘Caergwrle Castle’, Archaeology in Clwyd Vol. 9 p. 28–32
  • King. D J. Cathcart, 1974. ‘Two Castles in Northern Powys: Dinas Bran and Caergwrle’. Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 123 p. 113-139
  • 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
  • Taylor, A.J., 1965-6, ‘The earliest reference to works at Hope Castle’ Journal of the Flintshire Historical Society Vol. 22 p. 76-7 (reprinted in Taylor, A.J., 1986, Studies in castles and castle-building (London: Hambledon Press) p. 177–8) online copy
  • Maxwell, 1843, Cymmrodorion Vol. 2.4 p. 380-3

Guide Books

  • Anon, n.d., Caergwrle Castle (Cheshire County Council for Flintshire County Council)

Primary Sources

  • Christie, R.C. (ed), 1887, Annales Cestrienses: Chronicle of the Abbey of S. Werburg, at Chester p. 106 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. 197
  • SC12/22/96 (Survey of 11 Edward III) The National Archives reference

Other

  • Davies, Felicity, 2006, The Archaeology of the North East Slope of Caergwrle Castle Hill (Wirral and North Wales Field Archaeology) online copy (Download)