Ewloe Castle

Has been described as a Certain Masonry Castle

There are major building remains

NameEwloe Castle
Alternative NamesYouley; Yollo; Eulo; Egloe; Eggelawe
Historic CountryFlintshire
Modern AuthorityFlintshire
1974 AuthorityClwyd
CommunityHawarden

Ewloe Castle was a native Welsh stronghold built by Llywelyn ap Gruffudd following his seizure of much of modern Flintshire from the English Crown in 1257. Ewloe was the location of the family's manor, and it is possible that the castle occupies a site fortified earlier by Owain Gwynedd or Llywelyn ab Iorwerth with an earth-and-timber stronghold.

Ewloe occupies a narrow ridge below the lip of the Wepre Brook valley and was constructed of local yellow sandstone, possibly in two phases; the first consisting of a Welsh Tower and oval stone walls, then followed by the addition of a lower court with a further stone curtain and western tower. There is no obvious access between the two courts and it is possible that they operated separately, each accommodating a single princely entourage.

Following the succession of Edward I in 1272 Llywelyn failed to answer five summonses to do homage to the new king, who declared his intention to go to war against the proclaimed rebel. Within a year the Prince of Wales had been defeated; the castle fell to the English and was never to be used again as a fortified stronghold. (Coflein–K. Steele, RCAHMW, 4 November 2008)

Stone castle sited on tongue of land between two streams. Possibly built over earthen castle the only evidence for which is the unusual plan. Built or rebuilt in early 13th century. Not militarily significant after 1277. (Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust HER)

Situated in a wood overlooking the Wepre Brook.

History: A native Welsh castle, small in scale, though occupying a commanding site at the confluence of 2 streams and with a steep drop to the N. The "Welsh Tower" is early C13 and may be the work of LLewellyn ab Iorweth (The Great). The remaining buildings post-date the Welsh recapture of the area from the English in the late 1250s, and were probably built by Llewellyn ap Gruffydd (The Last)

Now largely ruinous.

Description: The castle is overlooked by higher ground to the S and this side is therefore the focus of the defences. Large ditches to this and the E sides. The castle is in 2 sections, with a large D-shaped keep known as the "Welsh Tower" in a walled upper ward at the E. This was of 2 floors plus basement. One first-floor lancet, originally lighting the hall survives to the S. The lower ward is dominated by a 2-storey circular tower to the W, and the whole is encircled by the remains of a curtain wall, originally about 15ft high. Within this there were entrances to both wards from the N. At the N/E corner a bridge originally gave access over the eathworks, the evidence for which is still visible.

An important indigenous castle from the period of the Welsh conquest by the English. (Listed Building Report)

A two storeyed "D" shaped tower, c.16m E-W by 11m, is set within an irregular enclosure, c.28-31m in diameter, defined by scarping and revetting a natural knoll. On the W a second, lower enclosure abutts, having a circular tower, c.13m in diameter, at its W end. The work is deeply ditched on the S, with a substantial counterscarp, the ground falling away on the N. The site is set within a wooded dingle. A castle built c.1257 and thought to have been disused after 1277. Probably built by Llywelyn ap Gruffudd.

Eggelawe 1212 (Pipe). 1213 (RLP I, 100a). Identificated by Mrs. Armitage and accepted as such by R.Allen Brown (no. 113), but the references to Eggelawe associate it with Oswestry, Carrehofa, Chirk, and Shrawardine; and there is no evidence for any work of this period at Ewloe. The most probable identification is Belan Bank, which lies close to the farm Edgerley. It is, however, just within Kinnerley parish, and is mentioned as Kinardsley in 1223. (Hogg and King, 1963, p. 123)

Gatehouse Comments

The pipe roll entry for pickaxes and provisions (picoisiis et warnistura) may suggest rock cut ditches or quarrying rather than building work. Ditches, per se, are very difficult to date.

- Philip Davis

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 ReferenceSJ288675
Latitude53.1999282836914
Longitude-3.06680011749268
Eastings328800
Northings367500
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Books

  • Kenyon, John, 2010, The Medieval Castles of Wales (University of Wales Press) p. 45-46
  • 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. 120-3
  • Davis, Paul R., 2007, Castles of the Welsh Princes (Y Lolfa) p. 62-4
  • Gravett, Christopher, 2007, The Castles of Edward I in Wales 1277-1307 (Osprey Fortress series 64)
  • Pettifer, Adrian, 2000, Welsh Castles, A Guide by Counties (Boydell Press) p. 71-2
  • Salter, Mike, 1997, The Castles of North Wales (Malvern) p. 66-7
  • Burnham, H., 1995, A Guide to Ancient and Historic Wales: Clwyd and Powys (Cadw, London)
  • Reid, Alan, 1998, Castles of Wales (John Jones Publishing) p. 81-2
  • Davis, Paul R., 1988, Castles of the Welsh Princes (Swansea)
  • Hubbard, E., 1986, The Buildings of Wales: Clwyd (Yale University Press) p. 344-5
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 152 Vol. 2 p. 561
  • Avent, Richard, 1983, Castles of the Princes of Gwynedd (Cardiff)
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 352
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) mp. 184
  • Neaverson, E., 1947, Mediaeval Castles in North Wales: A study of Sites, Water Supply, and Building Stones (London) p. 34-5
  • Armitage, Ella, 1912, The Early Norman Castles of the British Isles (London: John Murray) p. 271 online copy
  • RCAHMW, 1912, An inventory of the Ancient Monuments of Flintshire (HMSO) p. 37-9 online copy
  • Lewis, Samual, 1849, A Topographical Dictionary of Wales online copy

Antiquarian

  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1906, Leland's Itinerary in Wales  (Bell and Sons; London) p. 93 online copy
  • Celia Fiennes, 1888, Through England on a Side Saddle in the Time of William and Mary (London: Field and Tuer, The Leadenhall Press) Vision of Britain online transcription

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. 39-41
  • Stephenson, David, 2015, 'A Reconsideration of the siting, function and dating of Ewloe castle' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 164 p. 245-53
  • Brodie, Hugh, 2015, 'Apsidal and D-shaped towers of the Princes of Gwynedd' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 164 p. 231-43
  • Avent, Richard, 1994, 'Castles of the Welsh Princes' Château Gaillard Vol. 16 p. 11-17
  • 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., 1966, ‘Ewloe Castle’ The 113th Annual Meeting in Chester, 1966, CAA p. 26-7
  • Brown, R, Allen, 1959, 'A List of Castles, 1154–1216' English Historical Review Vol. 74 p. 249-280 (Reprinted in Brown, R. Allen, 1989, Castles, conquest and charters: collected papers (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 90-121) view online copy (subscription required)
  • Taylor et al, 1946-7, Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 99 p. 325-7
  • 1937, The Archaeological Journal Vol. 94 p. 321-3 online copy
  • Hemp, W.J., 1928, 'The Castle of Ewloe and the Welsh Castle Plan' Y Cymmrodor Vol. 39 p. 1-19
  • Hemp, W.J., 1927-8, Llandudno Field Club Vol. 14 p. 37-9 (abridgement of Y Cymmrodor article)
  • 1922, Flintshire Historical Society Vol. 9 p. 51-4 online copy
  • Davies-Cooke, P.B., 1891, 'Ewloe Castle' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 46 p. 1-7 online copy

Guide Books

  • Renn, Derek and Avent, Richard, 2001, Flint Castle — Ewloe Castle (Cardiff: CADW)
  • Hemp, W.J., 1929, Ewloe Castle (HMSO)

Primary Sources

  • The Great Roll of the Pipe for the fourteenth year of the reign of King John,: Michaelmas 1212 (Pipe Roll Society 68) p. 90 (£6 3s. for pickaxes and provisions)
  • Hardy, T.D. (ed), 1835, Rotuli litterarm patentium in Turri londinensi asservati (Record Commission) p. 100a online copy
  • E178/5866 (Survey of 3 and 7 Chales I)The National Archives reference

Other

  • Ryder, Charles, 2011, The spiral stair or vice: Its origins, role and meaning in medieval stone castles (PhD Thesis University of Liverpool) p. 185-9 Download via