Cardiff Town Walls

Has been described as a Certain Urban Defence

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameCardiff Town Walls
Alternative NamesCaerdydd; Kidis; Kerdif; Kerdiviae
Historic CountryGlamorgan
Modern AuthorityCardiff
1974 AuthoritySouth Glamorgan

The medieval town spread out from the castle's South Gate. Interestingly the High Street lines up with the Roman rather than the medieval south gate, suggesting it dates from this earlier period. The Medieval town probably developed in two stages. The first stage was within a relatively small enclosure marked out by Working Street and Womanby (Hummanbye) Streets' both names are linked to old Norse. In the second stage of its development, Cardiff expanded south. The town was then enclosed and defended to the east by a bank and ditch and eventually a stone gate. To the west, the town was protected by the meandering river Taff. Only two sections of the medieval wall are known to survive. The first supports a flower bed just east of the Roman fort wall, while the larger surviving piece is across the road behind retail outlets. Much of the surviving foundations of the wall were destroyed by the large shopping centres which swallowed up many of the small medieval alleyways of the city. (National Museum Wales)

Gatehouse Comments

Some very slight remains, but well illustrated in John Speed's 1610 map. Had comparatively small area, apparently five gates. Mentioned 1184 as palisaded and 1349 as stone. Was reported as being substantially intact in 1578 and appears to have been demolished from the later C18.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

The National Monument Record (Coflein) number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceST181767
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights ReservedView full Sized Image
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights ReservedView full Sized Image

Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.

Calculate Print


  • Salter, Mike, 2013, Medieval Walled Towns (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 163
  • Creighton, O.H. and Higham, R.A., 2005, Medieval Town Walls (Stroud: Tempus) p. 23, 30, 40, 95, 97, 237, 243, 271
  • Pettifer, Adrian, 2000, Welsh Castles, A Guide by Counties (Boydell Press) p. 90
  • Salter, Mike, 1991, The Castles of Gwent, Glamorgan and Gower (Malvern) p. 46
  • Morgan, Dennis, 1991, The Cardiff Story. A history of the city from its earliest times to the present (Brown and Sons)
  • Hindle, B.P., 1990, Medieval Town Plans (Shire Archaeology)
  • 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 (plan)
  • Soulsby, Ian, 1983, The Towns of Medieval Wales (Phillimore; Chichester) p. 95-9 (plan)
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 174
  • 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 online copy
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 130-1
  • Turner, H.L., 1971, Town Defences in England and Wales (London) p. 211-2
  • Rees, W., 1962, Cardiff, A history of the City p. 16
  • Grant, 1923, Cardiff Castle, its History and Architecture (Cardiff) p. 34 (1349 Inq. p.m. of Hugh le Despenser mentioning stone wall quoted))
  • Lewis, Samual, 1849, A Topographical Dictionary of Wales online copy



  • Creighton, Oliver, 2006, ''Castles of Communities': Medieval Town Defences in England; Wales and Gascony' Château Gaillard Vol. 22 p. 75-86
  • Spurgeon, C.J., 2001, 'The Medieval Town Defences of Glamorgan' Studia Celtica Vol. 35 p. 161-212 esp p. 163-177
  • Webster and Webster, 1974, Archaeology in Wales Vol. 14 p. 30
  • 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
  • Paterson, 1921, Cardiff Naturalists' Society Vol. 54 p. 31-9
  • 1901, 'Bird's-Eye View of Cardiff about 1650' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 56 p. 318-9 online copy
  • Robinson, 1886, Cardiff Naturalists' Society Vol. 18 p. 19-21
  • Winstone, 1883, Cardiff Naturalists' Society Vol. 15 p. 60-1

Primary Sources

  • The Great Roll of the Pipe for the thirty-first year of the reign of King Henry II A.D. 1184-1185 (Pipe Roll Society 34)
  • Matthews, J.H. (ed), 1898, 'Ministers' Accounts: 1492' Cardiff Records Vol. 1 p. 169-197 online copy
  • Luard, H.R (ed), 1865, 'Annales de Margan' in Annales Monastici (Rolls Series 36) Vol. 1 p. 17-18 online copy
  • - < >Also see the Gatehouse murage pages for full details of murage [grants >], [petitions > ] and [other such >]. < >