Kenfig Castle

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Ringwork), and also as a Certain Masonry Castle

There are masonry footings remains

NameKenfig Castle
Alternative NamesKengfig; Kinefeage; Kenefeg
Historic CountryGlamorgan
Modern AuthorityBridgend
1974 AuthorityMid Glamorgan

The scanty remains of Kenfig Castle, a once great medieval fortress, rise from the dunes beside the Cynfig river. The castle was established in the early twelfth century by the lord of Glamorgan and was set at the northern end of a walled borough (NPRN 15335). The castle was several times assaulted and ravaged and was greatly altered and added to in the late thirteenth century. It was maintained throughout the fourteenth century but was ruinous by the early sixteenth. The borough became besanded through the fifteenth century. The site was excavated in 1924-32. The castle was set on a low knoll washed by the river on the west and north. It originally consisted of a roughly circular embanked and palisaded court some 37m across, enclosing a magnificent square-plan tower as well as a hall and its offices. The facades of the 14m square tower were articulated by slim dressed stone buttresses at the corners and centre of each side. It would have risen high above the court dominating the borough skyline. In about 1300 the castle was substantially reconstructed. The rampart was thrown down to level up the court and a stout curtain wall was built in its stead with a large masonry gatehouse facing into the borough. The tower was also reconstructed and its south-west wall completely rebuilt. (Coflein–ref. RCAHMW, 1991)

The dating of Kenfig Castle is not clear. The town & castle have been burned several times. It continued in good repair until 1405 when it was dismantled. Earliest mention of castle is 1185 AD (sub anno 1893). The structure included the Keep astride to the rampart of pebbles and a large bailey (about 8 acres). Square with rounded corners, sides about 198 yrds long. It appears that later the castle was repaired and used as a local gaol. (Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust HER)

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

Not Listed

The National Monument Record (Coflein) number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSS800826
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  • Davis, Paul, R., 2011, The Forgotten Castles of Wales (Almeley: Logaston Press) p. 112-116
  • Griffiths, Barrie, 2011, The First Borough of Kenfig 1147-1439 (Kenfig Society)
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  • Spurgeon, Jack, 1987, 'The Castles of Glamorgan' Château Gaillard Vol. 13 p. 209-10
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  • 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
  • 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)
  • Brown, R. Allen, 1955, 'Royal Castle-building in England 1154-1216' English Historical Review Vol. 70 (Reprinted in Brown, R. Allen, 1989, Castles, conquest and charters: collected papers (Woodbridge: Boydell Press)) p. 19-64
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  • Richard, A.J., 1927, 'Kenfig Castle' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 82 p. 161-82
  • Clark, 1871, 'Kenfig Charters' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 26 p. 172-190, 243-256, 313-319 online copy

Primary Sources

  • 1913, The Great Roll of the Pipe for the thirty-first year of the reign of King Henry the Second, A.D. 1184-1185 (Pipe Roll Society Publications 34) p. 5, 6, 8 online copy
  • 'Annales de Margam' in Luard, H.R (ed), 1857, Annales Monastici (Rolls Series) Vol. 1 p. 39 online copy
  • Clark, G.T., 1910, Cartae et alia munimenta quae ad dominium de Glamorgancia pertinent Vol. 3 p. 859 online copy
  • Lyte, H.C. Maxwell (ed), 1904, Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem, Edward I Vol. 3 p. 244 (Gilbert de Clare 1295) online copy
  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1895, Calendar of Close Rolls Edward II (1318-1323) Vol. 3 p. 542 view online copy (subscription required)
  • Rickard, John, 2002, The Castle Community. The Personnel of English and Welsh Castles, 1272-1422 (Boydell Press) (lists sources for 1272-1422) p. 206-7