Ogmore Castle

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

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameOgmore Castle
Alternative NamesCastle of William of London; William de Londres
Historic CountryGlamorgan
Modern AuthorityVale of Glamorgan
1974 AuthorityMid Glamorgan
CommunitySt Bride's Major

Ogmore Castle was established by William de Londres as early as 1116 on the south bank of the Ewenny. It remained in the possession of Londres family until 1298 when Maud de Chaworth married Henry Lancaster. It stayed under the Duchy of Lancaster until it was taken over by the crown in 1399. The castle was abandoned between the 1530s and 1631; with the exception of the Court House, which was still in use until 1803. The surviving remains include a sub-oval enclosure that includes a stone keep. The keep is one of the earliest examples of its type in Wales and was built in the early twelfth century possibly by William de Londres' son Maurice. It was originally a two storey building but a third storey was added at a later date with the addition of a stair turret and garderobe abutting the left side. The gatehouse, surviving as a small rectangular structure, is located to the south east of the keep and is part of the curtain wall. The entrance has a segmental arched head and the stone abutments of the draw bridge still survive. To the north east is a late twelfth century cellar with two small flanking bays to the entrance. The curtain wall, hall and remaining internal structures, gateway and bridge were built in the early thirteenth century. A single-storey, rectangular Court House is located to the north of the outer bailey, with a circular circa 1300 limekiln situated to the south west. (Coflein)

Located on the SE side of the River Ewenny, just before it joins the Ogmore River, in the hamlet of Ogmore to the NW of the B4524. A series of stepping stones cross the river at this point.

Norman motte and bailey castle of earth and timber established by William de Londres. The stone keep was constructed in the early C12 and is one of the earliest of its type. It was originally 2-storey, and later raised to 3 storeys with the addition of a stair turret to the W, replacing former external stairs on the NE side

A cellar inside the ringwork dates to the later C12. The curtain wall, remaining internal structures, gateway and bridge were built in the early C13. The internal ground level was raised at this time, and extra steps added to the cellar. The castle was still held by the descendants and successors of de Londres, until 1298 when Maud de Chaworth married Henry Lancaster. The castle remained in the hands of the Duchy of Lancaster until it was taken over by the crown in 1399. A circular lime-kiln was built c 1300 in the outer bailey on the site of an earlier structure. It was then abandoned and part demolished, to allow for the construction of a court-house which is attributed to Lancaster. It is said to have been rebuilt in 1454-5, possibly as a chapel rather than a court-house (it is labelled 'chapel' on the Ordnance Survey of 1885). The castle was still in use in the 1530s, but had been in decay for many years by 1631.

The castle consists of an oval shaped ringwork surmounted by masonry structures, with earthwork bailey to the SW. A ruined courthouse is located on the N side of the bailey, along with the remains of a lime-kiln. The stone keep of the early C12 straddles the ringwork on its SW side. The later C12 cellar faces it to the NE. The curtain wall of the early C13 replaces the timber palisade of the castle and abuts the keep. It includes a gateway and bridge to the S of the keep. Two further buildings were constructed inside the curtain wall, a hall to the NW and offices to the SE. Three-storey, rectangular keep of local limestone with Sutton stone dressings. The exterior (SW-facing) wall has a band at 2nd floor level, showing that the top storey was added later. The 1st floor has a window opening in the centre with trefoiled arched head. To its R is a small round headed lancet. Abutting the L side of the keep is an added semi-circular stair turret and garderobe. It has an arrow loop at 1st floor level on the SE-facing side over-looking the bridge. There is a small square headed window at the same height on the SW side. The base of the turret is built into the ditch and has a low arched recess with segmental head, an outlet for the garderobe. The NW, SE and NW walls of the keep survive to a lower level. There is an opening into the NE side which is probably not original. The interior side of the SW wall is partially plastered and is distinguished by the remains of a fireplace at 1st floor level. The stone chimney-piece has round columns, scalloped capitals and the remains of a curved hood. To its L, the 2 windows have round heads. To its R is the cross-corner doorway to the added stair turret. The 1st floor joists are well preserved. At the W angle is the shoulder of a wide stone arch, said to be for a NW window, later altered to a door leading to the walk-walk on the curtain wall. The added 2nd storey has a fireplace, also with stone jambs and moulded corbels. To its L is the probable remains of a very decayed window. The basement storey has an added opening to the NE. Originally, it is said to have been entered via a trap door from the 1st floor. The basement plan is 2-unit; that to the SE being divided by a NW-SE wall. That to the NW is lined by stone benches to the SW and NE. The large square cellar is thought to have had a timber superstructure, and is situated on the NE side, within the curtain wall. It is approached by stone steps from the SW, which pass under a round arched vault. The entrance narrows at the bottom of the stairs and has stone jambs. Two added small bays flank the entrance at approximately ground level, that to the SE has an opening with dressed jambs and splayed reveals. The undercroft itself has a partially blocked window with segmental head to the SE and an opening converted to a door to the NW. Similar opening to NE with dressed reveals. Beyond this, the floor level is higher. This narrow NE bay has a doorway out to the NW which leads into another room, and there are recesses, probably for joists, in the interior of the curtain wall. The gatehouse is located to the SE of the keep and is part of the curtain wall. It survives as a small rectangular structure, the entrance having a segmental arched head. The stone abutments of the draw bridge survive, and now support a timber superstructure. The ditch has occasional cross walls, each with an opening for drainage. There is no ditch to the NW of the castle, due to the proximity of the river. The oval curtain wall survives to varying heights around the castle, but is highest towards the E. Constructed of random blocks of stone, the wall is wide and the interior sides taper slightly towards the bottom. It contains small recesses to the interior, perhaps putlog or joist holes. As well as the gatehouse, there is an entrance to the NE. Only the lower part survives, with chamfered stone reveals and threshold, and garderobe turret to its E. There is also an entrance on the NW side leading out of the hall. The hall is built against the NW interior side of the curtain wall. It survives as a long rectangular range up to 1m high with opposing doorways in the SE and NW walls, towards the NE end. The office block to the SE survives as a low rectangular range, with a small room to NE end. A short wall links the SW end of the SE wall with the curtain wall. The court-house in the outer bailey is a roofless single-storey rectangular building orientated SW-NE, standing almost to full height. The SE side faces into the bailey and has a doorway L of centre flanked by windows, all with decayed segmental heads. The NW side has a narrow doorway towards the NE end with dressed reveals and a pointed arched head. There is a narrow window to its L with dressed reveals, chamfered flat stone lintel and sill. The NE and SW gables each have dressed windows; that to the N has wide splayed reveals, whilst that to the S is narrower and higher. Beneath the latter, on the interior wall, are some joist holes, perhaps suggesting a gallery. Immediately SW of the building at ground level is the remains of a circular lime-kiln with 2 opposed flues. To the NW of the court-house are some stone steps which lead down from the bailey towards the river. (Listed Building Report)

Substantial remains of a Norman stone-built castle, raised by the de Londres family. The initial earthwork castle was established by William de Londres, soon after 1100. (CADW)

Ruined walls and building define a sub-oval enclosure, 53m NW-SE by 34m. A second enclosure, c.23m NE-SW by 41m, on the SW is defined by banks. Both are ditched, except where they rest on the river. Castle established c.1100, abandoned between c.1530 and 1631, with the exception of the Court House, still in use in 1803. Rectangular limestone keep with Sutton stone dressings to SW. Originally 2-storey but third storey added at later date. Semi-circular stair turret and and garderobe abbutting L side. Large, square cellar to NE, with two small flanking bays to entrance. Rectangular gatehouse on the SE side of the keep. Long, rectangular hall to NW side. Rectangular office block to SE. The single-storey, rectangular courthouse is located to the N of the outer bailey, with limekiln to SW.

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 ReferenceSS881769
Latitude51.480541229248
Longitude-3.61151003837585
Eastings288180
Northings176950
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Books

  • Kenyon, John, 2010, The Medieval Castles of Wales (University of Wales Press) p. 129-130
  • Purton, P.F., 2010, A History of the Late Medieval Siege: 1200-1500 (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press) p. 220
  • Morgan, Gerald, 2008, Castles in Wales: A Handbook (Talybont: Y Lolfa Cyf.) p. 153-5
  • Pettifer, Adrian, 2000, Welsh Castles, A Guide by Counties (Boydell Press) p. 102
  • Reid, Alan, 1998, Castles of Wales (John Jones Publishing) p. 113
  • Remfry, P.M., 1995, Ogmore Castle, 1066 to 1283 (SCS Publishing: Worcestershire)
  • Newman, J., 1995, Buildings of Wales: Glamorgan (Yale University Press) p. 476-7
  • < >RCAHMW, 1991, An Inventory of the Ancient Monuments in Glamorgan Vol. 3 Part 1a: The Early Castles (London: HMSO) < > MR5 p. 274-88
  • Salter, Mike, 1991, The Castles of Gwent, Glamorgan and Gower (Malvern) p. 59-60
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 166
  • Davis, Paul R., 1983, Castles of Glamorgan (Alun Books) p. 32-3
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 369
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 265
  • Hague, D.B., 1971, in Pugh, T.B. (ed), Glamorgan County History Vol. 3 The Middle Ages (Cardiff) p. 432-3 Plate XXI-XXII
  • 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. 768-9 (slight)
  • Randall, Henry John, 1961, The Vale of Glamorgan, Studies in Landscape and History (Newport: R.H.Johns Ltd) p. 78
  • Homfray, Jeston, 1828, The Castles of the Lordship of Glamorgan (Cardiff) p. 39 and plate
  • Grose, Francis, 1785, The Antiquities of England and Wales (London) Vol. 7 p. 56-57 online copy

Antiquarian

Journals

  • Kenyon, John R., 1996, 'Fluctuating Frontiers: Normanno-Welsh Castle Warfare c. 1075 to 1240' Château Gaillard Vol. 17 p. 119-126
  • Spurgeon, Jack, 1987, 'The Castles of Glamorgan' Château Gaillard Vol. 13 p. 210-11
  • Thompson, M.W., 1986, 'Associated monasteries and castles in the Middle Ages: a tentative list' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 143 p. 313
  • Spurgeon, C.J., 1983, ‘Ogmore Castle’ 130th annual meeting, Vale of Glamorgan, 1983: programme, CAA p. 19–20
  • 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. and Alcock, L., 1969, 'Ringworks in England and Wales' Château Gaillard Vol. 3 p. 90-127
  • 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
  • 1935, Antiquaries Journal Vol. 15 p. 324-32
  • 1928, Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 83 p. 389-90

Guide Books

  • Kenyon, John R. and Spurgeon, Jack, 2001, Coity Castle — Ogmore Castle — Newcastle (Cardiff: CADW)
  • Remfry, P.M., 1995, Ogmore Castle, 1066 to 1238 (Worcester)
  • Radford, C.A.Ralegh, 1946, Ogmore Castle (HMSO)

Primary Sources

  • Brut y Tywysogion 1116 (Several transcriptions and translations exist the best being Jones, T., 1952, Brut Y Twysogion (University of Wales, History and Law series 11)–based on the Peniarth MS 20 version. There is a flawed translation Williams ab Ithel, John, 1860, Brut Y Twysogion or The Chronicle of the Princes (Rolls Series) 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. 211