Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte), and also as a Certain Masonry Castle, and also as a Palace (Bishop)
There are masonry ruins/remnants remains
|Alternative Names||New Castle; Abertawe; Seinhenydd; Gower; Goher; Sueineshea; Suenesel; Senghenydd
|1974 Authority||West Glamorgan
Swansea Castle lies at the centre of the enclosed and ultimately walled borough and occupied an overall area of around 1.85 hectares (4.6 acres). Denied the evidence which would have been furnished by surviving fabric, it is only possible to discern two broad phases between its foundation, in or soon after 1106, and the building of the largely surviving 'New Castle' in the late thirteenth century. During the first phase, from 1106 until the early thirteenth century, the original castle (nprn 275871) was of earth and timber; in the second phase, probably between 1221 and 1284, masonry defences replaced the timber palisades of the inner castle and its bailey. The surviving remains are primarily thirteenth and fouteenth century in date. Constructed of coursed Pennant sandstone blocks, they consist of a roughly L-shaped residential block to the southeast with a tower to the north and a section of surviving curtain wall running between the two. The residential block comprises a semicircular garderobe turret to the west, a rectangular garderobe tower to the south-east with a hall and parlour range between. The entrance to the interior is through the northern side and gives access to five basement rooms with pointed tunnel-vaults. Although the tower may represent the earliest surviving work, it has been substantially altered and evidence remains of its later use as a debtors' prison. The most prominent feature of the castle is the arcaded parapet, probably added by Henry Gower in the fourteenth century. (Coflein)
In the centre of the city, on the curving W bank of the former course of the River Tawe.
Largely dating from C13 and C14, during possession of the de Braose family, reused and built against in post-medieval period.
The remains consist of 2 separate blocks, a small square tower (later used as a debtors’ prison) on the N, which may contain the earliest surviving work, and a larger residential block forming the SE angle
The most distinguished feature is the arcaded parapet associated with the work of Henry Gower, Bishop of St David’s (d 1347) in the episcopal palaces at Lamphey and St David’s. (Listed Building Report)
Established by Henry I's friend Henry de Beaumont, first earl of Warwick, as the seat of administration of the marcher lordship of Gower, which Henry bestowed on him in about 1106. This first castle was of motte and bailey type, and nothing of it remains above ground. The west side of its deep ditch has been excavated to the north of the present remains. It was rebuilt in stone on the same site, probably after being razed by the Welsh in 1217. Nothing remains above ground of this stage either, but the west side of the curtain wall has been found, together with a mural tower. To the south-west of this small castle a large roughly rectangular outer bailey was walled in stone late in C13. The 'New Castle', primarily C13 and C14, represents a stone phase of the castle. Constructed of coursed Pennant sandstone blocks with dressed Sutton stone. Consists of a roughly L-shaped residential block to SE and a tower to N, with a section of surviving curtain wall running between the two. The residential block comprises a semicircular garderobe turret to W, a rectangular garderobe tower to SE, with a hall and parlour range between. Entrance to the interior through the N side, giving access to 5 basement rooms with pointed tunnel-vaults. Although the tower may represent the earliest surviving work, it has been substantially altered. Evidence remains for its later use as a debtors' prison. The most prominent feature of the castle is the arcaded parapet.
The identification of Swansea, Glamorgan (as a bishops palace) is based on a comment by John Leland, who said that Bishop Henry Gower (1328-47) was responsible for some building work at Swansea Castle. However, there is no proven connection with the bishop of St David's (pers. comm. Rick Turner) and the architectural evidence does not support Leland's comment (Emery 2000: 644). (Payne, 2003)
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 Reference||SS657930