Chepstow Town Wall

Has been described as a Certain Urban Defence

There are major building remains

NameChepstow Town Wall
Alternative NamesPort Wall
Historic CountryMonmouthshire
Modern AuthorityMonmouthshire
1974 AuthorityGwent
CommunityChepstow

The town defences (wall and gate) of Chepstow, date from the 13th century and later; they are the remains of a stone curtain wall, studded by eleven towers, generally semi-circular, with a single surviving gate, springing from the south side of Castle Dell and running roughly 700m to end above the bank of the Wye, cutting off the promontory on which the town is set. The gate is built of rubble stone with ashlar dressings. The primary outward facing elevation has a wide pointed arch, three decorative carved stone heraldic tablets and two restored lancet windows. The inward facing elevation has two small 19th century oculi with brick surrounds. (CADW–J.Wiles 28.02.2003)

Extending from the curtain wall? of Chepstow Castle, uphill to the town gate and crossing to the quarry above the station.

Probably built between 1272 and 1278 by Roger Bigod III. It follows a course along defensible high ground to S of the medieval town; to N the town is bordered by the River Wye. The railway created a breach in the SE part of the wall in 1846 and the section leading down to the River Wye was destroyed in 1916 during the development of the shipyards. In later C20 a section was destroyed to create car-park access from Welsh Street and another for the route of the inner relief road.

Town wall built entirely of unworked stone rubble. The area enclosed is 130 acres. The wall originally ran from the west end of the Castle to a point on the river bank to E, thus enclosing the peninsular. It is over two-thirds of a mile long, over 2m thick and from about 5 to 7m high. It was embattled with a wall-walk. Bastions were c 9m in diameter and D-shaped without arrow slits and open at the back, formerly with timber staging. Only wall openings are a series of square slots to drain water from the wall-walk. In places some coping stones survive. From a square turret in Castle Dell the wall extends S

It is clearly visible in the car-park and turns SE to link with the Town Gate, on either side of which it is incorporated into other buildings. It is visible again on high ground S of the relief road and then along the crest of the quarry by the station; in this latter section are five bastions. (Listed Building Report)

The towne of Chepstow hath bene very strongly waulled as yet welle doth appere. The wa(ulles) began at the ende of the great bridge over Wy, and so cam to the castel, the which yet standeth fayr and strong not far from the ruin of the bridge. In the castel ys one tower, as I hard say, be the name of Longine. The town now hath but one paroche chirche. The celle of a Blake Monke or two of Bermundesey by London was lately there suppressed. A (great) part of cumpace withyn the waulles is no(w con)verted to litle medows and ga(rdins.) (Leland)

The monument comprises the remains of a stretch of the medieval town wall and gate. Chepstow Town Wall, traditionally known as the 'Port Wall', was built by Roger Bigod III between 1272 and 1278, when he was improving the castle. It enclosed an area much larger than the town (around 55 hectares), which only occupied what is now the town centre; the rest of the area enclosed was given over to orchards and meadows. Originally the wall was continuous, 1.1km long and 3m to 4m high. It provided the south-western defence of the town while the Wye River protected the north and the east. The wall starts on its north-western limit with a rectangular tower, 5m high, and proceeds south-eastwards in a 2m wide section which includes two round towers followed by a long, continuous stretch 4m wide and 4.5m high. In total there are ten towers placed at regular intervals along the length of the wall, all are semi-circular in plan, open on the inner side. A wall walk would originally have run the full length of the wall, positioned behind the battlements. To the west of the castle is the town gate, which remains in use with the modern High Street passing through it. The town gate was built in the late 13th century and is a sinple archway with a battlemented chamber above. The modern form is essentially medieval, although it was altered in the 15th century and then converted in to a prison in 1524 by the Earl of Worcester. It was extensively repaired in the 19th century when the windows, battlements and the arch were replaced. (Scheduling Report)

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 ReferenceST532937
Latitude51.6399192810059
Longitude-2.67549991607666
Eastings353280
Northings193790
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All rights reserved

Abarothchepstow Town Walls1.Jpg

View full Sized Image
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All rights reserved

Abarothchepstow Town Walls2.Jpg

View full Sized Image
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All rights reserved

Abarothchepstow Town Walls3.Jpg

View full Sized Image
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All rights reserved

Abarothchepstow Town Walls4.Jpg

View full Sized Image
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All rights reserved

Abarothchepstow Town Walls5.Jpg

View full Sized Image
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All rights reserved

Abarothchepstow Town Walls6.Jpg

View full Sized Image
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All rights reserved

Abarothchepstow Town Walls7.Jpg

View full Sized Image
Photo by Therron Welstead. All Rights Reserved

IMG_2351

View full Sized Image
Photo by Therron Welstead. All Rights Reserved

IMG_2354

View full Sized Image
Photo by Therron Welstead. All Rights Reserved

IMG_2357

View 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

Books

  • Salter, Mike, 2013, Medieval Walled Towns (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 165
  • Hopkins, T., 2008, 'The Towns' in R. Griffiths, T. Hopkins and R. Howell (eds), The Gwent County History (Cardiff: University of Wales Press) Vol. 2 The Age of the Marcher Lords, c. 1070-1536 p. 115-141
  • Shoesmith, R., 2006, in Turner, R. and Johnson, A. (eds), Chepstow Castle: its history and buildings (Almeley: Logaston Press)
  • Creighton, O.H. and Higham, R.A., 2005, Medieval Town Walls (Stroud: Tempus) p. 27, 97, 129, 130, 145, 147, 271, 277
  • Pettifer, Adrian, 2000, Welsh Castles, A Guide by Counties (Boydell Press) p. 129-30
  • Newman, John, 2000, The Buildings of Wales: Gwent/Monmouthshire (Yale University Press) p. 182
  • Salter, Mike, 1991, The Castles of Gwent, Glamorgan and Gower (Malvern) p. 18
  • 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
  • Soulsby, Ian, 1983, The Towns of Medieval Wales (Phillimore; Chichester) p. 106-9
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 290
  • 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
  • Turner, H.L., 1971, Town Defences in England and Wales (London) p. 202
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (Methuen and Co) p. 244-5
  • Coxe, W., 1801, An Historical Tour in Monmouthshire (London) Vol. 2 p. 365 and plan p. 357

Antiquarian

Journals

  • Creighton, Oliver, 2006, ''Castles of Communities': Medieval Town Defences in England; Wales and Gascony' Château Gaillard Vol. 22 p. 75-86
  • Haslam, R., 1978, ‘A fortified town on the Wye: Chepstow, Gwent - I’, Country Life 163 p. 510-12
  • (Shoesmith), 1973, Medieval Archaeology Vol. 17 p. 173 download copy
  • (Miles), 1972, Medieval Archaeology Vol. 16 p. 192 download copy
  • 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
  • Wakeman, T.,1855, 'Observations on the town and castle of Chepstow' Journal of the British Archaeological Association Vol. 10 p. 249-57 (history only) online copy

Guide Books

  • Perks, J., 1955, Chepstow Castle (HMSO) p. 26-7