Llangibby Castle

Has been described as a Certain Masonry Castle

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameLlangibby Castle
Alternative NamesCastell Tregrug; Tregreg; Trigruck; Traygruck; Tregruk; Treygruk; Treigruk
Historic CountryMonmouthshire
Modern AuthorityMonmouthshire
1974 AuthorityGwent
CommunityLlangybi

Llangybi Castle is set upon a summit of a steep sided ridge. It is a sub-rectangular enclosure, c.164m by 78m, defined by ruinous walls and towers. The principal facade, facing west, has the wreck of a monumental twin-towered gatehouse and a shattered, complex tower, and is fronted by a ditch and counterscarp. The castle thought to have been constructed in the early fourteenth century, replacing an earlier castle to the east (NPRN 307862), but it was soon neglected and decayed. A park may have been established at the same time as the castle. (Coflein–ref. King and Perks, 1956)

The castle is undisturbed in woodland. The stonework is very overgrown with ivy, small trees etc. but is for the most part in reasonable condition. (Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust HER)

Roughly rectangular bailey 150m long by 80m wide. Only slight footings remain of a twin round towered gatehouse and a D-shaped tower on the south side plus two eastern towers, and not much more of the curtains which joined them, but the 2m thick north curtain with one D-shaped tower is intact, and there are two large structures of great interest at the west corners. That on the SW is a huge gatehouse with long U-shaped towers flanking a passageway closed formerly by portcullises and sets of doors. The NW corner of the bailey is occupied by a rectangular tower house 10.4m wide with round turrets at the east corners, that on the south having a spiral stair, and that on the north containing a hexagonal room formerly vaulted. The round west end shows signs of having been blown up in 1648. It is 12m in diameter. (Salter, 1991)

Tregruk, one of the biggest castles ever built in Britain. (TimeTeam)

Gatehouse Comments

The area contained within the curtain wall is very large but this castle may well have been a small hunting lodge with only a few ancillary buildings (a stable) within the enclosure. Although a Great Hall and chapel have been suggested these may never have been built and would not have been needed if this was a small hunting lodge. It is suggested in the Time Team excavation that some of the interior was occupied by a pleasuance or pleasure garden. It may be possible that a borough was planned, however this space could have formed a useful protected temporary encampment for troops employed by the Clares - particular as a muster point for English mercenary troop going onto the large Clare estates in Ireland. The Usk is close by and is navigable to Newport where transhipment of such troops could take place. Equally more commerical activities, including the moving of livestock, within the various Clare estates may have been facillitated by the castle. TimeTeam's choice of name for the castle 'Tregruk' is that used in the CPMI of 1307. However, the castle is usual called, in academic writings, Llangibby or, in more correct Welsh, Llangybi from the local parish or Tregrug, the more correct Welsh spelling (Welsh does not use the letter K) meaning three hills.

- Philip Davis

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 ReferenceST364973
Latitude51.6716995239258
Longitude-2.92076992988586
Eastings336410
Northings197390
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Books

  • Davis, Paul, R., 2011, The Forgotten Castles of Wales (Almeley: Logaston Press) p. 161-69
  • Goodall, John, 2011, The English Castle 1066-1650 (Yale University Press) p. 204-5
  • Morgan, Gerald, 2008, Castles in Wales: A Handbook (Talybont: Y Lolfa Cyf.) p. 243 (listed)
  • Kenyon, J.R., 2008, 'Masonry Castles and Castle-building' 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. 89-114
  • Phillips, Neil, 2006, Earthwork Castles of Gwent and Ergyng AD 1050-1250 (British Archaeological Reports) p. 234-5
  • Pettifer, Adrian, 2000, Welsh Castles, A Guide by Counties (Boydell Press) p. 131-2
  • Reid, Alan, 1998, Castles of Wales (John Jones Publishing) p. 98
  • Salter, Mike, 1991, The Castles of Gwent, Glamorgan and Gower (Malvern) p. 21
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 284-5
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 362
  • Bradney, J.A., 1904-33, History of Monmouthshire Vol. 1 p. 100, 103
  • Mackenzie, J.D., 1897, Castles of England (Heinemann) Vol. 2 p. 83 online copy
  • Coxe, W., 1801, An Historical Tour in Monmouthshire (London) Vol. 1 p. 117-20, plan facing p. 49

Journals

  • 2010-11, 'Tregrug (or Llangibby) Castle' Castle Studies Group Journal Vol. 24 p. 197-200 (report of Time Team excavation)
  • Guy, Neil et al, 2008-9, 'Llangibby Castle' Castle Studies Group Journal Vol. 22 p. 73-80 (photo and plan only)
  • Priestly, S.G. and Turner, R.C., 2003, 'Three castles of the Clare family in Monmouthshire during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries' Archaeologica Cambrensis Vol. 152 p. 9-52
  • 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
  • Perks, J. and King, D.J.C., 1956, 'Llangibby Castle' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 105 p. 96-132
  • 1936, Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 91 p. 375

Primary Sources

  • Lyte, H.C. Maxwell (ed), 1913, Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem, Edward I Vol. 4 p. 326 no. 435 (1 May 1307 Joan, Widow of Gibert de Clare) online copy
  • Lyte, H.C. Maxwell (ed), 1906, Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem, Edward II Vol. 5 p. 336 no. 538 (Gilbert de Clare 10 July 1314) 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. 313-4

Other

  • Time Team (Mike Aston et al), 2010, October 10 (1st broadcast), 'Tregruk' Time Team TV Programme (Time Team, a Videotext/Picture House production for Channel 4) view online
  • Phillips, Neil, 2005, Earthwork Castles of Gwent and Ergyng AD 1050-1250 (PhD Thesis University of Sheffield) Download