Newport Castle, Gwent

Has been described as a Certain Masonry Castle

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameNewport Castle, Gwent
Alternative NamesCasnewydd; Novus Burgus
Historic CountryMonmouthshire
Modern AuthorityNewport
1974 AuthorityGwent
CommunityStow Hill

Only the grand river front survives of Newport Castle. The present castle was probably established in the mid to late fourteenth century, replacing an earlier castle about 1.0km to the south-west on the hill near St Woolos' church, now the Cathedral. The castle was the administrative centre of the eponymous lordship. Significant work was carried out in 1405, at the height of the Glyndwr revolt, and the castle was extensively remodelled in the period 1430-1445. The castle was maintained into the seventeenth century, but was ruinous by the eighteenth. The surviving buildings were used as a brewery in the nineteenth century, whilst the remainder was gradually demolished. In the twentieth century the castle was conserved and consolidated, although a road was built across the western part in 1970. The earlier castle, first mentioned in 1172, probably lay at ST3046587428 where the Ordnance Survey 1st edition 1:500 map of 1885 shows a cairn (see Archaeologia Cambrensis 5th series II (1885), 261-2). The present castle lies on the riverfront at the northern edge of the medieval borough. It consisted of a walled and moated sub-rectangular court roughly 57m north-south by 62m. The main gate opened onto the town, near the head of the Usk Bridge, and a second led north into the 'Castle Garden'. The magnificent riverfront has towers at the centre and at either end. The end towers are polygonal, rising from spurred bases, and the centre tower is rectangular with projecting turrets flanking the arch of a water gate or dock. It houses a sumptuous series of apartments with a great hall to the north, a magnificent vaulted audience chamber above the water gate and three tiers of chambers in the end towers. There were kitchens in the southern area. (Coflein)

Newport was chief town of the lordship of Wentloog, which had been within the lordship of Glamorgan until 1314

The castle was built between 1327 and 1368 by Hugh d’Audele or his son-in-law Ralph, Earl of Stafford, replacing earlier motte-and-bailey castle on Stow Hill, near St Woolos’ church. The castle may never have been completed on the town side. In C15 (1436-47), the castle was improved for Humphrey Stafford, First Duke of Buckingham. After execution of Third Duke (1521), the castle went into decline, and the town gradually encroached. Late C19 photos show a brewery incorporated into ruins. The castle is now pressed between the river, the railway, and modern road system.

Red sandstone with pale grey banding and dressings. The main surviving section is the three towers aligned N-S, along the river. The N tower , 2-storeys, semi octagonal, with (to S) adjacent remains of hall with windows to E, fireplace between; adjacent window to ante-room. Great central tower with water gate, ribbed vaulting with floral bosses, octagonal turret in NW angle. To S of central tower, narrow room (from C15 alterations), with adjacent wall-gallery with small windows. South tower (once of 2 storeys but raised by Humphrey Stafford) contained lord’s apartments; fireplaces, corbels remain in situ. (Listed Building Report)

Gatehouse Comments

A late castle probably built by the Earls of Stafford in C14 when Newport became a separate Lordship. The surviving part of the castle comprises the waterfront and consists of three towers connected by a curtain wall containing ornate staterooms. The rest of the castle appears to have been a simple rectangular courtyard with no towers. This has led to the conclusion that it was not completed until C15 when documentary records show considerable expenditure at the castle in response to the Glyndwr uprising. This work appears to have failed as the castle was captured in AD 1402. The historical references to Newport in Renn and Hogg and King (Early Castles) may refer to a possible earlier castle on this site (for which there is no evidence) or to the buried motte at Stow Hill (ST304874).

- Philip Davis

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

This is a Grade 2* 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 ReferenceST312884
Latitude51.5907592773438
Longitude-2.99495005607605
Eastings331200
Northings188400
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Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
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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.

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Books

  • Goodall, John, 2011, The English Castle 1066-1650 (Yale University Press) p. 344, 346, 413
  • Kenyon, John, 2010, The Medieval Castles of Wales (University of Wales Press) p. 128-9
  • Purton, P.F., 2010, A History of the Late Medieval Siege: 1200-1500 (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press) p. 122
  • Morgan, Gerald, 2008, Castles in Wales: A Handbook (Talybont: Y Lolfa Cyf.) p. 175 (brief)
  • Griffiths, R.A., 2008, 'Lordship and Society in the Fifteenth Century' 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. 241-79
  • 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
  • Courtney, P., 2008, 'The Marcher Lordships' 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. 56-7 (tenurial history)
  • Phillips, Neil, 2006, Earthwork Castles of Gwent and Ergyng AD 1050-1250 (British Archaeological Reports) p. 273-4 (slight)
  • Emery, Anthony, 2000, Greater Medieval Houses Vol. 2 (Cambridge) p. 628-30
  • Pettifer, Adrian, 2000, Welsh Castles, A Guide by Counties (Boydell Press) p. 134-5
  • Reid, Alan, 1998, Castles of Wales (John Jones Publishing) p. 110-11
  • Whittle, Elisabeth, 1992, A guide to ancient and historic Wales: Glamorgan and Gwent. (London) p. 143-44
  • Salter, Mike, 1991, The Castles of Gwent, Glamorgan and Gower (Malvern) p. 24-5
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus)
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 368-9
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 257
  • 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. 650-1
  • Toy, Sidney, 1953, The Castles of Great Britain (Heinemann) p. 250-1
  • Mackenzie, J.D., 1897, Castles of England (Heinemann) Vol. 2 p. 84-5 online copy
  • Morgan, 1886, 'History and Description of Newport Castle' in Papers relating to the History of Monmouthshire (Mon. and Caerleon Ant. Ass.) p. 31-41 online copy
  • Turner, T.H. and Parker, J.H., 1859, Some account of Domestic Architecture in England (Oxford) Vol. 3 Part 2 p. 373 online copy
  • Coxe, W., 1801, An Historical Tour in Monmouthshire (London) Vol. 1 p. 49-52
  • Buck, Samuel and Nathenial, 1774, Buck’s Antiquities (London) Vol. 1 p. 189
  • Grose, F., 1756, Antiquities of England and Wales Vol. 3 p. 158-9 online copy

Antiquarian

Journals

  • Trett, B., 2009, 'A topographical survey of medieval Newport' Monmouthshire Antiquarian Vol. 25/26 p. 53-84
  • Smith, C.E., 2003, 'Castell newydd ar Wysg/A new castle on the Usk' Gwent Local History Vol. 95 p. 3-8
  • Knight, J.K., 1991, 'Newport Castle' Monmouthshire Antiquarian Vol. 7 p. 17-42
  • (Knight), 1970, Medieval Archaeology Vol. 14 p. 180 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
  • 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)
  • Caröe, 1908, The Builder Vol. 95 p. 434
  • Morgan, C.O.S., 1885, 'History and descrption of Newport Castle' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 40 p. 270-9

Guide Books

  • An anonymous undated sheet has been published by Newport Museum and Art Gallery

Primary Sources

  • Brut y Tywysogion 1172 (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)
  • Pipe Rolls 1185, 1194, 1207 (see Pipe Roll Society for references)
  • Clark, G.T., 1910, Cartae et alia munimenta quae ad dominium de Glamorgancia pertinent Vol. 2 p. 354 online copy
  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1902, Calendar of Close Rolls Henry III (1227-31) Vol. 1 p. 592 view online copy (subscription required)
  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1905, Calendar of Close Rolls Henry III (1231-34) Vol. 2 p. 118 view online copy (subscription required)
  • 'Annales de Theokesberia' in Luard, H.R (ed), 1857, Annales Monastici (Rolls Series 36) Vol. 1 p. 91 online copy
  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1903, Calendar of Patent Rolls Henry III (1225-32) Vol. 2 p. 500 online copy
  • 1906, Calendar of Patent Rolls Henry III (1232-47) Vol. 3 p. 6, 53 online copy
  • Williams (ab Ithel), John, (ed), 1860, Annales Cambriae (444 – 1288) (London: Longman, Green, Longman, and Roberts)1265 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)
  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1912, Calendar of Patent Rolls Edward III (1374-77) Vol. 16 p. 495 online copy
  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1905, Calendar of Patent Rolls Henry IV (1401-05) Vol. 2 p. 296 online copy
  • Thompson, E.M. (ed), 1904 (2edn), Chronicon Adae de Usk (London) p. 78 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. 315
  • The National Archives E36/150 Survey of the lands late of Edward, duke of Buckingham, attainted online details
  • E36/150 (Survey of 1521) (calendared in Brewer, J.S. (ed), 1867, Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, of the Reign of Henry VIII Vol. 3 p. 507 No. 1286 online copy)
  • E36/150 (Survey of 1521) The National Archives reference (calendared in Brewer, J.S. (ed), 1867, Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, of the Reign of Henry VIII Vol. 3 p. 507 No. 1286 [online transcription > http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=91063])

Other

  • Phillips, Neil, 2005, Earthwork Castles of Gwent and Ergyng AD 1050-1250 (PhD Thesis University of Sheffield) Download