Cilgerran Castle

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

There are major building remains

NameCilgerran Castle
Alternative NamesEmlyn; Cenarth Bychan; Cenarth Fechan; Kilgarren; Cilgarron; Kilgeran
Historic CountryPembrokeshire
Modern AuthorityPembrokeshire
1974 AuthorityDyfed
CommunityCilgerran

Cilgerran is a twelfth century castle, the present remains of which date from the thirteenth century onwards. The ruins, which mostly surround the inner ward, include two circular towers on the south side joined by a curtain wall. There is also an early thirteenth century gatehouse to the west which may have housed the chapel on the first floor. The western curtain wall also survives as well as the partial remains of the fourteenth century north-west tower. The castle was mostly ruinous by 1325 although repairs were carried out in 1388-90. In 1109, during an attack on Cilgerran, Nest, the wife of the Norman Lord, was abducted by Owain, son of the prince of Powys. (Coflein)

Situated on a bluff where the Afon Plysgog joins the River Teifi. C13 Castle rebuilt after 1223 by William Marshal II, Earl of Pembroke, probably replacing an early C12 castle built by Gerald of Windsor; but the identification of Cilgerran with Gerald's castle of Cenarth Bychan is unproven. The castle named as Cilgerran is first mentioned when it was taken by Lord Rhys in 1164-5. It was retaken by William Marshal I, Earl of Pembroke in 1204, recovered by Llewellyn the Great in 1213, and retaken by William Marshal II in 1223. Cilgerran remained an independent Marcher lordship under the Marshals to 1245, the de Cantelupes of Abergavenny to 1273 and by descent to the Hastings family (Earls of Pembroke from 1339) to 1389, when it passed to the crown in default of heirs. It was possibly briefly captured by Owen Glyndwr in 1405. The castle was already stripped of furnishings in 1275, and said to be ruinous in 1325, though some repairs were carried out for the Crown in 1388-90; it was said to have been laid waste in 1405. The ruins chiefly surround the inner ward, with two massive early C13 circular towers on the S side joined by curtain wall. To the W was the early C13 gatehouse of which the outer part has gone. The chapel may have been on the first floor

The W curtain wall over the steep drop to the Afon Plysgog is said to date to the later C13, and the partial remains of a NW tower possibly to the later C14. Insubstantial remains close the N side, above the Teifi. (Listed Building Report)

Gatehouse Comments

Possible the same as Cenarth Bychan (Cenarth Fechan) mentioned as built in 1108.

- Philip Davis

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 ReferenceSN194431
Latitude52.0570983886719
Longitude-4.6341700553894
Eastings219490
Northings243130
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Books

  • Goodall, John, 2011, The English Castle 1066-1650 (Yale University Press) p. 162, 164
  • Kenyon, John, 2010, The Medieval Castles of Wales (University of Wales Press) p. 67-69
  • Purton, P.F., 2009, A History of the Early Medieval Siege c. 450-1220 (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press) p. 316
  • Morgan, Gerald, 2008, Castles in Wales: A Handbook (Talybont: Y Lolfa Cyf.) p. 202-5
  • Hull, Lise, 2005, Castles and Bishops Palaces of Pembrokeshire (Logaston Press) p. 77-83
  • McNeill, T., 2003, 'Squaring circles: flooring round towers in Wales and Ireland' in Kenyon, J.R. and O'Conor, K. (eds), The medieval castle in Ireland and Wales: essays in honour of Jeremy Knight (Dublin: Four Courts Press) p. 96-106
  • Pettifer, Adrian, 2000, Welsh Castles, A Guide by Counties (Boydell Press) p. 158-60
  • Davis, Paul, 2000, A Company of Forts. A Guide to the Medieval Castles of West Wales (Gomer Press) p. 44, 71-3 (plan and reconstruction)
  • Reid, Alan, 1998, Castles of Wales (John Jones Publishing) p. 63-4
  • Salter, Mike, 1996, The Castles of South West Wales (Malvern) p. 54-6 (plan)
  • Miles, Dillwyn, 1979 (Revised 1988), Castles of Pembrokeshire (Pembrokeshire Coast National Park) p. 13-5
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 392, 398
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 341
  • Stickings, T.G., 1973, Castles and Strongholds of Pembrokeshire (Tenby) p. 27-31
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 143
  • Oman, Charles W.C., 1926, Castles (1978 edn Beetham House: New York) p. 213-4
  • RCAHMW, 1925, An inventory of the Ancient Monuments of Pembrokeshire (HMSO) p. 67-9 no. 161 online copy
  • Armitage, Ella, 1912, The Early Norman Castles of the British Isles (London: John Murray) p. 281 online copy
  • Edwards, Emily Hewlett, 1909, Castles and Strongholds of Pembrokeshire (Tenby) p. 13-15 online copy
  • Phillips, J.R., 1867, History of Cilgerran (London) p. 73-95
  • Lewis, Samual, 1849, A Topographical Dictionary of Wales online copy
  • Buck, Samuel and Nathenial, 1774, Buck’s Antiquities (London) Vol. 2 p. 420
  • Grose, Francis, 1785, The Antiquities of England and Wales (London) Vol. 7 p. 64-6 online copy

Antiquarian

Journals

  • Wiles, John, 2013-14, '"Marshall towers" in South-West Wales: Innovation, Emulation and Mimicry' Castle Studies Group Journal Vol. 27 p. 181-202
  • Kenyon, John R., 1996, 'Fluctuating Frontiers: Normanno-Welsh Castle Warfare c. 1075 to 1240' Château Gaillard Vol. 17 p. 119-126
  • Lane, L. and Crane, P., 1987, ‘Cilgerran Castle’, Archaeology in Wales Vol. 27 p. 64–5
  • 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
  • King, D.J.C., 1962, 'The Castles of Pembrokeshire' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 119 p. 313-6 online copy
  • Craster, O.E., 1962 'Cilgerran Castle' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 119 p. 338 online copy
  • 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)
  • Clark, G.T., 1859, Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 14 p. 340-2 online copy

Guide Books

  • Hiling, John B., 2000 (2edn), Cilgerran Castle - St Dogmaels Abbey (Cardiff: CADW)
  • Hiling, John B., 1992, Cilgerran Castle - St Dogmaels Abbey (Cardiff: CADW)
  • Craster, O.E., 1957, Cilgerran Castle (HMSO)
  • Jones, O.L., (c 1953)' Cilgerran Castle, north Pembrokeshire: descriptive and historical sketch (Cardigan: printed by E L Jones)

Primary Sources

  • Brut y Tywysogion 1108, 1109, 1165, 1166, 1204, 1215, 1223 (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)
  • Williams (ab Ithel), John, (ed), 1860, Annales Cambriae (444 – 1288) (London: Longman, Green, Longman, and Roberts) 1108, 1223, 1230 online copy
  • Hardy, T.D. (ed), 1837, Rotuli Chartarum, 1199-1216 (Record Commission) p. 44 online copy
  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1903, Calendar of Patent Rolls Henry III (1225-32) Vol. 2 p. 437 online copy
  • 1906, Calendar of Patent Rolls Henry III (1232-47) Vol. 3 p. 254, 468 online copy
  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1916, Calendar of Patent Rolls Edward II (1324-27) Vol. 5 p. 495 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. 389-90
  • C47/2/2(1) (Survey of 3 Edward I) The National Archives reference

Other

  • Latham, J., Plunkett, E. and Latham, John, 1985, National Trust Archaeological Survey of Cilgerran Castle, South Wales (Unpublished document)