Haverfordwest Town Walls

Has been described as a Certain Urban Defence

There are masonry footings remains

NameHaverfordwest Town Walls
Alternative NamesHwlffordd; Castleton; Castle Town
Historic CountryPembrokeshire
Modern AuthorityPembrokeshire
1974 AuthorityDyfed

Haverfordwest is the county town of Pembrokeshire and was one of the largest towns in medieval Wales. There is no archaeological evidence for any activity on the site of the town prior to the Anglo-Norman conquest and the establishment of the castle by ‘Tancred the Fleming’ in 1100-1110. The town and castle occupy the lowest bridging point of the Western Cleddau, the strategic and economic value of which were factors in the choice of site and its subsequent development. The castle became the centre of an Anglo-Norman lordship, Rhos or Haverford, which nominally, at least, was a member of the Earldom of Pembroke. Around the castle developed a small settlement, known as the ‘Castleton’, which contained the parish church of St Martin and was eventually walled, but there is no record of a charter until 1207 when the town had already developed to a considerable size. (Dyfed Archaeological Trust, 1998, Historic Landscape Characterisation)

The early town, still known as Castleton, was strongly defended by C12-C13 walls, part of which survive as lines in property boundaries. Entry was via three gates in the west, north and north-east. The enlarged suburb also appear to have been defended as gates in Market and High Streets are recorded. The line of any walls for this phase is uncertain. (Coflein)

Gatehouse Comments

Grant of murage in 1264, for seven years, is probably associated with the enlargement of defences. The castles was also rebuilt at this time. The town was important in the medieval period and had considerable trade from its hinterland of 'the little England beyond Wales' and with Ireland, so murage would have raised money for these walls.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

The National Monument Record (Coflein) number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSM955155
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

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  • Salter, Mike, 2013, Medieval Walled Towns (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 172
  • Hull, Lise, 2005, Castles and Bishops Palaces of Pembrokeshire (Logaston Press) p. 102-3
  • Creighton, O.H. and Higham, R.A., 2005, Medieval Town Walls (Stroud: Tempus) p. 27, 93, 95, 204, 273
  • 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. 139-42
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 400
  • 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. 217
  • Lewis, Samual, 1849, A Topographical Dictionary of Wales online copy



  • Creighton, Oliver, 2006, ''Castles of Communities': Medieval Town Defences in England; Wales and Gascony' Château Gaillard Vol. 22 p. 75-86
  • 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
  • Phillips, J., 1898, 'Haverfordwest' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 53 p. 26 online copy

Primary Sources

  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 190?, Calendar of Patent Rolls Henry III (1258-66) Vol. 5 p. 348 (murage grant) online copy
  • - < >Also see the Gatehouse murage pages for full details of murage [grants > http://www.gatehouse-gazetteer.info/murage/murindex.html], [petitions > http://www.gatehouse-gazetteer.info/murage/mupindex.html ] and [other such > http://www.gatehouse-gazetteer.info/murage/muaindex.html]. < >