Newport Castle, Pembrokeshire

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

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameNewport Castle, Pembrokeshire
Alternative NamesTrefdraeth
Historic CountryPembrokeshire
Modern AuthorityPembrokeshire
1974 AuthorityDyfed
CommunityNewport

Newport Castle was established in 1191, but there is no surviving fabric thought to pre-date the late thirteenth century. The surviving remains include a curtain wall and of four towers at the angles of the work, one of which, the gatehouse, now forms a private residence built in 1859 in a nineteenth century romantic style. The residence has an L-shaped plan with basement, a three window front and slate eaves roof. The porch has a pointed arch and crested roof tiles. The medieval remains also include a roughly quadrilateral ringwork, c.50m across, circled by a wide moat, part of which appears to have been utlised as a fishpond. (Coflein)

According to the Ordnance Survey Newport Castle was established by one William Martin in 1191, although no part of the surviving remains pre-date the 13th century. The castle was built on a mound, was surrounded by a ditch and comprised a gatehouse with flanking towers, three other towers and a curtain wall. The OS record states that the Hunters Tower, on the north-west of the castle ward,contained traces of an Early English fireplace. This record also states that the south-west tower survived as a grass covered mound, while that on the south-east was D-shaped and jutted out into the moat. A later OS record notes that this "moat", shown on the 1st edition 1:2500 map, was probably an adaptation of the castle ditch as an ornamental fish pond that is now silted up. The scheduling description of 1996 records this as the remains of a medieval castle, the gatehouse of which has been altered (through the demolition of the eastern flanking tower) by a 19th century domestic building. A 14th century vaulted undercroft is described as "one of the better preserved medieval structures to have survived the ravages of time". (Dyfed Archaeological Trust HER)

Situated prominently overlooking town. Approached from W via smaller lane named Feidr Felin on O.S. map. Penclawdd is address on electoral roll

Medieval castle mostly late C13 of which the major surviving part, the gatehouse, was incorporated into a house 1859 for Sir Thomas Lloyd of Bronwydd, Cards, 25th Lord of Cemaes. History: Castle founded by William Fitz Martin 3rd Lord of Cemaes in 1191, after loss of Nevern Castle; but most of present structures probably date from the time of the 6th Lord, William Fitz Martin (1257-1324) who inherited in 1282, and to a rebuilding after damage in the uprising of Owain Glyndwr ca1405. From 1326 to 1543 the Lords Audley of Heleigh, Staffs, held the barony of Cemaes, but were rarely resident and by the C16, when it was sold to the Owen family of Henllys, the castle had been 'in utter ruin for a long time'. Plan: Castle comprises a NE gatehouse with flanking towers, incorporated into the 1859 house, the NW Hunters' Tower, still partly standing to full height, SW Kitchen Tower, largely disappeared, and NE Great Tower of which the ground floor survives with open courtyard and fine ashlar pointed entry. The various curtain walls are largely ruinous, but N of the Great Tower survives the basement of a substantial building, possibly chapel, with vaulted undercroft of 4 cells on central octagonal pier. For full archaeological report, see National Monuments Record, Aberystwyth. Exterior: House itself is built into back of gatehouse tower with main C19 front to S. 2 storey and basement 3 window front with slate eaves roof, crested ridge, ridge stack of 3 stone circular shafts and very large W end round stack with chimneybreast built up from original curtain wall. Windows are unevenly spread, the upper windows cambered-headed square sashes with marginal glazing bars, stone voussoirs and slate sills, the centre window slightly higher and under an eaves gable. Ground floor has one longer similar sash aligned under first floor right window, gabled stone porch to right and hipped-roofed timber square bay window to left, aligned between centre and left windows above. Porch has pointed arch, slated eaves roof and crested ridge tiles. Bay window has French windows to front. Basement has cambered headed casement. To right of house a lean-to roof abuts a square medieval tower, the rear of the E side of the gatehouse structure; the roof appears to be a post 1859 addition built over the vaulted medieval stairs down to the gatehouse passage. C19 pointed arched porch with flat roof. House is L-plan and 3-storeys on N side, where windows are pierced through medieval masonry. Original gatehouse was of 2 round towers flanking entry, but that to E has been rebuilt flat-fronted, having collapsed in early C19, with 2 lancets and picturesquely ruinous top. Central part, site of former entry is largely rebuilt, with three C19 cambered-headed casement windows, vertically aligned and corbelled embattled parapet. West tower retains its original rounded form on battered base, 3 stages each slightly recessed then corbel table and ruinous octagonal cap. C19 arched light to basement front and first floor NE. W return of gatehouse tower has two C19 arched lights to basement, big first floor timber 3-light window with transom and stone cambered head, and casement pair above under stone eaves gable. Rear of main front range is built out from curtain wall with basement triple casement, first floor big timber oriel on wooden brackets, with hipped slate roof and 3-light gabled half-timbered dormer in roof. W end wall has ground floor timber cross-window and casement pair above. Blank shield plaque in gable. Interior: House interior is relatively plain for the C19 work, with clear evidence that additions post-1859 have been made on E end. Pointed rough vaults survive on both sides of the original entry passage, wall recesses and other extensive remains of the medieval structure. The centre staircase of the new work runs up from basement level entrance passage of original gatehouse. Plain open-well timber stair not relating clearly to C19 front door, possibly altered post 1859. 6-panel doors and simple fireplaces. Newport Castle is an outstanding survival of Anglo-Norman castle building in West Wales and the C19 house built within is an unusual example of C19 romanticism associated with Sir Thomas Lloyd's revival of the customs of the Barony of Cemaes. (Listed Building 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 ReferenceSN057388
Latitude52.0141296386719
Longitude-4.83260011672974
Eastings205700
Northings238870
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Books

  • Davis, Paul, R., 2011, The Forgotten Castles of Wales (Almeley: Logaston Press) p. 175
  • Morgan, Gerald, 2008, Castles in Wales: A Handbook (Talybont: Y Lolfa Cyf.) p. 248 (listed)
  • Hull, Lise, 2005, Castles and Bishops Palaces of Pembrokeshire (Logaston Press) p. 158-60
  • Pettifer, Adrian, 2000, Welsh Castles, A Guide by Counties (Boydell Press) p. 167
  • Davis, Paul, 2000, A Company of Forts. A Guide to the Medieval Castles of West Wales (Gomer Press) p. 102-3
  • Reid, Alan, 1998, Castles of Wales (John Jones Publishing) p. 111
  • Salter, Mike, 1996, The Castles of South West Wales (Malvern) p. 71 (plan)
  • Browne, D. and Percival, D., 1992, An Architectural Study: Newport Castle, Pembrokeshire (Aberystwyth: RCAHMW)
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 395
  • Soulsby, I., 1983, The Towns of Medieval Wales (Phillimore)
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 368
  • Miles, Dillwyn, 1979 (Revised 1988), Castles of Pembrokeshire (Pembrokeshire Coast National Park) p. 27-9
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 257
  • Stickings, T.G., 1973, Castles and Strongholds of Pembrokeshire (Tenby) p. 108-12
  • RCAHMW, 1925, An inventory of the Ancient Monuments of Pembrokeshire (HMSO) p. 274-6 no. 820 online copy
  • Armitage, Ella, 1912, The Early Norman Castles of the British Isles (London: John Murray) p. 279 online copy
  • Edwards, Emily Hewlett, 1909, Castles and Strongholds of Pembrokeshire (Tenby) p. 12 online copy
  • Lewis, Samual, 1849, A Topographical Dictionary of Wales online copy
  • Buck, Samuel and Nathenial, 1774, Buck’s Antiquities (London) Vol. 2 p. 425

Antiquarian

Journals

  • Miles, D., 2006, 'The mysterious sale of Newport castle' Journal of the Pembrokeshire Historical Society Vol. 15 p. 69-70
  • 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
  • Miles, Dillwyn, 1962, 'Newport Castle' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 119 p. 340
  • King, D.J.C., 1962, 'The Castles of Pembrokeshire' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 119 p. 313-6 online copy
  • Miles, Dillwyn., 1962 'Newport Castle' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 119 p. 340 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)
  • 1922, Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 77 p. 494-6
  • 1860, 'Newport, Pembrokeshire' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 15 p. 64-5 online copy
  • 1859, Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 14 p. 334-5 online copy

Guide Books

  • Newport Heritage Group (illustrations by Roger Hill), 2007, Newport Castles (Pembrokeshire Local Action Network for Enterprise and Development) (leaflet)

Primary Sources

  • Brut y Tywysogion 1215, 1257 (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)1215 online copy
  • Jones, T. (ed), 1948, 'Cronica de Wallia and other documents' Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies Vol. 12 p. 27-44 (1215)
  • Rickard, John, 2002, The Castle Community. The Personnel of English and Welsh Castles, 1272-1422 (Boydell Press) (lists sources for 1272-1422) p. 393-4
  • Stamp, A.E. (ed), 1932, Calendar of Close Rolls Henry IV (1409-1413) Vol. 4 p. 161 view online copy (subscription required)