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The comprehensive gazetteer and bibliography of the medieval castles, fortifications and palaces of England, Wales, the Islands.
 
 
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Harold's House, Portskewett

In the community of Portskewett.
In the historic county of Monmouthshire.
Modern authority of Monmouthshire.
Preserved county of Gwent.

OS Map Grid Reference: ST49868805
Latitude 51.58918° Longitude -2.72539°

Harold's House, Portskewett has been described as a probable Palace, and also as a probable Pele Tower.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.

Description

Supposed traces of the hunting lodge started by King Harold in 1065 and destroyed before completion. Earthworks immediately W of Portskewett church (Nprn307463), comprising: a subrectangular/oval mound/platform, c.21-22.5m in diameter and 1.0m high, with a bank springing from it, defining part of a possible enclosure, c.55m E-W by 25m; on the W is a bank, c.50m E-W by 15m and 1.0m high, possibly forming a pond bay across a damp valley. (Coflien–J.Wiles 20.02.03)

Overgrown & mutilated mound with average measurements of 14 x 8m & height of 1m. None of the banks show a stone content & there are no visible wall footings. (Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust HER)

Underneath the rubble, which included large quantities of medieval roof tiles, the diggers in this trench uncovered a doorway from one building, probably the manor house tower, and two walls from a separate, adjacent structure, probably stables. Dressed stone was recovered from the doorjamb and windows, which proved to be the same size and style as used on St Mary's church, which dates to the early 1100s. The detailing on the window stones, which are known to have been changed on the church in the 1200s, also matched, suggesting that manor house was altered at same time. (TimeTeam)

A.D. 1065. This year, before Lammas, ordered Earl Harold his men to build at Portskeweth in Wales. But when he had begun, and collected many materials, and thought to have King Edward there for the purpose of hunting, even when it was all ready, came Caradoc, son of Griffin, with all the gang that he could get, and slew almost all that were building there; and they seized the materials that were there got ready. Wist we not who first advised the wicked deed. This was done on the mass-day of St. Bartholomew. (Anglo-Saxon Chronicle)
Comments

TimeTeam evaluation excavation in June 2007 found C12-C13 medieval manor house with fortified tower on probably site of late Saxon royal hunting lodge on probably site of early medieval welsh llys. Close to River Severn, although tidal inlet now silted up. On slight hill, along with local church. Typical manorial site.
A further small excavation in 2009 found what was thought to be the foundation of a tower of unmortered, crudely dressed stone on the edge of the site (Pitts, 2011) although this may actually have been a rather more prosaic malting house (Chapman, 2011). Jeremy Knight confirms this identification as a malting house.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
Coflein   County HER           Historic Wales
Maps >
OS getamap   Streetmap   Old-Maps   Where's the path   NLS maps  
Data/Maps > 
Magic   V. O. B.   Geology   EarthTools   GeoHack  
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Photos >
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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The bibliography owes much to various bibliographies produced by John Kenyon for the Council for British Archaeology, the Castle Studies Group and others.
Suggestions for finding online and/or hard copies of bibliographical sources can be seen at this link.
Minor archaeological investigations, such as watching brief reports, and some other 'grey' literature is most likely to be held by H.E.R.s but is often poorly referenced and is unlikely to be recorded here, or elsewhere, but some suggestions can be found here.
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This record last updated on Saturday, December 6, 2014


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