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Newcastle Emlyn Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Castel Nowid; Newcastle Emelyn

In the community of Newcastle Emlyn.
In the historic county of Carmarthenshire.
Modern authority of Carmarthenshire.
Preserved county of Dyfed.

OS Map Grid Reference: SN31154072
Latitude 52.03910° Longitude -4.46346°

Newcastle Emlyn Castle has been described as a certain Masonry Castle.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.
This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law*.


The castle was probably founded by Maredudd ap Rhys around 1240, and if this is so, it is one of the few castles in Dyfed built by the Welsh in stone. His son, Rhys ap Maredudd, held the castle in 1287, and the castle changed hands three times during his successful revolt against the English crown from 1287 to 1289. After Rhys had finally been defeated and killed, the castle became crown property and remained so until 1349. During this time, three refurbishments are recorded, during which this time the gatehouse was constructed and a new town was founded outside the castle walls. In 1403 the castle was taken by Owain Glyndwr, but was described as being in ruins by 1428.

Shattered ruins remain of Newcastle Emlyn Castle. Excavation through the 1980s have revealed some details, but the castle is best known from a collection of medieval accounts and surveys. The new castle of Emlyn is first recorded in 1257 and was built by a local princeling as the centre for the commote of Emlyn Uwch Cych, later the lordship of Emlyn. Following a notable siege in the midwinter of 1287-8 the castle passed to the English Crown. Much work was carried out in the earlier fourteenth century, including the gatehouse that is now the main surviving feature. A borough was established without the castle gates (see NPRN 33072). The castle declined through the fifteenth century until in about 1500 it was restored as a grand mansion, associated with a great deer park. It was at this time that the large square windows were inserted into the gatehouse and there is notice of 'a little tower to view and see the country'. There were further alarms and excursions in the revolutionary wars of the mid seventeenth century, when the great earthwork ravelin bastion was raised before the great gate. The castle was thereafter neglected. The castle occupies the tip of a steep sided spur set within a great bend of the Teifi. It consists of a roughly triangular walled inner court, some 45m east-west and 25m across at the western end. This is thought to be the original thirteenth century castle to which the gatehouse and other buildings were later added. An outer court on the west, towards the town, is defined by earthworks. It is roughly 50m east-west by 40m, its eastern part obscurred by the seventeenth century ravelin. (Coflein–John Wiles, RCAHMW, 30 January 2008)

Sited on a peninsula of land to W of the town and almost surrounded by Afon Teifi. Pedestrian access from Castle Street. Ruins of a medieval masonry castle on a rocky eminence with substantial earthwork defences. Earliest references date back to mid-C13; the castle was derelict by the end of the Civil War. The twin-towered gatehouse to the inner ward stands about 8 m high and is the best-preserved section of masonry. There is a portion of a corner tower on the S with a stretch of masonry curtain wall adjoining. To N of gatehouse is a further stretch of curtain wall with corner turret and garderobe shute. (Listed Building Report)

It is suggested that the mound at Adpar was the initial castle in this area and Newcastle was a successor to that timber castle although it should be noted that Adpar is on the other side of the river and, therefore, was in a different commote.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 20/04/2017 04:25:33