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Caergwrle Castle, Hope

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Queen's Hope; Kaierguill

In the community of Hope.
In the historic county of Flintshire.
Modern authority of Flintshire.
Preserved county of Clwyd.

OS Map Grid Reference: SJ30705723
Latitude 53.10715° Longitude -3.03711°

Caergwrle Castle, Hope 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*.


Caergwrle Castle was erected by Dafydd ap Gruffydd in about 1278, and was thus the last native Welsh stone built castle. The remains of the late 13th century masonry castle are set at the south-south-west angle of an irregular enclosure defining the relatively level summit of a steep-sided hill. Excavation demonstrated that this enclosure, roughly 110m north-west to south-east by 120m, had been defined by a stone-revetted wall, radio-carbon dating indicating an early medieval date. (Coflein–J.Wiles 26.11.02)

Early medieval castle of importance during the period of the Edwardian conquest. It was granted by Edward I to his ally Dafydd ap Gruffydd (brother of Llywelyn) in 1277 and was damaged following the revolt of 1282. Some of the present fabric may relate to a programme of rebuiding and repair initiated by Master Richard of Chester and continued by James of St George, for King Edward. The castle was damaged by fire following its grant by King Edward to Queen Eleanor in 1283 and appears to have been little used subsequently.
Castle remains within a series of man-made earthworks. The surviving walls are ruinous and are constructed of local rubble with squared freestone facing blocks. The remains consist of a fragmentary inner bailey curtain wall of irregular plan with remains of projecting elongated D-shaped towers to the N and SE of the complex. Evidence for a newel stair and latrine chamber can be found in the thickness of the curtain wall just W of the N tower. (Listed Building Report)

Possible Roman use of site: Roman coin of Antonius Pius (PRN 101296).
Stone castle: built by Dafydd ap Gruffydd (1278), partially refurbished by Edward I (1282) but destroyed by fire 27.08.1282. There is no evidence it was repaired and it was ruinous by 1335. The present remains are of late 13th century.
Detailed roll of expenditure (including names and occupations of payees etc) by English in refurbishment of Hope (Caergwrle) Castle in 1282 (London, Public Record Office, Chancery Miscellanea, roll C47/2/3). Summarised in Taylor, A J 1992a).
Late 13th century remains of stone castle situated on steep sided isolate hill. Inner bailey undefended on west side. Other sides discontinuous. Outer bailey to north-east bounded by bank. Defended on north and east sides by rock-cut ditch and counterscarp bank. Outlying earthwork comprising low bank encircles hill (see PRN 17104) (Manley, J 1992a).
Excavations in 1988 and 1989 revealed clay and stone layer representing medieval levelling. Oven, rectangular buildng and two areas of smithying recovered. Area of stoneworking and mortar-mixing lcoated. Finds include medieval pottery, bronze items, slag, coin of 1280, nails and animals bones. Curtain wall and north tower investigated. Drystone bank with rubble core - late Roman or Dark Age C14 dates (Manely, J 1989b, 58-9).
13th century bread oven in south-east corner of castle, 4m square externally and 1m high. Rectangular platform with circular superstructre. Traces of pre-oven smithying. (Manley, J 1990a, 21-24; Gaimster, D R M, Margeson, S & Hurley, M 1990, 248).
Excavation in 1990 (final season): interior of E tower excavated - no floors in situ; around E curtain wall; on flat-topped platform in the middle of the defensive ditch to the N of the castle - this was an area of unquarried bedrock and soil which may have been used as a barbican (Nenk, B S, Margeson, S and Hurley, M 1991, 228-9). (Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust HER)
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 28/06/2017 18:13:03