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Rhuddlan Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Rothelan; Ruthlan; Rughlan; Rhudland

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

OS Map Grid Reference: SJ02467790
Latitude 53.28916° Longitude -3.46462°

Rhuddlan Castle has been described as a certain Masonry Castle.

There are major building remains.

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


Substantial remains of a masonry castle established with borough in 1277, replacing earlier castle site at Twt Hill; castle demolished 1648. The castle is based on a quadrilateral, towered inner court, c.43m square, within a roughly concentric outer enclosure, the whole bounded by a broad stone-revetted moat, except where it rests on the river bank on the SW. Associated with town defences to the NW and possible Edwardian defences to the SE. (Coflein)

Begun in 1277, this was the second of King Edward I's great Welsh fortifications. A protected river dock forms one side of the defences of this concentrically planned castle, dominated by a distinctive diamond-shaped inner ward. The castle was constructed between 1277-82 and at the same time the river was straightened and dredged to improve navigation. The castle plan is concentric based on a quadrilateral, towered inner court, c.43m square, with twin-tower gatehouses on opposite corners, within a roughly concentric outer enclosure, the whole bounded by a broad stone-revetted moat, except where it rests on the river bank on the SW. The outer ward, which is flanked by small square towers and turrets, is octagonal in shape except where it borders the river. Here it extends down the slope to enclose a watergate and dock for ships. The walls of the outer ward have been destroyed but the moat can still be traced on the side away from the river. (Derived from Jeff Spencer and Coflein)

Some of the expense of building Rhuddlan lay in the turning of the Afon Clwyd in to a channel navigable by sea going vessels. It remains an open question as to the reason for building the Edwardian castle and town next to the Norman Castle and town rather than, the more usual practice of rebuilding the exisiting sites. Edward and his architects were experimenting in many ways in Wales, Rhuddlan may have been intended as a Regional capital although this intent was not carried through after Caernarfon became the caput of North Wales.
Links to mapping and other online resources

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Sources of information, references and further reading

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The information on this web page may be derived from information compiled by and/or copyright of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historic Monuments of Wales, the four welsh archaeological trusts and other individuals and organisations. All the sources given should be consulted to identify the original copyright holder and permission obtained from them before use of the information on this site for commercial purposes.
I do not receive any income from this site and I fund it myself. The information within this site is provided freely by me for educational purposes only.
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.
The possible site or monument is represented on maps as a point location. This is a guide only. It should be noted that OS grid references defines an area, not a point location. In practice this means the actual center of the site or monument may often, but not always, be to the North East of the point shown.
Locations derived from OS grid references and from latitude longitiude may differ by a small distance.
Further information on mapping and location can be seen at this link.
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*The listed building may not be the actual medieval building, but a building on the site of, or incorporating fragments of the described site.

This record last updated on Thursday, November 21, 2013