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Cowbridge Town Walls

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Y Bont-faen

In the community of Cowbridge With Llanblethian.
In the historic county of Glamorgan.
Modern authority of Vale of Glamorgan.
Preserved county of South Glamorgan.

OS Map Grid Reference: SS99397469
Latitude 51.46116° Longitude -3.45048°

Cowbridge Town Walls has been described as a certain Urban Defence.

There are major building remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.
This is a Grade 2* listed building protected by law*.


Remains of a stone curtain, describing a pentagonal figure about the central part of the borough of Cowbridge, established c.1254. There are extensive remains of the S part of the circuit, including the South Gate and two angle towers. The circuit is thought to have been recorded in the Early C14. (Coflein)

On E side of The Butts, from rear of Mason's Arms, to bastion at SW angle, thence along N side of Town Mill Road.
Earl Gilbert de Clare, Lord of Glamorgan, is thought to have directed in 1266 the building of protective walls round the boroughs of Cowbridge, Neath and Cardiff. The oldest parts of the present walls in Cowbridge probably date from early C14, and face The Butts; it is not certain how far the walls facing Town Mill Road are original. Rose Cottage and adjoining garden walls have almost certainly been built on the line of the walls, and probably incorporate the Town Walls in their own walling or foundations.
Stone rubble, about 3.5 metres high on average, formerly apparently rising to about 7.6 metres and with an internal wall walk. The walls in the Butts are castellated and have a bastion at their SW angle, circular in plan, with polygonal upper storey and was probably used as a summer-house in the post-medieval period. Doorway through to gardens, to S of Mason's Arms; facing gardens, inner retaining wall to walkway which is turfed. To E of bastion, walls pierced by 2 doorways, a round-headed one to W, and to E, doorway with Tudor head, and to N, facing gardens, stone rubble gate piers with moulded copings. The walls extend to W, as garden walls on footing of medieval walls. (Listed Building Report)

The town walls were apparently 7.7m high, having a batter outside and a walk inside the battlements 4.3m wide. (Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust HER)

The monument consists of the remains of a gatehouse probably dating to the medieval period. The monument is characterised by a gateway with one or more chambers over the entrance arch; the flanking towers housing stairs and additional rooms. The gateway stands in the town of Cowbridge and spans the road leading into Cowbridge from Llanblethian, the castle on which the borough was dependant. It is c. 3.5m high, open in the middle, with pointed archways at either end. It possibly dates the 14th century. (Scheduling Report)

Cowbridge is a quarter of a mile above Lanlithan. From the mouth of Thawan to Cowbridge a longe by the ripe self, and more by west from the ripe is very good corne and gresse. As much of Cowbridge as is enclosid with the waull stondith on the est ripe and the bridge of ston there. The great suburbe of Coubridge is cis pontem. The waulle of Cowbridge is a 3. quarters of a mile aboute. There be 3. gates in the waulle, the est, the west and Porte Meline a by south. There is a chirch in the town. But the saying is, that Lanlithan is the hed paroch chirch to Cowbridge. The town self of Cowbridge standith in a valle. (Leland)

There is, apparently, no primary documentation regarding the town walls although it is usually suggested they date from the late C13. The town, which was one of the largest in medieval Wales, was an important commercial centre.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
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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