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Kenfig Town Defences

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Kenefeg; Kenfeg

In the community of Cynffig.
In the historic county of Glamorgan.
Modern authority of Bridgend.
Preserved county of Mid Glamorgan.

OS Map Grid Reference: SS80098257
Latitude 51.52927° Longitude -3.73001°

Kenfig Town Defences has been described as a certain Urban Defence.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


The outer enclosure of 8 acres, with a substantial earthen rampart and ditch, should perhaps be regarded as a small town rather than a bailey. (Hogg and King 1967)

it is clear that a town had been established by that date (1135-54) and had already been surrounded by an earth and timber palisade (Richards p. 163) the borough was enclosed with walls which are mentioned in 1147, but we know nothing of their course. They were initially of earth and timber and were rebuilt with the same materials after the Welsh attack of 1183 when one Hywel of Caerleon was charged with despatching stakes from Chepstow 'in order to enclose the town and castle'. The 'Town Walls and Gates' are further mentioned in the 1330 Ordinances, but there is nothing to suggest they were ever reconstructed in stone. (Soulsby ref. Clark p. 244)

The monument consists of the remains of a fortified medieval town and castle. Ramparts comprising a bank and ditch define the town enclosure at the south west and the north east angles forming a roughly quadrangular enclosure of about 3.34 ha. The rampart disappears to the south under the large dunes over the south west quarter of the town. To the north it ends in front of the south end of a building. In the south west area of the town, the rampart re-emerges from the dunes and runs straight for 76m to the south west, fronted by a wide ditch. The castle keep is c. 14x15m, with a 2 m. wide entrance at the south west corner. The walls are composed of stone and pebbles and are c. 2 m. thick. They stand 3-4m. The south side is the lowest, with an external height of 1-2 m. and internal height of 2.5 m. The north wall is the best preserved with an internal height of 3m and with intact gun loop. South of the keep is a complex of low walls. (Scheduling Report)

Otherwise it has been described as a bailey. Salter writes the town had a bank and ditch but does not identify it with the 8 acre bailey. Bond writes town C12 earthworks have vanished. Spurgeon gives a full description and history of the town and is defenses both of which are buried under sand dunes (and have been since Leland described it as 'almost shokid (chocked) and devourid with the sands that the Severn Sea there castith up.' Soulsby's, notes the archaeological potential of this site, since the sands protect the remains of the town. His plan puts the town and parish church outside the castle bailey, whilst noting some houses were within the bailey, and do not show a line of town defences.
Time Team excavation showed defences were a timber pallisade, never rebuilt in stone. The town was densely inhabited within a relatively small defended area.
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This record last updated 11/07/2017 09:59:54