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Newcastle Bridgend Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Castelle Newith, Penbont; Castro Novo

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

OS Map Grid Reference: SS90228007
Latitude 51.50893° Longitude -3.58316°

Newcastle Bridgend Castle has been described as a probable Timber Castle, and also as a certain Masonry Castle.

There are major building remains.

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


Newcastle castle was established by 1106, but the present structures date to 1180's. Its final occupation appears to have been late in the sixteenth century. Ownership passed through the Turberville, Berkerolle and Gamage families and in 1718 it was bought by Samuel Edwin of Llanmihangel Place and later became part of Dunraven estate. The site is a sub-circular enclosure, describing an irregular polygon, c.42.5m north-south by 38m, defined by ruins of a stone curtain with projecting square towers and a finely finished late Romanesque gate. Raised entirely in ashlar, the outer arch has a rounded head with roll moulding and capitals. The composition frames a recessed segmental inner arch with roll mouldings which alternate with sunken rectangular panels containing strips of pellets. The whole site was originally ditched, except where it rests on steep natural slopes to the east. There are scanty remains of internal buildings. (Coflein)

On an elevated site to N of St Illtyd's Parish Church.
Founded by 1106, rebuilt later C12 with late C16 additions. Passed through Turberville, Berkerolle and Gamage families, in 1718 bought by Samuel Edwin of Llanmihangel Place and later part of Dunraven estate.
Polygonal plan; curtain wall with W and S towers and natural defence of cliff to E. Sutton stone; coursed rubble facing stones, some removed or lost particularly to E. S side retains substantial amounts of masonry; rectangular tower with 2-light windows with voussoir relieving arches; flanked by fine raised gateway c1175/80, the most complete of its kind in Glamorgan. Blind tympanum between semicircular and segmental arches, the latter billet moulded as are the jambs beside Romanesque shafts carrying roll moulding. Remains of the keep to W and footings of the hall range to E. (Listed Building Report)

Initially a Norman castle, the site appears to have been refortified by Henry II in the 1180s, as indicated by the exceptional quality of the masonry. (CADW)

The castle's most outstanding feature is its complete Norman doorway, which greets the visitor approaching the castle from the south. It is late C12, contemporary with the curtain wall. On the inside it is quite plain, but the outside is given fine decorative treatment. A courtyard castle, roughly circular in plan, with two mural towers built into the curtain wall on the south and west sides. The curtain wall, which was built in straight sections, is impressive and stands to its full height on the west side. (Whittle)

The monument consists of the remains of a castle dating to the medieval period. Newcastle is strategically placed on a high bluff above the Ogmore Valley guarding the river crossing below. The original castle, first mentioned in 1106, marked the western limit of Robert Fitzhamon's conquests. It is thought to have been an earthwork castle of ringwork type, and its location is unknown. It could have been on the site of the present castle, in which case its palisade may have underlain the later stone curtain wall. The round-cornered stone building, the foundations of which are visible in the south-east corner of the interior, could, on stylistic grounds, date from this initial phase, and might have been a keep; in the 19th century a stony mound was recorded here which was interpreted by G.T. Clark as the ruins of a free-standing keep. Rebuilding in stone probably took place during an unsettled phase in the 1180s, when the king himself, Henry II, held the castle. The layout and style of stonework are of this period, and the fact that it was in royal hands would explain its superior quality. Apart from refurbishments in the south tower in the late 16th century the castle is virtually untouched since the late 12th century: in 1217 it was given to the Turbeville, Lords of Coity, who had little use for it as their main sea was nearby Coity Castle. The castle's most outstanding feature is its complete Norman doorway, which is on the south. It is late 12th century, contemporary with the curtain wall. On the inside it is quite plain, but the outside is given fine decorative treatment. Sutton stone is used, as it is for the high-quality ashlar facing still in place around it, and also for all other quoins and dressings in the castle. A round-headed arch over attached columns with crude ionic capitals frames the doorway, around which is a shallower segmental arch surrounded by sunken rectangular panels and 'pellet' decoration. This is a rare survival from the period, and no other decoration of the kind is known in Glamorgan. The steps in front are modern. Once inside the curtain wall it becomes apparent that it is a courtyard castle. It is roughly circular in plan, with two mural towers built into the curtain wall on the south and west sides, and originally a few buildings on the edge of teh north and east sides. The curtain wall, which was built in straight sections, is impressive and stands to its full height on the west side. On the outside it was strongly battered at the base, and this batter is still visible, although most of the facing stone has gone from the lower parts of the walls, and from all of the east wall. The square mural towers were a new development in military planning when built, but were soon to be superseded by round towers. The south tower is the better preserved, standing in parts three storeys high. It was much altered for domestic use in the late 16th century, when Tudor windows and fireplaces were inserted. Only the ground floor of the west tower survives. Very fragmentary foundations of a detached building at the north end, and the more complete foundations of two buildings against the east curtain wall are visible. The small, northernmost one of these is thought to be early 13th century, while the larger, southernmost one is possibly the keep of the initial phase. (Scheduling Report)
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 02/05/2017 09:42:40