GATEHOUSE
The comprehensive gazetteer and bibliography of the medieval castles, fortifications and palaces of England, Wales, the Islands.
 
 
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Abergavenny Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Y Fenni; Bergevenn'; Gevenu; Berguevenis

In the community of Abergavenny.
In the historic county of Monmouthshire.
Modern authority of Monmouthshire.
Preserved county of Gwent.

OS Map Grid Reference: SO29961394
Latitude 51.81972° Longitude -3.01761°

Abergavenny Castle has been described as a certain 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 1 listed building protected by law*.

Description

The remains of the fourteenth century and later masonry castle at Abergavenny are built upon earlier earthworks. The motte is much mutilated to accomodate a nineteenth century castellated tower, whilst there are substantial, if fragmentary, remains of the walls and towers of the roughly 54m by 67-40m bailey to the north. (Coflein)

Situated W off the main road on the southern approach to the town centre.
C12 earthworks from the castle of Hamelin de Ballon built in about 1090. The surviving masonry structures are from the C13 stone castle built by de Wallingford and its later extension in the early C15. Some of the walling dates from the earlier period, c1295-1319, while most of the circuit walls, with the remains of the Banqueting Hall and the South-west and South-east Towers date from c1403-09 as the Barbican probably does also. There are some fragments on the motte which may date from c1241, but this area seems to have very largely been reconstructed in 1818-9. Abergavenny Castle was the scene of the infamous massacre of seventy unarmed Welsh guests of William de Broase on Christmas Day 1175, but nothing of what survives can really be associated with this event as the castle was captured by the Welsh princes in 1182, recaptured by Reginald de Broase in 1215 and then destroyed following capture again by the Welsh princes in 1233. Rebuilt by the English to the end of the century the castle survived a siege by Owain Glyndwr in 1404 and was still in good condition at the time of John Leland's visit in the 1540s. In 1643 it was garrisoned for the Crown in the Civil War, then abandoned and slighted, then re-garrisoned for Parliament in 1645 and besieged in 1646, but stood firm. Following the end of the Civil War it fell gradually into decay. In 1818-9 the Marquess of Abergavenny built what was then The Court House (now Abergavenny Museum qv) as a hunting and shooting box; and it was later leased by other families. In 1881 the Castle was leased to The Abergavenny Improvement Commissioners and they converted it into what became a successful pleasure ground. It is still maintained by the local authority as a park but it is now displayed as an Ancient Monument rather than as a picturesque ruin within a garden.
Fragmentary survival of interior features including two garderobes in the South-west Tower.
Built entirely of Old Red sandstone rubble, roughly coursed, with the earliest work on the Gatehouse perhaps distinguishable from the rest; part of the work on the south-west Tower approaches a more ashlar quality. Circuit walls with the remains of two towers and the main Gatehouse survive. Walling survives to the height of 5-6m, with the polygonal south-west Tower the most impressive, with the effect enhanced by the very fine and large copper beech tree that grows within it. (Listed Building Report)

Castle situated in a strong defensive position above the confluence of the Rivers Usk and Gavenny. Documentary evidence suggests that it was in existence by AD 1090. Originally a motte and bailey castle, which was rebuilt in stone during C13. It had a circular round tower on the motte and the outer bailey is divided to form a small forecourt to the motte. A large polygonal tower and a long barbican was added c.1300. Documentary history suggests that it was captured by the Welsh on at least one occasion and subsequently recaptured. It was held against Glyndwr and dismantled 1645. (Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust)
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
Coflein   County HER       Listing   Historic Wales
Maps >
OS getamap   Streetmap   Old-Maps   Where's the path   NLS maps  
Data/Maps > 
Magic   V. O. B.   Geology   EarthTools   GeoHack  
Air Photos > 
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Photos >
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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.
The author and compiler of Gatehouse does not receive any income from the site and funds it himself. The information within this site is provided freely 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 Sunday, October 19, 2014


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