The comprehensive gazetteer and bibliography of the medieval castles, fortifications and palaces of England, Wales, the Islands.
The listings
Other Info
Print Page 
Next Record 
Previous Record 
Back to list 

Chepstow Town Wall

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Port Wall

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

OS Map Grid Reference: ST53289379
Latitude 51.63992° Longitude -2.67550°

Chepstow Town Wall 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 1 listed building protected by law*.


The town defences (wall and gate) of Chepstow, date from the 13th century and later; they are the remains of a stone curtain wall, studded by eleven towers, generally semi-circular, with a single surviving gate, springing from the south side of Castle Dell and running roughly 700m to end above the bank of the Wye, cutting off the promontory on which the town is set. The gate is built of rubble stone with ashlar dressings. The primary outward facing elevation has a wide pointed arch, three decorative carved stone heraldic tablets and two restored lancet windows. The inward facing elevation has two small 19th century oculi with brick surrounds. (CADW–J.Wiles 28.02.2003)

Extending from the curtain wall? of Chepstow Castle, uphill to the town gate and crossing to the quarry above the station.
Probably built between 1272 and 1278 by Roger Bigod III. It follows a course along defensible high ground to S of the medieval town; to N the town is bordered by the River Wye. The railway created a breach in the SE part of the wall in 1846 and the section leading down to the River Wye was destroyed in 1916 during the development of the shipyards. In later C20 a section was destroyed to create car-park access from Welsh Street and another for the route of the inner relief road.
Town wall built entirely of unworked stone rubble. The area enclosed is 130 acres. The wall originally ran from the west end of the Castle to a point on the river bank to E, thus enclosing the peninsular. It is over two-thirds of a mile long, over 2m thick and from about 5 to 7m high. It was embattled with a wall-walk. Bastions were c 9m in diameter and D-shaped without arrow slits and open at the back, formerly with timber staging. Only wall openings are a series of square slots to drain water from the wall-walk. In places some coping stones survive. From a square turret in Castle Dell the wall extends S. It is clearly visible in the car-park and turns SE to link with the Town Gate, on either side of which it is incorporated into other buildings. It is visible again on high ground S of the relief road and then along the crest of the quarry by the station; in this latter section are five bastions. (Listed Building Report)

The towne of Chepstow hath bene very strongly waulled as yet welle doth appere. The wa(ulles) began at the ende of the great bridge over Wy, and so cam to the castel, the which yet standeth fayr and strong not far from the ruin of the bridge. In the castel ys one tower, as I hard say, be the name of Longine. The town now hath but one paroche chirche. The celle of a Blake Monke or two of Bermundesey by London was lately there suppressed. A (great) part of cumpace withyn the waulles is no(w con)verted to litle medows and ga(rdins.) (Leland)

The monument comprises the remains of a stretch of the medieval town wall and gate. Chepstow Town Wall, traditionally known as the 'Port Wall', was built by Roger Bigod III between 1272 and 1278, when he was improving the castle. It enclosed an area much larger than the town (around 55 hectares), which only occupied what is now the town centre; the rest of the area enclosed was given over to orchards and meadows. Originally the wall was continuous, 1.1km long and 3m to 4m high. It provided the south-western defence of the town while the Wye River protected the north and the east. The wall starts on its north-western limit with a rectangular tower, 5m high, and proceeds south-eastwards in a 2m wide section which includes two round towers followed by a long, continuous stretch 4m wide and 4.5m high. In total there are ten towers placed at regular intervals along the length of the wall, all are semi-circular in plan, open on the inner side. A wall walk would originally have run the full length of the wall, positioned behind the battlements. To the west of the castle is the town gate, which remains in use with the modern High Street passing through it. The town gate was built in the late 13th century and is a sinple archway with a battlemented chamber above. The modern form is essentially medieval, although it was altered in the 15th century and then converted in to a prison in 1524 by the Earl of Worcester. It was extensively repaired in the 19th century when the windows, battlements and the arch were replaced. (Scheduling Report)
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
Coflein   County HER   Scheduling   Listing    
Maps >
Streetmap   NLS maps   Where's the path   Old-Maps      
Data/Maps > 
Magic   Historic Wales   V. O. B.   Geology   LIDAR  
Air Photos > 
Bing Maps   Google Maps   Getmapping   ZoomEarth      
Photos >
CastleFacts   Geograph   Flickr   Panoramio      

Sources of information, references and further reading
Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.
It is an offence to disturb a Scheduled Monument without consent. It is a destruction of everyone's heritage to remove archaeological evidence from ANY site without proper recording and reporting.
Don't use metal detectors on historic sites without authorisation.
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. It may also contain Designated Historic Asset Descriptive Information from The Welsh Historic Environment Service (Cadw), licensed under the Open Government Licence. 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.
Lidar coverage in the UK is not complete. The button above will give an idea of the area of coverage. Higher resolution lidar images in both DSM and DTM form may be available from Lle A geo-Portal for Wales (click the preview tag to bring up a map and then select format byclicking on the small blue diamond in the top right corner of the map.)
Please help to make this as useful a resource as possible by contacting Gatehouse if you see errors, can add information or have suggestions for improvements in functality and design.
Help is acknowledged.
*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 28/06/2017 18:13:03