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Grosmont Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Grismond; Grossemont; Grismont; Grossomonte

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

OS Map Grid Reference: SO40522445
Latitude 51.91540° Longitude -2.86598°

Grosmont 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 1 listed building protected by law*.

Description

Grosmont Castle was one of a trio of earth-and-timber strongholds built by the Normans in the aftermath of the Conquest to guard the communication route between Hereford and Wales, together with Skenfrith Castle (NPRN 93431) and White Castle (NPRN 94853). It lies within a wide moat (20m across), and a further second enclosure defined by scarps and ditches. From the thirteenth century the site was re-built in the more durable local red sandstone, and timber defences were replaced by a stone curtain wall, protected by three circular towers and a gatehouse; a similar design to that of Cilgerran Castle (NPRN 95037). In the following century the buildings around the inner ward were remodelled to suit a noble household. The castle was attacked and besieged by Gruffudd, son of Owain Glyndwr in 1405, before being relieved by a force from Hereford. By 1538 Grosmont was disused and abandoned. It came into state care in 1923. (Coflein–ref. Knight, 2000)

First castle on site in existence by 1154, which consisted of wooden buildings defended by a palisade and ditch, but only the moat remains of this earliest period. The masonry castle was built in 3 main periods. The Great Hall is the earliest structure, dating from about 1210. The second building period, during the first half of the C13th, saw the enclosure of the inner ward, with a stone curtain flanked by 3 semi-circular towers and a projecting gatehouse. The final stage, probably around 1330, included the addition of a range of rooms outside the N curtain and the enlargement and heightening of the SW tower.

The stone castle stands on a roughly rectangluar platform surrounded by a ditch 6m deep. The remains of a probable bailey encircling the castle can be traced on the SE and NE as a scarped slope 4m high, and on the N as 2 banks 0.3m high and 9m wide with an intermediate ditch 1m deep. (Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust HER)

The early hall at Grosmont was most probably built within forty years either side of 1110. It still stands two stories high and has many features of comfort within its walls. There are many reasons to believe that this hall was built early in the castle’s history for the evidence points clearly to Grosmont castle having been fortified in stone from the first. Who actually first built the castle though, is more of a problem. Both the first earls of Hereford and Pain Fitz John had a great deal of wealth and ruled Gwent at a time when the stable rule of the Normans in Wales seemed inevitable. Grosmont hall is certainly not a fortress. It was built as the administrative centre of a barony with both comfort and administration in mind. White Castle to the west, however, was built as a fortress from the first, probably in concert with the foundation of Grosmont. Orcop to the east, a true motte and bailey castle, may be older. (Remfry)

The castle has been said to be raised on an earlier motte but Phillips states this supposed 'motte' was collapsed masonry and the castle was a new build masonry castle of the late C12/early C13 although the documentary evidence suggests some sort of manorial centre here before that time.
Links to mapping and other online resources

Data >
Coflein   County HER       Listing    
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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.
I do not receive any income from this site and I fund it myself. The information within this site is provided freely by me 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.
Please help me to make this as useful a resource as possible by contacting me if you see errors or if you can add information.
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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 Thursday, November 21, 2013


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