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Newport Castle, Gwent

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Casnewydd; Novus Burgus

In the community of Stow Hill.
In the historic county of Monmouthshire.
Modern authority of Newport.
Preserved county of Gwent.

OS Map Grid Reference: ST312884
Latitude 51.59076° Longitude -2.99495°

Newport Castle, Gwent has been described as a certain Masonry Castle.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

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


Only the grand river front survives of Newport Castle. The present castle was probably established in the mid to late fourteenth century, replacing an earlier castle about 1.0km to the south-west on the hill near St Woolos' church, now the Cathedral. The castle was the administrative centre of the eponymous lordship. Significant work was carried out in 1405, at the height of the Glyndwr revolt, and the castle was extensively remodelled in the period 1430-1445. The castle was maintained into the seventeenth century, but was ruinous by the eighteenth. The surviving buildings were used as a brewery in the nineteenth century, whilst the remainder was gradually demolished. In the twentieth century the castle was conserved and consolidated, although a road was built across the western part in 1970. The earlier castle, first mentioned in 1172, probably lay at ST3046587428 where the Ordnance Survey 1st edition 1:500 map of 1885 shows a cairn (see Archaeologia Cambrensis 5th series II (1885), 261-2). The present castle lies on the riverfront at the northern edge of the medieval borough. It consisted of a walled and moated sub-rectangular court roughly 57m north-south by 62m. The main gate opened onto the town, near the head of the Usk Bridge, and a second led north into the 'Castle Garden'. The magnificent riverfront has towers at the centre and at either end. The end towers are polygonal, rising from spurred bases, and the centre tower is rectangular with projecting turrets flanking the arch of a water gate or dock. It houses a sumptuous series of apartments with a great hall to the north, a magnificent vaulted audience chamber above the water gate and three tiers of chambers in the end towers. There were kitchens in the southern area. (Coflein)

Newport was chief town of the lordship of Wentloog, which had been within the lordship of Glamorgan until 1314. The castle was built between 1327 and 1368 by Hugh d’Audele or his son-in-law Ralph, Earl of Stafford, replacing earlier motte-and-bailey castle on Stow Hill, near St Woolos’ church. The castle may never have been completed on the town side. In C15 (1436-47), the castle was improved for Humphrey Stafford, First Duke of Buckingham. After execution of Third Duke (1521), the castle went into decline, and the town gradually encroached. Late C19 photos show a brewery incorporated into ruins. The castle is now pressed between the river, the railway, and modern road system.
Red sandstone with pale grey banding and dressings. The main surviving section is the three towers aligned N-S, along the river. The N tower , 2-storeys, semi octagonal, with (to S) adjacent remains of hall with windows to E, fireplace between; adjacent window to ante-room. Great central tower with water gate, ribbed vaulting with floral bosses, octagonal turret in NW angle. To S of central tower, narrow room (from C15 alterations), with adjacent wall-gallery with small windows. South tower (once of 2 storeys but raised by Humphrey Stafford) contained lord’s apartments; fireplaces, corbels remain in situ. (Listed Building Report)

A late castle probably built by the Earls of Stafford in C14 when Newport became a separate Lordship. The surviving part of the castle comprises the waterfront and consists of three towers connected by a curtain wall containing ornate staterooms. The rest of the castle appears to have been a simple rectangular courtyard with no towers. This has led to the conclusion that it was not completed until C15 when documentary records show considerable expenditure at the castle in response to the Glyndwr uprising. This work appears to have failed as the castle was captured in AD 1402.
The historical references to Newport in Renn and Hogg and King (Early Castles) may refer to a possible earlier castle on this site (for which there is no evidence) or to the buried motte at Stow Hill (ST304874).
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 28/06/2017 18:13:03