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 

Ruperra Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Rhiwperra Castle; Ruppera

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

OS Map Grid Reference: ST21988631
Latitude 51.57027° Longitude -3.12714°

Ruperra Castle has been described as a Masonry Castle but is rejected as such.

There are major building remains.

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


Each front of this cube with rounded corner towers is symmetrical or nearly so. Fire, followed by rebuilding, has obscured much of the original plan which, however, retained the hall and screens passage. The whole house is built on a basement which contains the kitchen and service rooms. The basement became a feature of a large number of late renaissance houses. The surviving detail shows a mixture of late Gothic windows (probably consciously archaic as befitted a mock castle) and early Renaissance Classical detail in the porch and some doorways. (Coflein)

Approximately 2.5km E of Rudry Church, on high ground above Rhymney valley and reached by private drive W of minor road between Michaelston-y-Fedw and Draethen.
Built c1626 by Sir Thomas Morgan, steward to the Earl of Pembroke, and the latest example of the Elizabethan and Jacobean court taste for castellated mansions. Its square plan with towers at the angles was broadly similar to Wollaton Hall in Nottinghamshire (c1580) and Lulworth Castle in Dorset (c1608). Charles I stayed there in 1645 after the Battle of Naseby, when the house was described as one of the few houses fit for a king. Brick was used extensively in the original building, one of the earliest such uses in Glamorgan. In the early C18 Ruperra was sold to the Morgan family of Machen and Tredegar. From 1782 the main residence was Tredegar House, Ruperra Castle being occupied by the heir to the estate. Ruperra Castle was badly damaged by fire in 1785, after which it was remodelled by Thomas Hardwick, when gablets in the S and E elevations were replaced by embattled parapets. The house remained occupied until the early C20. Additions made after 1909 by Commander Courtenay Morgan included porches to the E and W elevations, but by the 1920s the house was used only occasionally. In 1941 troops were billeted there after Dunkirk and the house was gutted by fire in December of the that year, since when it has stood abandoned.
Not inspected at time of survey. Said by RCAHM Wales to retain few early features. The hall was situated on the first floor E of the porch, and 2 dressed stone doorways survive at this level and were part of the screens passage. In the lower storey. A kitchen on the N side has a fireplace with moulded jambs and segmental head, and 2 doorways with similar mouldings lead to an inner kitchen and pantry.
A ruined large 3-storey house, roughly square in plan, with 5-bay elevations between round towers at the angles. The walls are roughcast with brick and stone behind, and have embattled parapets. The entrance front is on the S side and has 3-light stepped mullioned windows (decreasing in height in the upper storeys) with hood moulds (forming a continuous string course in the middle storey) and a central 2-storey porch in ashlar. The porch is richly detailed in Bath stone, although the relief work is now eroded. The main doorway is round-headed and flanked by shell-headed niches, and surmounted by shallow strapwork, friezes and cornice. The cornice is carried up to form broken pediments to the L and R over heraldic achievements (the arms of the Earls of Pembroke to the L and the Morgans to the R), beyond which are damaged putti on corbels. Centrally-placed above the cornice is an aedicule with Ionic columns, a broken pediment and acroteria, and a Royal Arms (probably Charles I). In the upper storey is a stepped mullioned window similar to the main wall, and an open balustrade. The towers have 2-light mullioned windows with hood moulds continuing as string courses. The SE tower partly collapsed in 1982. The E and W elevations have similar stepped mullioned windows to the S wall except that there are 2 bays of smaller 2-light windows between the central and outer bays. The E elevation has a porch added c1909. The W elevation has a porch also added c1909 and now overgrown, and windows on 4 storeys, as does the N elevation, which has a central bay of 3-light windows flanked by bays 2 bays of 2-light windows and a basement doorway on its E side. (Listed Building Report)

Spurgeon writes the castle was built on the site of earlier building but there is no evidence this was fortified.
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 02/07/2016 13:14:19