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Newport Castle, Pembrokeshire

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;

In the community of Newport.
In the historic county of Pembrokeshire.
Modern authority of Pembrokeshire.
Preserved county of Dyfed.

OS Map Grid Reference: SN05703887
Latitude 52.01413° Longitude -4.83260°

Newport Castle, Pembrokeshire has been described as a certain Timber Castle, and also as a certain Masonry Castle.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.
This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law*.


Newport Castle was established in 1191, but there is no surviving fabric thought to pre-date the late thirteenth century. The surviving remains include a curtain wall and of four towers at the angles of the work, one of which, the gatehouse, now forms a private residence built in 1859 in a nineteenth century romantic style. The residence has an L-shaped plan with basement, a three window front and slate eaves roof. The porch has a pointed arch and crested roof tiles. The medieval remains also include a roughly quadrilateral ringwork, c.50m across, circled by a wide moat, part of which appears to have been utlised as a fishpond. (Coflein)

According to the Ordnance Survey Newport Castle was established by one William Martin in 1191, although no part of the surviving remains pre-date the 13th century. The castle was built on a mound, was surrounded by a ditch and comprised a gatehouse with flanking towers, three other towers and a curtain wall. The OS record states that the Hunters Tower, on the north-west of the castle ward,contained traces of an Early English fireplace. This record also states that the south-west tower survived as a grass covered mound, while that on the south-east was D-shaped and jutted out into the moat. A later OS record notes that this "moat", shown on the 1st edition 1:2500 map, was probably an adaptation of the castle ditch as an ornamental fish pond that is now silted up. The scheduling description of 1996 records this as the remains of a medieval castle, the gatehouse of which has been altered (through the demolition of the eastern flanking tower) by a 19th century domestic building. A 14th century vaulted undercroft is described as "one of the better preserved medieval structures to have survived the ravages of time". (Dyfed Archaeological Trust HER)

Situated prominently overlooking town. Approached from W via smaller lane named Feidr Felin on O.S. map. Penclawdd is address on electoral roll. Medieval castle mostly late C13 of which the major surviving part, the gatehouse, was incorporated into a house 1859 for Sir Thomas Lloyd of Bronwydd, Cards, 25th Lord of Cemaes. History: Castle founded by William Fitz Martin 3rd Lord of Cemaes in 1191, after loss of Nevern Castle; but most of present structures probably date from the time of the 6th Lord, William Fitz Martin (1257-1324) who inherited in 1282, and to a rebuilding after damage in the uprising of Owain Glyndwr ca1405. From 1326 to 1543 the Lords Audley of Heleigh, Staffs, held the barony of Cemaes, but were rarely resident and by the C16, when it was sold to the Owen family of Henllys, the castle had been 'in utter ruin for a long time'. Plan: Castle comprises a NE gatehouse with flanking towers, incorporated into the 1859 house, the NW Hunters' Tower, still partly standing to full height, SW Kitchen Tower, largely disappeared, and NE Great Tower of which the ground floor survives with open courtyard and fine ashlar pointed entry. The various curtain walls are largely ruinous, but N of the Great Tower survives the basement of a substantial building, possibly chapel, with vaulted undercroft of 4 cells on central octagonal pier. For full archaeological report, see National Monuments Record, Aberystwyth. Exterior: House itself is built into back of gatehouse tower with main C19 front to S. 2 storey and basement 3 window front with slate eaves roof, crested ridge, ridge stack of 3 stone circular shafts and very large W end round stack with chimneybreast built up from original curtain wall. Windows are unevenly spread, the upper windows cambered-headed square sashes with marginal glazing bars, stone voussoirs and slate sills, the centre window slightly higher and under an eaves gable. Ground floor has one longer similar sash aligned under first floor right window, gabled stone porch to right and hipped-roofed timber square bay window to left, aligned between centre and left windows above. Porch has pointed arch, slated eaves roof and crested ridge tiles. Bay window has French windows to front. Basement has cambered headed casement. To right of house a lean-to roof abuts a square medieval tower, the rear of the E side of the gatehouse structure; the roof appears to be a post 1859 addition built over the vaulted medieval stairs down to the gatehouse passage. C19 pointed arched porch with flat roof. House is L-plan and 3-storeys on N side, where windows are pierced through medieval masonry. Original gatehouse was of 2 round towers flanking entry, but that to E has been rebuilt flat-fronted, having collapsed in early C19, with 2 lancets and picturesquely ruinous top. Central part, site of former entry is largely rebuilt, with three C19 cambered-headed casement windows, vertically aligned and corbelled embattled parapet. West tower retains its original rounded form on battered base, 3 stages each slightly recessed then corbel table and ruinous octagonal cap. C19 arched light to basement front and first floor NE. W return of gatehouse tower has two C19 arched lights to basement, big first floor timber 3-light window with transom and stone cambered head, and casement pair above under stone eaves gable. Rear of main front range is built out from curtain wall with basement triple casement, first floor big timber oriel on wooden brackets, with hipped slate roof and 3-light gabled half-timbered dormer in roof. W end wall has ground floor timber cross-window and casement pair above. Blank shield plaque in gable. Interior: House interior is relatively plain for the C19 work, with clear evidence that additions post-1859 have been made on E end. Pointed rough vaults survive on both sides of the original entry passage, wall recesses and other extensive remains of the medieval structure. The centre staircase of the new work runs up from basement level entrance passage of original gatehouse. Plain open-well timber stair not relating clearly to C19 front door, possibly altered post 1859. 6-panel doors and simple fireplaces. Newport Castle is an outstanding survival of Anglo-Norman castle building in West Wales and the C19 house built within is an unusual example of C19 romanticism associated with Sir Thomas Lloyd's revival of the customs of the Barony of Cemaes. (Listed Building Report)

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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 20/04/2017 04:28:01