« PreviousContinue »
CASTLES OF GOWER
according to the Aberpergwm Brut, Richard returned from the Holy Land, bringing with him a Syrian architect, well skilled in the building of monasteries, churches, and castles, and by him we may presume, a new castle was built on the other side of the river, though the present castle on that site is clearly of much later date. The monks of course destroyed all vestiges of the first (probably wooden) castle.
*REMMI, or Remni.—Of this castle there is only one solitary mention, in the Pipe Roll of 1184. The name seems to indicate the river Rhymney, which is the boundary between Glamorgan and Monmouth. We are unable to find any castle site so near the Rhymney as Ruperra, where Clark mentions a fine motte. But we do not venture on this identification without further information.
CASTLES OF GOWER.
*SWANSEA, or Abertawy.—This was the castle of Henry Beaumont, the conqueror of Gower. The present castle is comparatively modern. It is inside the town; but there used to be a moated mound outside the town, which was only removed in 1804. It seems probable to us that this was the original castle of Beaumont. That this first castle had a motte is 1 M. M. A., i., 112.
Ruperra is not quite one mile from the river Rhymney. There is another site which may possibly be that of Castle Remni : Castleton, which is nearly 2 miles from the river, but is on the main road from Cardiff to Newport. “It was formerly a place of strength and was probably built or occupied by the Normans for the purpose of retaining their conquest of Wentlwg. The only remains are a barrow in the garden Mr Philipps, which is supposed to have been the site of the citadel, and a stone barn, once a chapel.” Coxe's Monmouthshire, i., 63.
3 It is right to say that Colonel Morgan in his admirable Survey of East Gower (a model of what an antiquarian survey ought to be) does not con
suggested by the narrative in the Brut which tells how Griffith ap Rhys burnt the outworks in 1115, but was unable to get at the tower.
*Loughor, or Aberllychor (Fig. 43).—Also built by Henry Beaumont. The mound of the castle still remains, with a small square keep on top. There was formerly a shell wall also. The place of a bailey was supplied by a terrace 15 feet wide. The four castles last mentioned are all at the mouths of rivers, as well as on an ancient (if not Roman) coast road.
*LLANDEILO TALYBONT, or Castell Hu. Only mentioned once in the Brut, under 1215, as the castle of Hugh de Miles. A moated mound with a square bailey and no masonry still remains. It commands the river Loughor, which is still navigable up to that point at high tides. On the opposite side of the river is another motte and bailey, called Ystum Enlle. Possibly there was a ford or ferry at this point, which these castles were placed to defend."
OYSTERMOUTH, a corruption of Ystum Llwynarth.First mentioned in the older Brut in 1215, when it was burnt by Rhys Grug. The later version says it was built by Beaumont in 1099. The castle stands on a natural height, fortified artificially by a motte, which is of great size. There is a small bailey below to the
. N.E., and a curious small oval embankment thrown out in the rear of the castle towards the N.W. The
nect this mound with the old castle which is mentioned, as well as the new castle, in Cromwell's Survey of Gower. But even the old castle seems to have been Edwardian (see the plan, p. 85), so it is quite possible there were three successive castles in Swansea. 1 Brut, 1113.
2 Morgan's Survey of East Gower, p. 24. 3 Colonel Morgan's Survey of East Gower. 4 Lewis's Topographical Dictionary.
6 The passage of the river Lune in Lancashire is similarly defended by the mottes of Melling and Arkholme.
FEUDALISATION OF WALES
architecture of this magnificent castle is all of the Edwardian style, and as the castle was burnt down by Rhys ap Meredith in 1287, it is probable that only wooden structures stood on this site until after that date. The castle is in a fine situation overlooking the Bay of Swansea. [H. W.]
We have now completed our list of the Norman castles built in Wales which are known to history. It must not be supposed, however, that we imagine this to be a complete list of all the Norman castles which were ever erected in Wales. The fact that several in our catalogue are only once mentioned in the records makes it probable that there were many others which have never been mentioned at all. In this way we may account for the many mottes which remain in Wales about which history is entirely silent. As there was scarcely a corner in Wales into which the Normans did not penetrate at some time or other, it is not surprising if we find them in districts which are generally reckoned to be entirely Welsh. But there is another way of accounting for them; some of them may have been built by the Welsh themselves, in imitation of the Normans. As the feudal system and feudal ideas penetrated more and more into Wales, and the Welsh princes themselves became feudal homagers of the kings of England, it was natural that the feudal castle should also become a Welsh institution, especially as it was soon found to be a great addition to the chieftain's personal strength. The following castles are stated in the Brut to have been built by the Welsh.
1113. *Cymmer, in Merioneth.—Built by Uchtred ap 1 The dates given are those of the Brut, and probably two years too early.
Edwin, whose name, as we have already remarked, suggests an English descent. Near Cymmer Abbey the motte or tomen remains.
*Cynfael, in Merioneth, near Towyn.-Built by Cadwalader, son of Griffith ap Cynan, on whose behalf Henry II. undertook his first expedition into Wales, and who was at that time a protégé of the AngloNormans. Clark gives a plan of this motte-castle in
. Arch. Camb., 4th ser., vi., 66.
1148. *Yale, in Denbigh = Llanarmon. — Said to have been built by Owen Gwynedd, but here, as we have said, an earlier Norman foundation seems probable (see p. 272).
1148. LLANRHYSTYD, in Cardigan.—Also built by Cadwalader, who was then establishing himself in Cardigan. Probably the motte and bailey called Penrhos, or Castell Rhos, to the east of Llanrhystyd village. [H. W.]
1155. ABERDOVEY.— Built by Rhys ap Griffith to defend Cardigan against Owen, Prince of Gwynedd. It must therefore have been on the Cardigan shore of the Dovey, and not at the present town of Aberdovey, which is on the Merioneth shore. And in fact, on the Cardigan shore of the estuary, about two miles west of Glandovey Castle, there is a tumulus called Domenlas (the green tump), which was very likely the site of this castle of Rhys.
1155. CAEREINION.—Built by Madoc of Powys, who was then a homager of Henry II. Remains of a motte near the church; the churchyard itself appears to be the former bailey. About a mile off is a British camp called
a Pen y Voel, which may have been the seat of the son of Cunedda, who is said to have settled here. [H. W.]
Meyrick's History of Cardigan, p. 146.
MOTTES IN WALES
*Walwern, or Tafolwern, near Llanbrynmair, in Montgomery, may have been a Welsh castle. It is first mentioned in 1163, when Howel ap Jeuav took it from Owen Gwynedd, who may have been its builder. The motte is marked in the O.M. on a narrow peninsula at the junction of two streams.
1169. * ABEREINON, in Cardigan.—Built by Rhys ap Griffith, Henry II.'s Justiciar of South Wales. circular moated tumulus, now called Cil y Craig."i (It is marked on the 25-inch O.M.)
1177. *Rhaidr Gwy.—Also built by Rhys ap Griffith, no doubt as a menace to Powys, as this castle was afterwards sorely contested. It is a motte-and-bailey castle, the motte being known as Tower Mount.?
All these castles are of the motte-and-bailey type, and prove the adoption by the Welsh of Norman customs. It will be noticed that in the first instances they were built by men who were specially under Norman influences. But probably the fashion was soon more widely followed, although these are the only recorded cases.
The contribution made by the castles of Wales to the general theory of the origin of mottes in these islands is very important. Leaving out the seven castles attributed to the Welsh, we find that out of seventy-one castles built by the Normans, fifty-three, or very nearly three-fourths, still have mottes; while in the remaining eighteen, either the sites have been so altered as to destroy the original plan, or there is a probability that a motte has formerly existed.
i Meyrick's History of Cardigan, p. 146. ? Lewis's Topographical Dictionary.
3 We do not include the castles which the Welsh rebuilt. Thus in 1194 we are told that Rhys built the castle of Kidwelly, which he certainly only rebuilt.