Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Cardigan Castle

A Scheduled Monument in Cardigan (Aberteifi), Ceredigion

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Latitude: 52.0816 / 52°4'53"N

Longitude: -4.6605 / 4°39'37"W

OS Eastings: 217791

OS Northings: 245917

OS Grid: SN177459

Mapcode National: GBR CZ.C4MT

Mapcode Global: VH2MP.5YJ5

Entry Name: Cardigan Castle

Scheduled Date:

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 1885

Cadw Legacy ID: CD123

Schedule Class: Defence

Category: Castle

Period: Medieval

County: Ceredigion

Community: Cardigan (Aberteifi)

Built-Up Area: Cardigan

Traditional County: Cardiganshire


The monument comprises the remains of a Medieval castle built by the Norman lord, Gilbert de Clare around 1110. The castle is located at the southern end of the town of Cardigan, on a rocky spur overlooking the river Teifi. Below the castle, the ground drops precipitously to the east and south.

Lord Rhys captured the castle for the Welsh in 1164 and rebuilt it in stone in 1171, although nothing remains of this earlier phase. By 1240 Walter Marshal, brother of the earl of Pembroke captured and rebuilt the castle, however a major phase of rebuilding took place in about 1244-54 under Robert Waleran, who became constable in 1248. Most of the medieval fabric that remains probably dates to this period. A keep on the north curtain wall was built in 1246-52 (completed in about 1261) and three towers were built in the south-east, east and north of the site. The outer ward is roughly oval in plan enclosing approximately 3 acres. In 1279 Edward III made the castle the administrative centre for the new shire of Cardigan.

Further repairs and building works continued into the fourteenth century, but after this the castle appears to have been neglected. By 1343 the curtain wall was in ruins and by 1610 the Great Tower (north tower), was partially ruined. Excavations in 1984 revealed that there had been a ditch, 7m wide, north of the tower, with a counterscarp bank about 7m wide and 1.5m high. In the Civil War the castle was damaged further during a siege of Cardigan by Parliamentarian forces in December 1644; the curtain wall between the east and south-east towers was partially destroyed.

The monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance our knowledge of Medieval social, domestic and political life and warfare. Notably, the first Eisteddfod was hosted here in 1176.

The scheduled area comprises the remains described and an area around them within which related evidence may be expected to survive.

Source: Cadw

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