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Denbigh Town Wall

A Scheduled Monument in Denbigh (Dinbych), Denbighshire (Sir Ddinbych)

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.1808 / 53°10'50"N

Longitude: -3.4196 / 3°25'10"W

OS Eastings: 305227

OS Northings: 365792

OS Grid: SJ052657

Mapcode National: GBR 6M.3PTG

Mapcode Global: WH771.F9VX

Entry Name: Denbigh Town Wall

Scheduled Date: 27 February 1980

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 2919

Cadw Legacy ID: DE002

Schedule Class: Defence

Category: Town defences

Period: Medieval

County: Denbighshire (Sir Ddinbych)

Community: Denbigh (Dinbych)

Built-Up Area: Denbigh

Traditional County: Denbighshire

Description

The monument comprises the remains of the medieval town walls of Denbigh. The circuit of defences enclosing the town extends for some 1,100m. The walls were erected simultaneously with Denbigh Castle’s outer western and southern wall between 1282 and 1294. By the fourteenth century an additional protective wall (known as the salient) at the Goblin Tower was built as well as the rooms in the Countess Tower. The circuit includes two twin-towered gates and four towers at irregular intervals:

The Exchequer Gate is represented by its excavated foundations. These show a twin-towered gate of rectangular plan at the base, probably round-fronted at first-floor level and looking very similar to the Burgess Gate. The gate was close enough to the castle to receive additional protection from the Red Tower and great gatehouse.

The Burgess Gate stands at the west end of the long northern stretch of the town wall and was originally approached by a bridge crossing a ditch. The entrance is flanked by projecting towers, the eastern one of which may have contained a vaulted guard chamber, while the western one had a timber ceiling. The vaulted entrance passage had doors at the centre with a portcullis in front. There was also access from the gate to the wall-walk on either side.

The north-eastern Tower comprises a half-round structure now of two storeys with a latrine chute on the east. From here the wall turns through 120 degrees, descending south-easterly to reach the Countess Tower.

The Countess Tower consists of two angular turrets to which have been added two rooms within the angle of the wall. The north turret is a square room of two storeys with a fireplace in the south-east angle and above it a dovecote – which may be later. The east turret was a larger room of two storeys. Another room was later added south of the east turret, within the original town wall, and beyond this, a doorway with a portcullis groove gave access to the salient protecting the well in the Goblin Tower. This salient enclosed a triangular piece of ground along the face of the rock, placed forward from the original town wall.

The Goblin Tower is a large, irregular, hexagonal bastion projecting from the face of the limestone cliff. It is of two main storeys with a narrow stairway descending from the lower floor to a deep well. Visible along the outer face of this tower is the glacis – the sloping masonry bank that protects the base of the curtain wall from attack.

The Bastion Tower is a half-round structure with a basement and would have probably comprised three upper storeys. Like the Burgess Gate it is attractively decorated externally with a chequerwork pattern of fawn sandstone alternating with white limestone.

The majority of the town walls survive, however the stretch which includes the Countess Tower and Goblin Tower is particularly well preserved.

The monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance our knowledge of medieval defensive organisation and the growth of towns. The monument forms an important element within the wider medieval context and the structure itself may be expected to contain archaeological information in regard to chronology, building techniques and functional detail. The scheduled area comprises the remains described and areas around them within which related evidence may be expected to survive.

Source: Cadw

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