Ancient Monuments

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Neath Castle

A Scheduled Monument in Neath (Castell-nedd), Neath Port Talbot (Castell-nedd Port Talbot)

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Latitude: 51.6651 / 51°39'54"N

Longitude: -3.8035 / 3°48'12"W

OS Eastings: 275364

OS Northings: 197801

OS Grid: SS753978

Mapcode National: GBR H3.660M

Mapcode Global: VH5GN.1D3V

Entry Name: Neath Castle

Scheduled Date:

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 2855

Cadw Legacy ID: GM039

Schedule Class: Defence

Category: Castle

Period: Medieval

County: Neath Port Talbot (Castell-nedd Port Talbot)

Community: Neath (Castell-nedd)

Built-Up Area: Neath

Traditional County: Glamorgan


The monument consists of the remains of a castle dating to the medieval period. Neath Castle was one of the minor Norman castles in the lordship of Glamorgan. The Normans chose this strategic spot, guarding the river crossing, for a stronghold. The main surviving feature of the castle is the great twin-towered gatehouse on its west side. This belongs to the latest phase in its 250 year history.

The first castle was a castle-ringwork known to have been built here in the 12th century by Robert, earl of Gloucester. The roughly oval, raised enclosure to the east of the gatehouse probably dates from this period. The castle was much harried by the Welsh, and was rebuilt in stone some time in the early 13th century, possibly after being destroyed by Llywelyn ab Iorwerth in 1231. The ruined curtain wall is part of this castle, although it has been much modified since. It had two projecting round towers, the stump of one of which is visible on the east side. There was a simple gatehouse on the site of the present one, and the flight of steps well below the present ground level in front of the present gatehouse led up to this 13th century one.

The castle was again severely damaged in 1321-2 by enemies of the unpopular lord of Glamorgan, Hugh le Despenser. It was the 14th century rebuilding after this attack that gave it its magnificent gatehouse. Only the fronts of the great D-shaped towers and the arch between them survive. The steps of the old gateway, now uncovered again, were buried and a drawbridge used instead. Blocked windows and the springing of the arch over the gateway still retain their dressed Sutton stone surrounds which contrast nicely with the dark local sandstone of the walls. Jutting out from the front of the right-hand tower is the broken end of the town wall. In the interior of the castle, the foundations of buildings now only remain.

The monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance our knowledge of medieval defensive practices.The monument is well-preserved and an important relic of the medieval landscape. It retains significant archaeological potential, with a strong probability of the presence of both structural evidence and intact associated deposits.

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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