Ancient Monuments

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Original Swansea Castle

A Scheduled Monument in Castle (Castell), Swansea (Abertawe)

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Latitude: 51.6212 / 51°37'16"N

Longitude: -3.9414 / 3°56'28"W

OS Eastings: 265699

OS Northings: 193157

OS Grid: SS656931

Mapcode National: GBR WS9.PC

Mapcode Global: VH4K9.MJQ2

Entry Name: Original Swansea Castle

Scheduled Date: 14 March 1990

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 3738

Cadw Legacy ID: GM441

Schedule Class: Defence

Category: Castle

Period: Medieval

County: Swansea (Abertawe)

Community: Castle (Castell)

Built-Up Area: Swansea

Traditional County: Glamorgan


The monument consists of the remains of the first phases of Swansea Castle. (The later phases of the castle to the south are scheduled under GM012). The castle stands on the crest of a north-south gravel scarp, bounded on the east by the navigable River Tawe (now represented by The Strand). Its position was strategic: it commanded the lowest crossing of the river, the main east-west route in south Wales, and a good harbour.

Swansea Castle's history was a turbulent one: it suffered in many Welsh raids, and changed hands many times. It was a Norman castle, first mentioned in 1116 as being attacked by the Welsh. It was established by Henry I's friend Henry de Beaumont, first earl of Warwick, as the seat of administration of the marcher lordship of Gower, which Henry bestowed on him in about 1106. This first castle was of motte and bailey type and nothing of it remains above ground. The west side of its deep ditch has been excavated to the north of the present remains. It was rebuilt in stone on the same site, probably after being razed by the Welsh in 1217. Nothing remains above ground of this stage either, but the west side of the curtain wall has been found, together with a mural tower. To the south-west of this small castle, called the 'Old Castle', a large roughly rectangular outer bailey was walled in stone in the 13th century.

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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