Ancient Monuments

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Penrice Castle

A Scheduled Monument in Penrice (Pen-rhys), Swansea (Abertawe)

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Latitude: 51.5752 / 51°34'30"N

Longitude: -4.1703 / 4°10'13"W

OS Eastings: 249701

OS Northings: 188494

OS Grid: SS497884

Mapcode National: GBR GT.1L2F

Mapcode Global: VH3MX.NNPS

Entry Name: Penrice Castle

Scheduled Date:

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 3762

Cadw Legacy ID: GM047

Schedule Class: Defence

Category: Castle

Period: Medieval

County: Swansea (Abertawe)

Community: Penrice (Pen-rhys)

Traditional County: Glamorgan


The monument consists of the remains of a stone-built castle. Possibly of Norman origin, much of the stonework remaining is 13th century; a window with seats in the north-west gatehouse overlooking the ward suggests a 13th century date.

The castle comprises a drum-tower keep with a large ward to its east side. A group of ruined buildings at the north of the ward include a gatehouse with flanking defensive turrets. Attached to the east side, externally, is a conical dovecote. The wall of the ward survives generally to a height of about 3 to 5 metres. Irregularities at intervals appear to be small open-backed defensive turrets. The circular keep at the west side is about 12m diameter, surviving to a height of about three storeys; most openings appear to be walled up except a slit opening facing west and a pointed arch facing north to the exterior. It has two small semi-circular additions, one to east and one to west, and a three-storeyed rectangular building attached to it on the exterior. The latter building survives on two sides only; it had a gabled roof running north-east to south-west; large fireplace in its south-west wall with segmental arch on corbels; remnants of flat arches in openings above.

Close to the keep is a small intra-mural building of which two walls remain, with a walled up segmental opening to the exterior. The entrance building at the north has a portcullis slot behind a gothic arch. Guard towers left and right with loops facing the entrance. The one to the north has been adapted as a dovecote, the other is inaccessible. The rear corners of this building facing the ward are rounded. Gothic arch of two orders to rear opening to the ward; above this a first floor lancet window with seats in the reveals. Along the north side is an enclosure with traces of intra-mural buildings. Two walls at the north east side are a fragment of a building to which the lost wall dividing the ward into two halves was attached.

The castle was abandoned in favour of Oxwich Castle in the late medieval period and fell into ruin. It was slighted by Cromwell. When engraved by Buck in c. 1735 the surviving curtain wall still had its crenellations. The ruins were probably reduced for picturesque effect in the late 18th century. A wall dividing the ward into two halves has nearly all disappeared.

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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