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Castell Morgraig

A Grade II Listed Building in Caerphilly, Caerphilly

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.5518 / 51°33'6"N

Longitude: -3.213 / 3°12'46"W

OS Eastings: 315995

OS Northings: 184358

OS Grid: ST159843

Mapcode National: GBR HW.FJJV

Mapcode Global: VH6F0.8896

Entry Name: Castell Morgraig

Location: Located approximately 100m E of the car park of the Travellers' Rest Inn. On a steep scarp, the ground falling sharply to the N and S, with good visibility over the road from Cardiff to Caerphilly.

County: Caerphilly

Town: Caerphilly

Community: Caerphilly

Locality: Thornhill

Traditional County: Glamorgan

Listing Date: 28 January 1963

Last Amended: 18 February 1999

Grade: II

Source: Cadw

Building Class: Defence

Source ID: 13540

History

Medieval castle, built between 1243 and 1267 on the border of the English Lordship of Cardiff and Senghenydd. It was certainly built by 1267 when Lord Gilbert de Clare of Glamorgan had taken control of Senghenydd and the construction of Caerphilly Castle was about to begin. The form of the castle is unusual and has no comparisons elsewhere: the keep and gateway are archaic, whilst the flanking towers and dressings are unlikely to be earlier than the mid C13. Debate has centred on whether the castle was built by the Welsh Lords of Senghenydd, or by the Norman Lords of Glamorgan. The most likely contenders are Gruffydd ap Rhys (1256-67) or Earl Richard de Clare (1243-62). Another possibility is that it was built by the former and taken over by the latter. It may have been a border garrison housing small cavalry units. In 1630 the castle was owned by Sir Edward Lewis of Van, and subsequently the Plymouth Estate. The castle was excavated in 1903-4 and it was concluded that the castle had never been completed, although it stood above 1st floor level.

Exterior

Irregular pentagonal curtain wall with towers at 4 corners and a keep at the 5th corner. Entrance to W, with later access cut through to E. Thick walls of roughly coursed conglomerate stone, standing 1-3m high. The dressings are said to have been of Sutton stone. The keep is opposite the W entrance and adjacent to the later E entrance. It is square, larger than the towers, but most of the E wall is missing. The massive towers have rounded ends with splayed side walls. The remains of the doorways which led into them from the courtyard survive in some cases. The S towers have circular basements, but these were retaining structures to provide support on a steep scarp. Low indefinable earthworks in courtyard. There is said to have been a stone base for a timber staircase against the W curtain wall which led to the upper floor. The stone for constructing the castle was quarried at the site, leaving distinctive earthworks along the scarp of the hill.

Reasons for Listing

Listed for its surviving medieval fabric, and for its historic interest as a castle of unusual plan-form.

Scheduled Ancient Monument GM031.

Other nearby listed buildings

  • II Travellers Rest Inn
    Located on a sharp bend on the ridge top, before the road descends towards Cardiff. Castell Morgrai
  • II* New House Hotel
    On the lower slopes of Caerphilly Mountain in countryside overlooking Cardiff and beyond the Bristol
  • II The Long Barn and attached courtyard wall, gates and railings
    Close to the entrance gateway to New House, on the hillside overlooking Cardiff.
  • II Hill Farmhouse
    On the S facing slope of Caerphilly Mountain overlooking Llanishen and reached by a farm track, sepa
  • II Pantysgawen
    Situated on the lower slopes of Caerphilly mountain, just above the M4 and reached by a farm track b
  • II Briwnant Farmhouse and adjoining farm range
    Set on a platform site the S slope of Caerphilly Mountain overlooking Cardiff and reached by a long
  • II Watford Chapel
    Located on a steep hill below Caerphilly mountain, S of Caerphilly town centre. The gabled entrance
  • II Plas Watford
    Set back from the road as it climbs up towards Caerphilly Mountain. Opposite Watford Fach Farmhouse

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