Castles of Bridgend


1106 sees the earliest recorded reference to a castle at Newcastle It was built by the Lord of Glamorgan himself, Robert FitzHamon.  It was strategically built on a high bluff above the Ogmore Valley to guard the river below.  An earlier earth work castle of ring work type, is thought to have been situated where the present castle sits. The Castle was probably rebuilt in stone during 1180s, when the king himself, Henry II, held the castle. The Castle boast of a complete Norman doorway which greets the visitor on their approach. 

“It is late 12th-century, contemporary with the curtain wall. On the inside it is quite plain, but the outside is given fine decorative treatment. Once inside the curtain wall, the circuit of which is complete, the nature of the castle becomes apparent. It is a courtyard castle, roughly circular in plan, with two mural towers built into the curtain wall on the south and west sides. The curtain wall, which was built in straight sections, is impressive and stands to its full height on the west side.

The square mural towers were a new development in military planning when built, but were soon to be superseded by round towers. The south tower is the better preserved, standing in parts to three storeys high. It was much altered for domestic use in the 16th century, when Tudor windows and fireplaces were inserted. Only the ground floor of the west tower survives. Very fragmentary foundations of a detached building at the north end, and the more complete foundations of two buildings against the east curtain wall are visible.”

The Castle and lands were later given to the de Turberville family in 1217. The castle and lands of Newcastle became part of the the Margam Estate when it was bought by Sir Rice Mansel of Margam during 1536.

Ogmore Castle

1116 sees  the earliest recorded occupancy of Ogmore Castle. The castle is occupied by its builder William de Londres, one of Robert FitzHamons Twelve Knights of Glamorgan. The record confirms that the castle had been built by this date, in a motte and bailey type including earthworks and ditches.  William de Londres was forced to abandon the lands of Ogmore when the Welsh appeared in force. Arnold de Boteler is noted to have protected the castle against the attack of the Welsh and for that he was rewarded the castle and lands of Dunraven. The castle was later rebuilt in stone by his son Maurice de Londres the founder of Ewenny Priory.  Ogmore Castle guards the major fording place into southern Wales.  Once towering three stories the castle is now a ruin.

“The first story contained the great hall, with an ornate fireplace and elaborate windows. A staircase led from the hall to the floor above, which served as apartments for the lord and his family, and a trap-door opened from the hall down into the basement. A well-preserved latrine tower adjoins the residential complex.

Across the inner ward, opposite the keep, stands another 12th century structure. Only the cellar of this building remains, the steps leading to a vaulted passageway (shown at right). Interestingly, one of the stairs was constructed from a pre-Norman stone cross. An inscription has survived and relates the following: "Be it known to all that Artmail gave this estate to God and Glywys and Nertat and his daughter" (Robinson). The original stone is now on display in Cardiff, at the National Museum of Wales.

Most of the other construction at Ogmore dates from the 13th century, when the de Londres family still owned the fortress. New buildings were added as needed and included another great hall, once again containing apartments for the lord; an expansion of the curtain wall; and a new gatehouse, a simple structure located adjacent to the keep, its turret projecting into the outer ward. (The turret held additional latrines, accessed from the hall and the upper level of the keep.) Inside the inner ward are the foundations of several buildings, which probably included a hall block and additional accommodation. And, footings of the original drawbridge are visible alongside the gate passage between the inner and outer wards, as is a now-blocked postern gate. Additional buildings were constructed along the wall in the outer ward.”

Coity Castle

During 1100 a stronghold at Coity was completed. The Castle was built on the site of an earlier Welsh Court. It was of a timber and earth work constructed and later fortified to stone. The notorious de Turberville family held the castle at Coity for many years. The de Tuberville family held the Lordship of Coity from c.1092 until c.1380. The Lordship is thought to have been founded by Sir Payne de Turberville, who was one of Robert FitzHamon’s Twelve Knights of Glamorgan along with William de Londres who held the Lordship of Ogmore.  He was given this Lordship in return for his services during the Norman Conquest.

“In 1384, Sir Lawrence Berkerolles inherited the Lordship of Coity, its castle and its estates, through marriage to one of the de Turberville daughters. Sir Lawrence probably ordered the extensive renovations mentioned above.  He also added the east gate, which opens toward Coity Church and was defended with a portcullis and a drawbridge; a new stone curtain wall around the Outer Bailey; and a four-storied round latrine tower on the south side of the curtain. Draining into a cesspit which directed the waste into the moat, the round tower served the personal needs of the garrison and also functioned as a observation post from which the guards could fire down on attackers.”

During 1404/05 Coity Castle was  attacked by the forces of Owain Glyndwr. The manorial mill at Ogmore was destroyed along with Newcastle Church and Castle being severely damaged.

“After Sir Lawrence Berkerolles's death in 1411, Coity Castle passed to the Gamage family. They added a chapel over the hall and a large barn against the south wall of the Outer Bailey, and also converted one of the wall towers into a gatehouse. In 1584, Barbara Gamage, heir to the castle and the Gamage fortune, married Sir Robert Sydney, Earl of Leicester, and moved from Coity to greener pastures at Penshurst Place in Kent.”

Candleston  Castle

Candleston Castle, is a 14th century fortified manor house, situated 1.2km northwest of Ogmore Castle, surrounded by the huge dunes system of Merthyr Mawr warren.

The manor house is allegedly named after the de Cantelupe family who were the manors first feudal tenants. The de Cantelupe family are known to have connection's with the de Londres family who occupied Ogmore Castle although it is known that Candleston Castle  was built later than Ogmore Castle. Candelston’s other tenants may have included the Denys, Sir William Horton, Sir Matthew Cradock, Sir William Doddington, Robert Grenville and  Sir John Nicholl of Merthyr Mawr, Sir John being the last of the tenants. It is known that  Candleston severed as a farmhouse up until the late 19th century when it was eventually abandoned.
The manor house being built during the 14th century has seen many renovations including having a hall renovation during the 15th century, during the 17th century a west wing was added to the manor house and also during the 18th century a stable block was added which extended from the east wall of the 14th century tower.

It’s elevation has saved the manor from encroachment of the sands unlike Kenfig which has been completely submerged by sand.

During 1823 it is said that the sands of Merthyr Mawr exposed about 300 yards (to the west of the manor) substantial remains of a manorial windmill. Foundations of further buildings have reportedly been seen close by.

There is rumour of a lost village of Candleston hidden under the sands of Merthyr Mawr but there is no evidence to prove this.

Dunraven Castle

Dyndryfan: Fortress of the three rocks or triangle fortress

The Castle of Dunraven was built on the site of an early Iron Age Fort.  It is said to have been a Royal-Roman stronghold during the time of Bran, the son of Lear.  There is record of the Saxons burning the residence of Dunraven during 1050, it is also noted that Rhys ap Tewder destroyed the residence some thirty years later (1080) when it was the home of Iestyn ap Cwrgan, the last native Prince of Glamorgan. 
During the time of the Normans ‘Donrevyn’ fell under the Lordship of William de Londres, one of Robert FitzHamon’s Twelve Knights of Glamorgan. In about 1128 the manor and land of Dunraven was awarded to Arnold de Boteler  (the Butler of the Ogmore residence of the de Londres family) after he bravely defended Ogmore Castle against the attack of the Welsh.

The Boteler (Butler) family held Dunraven throughout the 12th , 13th, 14th and 15th centuries until the male line of the Boteler’s died out.  During this time it (15th century) is reported that Owain Glyndwr destroyed the Castle.  Ann, the daughter of Jane and John Boteler  married the soon to be notorious Walter Vaughan thus bringing the estate into the Vaughan family.  During the 1540’s Dunraven is described as a “Manor Place” owned by Walter Vaughan.  In 1642 Sir Richard Vaughan sold the estate to Humphry Wyndham the husband of Jane Carne of Ewenny whose descendants were the Earls  of Dunraven.

In 1803 Mr Thomas Wyndham made alterations to the Manor House as did his grandson Edwin (the son of Countess  Caroline of Dunraven) in 1858! After these works the Manor House attracted the named Dunraven Castle due to its many castellations.

During World War One and World War Two the ‘Castle’ was used as Glamorgan Red Cross County Hospital. (Still in the hands of the Earls of Dunraven)

After the Second World War the Manor House was used as a WTA Guest House.  The property and grounds were rented and run by the W.T.A from the 6th Earl of Dunraven Richard Southwell Windham Robert Wyndham-Quin.  The property was managed by Mr & Mrs Anderson.

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