Kenfig Castle

by David Nurse August. 18, 2020 386 views

This year I would have liked to visit many castles around Wales but unfortunately, the Pandemic restrictions got in the way.

Having decided to continue with this project I visited for the first time the ruins of my local "Kenfig Castle".

Ruins is not an understatement with regard to this castle as there is very little left now and the area has been overwhelmed by the sand dunes.

I visited on a warm summer evening and it was obvious to me that I got the time and date wrong. To see the ruins in it's best state (assuming it has one) would have to visit in late winter when the vegetation is low and also in the morning when the sun would be in a more pleasing direction. So another visit will be in the diary around February.

The Norman castle was established by Robert, earl of Gloucester in the first half of the 12th century, Kenfig castle now lies in a completely ruinous state.

Initially, a timber motte and bailey castle it was built near the village of Kenfig in 1140.

It originally consisted of a roughly circular embanked and palisaded court some 37m across, enclosing a magnificent square-plan tower.

At around 1185 the wooden castle was replaced by a stone tower.

The castle was built to keep the locals in check and its significance was such that it was attacked by the Welsh on at least nine separate occasions between 1167 and 1405.

One attack in 1294 during a Welsh uprising across Glamorgan saw the destruction of the town of Kenfig. But the castle survived.

In the 1300s the castle was substantially reconstructed. The rampart was thrown down to level up the court and a curtain wall was built with a large masonry gatehouse facing into the borough. The tower was also reconstructed and its south-west wall completely rebuilt.

By the late 15th century, both Kenfig old town and the castle had been abandoned because of encroaching sand dunes.

In the 1920s and early 1930s, much of the sand was excavated as an archaeological dig. The sands reinvaded the site and only the top of the keep is now visible once again.

A few years ago the UK "Time Team" made a TV episode of their archaeological dig on this area and the report is available and the programme is available for some countries.

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Brian Scott 10 months ago

Great story and photos, I never knew it existed, until now +1

10 months ago Edited