Abergavenny Castle

The Castle

Tower in the 18th CenturyThe Motte was probably built by the Norman Lord Hamelin de Ballon in 1087 AD. The tower built at the top of the motte would have been wooden. Beneath the motte was the bailey - a courtyard containing the outbuildings and stables.

The whole castle was destroyed in 1233 by Richard Marshal, Earl of Pembroke, and the Welsh princes. The keep was rebuilt in stone.

The first Great Hall in the castle was probably a timber building. Within this Hall, on Christmas Day 1175, the Norman Lord of Abergavenny, William de Braose, murdered his long-standing Welsh rival Seisyll ap Dyfnwal.

In 1182, the castle was attacked by relatives of the murdered Welshmen. Most of William's men were captured, but he was not at home. The walls you see today are the remains of a stone Hall built between 1233 and 1295.

Walkways around the castle during the Victorian periodThe Tower Complex consisted of two towers, one polygonal and the other circular. Evidence suggests that these towers were built in 1295-1314 at the same time as the town walls, using murage grants - a form of tax raised by the local Lord.

The Gatehouse is a typical barbican gatehouse. When the castle wall was first built, in the late 13th to early 14th century, the gate was a simple opening in the curtain wall.

Unusual door features suggest that the Gatehouse was added early in the 15th Century. At this time the last Welsh War of Independence was being fought against Owain Glyn Dwr.

Wall of the Great HallThe castle was surrounded by a dry ditch rather than a moat.

The keep along with most of the other castle buildings, was destroyed in the Civil War, between 1645 - 1646. In 1818, the present building - now the Museum - was constructed on top of the motte as a hunting lodge for the Marquess of Abergavenny.