Forgotten Castles of Wales and the Marches


Paul R. Davis


Wales is a land of castles. The best known are probably those built in the thirteenth century under King Edward I to defeat the native princes, but the most numerous lie across the south of the country and along the border with England, in the region known as the Welsh Marches. These areas were fought over in centuries of conflict, from the initial Norman invasion through to the Glyndŵr Rebellion and into the Civil Wars that erupted between King and Parliament. Many of these castles never developed beyond wooden buildings on earthen mounds, but those that did, gained stone-built defences in all shapes and sizes, from simple towers to complex fortifications with massive defences covering several acres. Most were built by Norman invaders, while others were constructed by the native princes for their own defence. The castles suffered varied fates; some were destroyed and rebuilt on several occasions, a few were abandoned before they were even finished, while others crumbled into ruin and were then robbed of stone for use elsewhere. And there were those that outlived the medieval period and were transformed into great houses built for status and show in an age when the need for military strongholds had passed.

The remains of many castles are well cared for by Cadw or English Heritage, but a far from insignificant number are virtually forgotten, solitary on their isolated hillsides, buried in sand dunes, or hidden in overgrown woodland. This book considers over 60 such castles in detail: the reasons why they were built, the story of the people who ordered their construction, the architectural development of the buildings, the causes of their eventual decay and directions to help the reader find what remains to be seen. The stories that bring these forgotten castles to life are enhanced by photographs and reconstruction drawings.

Paul R. Davis has worked for the Dyfed Archaeological Trust and is currently a surveyor based in South Wales. He has written and illustrated a number of books on the historic architecture of Wales, particularly relating to medieval castles.

Paperback with flaps | 288 pages | 242 x 171 mm | 2011, Revised & extended edition Jan 2022
152 colour and 59 b&w illustrations, 8 maps, 3 family trees
ISBN 9781910839522


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