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Aberystwyth Castle

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Aberystwyth Castle
Part of Ceredigion
Aberystwyth, Wales
Remains of the north tower gateway at Aberystwyth Castle.
Aberystwyth Castle is located in Wales
Aberystwyth Castle
Aberystwyth Castle
Coordinates52°24′48″N 4°05′23″W / 52.41324°N 4.08968°W / 52.41324; -4.08968
TypeDiamond-shaped concentric castle
Site information
Controlled byAberystwyth Town Council
Site history
Built byLater work attributed to James of Saint George
In useOpen to public
EventsWelsh Wars
English Civil War
Listed Building – Grade I

Aberystwyth Castle (Welsh: Castell Aberystwyth) is a Grade I listed Edwardian fortress located in Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, Mid Wales. It was built in response to the First Welsh War in the late 13th century, replacing an earlier fortress located a mile to the south. During a national uprising by Owain Glyndŵr, the Welsh captured the castle in 1404, but it was recaptured by the English four years later.[1] From 1637 it housed a Royal mint of Charles I, which produced silver shillings. The castle was slighted by Oliver Cromwell in 1649.


Marcher lord Gilbert de Clare built an earlier motte and bailey castle a mile south of the current site in around 1110.[2] It was called Tan-y-castell[dubiousdiscuss][Why would a castle b e called "under the castle"?], Aberrheidol Castle and Old Aberystwyth.[1] In 1116 it was unsuccessfully besieged by Gruffydd ap Rhys, King of Deheubarth. He was eventually successful in 1136, capturing it and burning it to the ground with the help of Owain Gwynedd and his brother, Cadwaladr ap Gruffydd, the sons of Gruffudd ap Cynan, King of Gwynedd. The Norman invaders had killed their sister, Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd, Gruffydd ap Rhys's wife. Owain Gwynedd gave the castle to Cadwaladr to rebuild, but Cadwaladr's later attempt to murder Anarawd ap Gruffydd, the new king of Deheubarth, resulted in Owain Gwynedd sending his son Hywel to burn it in 1143.[3] The castle was rebuilt and later reinforced with stone.[1] After a succession of at least three owners, it was taken by Welsh prince Llywelyn the Great in 1221. Llywelyn razed the castle and erected a new one in its place.[4] The current castle was rebuilt in its current location by Edward I of England in 1277 after the end of the first war against Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, Llywelyn the Great's grandson. The Welsh took the castle in 1282, at the start of the 1282 war, and burned both the castle and the town. Under master mason James of St George, the castle was eventually completed in 1289, though it was besieged extensively during the revolt of Madog ap Llywelyn in 1294–5.[1]

The ruins of Aberystwyth Castle, from the east view, in the county of Cardigan (1769)

The town of Aberystwyth was flourishing by 1307;[1] its Welsh name was Llanbadarn Gaerog (English: Fortified Llanbadarn).[5] However, by the time of the Black Prince in 1343, the castle was in a bad state of disrepair; the main gateway and drawbridges, the king's hall and long chamber, the kitchen range, and the outer bailey were falling down.

In 1404, Owain Glyndŵr captured and took possession of the castle during a national uprising against English occupation.[1] Later, a treaty was signed between Glyndŵr and the King of France at the castle. Four years later, it was retaken by the English, and became an important seat of the government.[6] In 1637 Charles I turned the castle into a Royal mint, which produced silver shillings. The mint's operator raised a regiment of Royalist soldiers during the English Civil War. The mint closed down during the Civil War, but served as a warehouse for storing silver and lead.[6] Oliver Cromwell slighted the castle in 1649.[7]


Building work started in 1277 at the time of the First Welsh War,[6][3] during Edward I's first Welsh campaign at the same time as work started at Flint, Rhuddlan and Builth Wells. The inner ward was built in a diamond-shaped concentric castle, with a twin D-shaped gatehouse keep and mural towers at each corner.[8] The outer ward is described as consisting of a "twin D-shaped gatehouse, a barbican, a rock-cut ditch and a large curtain wall with towers".[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Aberystwyth Castle". VisitWales. Retrieved 22 August 2023.
  2. ^ "Aberystwyth Castle". Britainexpress.com. Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Aberystwth Castle". Castlesfortsbattles.co.uk. Archived from the original on 20 September 2015. Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Aberystwyth Castle". Aberystwyth.gov.uk. Retrieved 31 October 2021.
  5. ^ Chadwick, Nora Kershaw (1958). Studies in the Early British Church. CUP Archive. p. 163.
  6. ^ a b c "Aberystwyth Castle". BBC. 1 September 2008. Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  7. ^ "Aberystwyth Castle". Castlewales.com. Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  8. ^ "Castles of Wales - Aberystwyth Castle". Britainirelandcastles.com. Retrieved 14 April 2016.

External links[edit]