Domesday Book tells us that there was a castle in Caerleon soon
after the Norman conquest:
"William de Scohies
holds 8 carucates of land in the jurisdiction of Carlion castle,
The original castle
was in all probability a timber tower on top of a mound surrounded
by a ditch. During later years the timber structure was replaced
by a solid stone tower and extensive walls were added.
The mound is still
visible even behind the high Mynde walls, but, unlike the Roman
ruins in Caerleon, very little of the medieval stonework remains.
In order to form an impression of the extent of the castle we
need to piece together the following evidence:
that now remains of the castle: [Photos]
Written accounts of visitors to Caerleon: [Leland]
[Thomas Churchyard] [William
Old pictures of the castle.
Notes on excavations carried out in the Mynde grounds: [John
Lee] [Robert Woollett]
Using the above
sources we can deduce:
was large and impressive.
It may well have included the old Roman walls as an outer defence.
A high stone tower stood on top of the mound.
The mound was surrounded by a moat until 1839 (Woollett). It
was probably approached over a drawbridge. Two towers guarded
its base. A flight of steps led to the tower. The mound was
built on top of an earlier structure, which may well have been
There was a bailey, and probably an outer bailey on the river
side. (Judging by the line of the remaining wall and difference
in ground levels either side of it.)
The gatehouse identified by Coxe was probably the main entrance
to the castle, a short distance from the bridge.
There were round towers at points around the caste walls.
Additional towers (probably outside the castle walls) guarded
[Artist's Impression] [Plan]
It is likely
that much of the stone used for building the castle was taken
from the abundant Roman remains. Later, the castle ruins were
used, in their turn, as a quarry for building stone.
They say "An Englishman's home is his castle". Well, here in Wales
it is the other way around…
Caerleon Castle is now many a villager's home!