Caerleon Net

The 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:

The little that now remains of the castle: [Photos]

Written accounts of visitors to Caerleon: [Leland]  [Thomas Churchyard]  [William Coxe]
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:

The castle 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 pre-Roman.

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 the river.

[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!

Caerleon Net
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You might like to read THE LAST OF THE CAERLEONS - From The History And Legends Of Old Castles And Abbeys, part 13, published May 1875 by John Dicks, 313 Strand, London.