Caerleon Net

Written accounts of visitors to Caerleon

We have two first hand accounts from the 16th century. Leland, who travelled in Gwent around the year 1536, wrote:

"The Ruines of the Walles of the Town yet remayne, and also of the Castel."

About 50 years later Thomas Churchyard wrote:

"There is a castle very old,
That may not be forgot.
It stands upon a forced hill,
Not farre from flowing flood:
Where loe ye view long vales at will,
Envyron'd all with wood."

Leland's words do little to help us, other than to confirm that the ruins of a castle existed then. We can not tell whether the walls he mentions are Roman or Town Walls or part of the castle defences.

Churchyard gives us two important pieces of information. Firstly the castle (or part of it) stood on top of the mound (note: near the river). This must have been a stone structure, wood of course would not have survived until then. Secondly, it was high enough to view the valley "at will", and it was possible to climb up the tower to do so.

That they do not describe the castle suggests there was nothing very unusual about it, but this is guesswork.

William Coxe visited Caerleon several times in the last few years of the 18th century. His book, An Historical Tour in Monmouthshire, contains useful descriptions and illustrations of the castle ruins evident then.

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