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Cardigan Old Castle

aka Din Geraint, Castell Aberteifi

Cardigan, Ceredigion, west Wales

Map link for Cardigan Old Castle

Photographs copyright © by John Northall, except as noted

When the Normans invaded West Wales in 1083 AD they reached the Atlantic coast at the mouth of the river Teifi, one mile downstream from where Cardigan would be established in later years.  A rocky knoll in the bend of the river provided a good place to quickly build a rudimentary castle of earth and timber. They may even have reused an earlier ironage promontory enclosure of which there are many on this coast.

The old castle has been identified as Castell Aberteifi, otherwise known as Din(as) Geraint which does suggest a pre-Norman fortress. A levelled oval  platform was created which was 60 metres long and 24 metres wide.

The west side of the platform sits on a low cliff adjacent to the river, providing an effective defensive  barrier. On the opposite side of the enclosure the ground sloped naturally downwards towards the east so a ditch was dug on that side and the soil used to raise the interior height of the platform above the ditch. An oval bank was built around the platform and would have been topped with a stout fence made of squared tree trunks held together with large iron nails.

The entrance to the castle was probably at it's southern end where there appears to have been a rock-cut ditch with a possible wooden bridge over it.

There are signs of cropmarks to the east of the enclosure, which may indicate an outer ward, but they may be agricultural or natural features.

Aerial photograph below copyright © Toby Driver and Coflein

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