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Castell Machen

aka Castell Meredydd

a few miles E of Caerphilly, south Wales
ST 226 887

Photographs copyright 2009 by Steffan Johnson

Mike Salter 1991

In the early part of the 13th century this site was used as a retreat by Morgan ap Hywell after he had lost his main stronghold of Caerleon to the Normans. Morgan probably built the round tower keep, but the bailey and curtain wall appears to have been constructed by Gilbert Marshal, earl of Pembroke in 1236, when he captured the castle and held it for a short while. In 1248 the castle passed to Morgan's grandson Maredudd from whom the name is derived, and it was later held by the de Clares. The bailey is about 60m square. Although once protected by a wall and ditch it was poorly defended and is overlooked by higher ground to the north. The southern side is a cliff edge from which rises two tree-clad knobs of rock which bear the last traces of a round tower keep and a rectangular hall block, which were separated from each other and the bailey by ditches. The keep was a small specimen of its type, having a diameter of 8.6m over walls 2.5m thick. A latrine chute discharges down the cliff edge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Copyright 2009 by Jeffrey L. Thomas