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Ruthin Castle Lower Bailey

Photographs and text copyright by John Northall

 

The west gate allowed access into the dry moat separating the upper and lower baileys. It was approached by crossing a bridge over the outer moat and was protected by a portcullis. The stone steps that now lead down from the outside of the gate are not original. To the left of the gateway can be seen what appears to be a large drain or latrine chute, which is situated at the western end of the inner moat. A semicircular fighting platform provided a good arc of fire from above the entrance. Part of the hotel can be seen within the lower bailey.
A view from the west tower of the upper bailey along the curtain wall to the south shows the position of the west gate, the outer moat and the base of a drum tower revetted onto the south western corner of the lower bailey.
Looking at the inside of the west gate from within the inner moat, the remains of a chamber that once housed the portcullis machinery can be seen above the entrance passage. The stonework of this wall is not red sandstone as used for the earlier revetment walls and it probably represents the final stage of building under Reginald de Grey in 1295. However, the red sandstone moulding around the arch of the doorway provided continuity of style.
Turning to the right and looking across the inner moat, the stairs curving down from the upper bailey to a position beneath the west tower can be seen. A doorway in the masonry below the tower opened onto a narrow spiral stairway that led down to a sally port in the outer moat. The opening of the drain adjacent to the west gate is in the left-hand lower corner of this view.
A closer look at the curving stairway into the upper bailey reveals a mysterious archway amongst the foliage. Was this another entrance to the upper bailey or an awkwardly placed latrine chute? The thickness of the upper bailey wall is evident behind the white handrail.
This is a view along the inner moat from beneath the stone bridge that now connects the two halves of the hotel either side of the moat. The curtain wall between the west gate and the upper bailey can be seen at the end of the moat. The wooden bridge between the baileys is not original. There is a stone-lined tunnel amongst the foliage to the right of the picture.
The tunnel runs from the inner moat to deep within the ground under the upper bailey. It seems to have been carefully constructed but what was it for? It's too small and rough to be a regular entrance so it may just have been a drain, but it's another unusual feature.
The hotel building springs out over the southern edge of the lower bailey. The ground outside the bailey can be seen to be much lower than the area of grass within. The curtain wall has disappeared from the top of the revetment.

 

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