Newcastle Castle

Newcastle Castle, Glamorgan

Location

Newcastle Hill, Bridgend

Road

A473 / A4061

SatNav

CF31 4JN

Newcastle Castle in Bridgend took us quite a while to find, but eventually we discovered its location.

With the exception of the decorative entrance, the castle has few features of interest once inside.

~ History ~


1080's ~ Although King William I has briefly advanced into South Wales where he builds Cardiff Castle, there is no centrally co-ordinated Norman campaign to conquer all or part of the Principality. Instead Norman Barons are encouraged to seize land and forge autonomous Lordships providing they take the responsibility for securing and suppressing the area.

These Marcher Lords are nominally subject to the King of England but are effectively defacto rulers in their conquered lands. One such Lord was Robert Fitzhamon, Baron of Gloucester who is encouraged by William II to attack the Welsh Kingdom of Morgannwg in South Wales.


1089 ~ Supported by twelve Knights and their retinues, Robert advances from Gloucester, and builds himself Newport Castle.

He then advances west into the Vale of Glamorgan where he establishes his administrative centre at Cardiff.


1106 ~ The Norman's advance further west as far west as the River Ogmore. This natural barrier becomes a temporary frontier between the native Welsh and the Normans but, more importantly, it offers easy access from the Sea. Accordingly the Normans build three major fortifications along its length.

Coity Castle is raised by Payn de Turberville. Ogmore Castle by William de Londres.

Robert Fitzhamon build a ‘new castle’ at Bridgend, which is built to control a key crossing point on the river

 

1180s ~ Robert's castle is rebuilt with the inner earthwork ring converted into a stone Keep by William FitzRobert, Earl of Gloucester. The outer curtain wal was built soon after to a much higher standard. Constructed entirely from ashlar, the sheer expense was met by King Henry II, who funded this upgrade after taken control of the castle following the Welsh rebellion of Morgan ap Caradog.

 

1189 ~ Newcastle was retained in Royal ownership until the death of Henry II. It is then granted to his yougest son Prince John, who later grants it to Morgan ap Caradog so as to build support amongst the Welsh.


1214 ~ The castle is back in Royal ownership.


1217 ~ The castle is granted by the King Henry III to Gilbert Turbeville, Lord of Coity.  Gilbert had been one of the magnates who had opposed King John during the First Barons' War. Gilbert, whose main seat is at nearby Coity Castle, has little interest in Newcastle and he neglects the castle.


It later passed through the Berkerolle and Gamage families but no major work is undertaken until the sixteenth century when it is converted to meet the levels of comfort expected in a Tudor home. Despite the upgrades it ceases to be a residence in the late sixteenth century and in 1718 is purchased by Samuel Edwin of Llanmihangel Place.