Newport Castle

Newport Castle, Gwent.


Town Centre


B4591 / B4596


NP20 1DA

Newport Castle is situated beside the tidal mouth of the River Usk with impressive towers commanding the crossing. However, sadly there is little else that remains on this once important castles. It is best viewed from the bridge, although some of the scant remains of the ruined buildings within the castle walls can be veiwed behind iron railings. The castle does however have a rich history dating back to the early Norman and Flemish conquest of South Wales.

~ History ~

1100 ~ Robert Fitz-Hamon gives lands to Robert of Hay who builds a motte 50 feet high in a commanding position at Newport.

1172 ~ King Henry II stays at the castle.

1184 ~ Following a Welsh attack on the castle, King Henry II orders its custodian Hywell ap Iorwerth to make repairs to the castle.

1207 ~ King John orders the castle to be again repaired following further Welsh attacks on the castles defences.

1233 ~ The castle is seized by Richard Marshal, Earl of Pembroke's revolt against King Henry III. Richard defeats the Kings man Baldwin III, Count of Guînes army of Flemish mercenaries at the Battle of Monmouth.

1234 ~ A truce is secured between Earl Richard Marshal and King Henry III. However, hostilities soon follow, resulting in Richard making an alliance with the Welsh prince Llywelyn the Great. He crosses from Wales to Ireland, where his arch rival Peter des Rocheshas has instigated attacks on Marshal lands in Ireland. His forces are overpowered  at the Battle of the Curragh by forces led by Maurice FitzGeraldJusticiar of Ireland. He later dies of his wounds whilst being held prisoner.

1265 ~ The castle is seized by Simon de Montfort's forces as he leads a second baron's revolt against King Henry III. However many of the Welsh Marcher Lords are friends and allies of Prince Edward, and when he escapes from his imprisonment, they rally to the Royal cause. The final nail is the defection of Gilbert de Clare, the Earl of Gloucester, the most powerful Earl and Simon's ally at the Battle Lewes, where together they had defeated King Henry III and Prince Edward. De Clare has however grown resentful of Simon's fame and growing power. 

Though boosted by Welsh infantry sent by Montfort's ally Prince Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, Simon's forces are still severely depleted with the loss of his powerful allies. Montfort himself had crossed the River Severn with his army, intending to rendezvous with his son Simon the Younger. When he sees an army approaching at Evesham, Montfort initially thinks it is his son's forces. It  is, however, Prince Edward's Royal army flying the Montfort banners they had earlier captured at Kenilworth Castle. At this point, Simon realises he had been out-manoeuvred by Edward. He is killed leading his army to defeat.

1314 ~ Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Pembroke, dies. Hugh de Audley & Hugh de Despenser, each marry one of his daughters, both laying claim to the castle of Newport.

1321 ~ The unpopular Despenser garrisons the castle as his rival de Audley, supported by the powerful de Bohuns and Mortimers barons, lay siege to the castle for four days, eventually capturing it. Despenser however manages to recapture the castle, using the wood from 300 oak trees to make good his repairs.

1327 ~ Following King Edward's accession to the throne, de Audley enjoys undesputed possession of the castle until his death twenty years later.

1380's ~ Ralph, Earl of Stafford, marries de Audley's heiress. His son Hugh begings the building in stone of a new castle at Newport. He sets of on pilgrimage to Jerusalem, never to return.

1403 ~ Hugh's forth son Edmund, still working on the incomplete castle, is killed at the Battle of Shewsbury. Shortly afterwards Newport is laid waste by the Welsh forces of Owain Glydwr.

1405 ~ Hasty repair and building work is undertaken on the still incomplete castle to make it defendable against further Welsh attacks.

1440's ~ The castle is finally completed.

1444 ~ Earl Humphrey of Newport Castle, favoured by King Henry VI, is created Duke of Buckingham.

1460 ~ Earl Humphrey is killed at the Battle of Northampton during the Wars of the Roses fighting for the Lancastrian King Henry IV.

1483 ~ Earl Humphrey's son and heir Henry, as 2nd Duke of Buckinham is executed by the Yorkist King Richard III.

1521 ~ Earl Edward, as 3rd Duke of Buckingham, is executed by the Tudor King Henry VIII.

1547 ~ Newport Castle is granted to William Herbert, who later leases it to his cousin, another William Herbert. He carries out minor repairs on the castle.

1645 ~ A survey of the castle reports the castle to be ruinous. Its is never repaired and falls into further ruin.