Kidwelly – city defensive walls

History

The earliest donation to the town walls in Kidwelly is known from 1280, so it is assumed that the stone fortifications were created around 1300, in place of earlier timber and earth fortifications. During the late Middle Ages, around the 15th and 16th centuries, the upper floor of the southern gate was transformed into a town hall.

Architecture

The town walls stretched south-west of the castle. Ran from the southern castle gate, twisting it twice in a gentle arch in the south-west, from where they led north, where they turned to the castle’s moat after the eastbound turn. Their thickness was approximately 1.6 meters at the ground part, the height is unknown. It were crowned with battlement and had a sidewalk for defenders in the thickness of the wall. It were not reinforced with towers. Two gates led to the city: from the south-west and north-west. The south gatehouse had a rectangular plan with spurs in the corners, had two floors and was topped with a battlement. The four-stepped gate’s passage had a portcullis between the 2nd and 3rd step. As the upper floor was transformed into a town hall, large windows were pierced on the first floor, also from the outside of the town. The first floor was warmed by a fireplace, the second floor also had a fireplace and an independent entrance on timber external stairs. The portals also led to a sidewalk on the defensive walls. The smaller gate was probably located on the northern side of the fortifications, near the castle’s moat.

Current state

Currently, the best preserved part of the defensive wall is the section running west of the castle’s moat on the north side of the town. It is about 1.6 meters wide and has survived to an average height of 2.3 meters. In addition, the ruined south-west town gatehouse has survived.

show southern gatehouse on map

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bibliography:
Kenyon J., The medieval castles of Wales, Cardiff 2010.
Website gatehouse-gazetteer.info, Kidwelly town walls.