Llangybi – Tregrug Castle

History

   The origins of the timber Tregrug Castle in the form of motte and bailey date back to the end of the first half of the thirteenth century, when the local lands passed into the hands of the de Clare family. The construction of a stone stronghold probably began at the end of the thirteenth or early fourteenth century, possibly on the initiative of Bogo de Clare. The work was probably not completed in 1314, when Gilbert de Clare died in battle with the Scots at Bannockburn. Then the castle was in the possession of the Despensers family, it was also attacked during the Welsh rebellion of Llywelyn Bren in 1316. After the fall of the unpopular Hugh Despenser in 1326, castle became the property of the Crown. In 1554 it was sold to the Williams family of Usk. During the English Civil War, the already ruined castle was again strengthened and garrisoned by the royalist Sir Trevor Williams, who brought a 60-man garrison to Tregrug. As a result of the defeat of the king’s supporters, after the end of the war, Tregrug was demolished from the order of Parliament, because of fear of the military re-use by the royalists.

Architecture

   The castle consisted of a huge courtyard surrounded by a defensive wall with dimensions of 160 x 80 meters and a plan similar to a trapezoid. The entrance to its area was through the south-west gate, consisting of two cylindrical towers with walls up to 3 meters thick, flanking the centrally located passage. From the inside, the gate had two cylindrical communication turrets, and on the sides (from the north and south), projections containing latrines. The second, smaller, but also two-tower gate was located in the south-eastern curtain of the wall.
   The perimeter of the wall was also strengthened by the keep in the north-west corner and four more round and semicircular towers. The wall itself was massive, in the northern part of the perimeter it was about 2 meters thick at the ground floor and about 6 meters high to the level of the wall-walk.
   Located in the north-west part of the castle, the keep was rectangular in plan, with longer sides on the east-west line 10.4 meters, with two turrets in the eastern corners and a horseshoe tower from the west. The latter was 3/4 cylindrical, about 12 meters in diameter, protruding in front of the building. The eastern turrets flanked the entrance portal equipped with a portcullis, while the south-eastern one also housed a spiral staircase. In addition, from the north and south, two four-sided annexes, probably housing latrines, were adjacent to the horseshoe tower.

Current state

   Up to now, fragments of the eastern gatehouse have survived, of which the southern tower reaches 5 meters high, fragments of perimeter walls with heights from 1 to 5 meters and relics of the keep. The whole area is densely covered with vegetation and requires renovation works.

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bibliography:
Salter M., The castles of Gwent, Glamorgan & Gower, Malvern 2002.

Website castlewales.com, Llangibby Motte & Castle.
Website gatehouse-gazetteer.info, Llangibby Castle.