You have no advanced search rows. Add one by clicking the '+ Add Row' button

Castle Tower, Penmaen;Penmaen Burrows Ringwork

Loading Map
Map ReferenceSS58NW
Grid ReferenceSS5340888034
Unitary (Local) AuthoritySwansea
Old CountyGlamorgan
Type Of SiteCASTLE
The earthworks of a small medieval castle crown the tip of a headland overlooking the west side of Threecliff Bay. It was probably built by the Normans in the early twelfth century and was destroyed in the early thirteenth century. It would have been the centre of a 'knight's fee' in the lordship of Gower. It is thought that the remains of a medieval settlement underlie the dunes to the west (NPRN 15435) where the foundations of a church or chapel are exposed (NPRN 305604). The settlement is thought to have been engulfed by blown sand before 1320 and the Burrows later came to be a rabbit warren (see NPRN 24490). The site was excavated in 1961-2 and is one of the best understood lesser castles in Wales.

The castle consists of a single oval enclosure or court, defined by a rampart and ditch except where it rests of headlong slopes to the east. There is a single entrance gap opening onto generally level ground. The interior is roughly 34m east-west by 26m.
The excavations recovered evidence for two phases of occupation. The first featured a large timber gateway or tower, some 6.0m square, supported on six massive posts. Less substantial buildings occupied the interior. The second phase featured a narrower, drystone revetted entrance and a 12.5m by 5.0m hall on the southern side of the court. This had low drystone walls with rounded corners supporting a timber superstructure.

Both phases of occupation ended in destruction by fire. The pottery recovered was dated to the twelfth and early thirteenth century. It is thought that the second destruction occured in 1217 when 'all the castles of Gower' are said to have been destroyed.

Sources: Alcock in the Antiquaries Journal 46 II (1966), 178-210
RCAHMW Glamorgan Inventory 3.1a The Earlier Castles (1991), CR18 123-7

John Wiles, RCAHMW, 04 January 2008