• Lucy

Llangybi/Tregug Castle (Monmouthshire, Wales)

Updated: Mar 11, 2019

Also known as Llangibby or Treguk Castle.

I want to open this post with saying that I am genuinely amazed at how much of this castle remains, especially considering its lesser known status. I was also fortunate enough not to get told off by the gamekeeper for trespassing, and instead was given a very informative history lesson from a him as a lifelong local.

The name #Llangybi Castle originally referred to a motte and bailey castle where the Castle farm is now sited. The Estate passed to the De Claires family in 1245, and the current ruined castle is believed to have been started around 1312 by either Gilbert de Claire or his uncle Bogo de Claire, and left incomplete after Gilbert’s death at the Battle of Brannockburn in 1314.

For a while it was within the care of the Despenser family and it may have been Hugh Despenser the Younger who began to build what remains of the late medieval construction.

In 1544 the estate was sold by the Crown to the Williams family. During the Civil War (1642 – 1651) the castle was garrisoned with 60 men in support of King Charles. As a result of this royalist support the castle was subsequently slighted. It is very probable that stone from the castle was taken and used in the 17th century manor house that was demolished in 1951.

The castle consisted of a roughly rectangular bailey and was one of the largest single-enclosure castles in Britain. There was a twin-towered gatehouse to the west and a single tower gatehouse to the north of this. In the south west of the bailey there was another double towered gatehouse. Large sections of the curtain wall remain, although the entire site is heavily overgrown. One tower remains on the north wall.

There's a limited amount of information available on the castle online, and the best plan I have for the site is from Mike Salter's 'Castles of Gwent, Glamorgan, and Gower' shown below. (And his books come highly recommended, they are an extensive and valuable guide for anyone out visiting castle sites in the UK).

In 2010 the castle was excavated by Time Team. The show concluded that the substantial earthworks surrounding the castle were Civil War defences and that in the 17th Century the area around the castle was extensively remodeled to create a "pleasance" containing gardens and fountains.

I have found the full episode here on Youtube for your viewing pleasure.

In recent years (1900s onwards, really) the bailey area of the castle has had several agricultural uses. This includes crops, a pheasant reserve, and a Christmas tree farm.

Site visited and pictures taken in September 2018.

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