• Lucy

Ogmore Castle (Glamorgan, South Wales)


Situated on the bank of the River Ewenny, Ogmore Castle guards a significant ford where the Ewenny and Ogmore River meet just before the sea.


Construction would have begun some time before 1116, either as a ringwork enclosure or a motte and bailey – the present ditch may date from this original structure. Held by William de Londres, one of the legendary 12 knights of Glamorgan, in 1116 William was forced to leave the castle by the Welsh. His butler is credited with protecting the castle subsequent to his departure, and for this he was knighted Sir Arnold Butler.


The keep was probably built by William’s son Maurice in c.1130, soon after William’s death in 1126. A square building of unknown purpose was probably built c.1180, and in c.1210 a hall and curtain wall were constructed. The curtain wall was 1.2 metres thick and replaced the previous ringwork bank and palisade.




The castle keep once rose 40 feet tall and consisted of 3 stories containing a great hall, lords’ apartments, and a basement. Across from the keep and within the Inner Ward is another hall. Most of the construction at Ogmore took place in the 13th century, including a new gatehouse, new apartments, and expanded curtain walls.


As was custom at the time, William founded the nearby Ewenny Abbey, then in 1144 Ewenny Priory was founded by his son Maurice.


In the late 13th Century Thomas’ descendant married into the Chaworth family of Kidwelly, and in 1298 the castle passed into the hands of Henry of Grosmont, first duke of Lancaster. The castle remains in the ownership of the Duchy of Lancaster to this day.


Unfortunately Ogmore’s history was fairly uneventful, so there’s very little to be known or said about what happened at the castle before it fell into ruin during the 1600s.


In the present day the site is free to access and managed by CADW. Next to the castle are stepping stones that are a Scheduled Ancient Monument.


Site visited and pictures take October 2018.

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