Holt Castle Print
HOLT - THE LION’S CASTLE
HOLT - CASTELL Y LLEW


“The towne of Lyons, otherwise named le Holte, standeth yn Wales, one half mile from a stone bridge, which partithe England and Wales.  The same being an ancient borough towne on the easte side of which town there standithe the castell.
The said castell standith equally with the towne very strongly builte upon a rocke. The first entry being over a bridge of tymber and under the same a dry mote. The said ward being a square tower strongly builte with strong gates in eyther side. The said mote compassying ffoure squares of the same castell and the river of Dee running by the este side.
And withyn the said castell there are all the houses of office mete for a prince to keep his house yn. The castell being builte five square and at every square a rownde tower of five stories highe."


Edited extract from Tidderley’s Survey of Bromfield & Yale, c. 1540
Dyfyniad wedi’i olygu o Arolwg Tidderley o Bromfield ac Iâl, c. 1540


THE SYMBOL OF A NEW ORDER

Holt Castle is situated on the banks of the River Dee on the England-Wales border.  The castle was built between 1283 and 1311 by John de Warenne and his grandson, the seventh and eighth earls of Surrey.  De Warenne was a friend of Edward I and fought alongside the king of England in his successful military campaign against Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, prince of Wales in 1282–83.  Edward I rewarded his supporters with lands in north-east Wales and each of these marcher lords built a castle to serve as his power base – these castles survive today at Denbigh, Ruthin, Chirk and Holt.
Edward I granted the lands around Wrexham, the lordship of Bromfield and Yale, to the earl of Surrey on 7th October 1282.  The Welsh were not keen on the king’s new regime and they rebelled in 1287.  During a second uprising in 1294, de Warenne temporarily lost control of his Welsh lands.  The continued opposition made the construction of an impregnable castle with good communication links back to England a priority.  Holt with its strategic ford across the River Dee was an ideal location for the earl’s Welsh headquarters.
Building Holt Castle was a major construction project.  The first reference to Holt Castle (Chastellion) dates to 1311, although there is a mention of castle guard duties in an earlier grant of land by de Warenne in 1308.  The 1315 survey of Bromfield and Yale refers to a new castle (castrum novum) – proof that the earls of Surrey intended to hold on to their Welsh property.

SYMBOL O ORCHYMYN NEWYDD

Mae Castell Holt wedi ei leoli ar lannau Afon Dyfrdwy ar y ffin rhwng Cymru a Lloegr.  Adeiladwyd y castell rhwng 1283 a 1311 gan John de Warenne a'i ŵyr, sef seithfed ac wythfed iarll Surrey.  Roedd de Warenne yn gyfaill i Edward I ac yn ymladd ochr yn ochr â brenin Lloegr yn ei ymgyrch filwrol lwyddiannus yn erbyn Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, Tywysog Cymru yn 1282–83. Roedd Edward I yn gwobrwyo ei gefnogwyr gyda thiroedd yng ngogledd-ddwyrain Cymru a phob un o'r arglwyddi Mers hyn yn adeiladu castell i wasanaethu fel sylfaen ei rym – mae’r cestyll hyn wedi goroesi hyd heddiw yn Ninbych, Rhuthun, Y Waun a Holt.
Rhoddodd Edward I y tiroedd o amgylch Wrecsam, arglwyddiaeth Bromfield ac Iâl, i iarll Surrey ar 7 Hydref 1282. Nid oedd y Cymry yn hoff iawn o drefn newydd y brenin a gwnaethant wrthryfela yn 1287. Yn ystod ail wrthryfel yn 1294, collodd de Warenne reolaeth dros dro ar ei diroedd Cymreig.  Roedd y gwrthwynebiad parhaus yn gwneud y gwaith o adeiladu castell anorchfygol gyda chysylltiadau cyfathrebu da â Lloegr yn flaenoriaeth.  Roedd Holt, gyda'i ryd strategol ar draws yr Afon Dyfrdwy, yn lleoliad delfrydol ar gyfer pencadlys Cymreig yr iarll.
Roedd adeiladu Castell Holt yn brosiect adeiladu mawr iawn.  Mae'r cyfeiriad cyntaf at Gastell Holt (Chastellion) yn dyddio i 1311, er bod sôn am ddyletswyddau gard castell mewn caniatâd cynharach o dir gan de Warenne yn 1308. Mae arolwg 1315 o Bromfield ac Iâl yn cyfeirio at gastell newydd (Castrum novum) - prawf bod ieirll Surrey yn bwriadu dal gafael ar eu heiddo yng Nghymru.


Reconstruction drawing of Holt Castle, c. 1325, from the north-east.  Artist: Phil Kenning, 2014 ©Wrexham Heritage Service, 2014
Adluniad o Gastell Holt, c. 1325, o gyfeiriad y gogledd-ddwyrain.  Artist: Phil Kenning, 2014 © Gwasanaeth Treftadaeth Wrecsam, 2014

THE PENTAGON

The first job of the workforce building the castle was to quarry away the sandstone cliffs that drop down to the flood plain of the River Dee to create a deep ditch surrounding a sandstone plinth.  The castle was built around this plinth, which was larger than the one you see today.  Quarrying out the moat provided the necessary stone to build a pentagonal (five-sided) castle. There was an additional stand-alone barbican tower that controlled access to the castle’s entrance.
In the case of Holt Castle, the landscape was re-shaped to allow the construction of a symmetrical structure.  This is in contrast to many castles where the landscape determines the position of the curtain walls and the towers.
John de Warenne had experience of building, improving and besieging castles and he was aware of the latest defensive techniques.  He was a well-travelled man and had encountered many castles in his military career.  The idea of a stepping stone barbican tower controlling access from the outer bailey to the main castle had been developed by castle builders in Spain and the Crusader states.  Regardless of the origins of the design, de Warenne and his grandson created an impressive fortress in Holt Castle.

Y PENTAGON

Swydd gyntaf y gweithlu i adeiladu'r castell oedd cloddio’r clogwyni tywodfaen sy'n disgyn i lawr i orlifdir Afon Dyfrdwy i greu ffos ddofn yn amgylchynu plinth o dywodfaen.  Cafodd y castell ei adeiladu o gwmpas y plinth hwn, a oedd yn fwy na'r un a welwch heddiw.  Roedd chwarelu’r ffos yn darparu’r garreg angenrheidiol i adeiladu castell pumochrog. Roedd tŵr barbican annibynnol ychwanegol a oedd yn rheoli mynediad at fynedfa'r castell.
Yn achos Castell Holt, cafodd y dirwedd ei ail-siapio er mwyn gallu adeiladu strwythur cymesur.  Mae hyn yn wahanol i lawer o gestyll, lle mae'r dirwedd yn penderfynu ar leoliad y llenfuriau a'r tyrau.
Roedd gan John de Warenne brofiad o adeiladu, gwella a gwarchae cestyll ac roedd yn ymwybodol o'r technegau amddiffyn diweddaraf.  Roedd yn ddyn a oedd wedi teithio llawer ac wedi dod ar draws llawer o gestyll yn ei yrfa filwrol.  Cafodd y syniad o greu tŵr camu carreg barbican ar gyfer rheoli mynediad o'r beili allanol i'r prif gastell ei ddatblygu gan adeiladwyr castell yn Sbaen a'r gwladwriaethau Crusader.  Waeth beth fo tarddiad y dyluniad, creodd de Warenne a'i ŵyr gaer drawiadol yng Nghastell Holt.

Holt Castle from the air, early 14th century. The CAD drawing is based on 16th and 17th century illustrations and plans, a modern survey and the 2012–14 excavations. Artist: Phil Kenning. © Wrexham Heritage Service, 2014
Castell Holt o'r awyr, dechrau'r 14eg ganrif. Mae'r lluniad CAD yn seiliedig ar ddarluniau a chynlluniau o’r 16eg a'r 17eg ganrif, arolwg modern a'r gwaith cloddio yn ystod  2012 a 2014. Artist: Phil Kenning. © Gwasanaeth Treftadaeth Wrecsam, 2014

ROYAL CONNECTIONS

In 1353 the FitzAlans inherited Holt Castle.  Richard FitzAlan, earl of Arundel, was a leading opponent of King Richard II.  In 1397 the king accused Arundel of treason, seized his lands and executed him.  The increasingly dictatorial king decided to convert Holt Castle into his personal treasury.  Richard II visited Holt on several occasions in 1398 and he employed twenty masons and twenty carpenters to work on making the castle even more secure.  In September that year, Richard supplied the garrison with ‘200 hauberks, 60 hatchets, 300 bows, 200 arrows, 30 crossbows, 2000 quarrels and 80 pounds of gunpowder’ — surely enough to secure the castle for the king.  Over the winter, despite the poor roads, the king ordered the transfer of over £40,000 of cash, precious gems and valuables from the Tower of London to Holt, out of reach of Parliament and the king’s many enemies.
The king’s plans failed when his support melted away following Henry Bolingbroke’s return from exile in 1399.  Henry, the king’s cousin, wanted his lands back and among his supporters was Thomas FitzAlan, son of the executed earl of Arundel.  Holt Castle surrendered to Henry without a fight on 9th August and, according to the chroniclers, it held treasure to the value of 100,000 marks (£66,000).  Seven days later, Richard was arrested and imprisoned in Flint Castle.  The new king, Henry IV, restored Thomas FitzAlan to his lands, including the castle at Holt.

CYSYLLTIADAU BRENHINOL

Etifeddwyd Castell Holt gan y FitzAlans yn 1353.  Roedd Rhisiart Fitzalan, iarll Arundel, yn wrthwynebydd blaenllaw i’r Brenin Rhisiart II.  Yn 1397, cyhuddodd y brenin Arundel o deyrnfradwriaeth, atafaelwyd ei diroedd a dienyddiwyd ef.  Penderfynodd y brenin awdurdodol drosi Castell Holt yn drysorlys personol iddo ef ei hun.  Ymwelodd Rhisiart II â Holt ar sawl achlysur yn 1398 ac fe gyflogodd ugain o seiri maen ac ugain o seiri coed i weithio ar wneud y castell hyd yn oed yn fwy diogel.  Ym mis Medi y flwyddyn honno, rhoddodd Rhisiart '200 o lurigau, 60 o fwyelli, 300 o fwâu, 200 o saethau, 30 o fwâu croes, 2000 o folltau ac 80 pwys o bowdwr gwn' i’r gwarchodlu — digon i ddiogelu’r castell ar gyfer y brenin.  Dros y gaeaf, er gwaethaf y ffyrdd gwael, gorchmynnodd y brenin bod dros £ 40,000 o arian parod, gemau gwerthfawr a phethau gwerthfawr yn cael eu trosglwyddo o Dŵr Llundain i Holt, allan o gyrraedd y Senedd a llawer o elynion y brenin.
Methodd cynlluniau’r brenin pan ddiflannodd ei gefnogaeth ar ôl i Harri Bolingbroke ddychwelyd o alltudiaeth yn 1399. Roedd Harri, cefnder y brenin, am gael ei diroedd yn ôl ac ymhlith ei gefnogwyr roedd Thomas Fitzalan, mab iarll Arundel a ddienyddiwyd.  Ildiodd Castell Holt i Harri heb frwydro ar 9 Awst ac, yn ôl y croniclwyr, roedd yno drysor gwerth 100,000 o farciau (£66,000). Saith diwrnod yn ddiweddarach, cafodd Rhisiart ei arestio a'i garcharu yng Nghastell y Fflint.  Dychwelodd y brenin newydd, Harri IV, Thomas Fitzalan i’w diroedd, gan gynnwys y castell yn Holt.

TIME OF TROUBLES

In 1400 a land dispute between Owain Glyndŵr and Reginald de Grey, lord of Ruthin, escalated into a national uprising against Henry IV. Thomas FitzAlan had little chance during the next ten years to enjoy his inheritance because the Welsh laid waste his lands, burnt his property and threatened his castle at Holt. However, the village, almost equally split between Welsh and English residents, stayed loyal to the king and the castle never fell to the forces of Glyndŵr.  

CYFNOD TRAFFERTHUS

Yn 1400 gwaethygodd anghydfod tir rhwng Owain Glyndŵr a Reginald de Grey, arglwydd Rhuthun, a bu gwrthryfela cenedlaethol yn erbyn Harri IV. Doedd gan Thomas Fitzalan ddim llawer o obaith yn ystod y deng mlynedd nesaf i fwynhau ei etifeddiaeth am fod y Cymry’n rhoi gwastraff ar ei diroedd, yn llosgi ei eiddo ac yn bygwth ei gastell yn Holt. Fodd bynnag, arhosodd y pentref, a oedd wedi'i rannu bron yn gyfartal rhwng trigolion Cymraeg a Saesneg, yn ffyddlon i'r brenin a ni chwympodd y Castell erioed i fyddinoedd Glyndŵr.

Sir William Stanley became steward of the lordship of Bromfield and Yale in 1467.  He spent the next two decades amassing wealth, acquiring land and securing lucrative government positions.  In 1484 as a reward for backing Richard III in his power grab, Stanley was made lord of Bromfield and Yale.  Stanley moved into Holt Castle and by famously switching sides at the Battle of Bosworth, he benefited from another regime change.  His greed and ego brought about his eventual downfall.  In 1495 he backed a plot to replace Henry VII (Henry Tudor) on the throne.  His end was swift once his treachery was uncovered — Stanley was sent to the tower, while the king ordered commissioners to Holt Castle to compile a list of all Stanley’s worldly goods.  The room by room inventory is a wonderful source on the castle’s layout, as well as revealing he had over £9,000 in cash stored on the premises at the time of his execution in 1495.

Daeth Syr William Stanley yn stiward ar arglwyddiaeth Bromfield ac Iâl yn 1467. Treuliodd y ddau ddegawd nesaf yn gwneud ei gyfoeth, caffael tir a sicrhau swyddi proffidiol yn y llywodraeth.  Yn 1484, fel gwobr am gefnogi Rhisiart III yn ei bŵer, gwnaethpwyd Stanley yn arglwydd ar Bromfield ac Iâl.  Symudodd Stanley i mewn i Gastell Holt a thrwy newid ochrau ym Mrwydr Bosworth, elwodd o newid cyfundrefn arall.  Achosodd ei drachwant a’i ego iddo gwympo yn y pen draw.  Yn 1495, cefnogodd gynllun i ddisodli Harri VII (Harri Tudur) ar yr orsedd.  Cwympodd yn gyflym unwaith y datgelwyd ei frad — anfonwyd Stanley i’r tŵr, tra roedd y brenin yn gorchymyn bod comisiynwyr yn mynd i Gastell Holt i lunio rhestr o holl olud bydol Stanley.  Mae'r rhestr eiddo ar gyfer pob ystafell yn ffynhonnell wych ar gynllun y castell, ac mae hefyd yn datgelu bod ganddo fwy na £ 9,000 o arian parod wedi’i storio ar y safle ar adeg ei ddienyddio yn 1495.

PLANS & ELEVATIONS

Henry VII confiscated Holt Castle from Sir William Stanley and it remained in royal hands for the next 150 years.  On occasion, when short of money, the monarch would order a survey of the royal property portfolio to see whether rents could be increased or assets sold off for cash. The surveys involved surveyors visiting the royal estates and questioning the locals.  Holt Castle was the symbol of royal power in the lordship of Bromfield and Yale and both the 1562 and 1620 surveys contain illustrations and plans of the castle. The two drawings’ differences over certain details, specifically the shape of the towers, have continued to vex archaeologists and historians.  The 1562 drawing has proved to be more accurate of the two surveys.

CYNLLUNIAU A DRYCHIADAU

Atafaelodd Harri VII Gastell Holt oddi wrth Syr William Stanley ac arhosodd ym meddiant y teulu brenhinol am y 150 mlynedd nesaf.  Ar adegau, pan yn brin o arian, byddai’r brenin yn gorchymyn cynnal arolwg o bortffolio o’r eiddo brenhinol i weld a ellid cynyddu rhenti neu werthu asedau am arian parod. Roedd yr arolwg yn cynnwys arolygwyr yn ymweld â'r stadau brenhinol ac yn cwestiynu’r bobl leol.  Castell Holt oedd symbol grym brenhinol yn arglwyddiaeth Bromfield ac Iâl ac mae arolygon 1562 a 1620 yn cynnwys darluniau a chynlluniau o'r castell. Mae’r gwahaniaethau yn y ddau lun o ran rhai manylion, yn benodol siâp y tyrau, wedi parhau i boenydio archeolegwyr a haneswyr.  Mae llun 1562 wedi profi i fod yn fwy cywir.

Notes on the plan and elevation in Norden’s Survey provide an insight into how the castle was used in the early 17th century.  Norden names the outbuildings and records the various uses of the castle grounds.  John Norden surveyed Holt Castle and the lordship of Bromfield and Yale for the young Charles I, who had been granted the lordship when he became prince of Wales in 1616.  ©British Museum, Harley Ms. 3696, folio 5

Mae'r nodiadau ar y cynllun a'r drychiad yn Arolwg Norden yn rhoi cipolwg ar sut y cafodd y castell ei ddefnyddio ar ddechrau'r 17eg ganrif.  Mae Norden yn enwi’r tai allan ac yn cofnodi gwahanol ddefnyddiau o dir y castell.  Arolygwyd Castell Holt ac arglwyddiaeth Bromfield ac Iâl gan John Norden ac Iâl ar ran y Siarl I ifanc, a oedd wedi derbyn yr arglwyddiaeth pan ddaeth yn Dywysog Cymru yn 1616.  © Amgueddfa Brydeinig, Harley Ms 3696, ffolio 5

Researchers from Holt Local History Society discovered another plan of the castle from the early 1600s in the Duchy of Cornwall papers at the National Library of Wales. This plan shows a modified chapel tower with a water gate providing access to the River Dee. Without these plans and elevations, producing the reconstruction drawings would have proved impossible.

Darganfyddodd ymchwilwyr o Gymdeithas Hanes Lleol Holt gynllun arall o'r castell o ddechrau'r 1600au ym mhapurau Dugiaeth Cernyw yn Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru. Mae'r cynllun hwn yn dangos tŵr capel wedi'i addasu gyda giât dŵr yn caniatáu mynediad i Afon Dyfrdwy. Heb y cynlluniau a’r drychiadau hyn, byddai cynhyrchu'r darluniau hyn i ail-greu wedi bod yn amhosibl.

SIEGE AND SURRENDER

John Norden recorded the castle’s neglected state in 1620. With war between King and Parliament imminent, the royalists rushed to patch up the defences and fix the roof.  Castles once again had a purpose.  In November 1643, Sir William Brereton’s Parliamentary troops seized the strategic bridge between Farndon and Holt from the king’s men.  The castle proved more of a challenge and held out for Charles I under Colonel John Robinson of Gwersyllt. 
Holt Bridge changed hands repeatedly over the next two years.  Chester fell to Parliament in February 1646, but capturing Holt Castle presented its own challenges.  The garrison rushed out and burned down all the buildings the Roundheads were using as cover to attack the castle, and in May 1646 the Parliamentary commander wrote that only starvation would force the royalists inside to surrender.  Flattened lead musket balls were found during the 2012 excavations in the castle courtyard proving some effort was made to capture the castle.  Sir Richard Lloyd of Esclus Hall, Wrexham, finally surrendered the castle in early January 1647 once he had accepted the king’s cause was lost.

GWARCHAE AC ILDIO

Cofnododd John Norden gyflwr esgeulusedig y castell ym 1620.  Â rhyfel rhwng y Brenin a’r Senedd ar fin digwydd, rhuthrodd y Brenhinwyr i atgyweirio’r amddiffynfeydd a thrwsio’r to.  Roedd gan gestyll bwrpas unwaith eto.  Ym mis Tachwedd 1643, atafaelodd milwyr Seneddol Syr William Brereton y bont strategol rhwng Farndon a Holt oddi wrth dynion y brenin.  Profodd y castell i fod yn fwy o her ac arhoswyd am Siarl I o dan y Cyrnol John Robinson o Wersyllt. 

Newidiodd meddiannaeth Pont Holt dro ar ôl tro dros y ddwy flynedd ddilynol.  Syrthiodd Caer i'r Senedd ym mis Chwefror 1646, ond roedd cipio Castell Holt am fod yn her yn ei hun.  Rhuthrodd y garsiwn allan a llosgi’r holl adeiladau roedd y Pengryniaid yn eu defnyddio fel gorchudd i ymosod ar y castell. Ym mis Mai 1646, ysgrifennodd y cadlywydd Seneddol mai dim ond newyn fyddai’n gorfodi'r Brenhinwyr y tu mewn i ildio.  Daethpwyd o hyd i beli mwsged plwm fflat yn ystod gwaith cloddio 2012 yng nghwrt y castell, sy’n profi y gwnaed rhywfaint o ymdrech i gipio’r castell.  Ildiodd Syr Rhisiart Lloyd o Esclus Hall, Wrecsam, y castell ddechrau mis Ionawr 1647 ar ôl iddo dderbyn bod achos y brenin wedi’i golli.

The South View of Holt Castle, Samuel and Nathaniel Buck, 1742 © The National Library of Wales

Golygfa Ddeheuol o Gastell Holt, Samuel a Nathaniel Buck, 1742 © Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru

SLIGHT AND SALVAGE

Thomas Grosvenor, a Cheshire landowner, bought the right to salvage stone from the castle.  He removed much of the dressed masonry between 1675 and 1682, the stone being shipped down river to help build a mansion outside Chester.
The townsfolk of Holt enjoyed reclaiming the castle and its grounds.  In the 19th century, the castle was the site of village fetes and dances —its romantic ruins being an obvious attraction for parties.
In 2006 conservation work was undertaken to prevent the collapse of the remaining walls owing to the erosion of the sandstone bedrock.  Archaeological excavations between 2012 and 2014 helped pinpoint the location of the castle’s curtain walls and towers making it finally possible to appreciate the size and proportions of Holt’s hidden castle.
Holt Castle is a Scheduled Ancient Monument.  No ground disturbance or metal detecting is allowed within the protected area without consent from Cadw.

SARHAD AC ADFER

Prynodd Thomas Grosvenor, tirfeddiannwr yn Sir Gaer, yr hawl i achub cerrig o'r castell.  Symudodd lawer o'r gwaith maen rhwng 1675 a 1682, a chafodd y cerrig eu cludo i lawr yr afon i adeiladu plasty y tu allan i Gaer.
Roedd pobl tref Holt yn mwynhau adennill y castell a'i diroedd.  Yn y 19eg ganrif, y castell oedd y safle ar gyfer ffeiriau a dawnsfeydd y pentref – gyda’i adfeilion rhamantus yn atyniad amlwg ar gyfer partïon.
Yn 2006, gwnaethpwyd gwaith cadwraeth i atal y waliau sy'n weddill rhag disgyn o ganlyniad i erydiad y creigwely o dywodfaen. Bu’r cloddiadau archeolegol a gynhaliwyd rhwng 2012 a 2014 o help i nodi lleoliad waliau a thyrau’r castell a’i gwneud yn bosibl o'r diwedd i werthfawrogi maint a chyfrannau castell cudd Holt.
Heneb Gofrestredig yw Castell Holt.  Ni chaniateir aflonyddu’r tir na defnyddio teclynnau canfod metel yn yr ardal a ddiogelir heb ganiatâd Cadw


More about the Castle and Holt

Holt was a planned village, divided into burgage plots (houses with long gardens behind), based around four main streets running north-south.  In 1315 the village population was about 650.

Roedd Holt yn bentref cynlluniedig, wedi’i rannu'n lleiniau bwrdais (tai gyda gerddi hir y tu ôl iddynt), wedi’u lleoli ar bedwar prif stryd yn rhedeg o'r gogledd i'r de.  Roedd poblogaeth y pentref tua 650 yn 1315.

John Norden listed the outbuildings, many derelict, in his 1620 survey: barns, stables, kiln, brew house, pigeon house, smithy and ‘Welsh courthouse’.  In 1505 Morgan ap Iolyn is recorded as being the crier of the court.

Rhestrodd John Norden y tai allan, llawer ohonynt yn ddiffaith, yn ei arolwg yn 1620: ysguboriau, stablau, odyn, bragdy, tŷ colomennod, gefail a 'llys Cymreig'.  Yn 1505, cofnodwyd mai Morgan ap Iolyn oedd crïwr y llys.

  • Castle Gardens is the site of the outer gatehouse and Norden records an enclosed garden nearby.
  • Gerddi’r Castell yw safle’r porthdy allanol ac mae Norden yn cofnodi gardd gaeedig gerllaw.

 

  • The barbican tower controlled access to the inner drawbridge leading to the castle entrance. The base of the barbican tower was found during the 2013 excavations.
  • Roedd y tŵr barbican yn rheoli mynediad i'r bont godi fewnol a arweiniodd at fynedfa'r castell. Canfuwyd gwaelod y tŵr barbican yn ystod gwaith cloddio 2013.
  • Archaeologists uncovered dressed masonry from the base of this tower during the 2014 excavations.
  • Datgelodd archeolegwyr waith maen o waelod y tŵr hwn yn ystod gwaith cloddio 2014.
  • The castle ditch or moat was full of water for much of the year allowing boats to access the postern gate.
  • Roedd ffos y castell yn llawn dŵr am ran helaeth o'r flwyddyn, a ganiataodd i gychod fynd at giât y cilborth.
  • Access to the river was improved at the end of the 14th century with the construction of a water gate and channel from this tower to the River Dee.
  • Cafodd mynediad at yr afon ei wella ar ddiwedd y 14eg ganrif pan adeiladwyd giât ddŵr a sianel o'r tŵr hwn i Afon Dyfrdwy.
  • The castle overlooked the borough, with watch towers providing vantage points towards the church, the ford (later the bridge) and the roads leading to Holt from the west and south.
  • Roedd y castell yn edrych dros y fwrdeistref, gyda thyrau gwylio yn darparu llecynnau manteisiol tuag at yr eglwys, y rhyd (y bont yn ddiweddarach) a'r ffyrdd sy'n arwain at Holt o'r gorllewin a'r de.
  • It is not known exactly how the outer bailey was enclosed — a stone wall, a wooden palisade and ditch or a fence and hedge.  It is likely there was some means of controlling access to the castle grounds.  Perhaps further excavations will reveal the answer.
  • Nid ydym yn gwybod yn union sut y cafodd y beili allanol ei amgáu - wal garreg, palis pren, ffos neu ffens a gwrych.  Mae'n debygol y cafwyd rhyw ffordd o reoli mynediad at dir y castell.  Efallai y bydd gwaith cloddio pellach yn datgelu'r ateb.
  • To the south of the castle, there was a deer park; the castle also had its own warren and fishponds. The burgesses of Holt had rights to use the common land to the west of the village at Commonwood.
  • I'r de o'r castell, roedd parc ceirw; roedd gan y castell hefyd ei dywyn a’i byllau pysgod ei hun. Roedd gan fwrdeisiaid Holt hawl i ddefnyddio'r tir comin i'r gorllewin o'r pentref yn Commonwood.
  • Many of the burgesses were farmers. However, some of the names in the 1391 survey indicate other ways of earning a living: Robert the Blacksmith, Eva the Drover, Thomas the Cooper, Iorwerth the Boatman and Deio ap Gruffudd, the harper (harpist).
  • Roedd llawer o'r bwrdeisiaid yn ffermwyr. Fodd bynnag, mae rhai o'r enwau yn arolwg 1391 yn nodi ffyrdd eraill o ennill bywoliaeth: Robert y Gof, Eva y Porthmon, Thomas y Cowper, Iorwerth y Cychwr a Deio ap Gruffudd, y telynor.

 

Acknowledgements

Text: Wrexham Heritage Service, 2014
Reconstruction illustrations: Phil Kenning, Ruyton-XI-Towns
Graphic design: Headland, Farndon

Testun: Gwasanaeth Treftadaeth Wrecsam, 2014
Darluniau’r adluniad: Phil Kenning, Ruyton-XI-Towns
Dyluniad graffig: Headland, Farndon

 

Castle "Fly Through" video

Holt Local History Society's successful March, 2015 lecture on Holt Castle was given by Dr Rick Turner, formerly of Cadw. He gave a fascinating talk with a set of animated illustrations re the building of Holt Castle and its internal room layouts which he pieced together from all the available evidence.

The Castle Studies Trust has funded a project to digitally reconstruct Holt Castle. These illustrations by Chris Jones-Jenkins have been converted by the Trust into a video fly-through which can be viewed its own You Tube page .

In addition, this video along with the slide illustrations are also available for you to look at on the Holt History's web site at

http://holtlhs.weebly.com/castle-animation.html

 

Location

Holt Castle is located at the bottom of a narrow footpath leading from Castle Gardens, off Castle Street (LL13 9AX).  The castle is less than five minutes’ walk from the village centre. Stout shoes or boots are recommended; wellies in wet weather, especially during winter months.   Parking: off Green Street (LL13 9JF)

Mae Castell Holt wedi’i leoli ar waelod llwybr cul sy’n arwain o Castle Gardens, oddi ar Stryd y Castell (LL13 9AX). Mae’r castell llai na phum munud o gerdded o ganol y pentref. Argymhellir esgidiau cadarn; esgidiau glaw mewn tywydd gwlyb, yn enwedig yn ystod misoedd y gaeaf. Parcio: oddi ar Green Street (LL13 9JF).

 

Map Reference
SJ45SW

Grid Reference
SJ41135377

2014 Archaeological Updates

Holt Castle was built from around 1282 by John de Warenne, the 6th Earl of Surrey. It was built in an unusual pentagonal design, with 5 massive round towers surrounding a pentagonal central courtyard, complete with an entrance featuring an isolated barbican tower and the carving of a lion on its north side.

Having investigated the castle’s courtyard in 2012 and the west side of the defences in 2013, 2014 saw excavations on the east side of the castle with the aim of locating the remains of the north east (T1) and south east (T2) towers. As with the previous work, the evidence for the post occupational robbing of stone (and indeed bedrock) was
clearly evident. As it turned out, little of the T2 tower has survived to the present day with only the northern face of its bedrock foundation surviving, at least above the water level.


We were luckier with the T1 tower, where several courses of the western face of the tower having survived the post medieval plunder. The impressive fragment of the tower, with its 70 degree batter, is a fine example of medieval masonry and hinted at the former glory of the castle in its heyday.

 

Masonry detail

We are currently designing the interpretative and access works that will be installed on the site in the autumn, works which will see the 4 year project come to an end. What next? Perhaps the Roman site nearby??


Article from: Wrexham heritage Sevice Volunteer newsletter
Photographs by Paul Hinchliffe

Useful links

Wrexham Council Listing

Castles of Wales

Wikipedia

Cadw

Castle Studies Trust