Morlais Castle

Iron Age Hillfort

Castell Morlais, an Iron Age hillfort, covers an approximately rectangular enclosure of about 1.6 hectares, partially obscured by the later Morlais Castle, which is believed to have been reconstructed by Gilbert de Clare around 1270. Morlais Castle consists of two baileys enclosed by a curtain wall with five or six round towers, some of which have collapsed but still visible in certain areas, all surrounded by a bank and ditch. Adjacent to this, there are ploughed-out field boundaries associated with a rectangular enclosure.

The Bronze Age Morlais Hill Ring Cairn to the north of the farmstead, which consists of a circular bank made of limestone rubble with a possible entrance on the south side, serving as an important funerary and ritual landscape element.

Morlais Castle, built around 1288, has unclear origins and was constructed by the lord of Glamorgan to safeguard the newly captured commotes of Senghenydd. The castle, which was sacked by rebels in 1294 and never rebuilt, is situated on a prominent site and comprises a massive walled enclosure measuring approximately 130 meters by 60 meters, with sturdy towers integrated into the walls.

The western side of the castle is protected by a steep scarp, providing natural defenses. Notably, there are two large round towers, each about 20 meters in diameter, located at the southern and northern ends of the enclosure. The vaulted undercroft of the southern tower still exists, and chambers built within the walls of the towers are visible, along with a sizable cistern carved from solid rock.

The main court of the castle is enclosed within a wide ditch, approximately 15 meters in width, carved into the rock. Additionally, there is an outer court within earthworks located to the south of the castle. Despite its obscure origins and its eventual demise, Morlais Castle remains a significant historical site with its impressive fortifications and strategic location.

Sites near Morlais Castle