Archaeologists investigate east side of once-mighty 13th century Welsh castle

By Ben Miller | 30 May 2014

Archaeologists say new excavations on the flank of a former castle which could have been one of the strongest in Wales should reveal towering artefacts

A photo of the remains of a castle wall on grassland
Holt Castle was built following the defeat of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd during the 13th century© Wrexham Heritage Services
A mysterious crumbled castle, built by the Earl of Surrey following the defeat of the Prince of Wales in Wrexham in 1282 but abandoned during the mid-17th century, is being investigated by archaeologists who believe they could find the remains of five huge round towers which once surrounded the site.

Only the central courtyard remains at Holt Castle, a pentagonal structure designed by John de Warenne and later used as a stone quarry.

A photo of people digging an enormous muddy trench within grassland
Volunteers have helped organise the digs© Courtesy Wrexham Heritage Services
Experts discovered the foundations of one of the towers, to the west of the courtyard, alongside traces of the entrance tower and a rock-cut ditch during a dig last year.

“All the evidence suggests that Holt Castle was once one of the strongest castles in the country,” says Stephen Gunter, the Heritage Service Manager for Wrexham Castle.

“But if you visit today there is little surviving above ground that reflects its former grandeur.

“By revealing the remains of its massive defences we hope to make the site much more meaningful to the many people who visit the castle every year.”

Local volunteers have helped staff the excavations, funded by the Welsh Government and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

Site tours will be held during an open morning on June 7 2014 from 10am-12pm.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

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