Location: South Glamorgan
Ticket Prices: -
When looking at the interesting castle at Cardiff; it is helpful to forget about the eighteenth and nineteenth-century additions to this very old fortress. Basically, Cardiff began as a motte castle, raised by about 1080. The motte is over 12.2 metres (40 ft) tall, sitting in a surrounding moat. On the summit was erected a 12-sided shell enclosure, with one side having a tower-like projection. This was built in the twelfth century. Robert, Duke of Normandy, eldest son of William the Conqueror, was imprisoned here (c.1110-34) by his youngest brother, Henry I of England. Among the medieval additions were the Black Tower (1200s), below the motte and connected to the motte by a wing wall, an octagonal tower (c.1420s) on the south side of the shell enclosure and standing taller, and a substantial gatehouse linked to the Black Tower by a massive wall across the bailey.
The castle stands on the site of a Roman fort, with a stone curtain with flanking turrets. Later in the castle's history, apartments were raised in the bailey including a range against the western wall, substantially remodeled in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The octagonal turret on the shell enclosure is one of these additions. Cardiff is a very good example in Wales of how an earth-and-timber motte castle was converted to a stone fortress (like Berkhamsted and Pickering). The .castle was attacked several times by the Welsh.