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FOURTH SERIES.No. XXIX.
COYTY CASTLE AND LORDSHIP.
The lordship of Coyty is regarded by the Welsh as an Honour of high antiquity, the estate and seat of a royal
a lineage, and the inheritance of one of the sons of Jestyn, the last native lord of Morganwg. It is divided into the lesser lordships of Coyty Anglia and Wallia, and it formed one of the “members” of the county under the Norman lords. Being a member, and not in the body of the shire, it is not included in the thirty-six and three-fifths knights' fees which paid military service to Cardiff Castle ; but it was held under the lord of Glamorgan, who held of the Crown, and the castle, manor, and members of Coyty appear accordingly in inquisitions of the Earls of Gloucester and their successors in the reigns of Edward I, II, and III. In the 24th Henry VI, for some probably temporary reason, only the Castle and a fourth part of the manor are returned in the chief lord's schedule.
Coyty was granted by Fitzhamon to Sir Pagan or Payne de Turberville, a knight, who probably held BereTurberville and other lands in Dorset, and the manor and Castle of Crickhowel in Monmouthshire. Unlike most of the sites of the Norman castles in Glamorgan, Coyty was evidently an earlier residence and a place of strength, and in its circular and raised area, and its circumscribing moat, much resembles the earthworks so common in England and upon the Welsh marches, and
4TA SER., VOL. VIII.
usually attributed to the English of the eighth and ninth centuries. Of this position Sir Pagan judiciously availed himself when he received from Fitzhamon Coyty as his share of the spoil. Probably Sir Pagan found some sort of strong house existing, which he and his immediate successors found it convenient to occupy; for though the extant masonry cannot be attributed to his age,
it is of a date too near to it to have allowed of the decay of a substantial Norman structure. Sir Pagan is reputed to have married Sybil, heiress of the old Welsh lords of Coyty, and thus to have added a title respected by the natives to that acquired by his sword. Certain it is that the Turbervilles much inclined to the Welsh side in the frequent disputes between them and the over-lords.
Sir Pagan died, and was followed by his son, Sir Simon, who died childless; and he by his brother, Sir Gilbert, who was father of a second Sir Pagan, who was father of a second Sir Gilbert, who married Maud, daughter of Morgan Gam, lord of Avan, a descendant, and probably the representative, of Jestyn. Gilbert, who was in possession in 1207, may well have been the real constructor of the Castle. This view is supported by the evidence of the actual building, the oldest parts of which may be Early English, but certainly are not Norman.
The Castle is composed of a circular enclosure or inner ward, about 48 yards in diameter; to the northwestern side of which is appended a rectangular court 68 yards long by 43 yards broad, forming the outer ward, and probably an addition. The whole Castle is surrounded by a ditch which varies in breadth from 90 to 100 feet, and in depth from 20 feet to 60 feet. It is far deeper and broader where it protects the circular than where it is continued round the outer ward. shallows towards the north-west, and at that end is scarcely perceptible. It is probable that the original circular Castle was surrounded completely by the ditch, and that this was in part filled up when the outer
ward was added. This could be ascertained by probing the ground.
The circular or inner ward is much higher, either naturally or artificially, than the exterior ground. It is enclosed within a strong and lofty curtain-wall, 8 feet thick, upon which are two gatehouses and a drumtower, and against it the hall, chapel, and other domestic buildings. The interior is an open, irregular, but on the whole four-sided court, about 60 yards in the side.
The principal gatehouse is to the east, and opens upon the churchyard which forms the counterscarp of the ditch. It is quadrangular, 20 feet broad by 24 feet deep, of which 16 feet project beyond the curtain. A passage cut through a low bank of earth thrown up outside the ditch led from the churchyard towards the portal. A causeway now occupies the place of the drawbridge, the chains for lifting which passed through two holes seen in the spandrels of the gateway. The entrance is 6 feet broad, beneath a pointed arch set in a square-headed recess, intended to house the bridge when lifted. The first defence was a portcullis, the groove of which is large, and intended for a wooden grate, and behind it was a door. The passage was covered in by a plain vault. On the right is a wellstair ascending to the roof; on the left, a sort of lodge, the two windows of which look into the court. The inner archway has fallen, as has the vault.
The gatehouse had two upper floors, each 20 feet by 10 feet. The first, the portcullis chamber, has a window at each end, and two in each side. In the south wall is a fireplace. From this chamber a mural stair leads to the rampart of the south curtain. That of the north curtain is reached from the well-staircase. The second floor of the gatehouse has a window in each face. The floor of this room and the roof were of timber, and are gone. The gatehouse is probably of the reign of Richard II. The windows are Tudor insertions.
The northern gatehouse, that between the outer and inner wards, is destroyed ; but the foundations show a