Neath Town Defences

Has been described as a Possible Urban Defence

There are no visible remains

NameNeath Town Defences
Alternative Names
Historic CountryGlamorgan
Modern AuthorityNeath Port Talbot
1974 AuthorityWest Glamorgan

Little information exists about the Town defences of Neath as archaeological excavation is required. The book 'The Towns of Medieval Wales', Ian Soulsby (1983) has some information about the defences of Neath, but this mainly focusses on how hopelessly inadequate they were. The town is thought to have had little, if no defensive wall apart from that of the castle structure itself Tthis left Neath open to attack, which resulted in the towns speedy decline in the 13th century. Following these uprisings and events of the 13th century Neath remained small until the industrial revolution. (Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust HER)

No remains of ?C12 earthworks or possible later stone walls. RCAHMW report possible section of town wall observed springing from the castle, 1965. Full description and history in Spurgeon 2001. The reference to C12 earthworks comes from a charter mentioning 'ad fossatum nove ville' (Clark, Cartae, i,75). Soulsby writes the town was attacked several times but the town 'was a substantial borough with a sound economy protected and fostered by charter. Curiously, however, its only defence appears to have been the castle, and there is no evidence to support the view the town was walled or even protected with a bank and ditch' he adds, in a footnote, 'Neath is stated to have been walled by Lewis and Clark. The are several references to ditches in the area of the town, such as the veteri fossato, mentioned in a late C13 or early C14 deed, but nothing to indicate a connection with defence.'

Not scheduled

Not Listed

The National Monument Record (Coflein) number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSS753976
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  • Creighton, O.H. and Higham, R.A., 2005, Medieval Town Walls (Stroud: Tempus) p. 273
  • Bond, C.J., 1987, 'Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Defences' in Schofield, J. and Leech, R. (eds), Urban Archaeology in Britain (CBA Research Report 61) p. 92-116 online copy
  • Soulsby, Ian, 1983, The Towns of Medieval Wales (Phillimore; Chichester) p. 189-92
  • Clark, G.T., 1883, The Land of Morgan (London) p. 133 online copy
  • Lewis, Samual, 1849, A Topographical Dictionary of Wales online copy


  • Creighton, Oliver, 2006, ''Castles of Communities': Medieval Town Defences in England; Wales and Gascony' Ch√Ęteau Gaillard Vol. 22 p. 75-86
  • Spurgeon, C.J., 2001, 'The Medieval Town Defences of Glamorgan' Studia Celtica Vol. 35 p. 161-212 esp p. 196-200

Primary Sources

  • Clark, G.T., 1910, Cartae et alia munimenta quae ad dominium de Glamorgancia pertinent Vol. 1 p. 75, 76 online copy
  • Calendar of Ancient Deeds Vol. 2 No. B 2737