A comprehensive gazetteer and bibliography of the medieval castles, fortifications and palaces of England, Wales and the Islands.
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Distribution map of the medieval fortifications of Wales

List of Medieval Fortified Ecclesiastical Sites (churches and monastries) in Wales

Questionable or Doubtful
Confidence is a statement of the site as a medieval fortification


Monasteries, churches and granges defended against raids. Monastic communities were, mainly, made up of high status people. Monasteries were also often used as stop over residencies for lords. Much monastic 'fortification' such as gatehouses are actually status displays rather than really defensive, although military raids and peasant riots did occasionally put such defences to the test. Granges could hold considerable wealth so defences here were generally practical but also reflect the status of the parent community. Churches were an important resource for the local peasant community having many functions beyond spiritual succour; in unsafe areas like the Marches, this included short-term defence against raiding bands.
It is and was commonplace for churches to have towers and to be crenellated. The symbol of secular lordship, the crenellated tower, derived from the responsibilities of secular lordship to defend the community were thus appropriated to symbolise spiritual dominion. It should also be noted that belfry towers have particular structural issues to deal with heavy moving and vibrating bells and need to be substancial, thick walled and have small windows for these reasons, particularly in areas where the quality of stone and mortar was poor.
Bishop's castles and priest's towers are considered as private residences and are listed with other castles etc.
Name Alternative Name(s) County Remains
Caer Gybi, Holyhead Treffynnon Anglesey major building
Caldy, St Marys Priory Caldey Priory; Ynys Pir; Ynys Pyr; Ynys Byr Pembrokeshire major building
Ewenny Priory Ewenni; Wenny Glamorgan major building
Llangyfelach Church of St David and St Cyfelach Glamorgan major building
Oystermouth Church of All Saints Glamorgan major building
St Davids Cathedral Close Porth-y-twr Pembrokeshire major building
Bishopton Church of St Teilo Glamorgan major building
Cheriton Church of St Cadog Glamorgan major building
Ilston Church of St Illtyd Glamorgan major building
Kerry Church of St Michael and All Angels Ceri Montgomeryshire major building
Llanddewi Church of St David Glamorgan major building
Llangenydd Church of St Cenydd Glamorgan major building
Llanmadoc Church of St Madoc Glamorgan major building
Llanrhidian Church of St Rhidian and St Illtyd Glamorgan major building
Old Radnor Church of St Stephen Radnorshire major building
Oxwich Church of St Illtyd Glamorgan major building
Pennard Church of St Mary Pennard Burrows Church Glamorgan masonry footings
Penrice Church of St Andrew Glamorgan major building
Rhossili Church of St Mary the Virgin Glamorgan masonry ruins/remnants

This listing was last updated on Tuesday, April 7, 2015