Newport Castle
Newport Castle is a castle ruin in the city of Newport, south Wales. It is the castle that gives Newport its original and real name in the Welsh language, Castell Newydd, shortened to Casnewydd ('New Castle'). The 'new' is a reference to the 'old' Roman fortress in nearby Caerleon or the older motte and bailey castle on Stow Hill.

A neglected ruin
The castle has been practically forced out of existence due to the demands of modern road and rail traffic and the ever-present threat of the River Usk with its very high tidal range. Only the east side of the castle remains, sandwiched between a busy road and roundabout, and the tidal river. The ruins of the castle were permanently fenced off in 2003, followed by the closure of the public footpath in 2006.

River water-gate
The best view of the castle is not from the 'front' on the roadside, but rather from Newport Bridge or the neighbouring railway bridge, where its position right on the bank of the River Usk can best be appreciated. The projecting central tower with its water-gate or dock beneath is the dominant feature. Flanking it are two octagonal towers with prominent spur buttresses. These mark the north and south end of the castle, from which a curtain wall ran westwards enclosing a roughly rectangular area. Outside the curtain wall was a deep moat which filled with sea water at high tide.

Short life
Newport Castle had an active life of just 200 years and was only rarely involved in political situations. It served more as an administrative base for the Lordship of Wentloog (Gwynllyw). Today the castle similarly pales into insignificance at a very busy road junction and roundabout system. Sadly it is not technically a tourist attraction and so can only be vaguely appreciated by passers-by or seen from the nearby Riverfront Theatre.

Builders
Historians believe that Newport Castle was built between 1327 and 1386 by Hugh de Audley, 1st Earl of Gloucester, or his son-in-law Ralph, Earl of Stafford as one of their castles. It replaced the earlier bailey castle on Stow Hill (near St. Woolos Cathedral), which had been destroyed in conflict. The newer castle, whilst possessing a strong structure, was never needed for military purposes. In the early fifteenth century the castle was occupied by Humphrey Stafford, the first Duke of Buckingham, Lord of Newport. It was however sacked by the Welsh forces of Owain Glyndŵr 1402-3 and never really recovered. Its Constable, appointed to resist Glendower, had been Sir Gilbert Denys(d.1422) of Siston Court, Glos., in the service of Stafford, who commanded there 40 met-at-arms and 4 archers. Glendower had turned thither away from the more strongly built Chepstow Castle. After Humphrey Stafford had left the castle, it became abandoned. Some efforts were made to re-fortify it during the English Civil War by the Royalists. Now that the castle has been neglected for so long, the east side is the only part of the castle to survive.