Digging deep in archeological hunt in Holt


Charlie Croasdale

ARCHAEOLOGISTS are digging deep to try and discover a hidden tower at the site of a former castle.

Wrexham Heritage Service is carrying out an archaelogical dig at Holt Castle, with all that remains above ground from the 13th century site being the central courtyard.

The castle was built in 1282 by John de Warenne following the defeat of Llewelyn Ap Gruffydd.

The impressive structure was pentagonal in plan with five huge round towers surrounding a central courtyard.

Following the castle’s abandonment in the mid-17th century, the site was used as a stone quarry and all that remains today above ground is the courtyard.

But last year, archaeologists discovered the buried foundations of one of the towers to the west of the courtyard, together with traces of the former entrance tower and the surrounding rock cut ditch.

This year excavators Eleri Farley and Steve Grenter hope to see if any of the towers survived on the eastern side of the castle.

Stephen Grenter, Wrexham Council’s heritage service manager, said: “All the evidence suggests that Holt Castle was once one of the strongest castles in the country.

“However, if you visit today there is little surviving above ground that reflects its former grandeur.

“By revealing the remains of its massive defences we hope to make the site much more meaningful to the many people who visit the castle every year.”

There will be an open morning at the site on Saturday, June 7, from 10am to noon, with site tours and a chance to look at some of the finds.

The excavations at Holt have been staffed by volunteers, including Marlene Ayling and Sue Payne.

They have received funding through the Rural Development Plan for Wales, funded by the Welsh Government, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and from Cadw’s Welsh Historic Monuments.

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