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Watchtower at Fonmon Castle

A Grade II* Listed Building in Rhoose, Vale of Glamorgan

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.4026 / 51°24'9"N

Longitude: -3.3702 / 3°22'12"W

OS Eastings: 304781

OS Northings: 167953

OS Grid: ST047679

Mapcode National: GBR HP.QT4G

Mapcode Global: VH6FP.J0NL

Plus Code: 9C3RCJ3H+2W

Entry Name: Watchtower at Fonmon Castle

Listing Date: 14 February 1952

Last Amended: 30 September 2004

Grade: II*

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 83166

Building Class: Domestic

Location: About 200m south of Fonmon Castle.

County: Vale of Glamorgan

Town: Barry

Community: Rhoose (Y Rhws)

Community: Rhoose

Locality: Fonmon

Traditional County: Glamorgan

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History

The tower is evidently of two builds as there is a straight joint down the centre of the bottom stages. The first build appears too slight a construction to be part of the medieval castle outworks so the next possibility suggests a late C16 look-out tower as at St. Donats Castle. However, it does not appear on the estate plan of 1622 and in theory could have been built at any time between then and the estate map of c1770 which does show it. It can thus probably be associated with Robert Jones III and his improvements to the castle of a medievalizing sort in the 1760s undertaken by Thomas Paty. This tower was doubled in size and heightened to its present dimension probably in the late C18 when it was also gravel rendered. The tower was a little altered in the C19 with real medieval features which cut through the render, and since then nothing apart from c2000 repairs intended to convert it to a dovecot. The top floor has a number of blocked windows which are not evident from the ground, which would have made it into a fine gazebo for viewing the surrounding countryside and seascape. The tower is extremely similar in character and appearance to the rather earlier Watch tower at St. Donats Castle (qv St. Donats Community) upon which it may well have been based.

Exterior

Built of local roughly coursed limestone rubble, which has been lime-plastered at some time on the lower part and is partly rendered. Tall narrow rectangular tower with battered base. Four storeys, but built into the bank so that only the first build has the additional under-storey. The first floor has a square headed modern opening on the land side (north). The second floor has a pointed arch door into the dovecot, slit vent to right and another to rear. c2000 oak window with lintel above on north side, this is for the doves. The original build has a blocked window above the slit vent, which lit the third floor. Above this is an additional room (see History). Machicolations on the long walls only, square headed window on north, 2-light window on west, blind on east and south (but see History). Castellated parapet, the roof has gone.

Interior

Interior not available at resurvey. It is said to be largely featureless except for the still in-situ central wall and the remains of good quality lime plaster in the topmost room.

Reasons for Listing

Included as an interesting example of a C16 and late C18 look-out tower and for its group value within the gardens of Fonmon Castle.

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