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Ruthin Castle Gatehouse

Photographs and text copyright by John Northall


Ruthin had a twin-towered main gatehouse situated on the east side of the upper bailey. Both towers seem to have been largely reduced to the level of the courtyard when the castle was dismantled but the nearest one has since been partially rebuilt. The remains of the other gate tower lie beyond the entrance path.

Both towers were of an elongated D shape and their apsidal ends projected out into the moat in front of the revetment wall. An infill of earth now gives an easy approach to the gate but in times past the deep moat would have been spanned by a bridge, the inner end of which probably raised up against the gate passage. This would have presented attackers with a gap between the bridge and the covered gateway, with the entrance passage being around 20 feet above the bottom of the moat.
This is the view across the ruined gateway to the rebuilt gate tower. The towers are likely to have been one storey higher than the height of the rebuilt tower today - the battlement slots are not authentic. In the foreground can be seen the base of the curtain wall where it joins the northern gate tower.
A broad flight of steps descends to the basement of the rebuilt tower. The stairs in the adjacent tower are much narrower than this, suggesting that the function of this basement must have been important.
Inside the basement of the rebuilt gate tower. The stone arched ceiling is in good condition and may be part of the rebuild. A subterranean passageway to the other gate tower opens off to the left.
The passageway between the two gate towers runs beneath the main entrance to the castle.
This is a view of the ruined gate tower from a stone-built modern gateway at the rear of the gatehouse. The walls above ground level seem to be very thin for a castle - are they part of the rebuild too? The passage from the other gate tower comes in from the right and the stairway from this tower up to the courtyard is at its left rear corner.


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