History and Heritage

The historic walled border town and ancient port of Chepstow, a mere 2 hour drive from London, commands the entrance to the Lower Wye Valley in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Whilst there is evidence of Iron Age and Roman settlements nearby, the Normans were the real founders of the town.  William Fitzosbern began building the castle in 1067 as a base for the Norman conquest of South East Wales.  the importance of the site is reflected in the fact that it was the first stone built castle in Wales, if not the whole country.  The castle has a splendid position on the cliffs above the River Wye and was greatly enlarged in the 12th and 13th centuries.

The restored Town Gate provides an impressive entrance to the town's main shopping area.  Large sections of the 13th century Portwall remain standing today.

The name Chepstow derives from the Old English words "Chepe" and "Stowe" meaning market place. A the name suggests, Chepstow grew and prospered, as a market centre for the local farmers.

A busy port and shipyards contributed to Chepstow's wealth particularly in the 18th and early 19th centuries leaving a rich legacy to the town in the many buildings dating from that period.