Page images

for guns. The bailey is rectangular and covers about 2 acres. The motte is placed at one corner of it, on the line of the walls. On the outside it is now built over with poor cottages; but the site of the ditch can still be traced.

*LLANDOVERY, or Llanymdyfri, or the castle of Cantrebohhan.--It is referred to in the Pipe Rolls of 1159-1160 by the latter name, which is only a Norman. way of spelling Cantref Bychan, the little cantref or hundred, of which this castle was the head. It was then in royal custody, and Henry II. spent nearly £60 on its works. But it had originally belonged to Richard Fitz Pons, one of the barons of Bernard de Neufmarché, and the fact that he held the key of this cantref goes to prove that it was from Brecknock that the Normans advanced into northern Carmarthenshire. The castle


is first mentioned in the Brut in 1115, when Griffith ap Rhys burnt the bailey, but could not take the keep on the motte. It does not appear to have been long in English hands after 1159, but its alternations were many. The 25-inch O.M. shows an oval motte, carrying some fragments of masonry, to which is attached a roughly quadrangular bailey. This was one of the many castles by which the Normans held Strath Towy.

LLANSTEPHAN.-This castle stands in a splendid situation at the mouth of the Towy, and was doubtless built to secure a maritime base for Carmarthen. The motte is of unusual size, semicircular in shape, one side

1 See Arch. Camb., 1907, pp. 237-8.

2 See Round's Ancient Charters, p. 9, Pipe Roll Series, vol. x.

3 Brut, 1113.

4 The first mention of the castle of Llanstephan is in the Brut, 1147, if, as has been assumed above, the mention in 1136 refers to Stephen's castle at Lampeter, as the Annales Cambriæ say.



being on the edge of the cliff; it measures 300 feet by 200 in the centre of the arc.1 Such a size allowed all the important parts of the castle to be built on the motte; but there was a rectangular bailey attached, which is only imperfectly shown on the O.M.; the scarp is in reality well marked on all sides, and the ditch separating it from the motte is a very deep one. [H. W.] The towers that now crown the motte are not earlier than the year 1256, when the castle was destroyed by Llywelyn.2

DINEVOR, Or Dinweiler.-Most Welsh writers associate Dinevor with the ancient residence of the kings of South Wales, but there appears to be some doubt about this, as the place is not mentioned before the 12th century. Anyhow the castle was certainly the work of Earl Gilbert, as the Brut itself tells us so.* In 1162 it was taken by Rhys ap Griffith, the able prince who attempted the consolidation of South Wales, and who was made Justiciar of that province by Henry II. It continued in Welsh hands, sometimes hostile, sometimes allied, till it was finally taken by the English in 1277. The existing ruins are entirely of the 13th century, but the plan certainly suggests a previous motte and bailey, the motte having probably been lowered to form the present smaller ward, whose walls and towers appear to

1 The motte of Conisburgh in Yorkshire is a very similar case known to the writer; it measures 280 x 150 feet. Such very large mottes could rarely be artificial, but were formed by entrenching and scarping a natural hill.

2 Brut, 1256. See Arch. Camb., 1907, p. 214, for Col. Morgan's remarks on this castle.

The name Gueith tineuur is found in the Book of Llandaff, p. 78 (Life of St Dubricius), but it seems doubtful whether this should be taken to prove the existence of some work" at Dinevor in the 6th century. See Wade-Evans, Welsh Medieval Law, p. 337-8.

[ocr errors]

4 Brut, 1145. "Cadell ap Griffith took the castle of Dinweiler, which had been erected by Earl Gilbert."

be of Edward I.'s reign. The small bailey attached to this ward is separated from it by a ditch cut through the headland on which the castle stands.

KIDWELLY (Cydweli).-This castle, though in Carmarthen, was not founded by the conquerors from Brecknock, but by Normans from Glamorgan or Gower. Kidwelly was first built by William de Londres, in 1094. The present castle shows no trace of this early origin, but is a fine specimen of the keepless pattern introduced into England in the 13th century. There is


no motte.


LAUGHARNE, or Talycharne.-Also called Abercorran, being at the point where the little river Corran flows into the estuary of the Taff. In 1113 this castle belonged to a Norman named Robert Courtmain. The ancient features of the plan have been obliterated by transformation first into an Edwardian castle, then into a modern house. There is of course no motte. [H. W.]

*YSTRAD CYNGEN.-This must, we think, be the same as ST CLEARS, which stands in the Cynen valley, near its junction with the Taff. Welsh writers identify St Clears with the castle of Mabudrud, the name of the commot in which it stands. First mentioned in 1154.* There is no notice of its origin, but the fact that a Cluniac priory existed in the village, which was a cell of St Martin des Champs at Paris, points to a Norman founder, and renders an 11th century date probable. It

1 Gwentian Chronicle.

2 The statement of Donovan (Excursions Through South Wales), that the castle stands on an artificial mount is quite incorrect.

3 The Rolls edition of the Brut gives the corrupt reading Aber Cavwy for the castle of "Robert the Crook-handed," but a variant MS. gives Aber Korram, and it is clear from the Gwentian Chronicle and Powell (p. 145)

that Abercorran is meant.

4 Brut, 1152.



was a motte-and-bailey castle, of which the earthworks remain.1

*NEWCASTLE EMLYN.-This castle does not appear to have received the name of "the new castle of Emlyn" till after Edward I.'s conquest. The new castle, which is quite Edwardian, was probably built on a different site to the old, as "on the other side of the bridge is a considerable mount, of a military character, which must have commanded the river. It may have been the original strong post occupied by the Normans." 3 In the 12th century Pipe Rolls compensation is paid to William FitzGerald for many years "as long as Rhys ap Griffith holds the castle of Emlyn," which points to Gerald, the Seneschal of Pembroke, or his family, as its founders. It is on the very border of Carmarthenshire and Cardiganshire, defending the main road from Carmarthen to Cardigan.

LLANEGWAD. This castle is only once mentioned, in the Brut, under the year 1203, when it was taken by the Welsh. A small motte, called locally Pen y Knap, with an earthen breast work round the top, is still standing about a mile from the church of Llanegwad, and is all that is left of this castle. The position commands a fine view over the Towy valley, and it is noteworthy that it stands very near the supposed Roman road from Brecon to Carmarthen. [H. W.]

*LLANGADOG.-This castle also does not appear till 1203; it was razed or burnt at least thrice in five years.* A mound of earth on the banks of the Sawddwy River, near where the Roman road from Brecon is supposed to

1 See paper by Mr D. C. Evans, Arch. Camb., 1907, p. 224.

2 The first mention known to the writer is in 1285.

3 Arch. Camb., 3rd ser., v., 346.

Annales Cambriæ, 1205; Brut, 1207, 1208. The Annales call it the castle of Luchewein.


have reached the Towy valley, is all that remains of it.1 Lewis says that it stands in a large oval entrenchment, and that the motte is of natural rock, scarped conically, and deeply moated.


BRECON, or Aberhonddu, the seat of Bernard de Neufmarché himself.-A charter of Bernard's mentions the castle. It seems to have been a particularly strong place, as we do not hear of its having been burnt more than once. The newer castle of Brecon is evidently of the time of Edward I., but across the road the old motte of Bernard is still standing, and carries the ruins of a shell wall, with a gatehouse tower. A portion of the bank and ditch of the bailey remains; the whole is now in a private garden. The situation is a strong one, between the Usk and the Honddu. Brecon of course was a burgus, and part of the bank which fortified it


BUILTH, on the upper Wye, alias Buallt (Fig. 42).— A remarkably fine motte and bailey, presenting some peculiarities of plan. It is not mentioned till 1210, but it has been conjectured with great probability that it was one of the castles built by Bernard de Neufmarché

1 Beauties of England and Wales, "Caermarthen," pp. 192, 309. 2 Mon. Ang., iii., 244.

3 This motte is mentioned in a charter of Roger, Earl of Hereford, Bernard's grandson, in which he confirms to the monks of St John "molendinum meum situm super Hodeni sub pede mote castelli." Arch. Camb.,

1883, p. 144.

4 The dates in the Brut are now one year too early. Under 1209 it says, "Gelart seneschal of Gloucester fortified (cadarnhaaod) the castle of Builth." We can never be certain whether the word which is translated fortified, whether from the Welsh or from the Latin firmare, means built originally or rebuilt.

« PreviousContinue »