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Keep at Bronllys Castle

A Grade I Listed Building in Bronllys, Powys

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Latitude: 52.0036 / 52°0'13"N

Longitude: -3.2405 / 3°14'25"W

OS Eastings: 314938

OS Northings: 234636

OS Grid: SO149346

Mapcode National: GBR YW.HW9Y

Mapcode Global: VH6BN.SW6W

Entry Name: Keep at Bronllys Castle

Listing Date: 28 September 1961

Last Amended: 15 December 1995

Grade: I

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 6616

Building Class: Defence

Location: Located strategically near the crossing of the Llynfi River, perched on a motte approximately 6m high

County: Powys

Community: Bronllys

Community: Bronllys

Traditional County: Brecknockshire

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History: Bronllys Castle was located here to be near a palace or llys of the princes of Brycheiniog, thus both close to the seat of power and controlling the crossing of the River Llynfi. The present tower is the second rebuild in stone by Walter de Clifford II d1220, or III (1221-1263) of the original strong point of the castle of Richard Fitzpons of Clifford, originally erected c.1090-3 for his newly established capital for the cantref of Selyf, now only represented by the motte, with its extensive c.3 ha. inner and outer baileys lying to the N. A stone tower, probably a predecessor of the present one, was damaged by fire in 1175. The castle is believed to have been taken in 1262 and was again captured in 1322. The tower was later modified and was last fortified against the insurrection of Owain Glyndwr. The castle was at various times occupied by the Bohuns, Staffords, and the Crown, and was the home of Bedo Bruinllys the bard, the collector of the poems of Dafydd ap Gwillym. In 1521 it was reported by Leland as being beyond repair.
Description: Tightly laid laminated sandstone. No roof. Circular plan comprising 3 storeys and a basement within the apron splayed below a projecting string course, having 1 slit vent. Chamfered arched door on E, probably originally approached by an external wooden stair, leads to a circular chamber with 3 segmental tufa-arched embrasures equally spaced around circumference, that at SW with a window seat and stair to the 2nd floor. The embrasure on the NW is also seated and contains the stair to the vaulted basement. The windows are rebated internally for shutters, and secured by a draw bar. Sockets for ferrumenta and indications of a glazing check in the window head. Wall stair of 15 treads has two small lights. The first, solar, floor is now missing, but was carried on 12 bull-nosed corbels equally spaced around the wall. Seated embrasures on the S and E sides, with C14 ogee-headed foiled windows, also rebated for shutters, and a fireplace with depressed 2-centred chamfered arch on the W side, the hood lintel (missing) carried on finely carved brackets. Some plaster survives on S. From the E embrasure, a rebated stone frame for a door leads to a wall stair to the second floor, again also carried on 12 bullnosed corbels. This level has four similar window embrasures and a chamfered garde-robe doorcase, and a fireplace on the N wall with cantilevered hearth, tapered roll-moulded jambs and corbelled out for the missing hood lintel. The walls survive to their approximate full height, but there is little evidence for the roof.

Included at Grade I as among the best preserved examples of the C13 round stone tower fortifications, once widespread in Wales and England, and characteristic of the Welsh Marches.
Scheduled Ancient Monument No. B8 (part).
Reference: Giraldus Cambrensis Opera. VI, 31. Haslam, R 'Buildings of Wales Powys (1979) 302-3. King, D.J.C. 'Castles of Breconshire' Brycheiniog VII (1961) 71-94. Archaeologia Cambrensis 3rd Ser VIII (1862) 81-92. CADW guide.

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Other nearby listed buildings

  • II* Workshop and gallery at Bronllys Castle House
    Located to the SW of Bronllys Castle House, backing on to the turn of the former inner bailey of the castle, and forming the W side of the front lawns of the house.
  • II* Bronllys Castle House (including Castle Cottage).
    Located within the inner bailey of Bronllys Castle, NNW of the motte.
  • II* Detached belltower at the church of St. Mary
    Located within the churchyard of the Church of St. Mary, approximately 10m NE of the chancel.
  • II Church of St. Mary
    Located behind the road side development of Church Street, adjacent to the large moated manorial site.
  • II Milestone
    Milestone opposite Ty Arfon.
  • II The Elms
    Located off a driveway off Bronllys Road, behind a front orchard garden, and backing on to the newly cut Hay Road.
  • II Great House Barn
    Large 'L'-plan red brick farm building in rubble-walled yard, beside the A.479 and River Enig running NW from the centre of Talgarth. New Street lies to the N, and Cottage Lane to the S.
  • II Great House
    Located S and backing on to Cottage Road, within its own grounds, set gable end on to the main road.

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