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Brecon Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Aberhonddu; Aberhodeny; Aberhodni; Brecknock; Brecheinoc

In the community of Brecon.
In the historic county of Brecknockshire.
Modern authority of Powys.
Preserved county of Powys.

OS Map Grid Reference: SO04342879
Latitude 51.94949° Longitude -3.39389°

Brecon Castle has been described as a certain Timber Castle, and also as a certain Masonry Castle.

There are major building remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.
This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law*.


A motte and bailey castle was built in Brecon in the eleventh century. Only the southern wall of the three-storey Great Hall built in the late C13 or early C14 survives. It is pierced by four Early English style, and four lancet windows. Crenellations and arrow loops also survive. The lines of the eastern curtain wall of the castle and the opposite wall of the Great Hall have been uncovered during excavation work. The piers of the hall have been found in the domestic quarters of the hotel which surrounds the courtyard. The castle site comprises a roughly triangular area, about 130m north-south and 100m across the north, tapering to a blunt point in the south above the confluence of the Usk & Honddu rivers. The Honddu divides the castle from the medieval & later borough to the east (NPRN 32994). The castle precincts are generally defined by banks & scarps, with a motte occupying the north-east angle, topped by the remains of a tower complex, the Ely Tower (NPRN 309157). The ruins of the hall - as desribed above - lie within the southern part of the enclosure. The castle is divided in two by Castle Square, the area to the north, including the motte & Ely Tower, having been laid out as a garden (NPRN 86045), the southern portion, with the hall remains, being occupied by the Castle Inn/Hotel & its grounds (NPRN 25234). (Coflein record ref. J.Wiles, RCAHMW, 12 July 2004)

The Great Hall of three storeys was constructed by Humphrey de Bohun circa 1280. A motte and bailey castle with wooden structures was built by Bernard de Neufmarche in late C11, and later rebuilt in stone. C12 keep known as Ely Tower remains on the Castle motte to N. The outer bailey is largely covered by the older part of the Brecon Castle Hotel. Brecon Castle became a ruin by the early C17 but was used as the County Gaol until circa 1690 when a gaol in the Watton was built. The lines of the eastern curtain wall of the Castle and the opposite wall of the Great Hall have been revealed during excavations together with the piers of the medieval hall which have been discovered in the structure of the C19 domestic quarters of the hotel which surround the courtyard just to the north of the southern wall of the medieval Great Hall. The hall is known to have been re-roofed circa 1550.
Stone remains of medieval great hall. The south wall still stands and is pierced by four trefoiled windows of Early English style with four smaller lancet-headed openings below. To E, tower with crenellated parapet with arrow loops. Right return has projecting staircase turret. To rear, facing hotel, 2-light mullioned windows. (Listed Building Report)
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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Suggestions for finding online and/or hard copies of bibliographical sources can be seen at this link.
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This record last updated 20/04/2017 04:38:19