The comprehensive gazetteer and bibliography of the medieval castles, fortifications and palaces of England, Wales, the Islands.
The listings
Other Info
Print Page 
Next Record 
Previous Record 
Back to list 

Bronllys Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Brunless; Brenles; Brynllys; Brendlais

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

OS Map Grid Reference: SO14933463
Latitude 52.00358° Longitude -3.24052°

Bronllys Castle has been described as a certain Timber Castle, and also as a certain Masonry Castle, and also as a probable Palace.

There are major building remains.

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


Late C11/early C12 motte with C13 round stone keep. Three floors, with fine views. To the north are two baileys each with a bank and ditch. The sites of bastion towers may be detected where there are breaks in the bank and ditch of the outer bailey. A cylindrical tower its base draped in a low mound, at the apex of an irregularly pentagonal enclosure, c.156m by 136m, defined by lengths of banks and ditches. Remains of castle buildings, possibly C16, incorporated in stables of later house , whose gardens have obscured the castle remains. The present tower, probably early- mid-C13, is a second stone rebuild of an earlier C12 structure. Circular plan of 3-storeys plus basement, built of sandstone with no roof. The walls stand to almost full height. The windows are rebated internally for shutters. Vaulted basement.

Motte 8m high topped by a round keep with main and outer baileys defined by a bank and ditch lying to the north. Apparent bastion sites visible as breaks in bank and ditch of outer bailey. The first castle, which had wooden buildings, was probably built by Richard fitz Pons around 1138. The tower was built during the mid C13. It is entered at first floor level and contained a basement for storage or for a prison plus second floor living rooms. During C14 the windows were enlarged and replaced and a top storey was added for a chamber with three windows, a latrine and a fireplace. (Burnham, H 1995, 159-161). (Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust HER)

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. (Listed Building Report)

The castle at Bronllys is sited above the floodplain of Afon Llynfi and is thought to occupy the site of a pre-Norman llys, a princely court. (Coflein)
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
Coflein   County HER   Scheduling   Listing    
Maps >
Streetmap   NLS maps   Where's the path   Old-Maps      
Data/Maps > 
Magic   Historic Wales   V. O. B.   Geology   LIDAR  
Air Photos > 
Bing Maps   Google Maps   Getmapping   ZoomEarth      
Photos >
CastleFacts   Geograph   Flickr   Panoramio      

Sources of information, references and further reading
Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.
It is an offence to disturb a Scheduled Monument without consent. It is a destruction of everyone's heritage to remove archaeological evidence from ANY site without proper recording and reporting.
Don't use metal detectors on historic sites without authorisation.
The information on this web page may be derived from information compiled by and/or copyright of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historic Monuments of Wales, the four welsh archaeological trusts and other individuals and organisations. It may also contain Designated Historic Asset Descriptive Information from The Welsh Historic Environment Service (Cadw), licensed under the Open Government Licence. All the sources given should be consulted to identify the original copyright holder and permission obtained from them before use of the information on this site for commercial purposes.
The author and compiler of Gatehouse does not receive any income from the site and funds it himself. The information within this site is provided freely for educational purposes only.
The bibliography owes much to various bibliographies produced by John Kenyon for the Council for British Archaeology, the Castle Studies Group and others.
Suggestions for finding online and/or hard copies of bibliographical sources can be seen at this link.
Minor archaeological investigations, such as watching brief reports, and some other 'grey' literature is most likely to be held by H.E.R.s but is often poorly referenced and is unlikely to be recorded here, or elsewhere, but some suggestions can be found here.
The possible site or monument is represented on maps as a point location. This is a guide only. It should be noted that OS grid references defines an area, not a point location. In practice this means the actual center of the site or monument may often, but not always, be to the North East of the point shown.
Locations derived from OS grid references and from latitude longitiude may differ by a small distance.
Further information on mapping and location can be seen at this link.
Lidar coverage in the UK is not complete. The button above will give an idea of the area of coverage. Higher resolution lidar images in both DSM and DTM form may be available from Lle A geo-Portal for Wales (click the preview tag to bring up a map and then select format byclicking on the small blue diamond in the top right corner of the map.)
Please help to make this as useful a resource as possible by contacting Gatehouse if you see errors, can add information or have suggestions for improvements in functality and design.
Help is acknowledged.
*The listed building may not be the actual medieval building, but a building on the site of, or incorporating fragments of the described site.

This record last updated 20/04/2017 04:40:16