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Castell Coch, Ystradfellte

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Stratmelthin; Mellte Castle

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

OS Map Grid Reference: SN93591444
Latitude 51.81811° Longitude -3.54503°

Castell Coch, Ystradfellte has been described as a certain Masonry Castle.

There are masonry footings remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


Castle, taking its name from the red sandstone of which it is built, lies on a promontory about 9m high between the Afon Llia and Afon Dringarth in a remote position on the south side of the Brecon Beacons. The only historical reference to it is in 1239 when it was held by William de Braose. The southern end of the promontory has beneath a tangle of vegetation the last vestiges of a wall about 1.5m thick around a pentangular court about 27m wide. Adjoining the west wall and occupying much of the rectangular northern part of the court is a keep about 16m long by 12m wide. At the NE corner are signs of a recessed gateway. The southern part of the court tapers to an acute angle which was occupied by a round tower about 13m in internal diameter, large enough to form a second keep. The layout and poor quality of masonry suggest it may date from the 1260s when Llywelyn ap Gruffydd controlled this area. North of the court is a bailey 60m wide, protected on the north side by a high rampart. (Salter)

Castle remains are at S end of a bluff where it narrows. Northern part consists of roughly rectangular, steep-sided, mound of stones, c.2m-2.2m high. Top of mound has tumbled walls around it, c.1-1.6m high on N, c.1.5m high on W, and c.1m high on E and S. Interior is full of stones and has a hollow in the middle 0.6-0.7m deep. To N of mound is a straight, discontinuous low stony bank running E/W. There is a gap in the NE corner and it then continues N/S along the top of the natural scarp on the E side, 0.5m-1.0m high. No outer wall on W. To S of mound is a small level open area, and then at the very end of the bluff there is a further, roughly circular mound c.2.5-2.7m high, now little more than a pile of stones whose top is surrounded by ruined walls c.1-2m high on N and 0.3m high on S. Below bluff to S a great E/W ditch, about 2-3m deep on S, has been cut through the interfluve between the two rivers. (Cadw 1988). (Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust HER)

The monument comprises the remains of a motte and bailey castle, a military stronghold built during the medieval period. The castle remains are located on a high triangular bluff between the rivers Llia and Dringarth, immediately N of their confluence. It is a dramatic position, and a good defensive one, with precipitous natural scarps to the E and W. The weakest side is to the N where the ground rises gently, and here the castle is defended by a massive steep-sided bank, 3-4m high inside and out. Outside the wall is a flat bottomed ditch, 1.5- 1.8m deep on the outside. The bank curves southwards at its E end and stops just short of the natural scarp. The castle remains are located at the southern end of the bluff, where it narrows considerably. The northern part consists of a roughly rectangular mound of stones, 2.2m high, with steep sides covered with tumbled stone. The top of the mound has tumbled walls around it, 1-1.6m high and the roughly rectangular interior is full of stonesand has a small hollow in the middle. Outside the wall, on the N side, is a straight, discontinous low stony bank running E-W. There is a gap in the NE corner and it then continues N-S along the top of the natural scarp. To the S of the mound is a small open area and right at the end of the bluff a roughly circular mound 2.5-2.7m high, with ruined walls surrounding the top. Below the bluff, to the S, a substantial E/W orientated ditch, 2-3m deep, has been cut through the peninsula between the two rivers. The only historical record relating to the site dates to 1239, when the castle was held by William de Braose. (Scheduling Report)
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This record last updated 05/07/2016 17:25:47