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Pencelli Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Penkelly; Pengelli; Pencelly; Penketli

In the community of Talybont-on-usk.
In the historic county of Brecknockshire.
Modern authority of Powys.
Preserved county of Powys.

OS Map Grid Reference: SO09492496
Latitude 51.91541° Longitude -3.31758°

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

There are masonry footings remains.


A castle is recorded at Penkelly in the thirteenth to fourteenth centuries and traces of an earthwork and masonry castle survive. It is sited on a low north-facing promontory and a south-east leaning scarp-line, now followed by the Brecknock & Abergavenny Canal. A subrectangular inner enclosure, c.33m N-S by 25m, occupies the promontory area and is ditched to the south. There are remains of masonry structures, including a rectangular tower, 9.0-11m across. The south of the outer enclosure shows a generally rectangular track, 112m NW-SE by 90m, originally ditch-defined - shown on OS County series (Brecknock. XXXIV.7 1887). A later seventeenth century print shows a twin-towered gatehouse and other masonry structures. The late sixteenth century house within the outer enclosure (Nprn16016) is thought to incorporate medieval fabric, possible that of a chapel. (Coflein– ref. King 1961)

Pencelli castle was probably built in the late C11 by Ralph Baskerville. As such it may have seen service during the war of 1093 to 1099. Robert, the last Baskerville lord of Pencelli, seems to have died around 1210, perhaps as a victim of William Braose's war that occurred in Central Wales that summer. Robert's lands then passed through his daughters to the Le Wafre family, but were seized by Reginald Braose. The Le Wafre's regained it, but lost the castle to rebel and Welsh forces in 1233. The castle was rebuilt and probably taken again in 1262. It was recovered by 1273, after which the twin towered gatehouse might have been built by Roger Mortimer Junior who had acquired the castle probably through his father's agency. The fortress was seized by the king in 1322 and probably fell into decay soon afterwards. Today the ruins of the great square keep can still be made out behind the hotel which itself dates to 1584. (Remfry, 1998)
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This record last updated before 1 February 2016