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 

Talgarth Tower

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

OS Map Grid Reference: SO15443375
Latitude 51.99575° Longitude -3.23251°

Talgarth Tower has been described as a certain Pele Tower, and also as a probable Urban Defence.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

This is a Grade 2* listed building protected by law*.


Square stone tower. One room on each of 3 floors and basement. Pyramidal roof of low pitch. Surviving gargoyle on back elevation. This structure, set beside bridge (Nprn23763) at centre of Talgarth (Nprn401895), can be interpreted as a 14th century, or later strong tower subsequently incorporated into modern house. (Coflein)

Located at the corner of the Square, at the side of the A479, adjoining the bridge over the River Enig.
Talgarth was a borough from the early C14 and had 73 burgesses in 1309, with grants of market and fairs. The tower house is probably of the C14, so placed as to guard the river crossing and town. It was described by Leland as 'a little prison'. It has C19 extensions on both west and east sides providing shops.
The tower has a fireplace in the SW wall obscured by a C19 carved Jacobean style surround, and in the SE corner, a lobby at the foot of the stair rising in the SE wall thickness is lit by a small window. The stairs are covered with stepped stone slabs, and, facing at the top a garderobe in the NW wall, with a low wall cupboard adjacent. The first floor has two off-centre opposing half-round corbels for a former floor beam. The fireplace is obscured. A second wall stair commences from the window embrasure on the SE wall leading to the top floor with a high ceiling, and opposite the opening The stair continues up to the former parapet walk. On this floor the wall fireplace has a megalithic lintel, 0.7m thick, and there is a second window on the NW side with access from the reveal to another garderobe. Roof structure replaced late C20. The cellar, also accessed by wall stairs, has the remains of a stone built oven on the SW wall, and an opening to the C19 kitchen in the SW extension. It is said locally to have underground passages to Talgarth Church, to Bronllys Castle and, more ambitiously, to Cardiff.
Rubble stonework with stone slate roof, slate to extensions. The tower itself is square in plan, and consists of 3 storeys and cellar, the walls 1.68 thick, originally rising to a defensible parapet, probably machicolated with a paved wall walk. Added to this structure on the E, a 2-storey rubble shop extension with a pitched slate roof; this was initially a lower lean-to, the evidence surviving as a line on the left gable. Two 6-paned sashes over a simple classical C19 pilastered shop front with bracketed cornice decorated with anthemia, and a central double-doored entrance with overlight. On the SW side is a further C19 2-storey and basement lean-to addition, rising directly from the river, with a rubble chimney stack and various C19 windows with brick quoining. Shop front and door to road, and a boarded door from cellar to river bank. The upper part of the medieval tower above the shop has a short chamfered lancet window set off-centre, with the remains of machicolations to the right, and on the SW side a gargoyle. The NW side is largely obscured by the early C20 National Westminster Bank replacing a steep roofed building, but retains a slightly projecting garderobe. The SE elevation of the tower has a small paned window to the top floor, a round-arched window on the intermediate floor, and a blocked doorway on the ground level. The building attached on the SW side conceals a small lancet window on the first floor of the tower. (Listed Building Report)

Usually described as C14 but Remfry suggests early C13 and Armitage writes C13 and standing on a small motte (No other author supports this suggestion of a motte). The town directly overlook the bridge into the town, Soulsby states 'It was intended to guard the river crossing, and when this function was no longer required it housed the borough prison' Originally a borough, as opposed to private, building and whilst it may have had a defensive function probably operated more as a toll house and strong house for the boroughs money and documents.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
Coflein   County HER       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 before 1 February 2016