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Castell Tal y Fan

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Talavan; Talyvan; Tallaunt; Talevan; Thalevon; Talyfan Castle

In the community of Welsh St Donats.
In the historic county of Glamorgan.
Modern authority of Vale of Glamorgan.
Preserved county of South Glamorgan.

OS Map Grid Reference: ST02097718
Latitude 51.48509° Longitude -3.41128°

Castell Tal y Fan has been described as a certain Timber Castle, and also as a certain Masonry Castle.

There are masonry footings remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


Talyfan castle is a grand medieval castle now reduced to fragments. It was the centre for an eponymous lordship and may have been established in the twelfth century. The lordship was incorporated into that of Glamorgan in 1245. The castle was maintained into the fifteenth century, but was 'clearly in ruin' by the early sixteenth century. A park was recorded in 1349. The castle consists of a single roughly oval court set on a north-facing spur and there are no traces of further enclosures. The court was enclosed by a high curtain wall which may have featured towers and a grand gateway, and had a broad ditch. Set within the court is a fragment of a great round tower, perhaps 15m in diameter. This would have dominated the castle's skyline and is thought to have been added to the castle by the lords of Glamorgan after 1245. There would also have been a lordly hall and apartments with associated offices. The castle stonework was robbed in the earlier nineteenth century and the most prominent remains on the site are those of a farmhouse of about 1700. (Coflein–ref. RCAHMW, 2000)

Talyfan Castle lies at the centre of a large member lordship, which extended over a wide are of the Border Vale, and embraced the parishes of Llanharry, Llansannor, Welsh St Donat's, Ystradowen, and most of Pendoylan. An unfinished motte beside Ystradowen church, just over 1km to the north-west, may have been superceeded by Talyfan Castle. The only other castle in Talyfan is the diminutive motte of Ty Du lying 2.5km to the east. The lordship of Talyfan abutted the knight's fee of Penllyn to the west, and the member lordship of Phuthin to the north-west; the River Ely to the north-east and east divided it from Meisgyn and the sub-fee of Peterston; and to the south-east it adjoined the shire-fee holdings of Llantrithyd and Bonvilston. To the south an uncertain line divided it from the small manor or member lordship of Llanblethian, with which it shared a common medieval tenurial history, both owened by Richard Siward who was evicted in 1245. Thereafter, Talyfan, with Llanblethian and Rhuthin, remained with the chief lords, being loosely associated in an extensive demesne holding for the rest of the Middle Ages; henceforth, Talyfan ceased to be the administrative centre of these lands with its courts only administering the country (patria). The castle continued until pillaged and fired in the Despenser War of 1321. Within the lordship, the manors of Talyfan and Llanhari suffered the seizure of livestock and crops. The castle was however restored by 1349 when, along with its park, it was valued on the death of Hugh, Lord Despenser. It remained within the family, although in 1375 its buildings were considered of no value. It was passed to Edward Despenser's widow on his death in 1376, and is listed in the inquisition in the death of Isabel, Countess of Warwick, in 1440. By the 1530s however, the castle was in ruins according to Leyland, although it seems a court continued to function there. In 1551 Talyfan Castle was passed to the Mansels of Margam. Mary, daughter of Anthony Mansel, brought the castle to her husband, Thomas Aubrey, whose family continued possession until the early 19th century. A print of 1828 shows substantial standing remains of the castle walls, and a farmhouse within, constructed c1700. Almost total quarrying away of the masonry of the castle occurred between 1828 and 1860, some of it reused in the building of the present Castell Tal-y-van farmhouse situated c80m to the east. (Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust HER)
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This record last updated 04/07/2016 06:29:20