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 

Old Beaupre Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Bewpyr; Beawpire; Y Bewpur; Bewerpere

In the community of Llanfair.
In the historic county of Glamorgan.
Modern authority of Vale of Glamorgan.
Preserved county of South Glamorgan.

OS Map Grid Reference: ST00897203
Latitude 51.43876° Longitude -3.42731°

Old Beaupre Castle has been described as a probable Fortified Manor House.

There are major building remains.

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


The C16-C17 mansion is arranged about three courts, covering an area c.100m N-S by 25-56m. The main N-S axis of approach is marked by the gatehouse, between the outer and middle courts and focussed on the porch, on the S side of the middle court. Original fabric thought to be c.1300, house descended to farmhouse, c.1709 (Coflein)

Located approximately 2km SW of St Hilary on the E bank of the river Thaw, set on a platformed site, with pedestrian access from St Hilary to St Mary Church road to NW, opposite Howe Mill Farm.
Substantial fortified manor house dating from the C14 to the early C17, now primarily a roofless ruin in State guardianship. The Bassett family occupied the site from the first recorded references in 1262. During the occupancy of Sir Rice Mansel during the C16 the house was extended and developed; the outer gatehouse, the enclosure of the middle court and the later storeyed porch to the central range were erected in 1586 and 1600 respectively. In the C17 the Bassett family abandoned Beaupre in favour of the smaller nearby Fishweir. However, there is evidence of partial habitation during the early C18 with blocked fireplaces and windows in attempts at tax avoidance. The manor was sold in 1709. The building became progressively ruinous with only the SE block continuing to be inhabited as a farmhouse to the present day (separately listed). The history of the house is fully documented in the RCAHMW Inventory.
Largely ruinous with some fireplaces and staircases surviving, particularly in the outer gatehouse and the SE wing. Of particular note is the use of complexly moulded door surrounds with hourglass and thistle stops which are unusual within the Vale. A small fragment of decorative plasterwork survives within the roofed section of the SE range depicting a large Tudor rose and lion rampant. The substantial Great Hall fireplace remains in the S range with armorial shields carved upon the lintol. Full details of the interior and exterior are documented within the RCAHMW Inventory.
Constructed of coursed lias limestone rubble with dressings variously of Sutton stone and Bathstone. Roofless and largely floorless. Primarily of three phases of construction . Approached from the NW via an outer court enclosed by low rubble walls; the formerly crenellated gatehouse and curtain wall now ruinous enclose the Middle Court dating from c1586. The gatehouse is of two and a half storeys with dressed four-centred stone doorway and with flanking fluted Ionic pilasters with Bassett coat of arms above flanked by balusters with the initials "R.B,C.B/1586/RB" and the motto: "Gwell angay na chwilydd" (Better death than dishonour). Above are two three-light, square-headed mullioned windows with fragments of a centrally placed, smaller, three-light window above. The S side of the Middle Court is unfenestrated and links the gatehouse to the main hall range to the S and E. On the W side of the Middle Court is a three storey range dating from c1540, having three stacked, four-light mullioned windows, centrally placed on the courtyard elevation. On the S side of these windows is a former grand stairwell which gave access to the Great Chamber on the S and a further large chamber to the N. The S wing is a tall two storey range entered by a magnificent full-height, three-storeyed, late Renaissance porch inscribed with the date 1600, comparable to the frontispiece of other Elizabethan/Jacobean Prodigy Houses eg Kirby Hall, Northants. Flanked by a pair of fluted pilasters standing on plinths of diminishing scale with corresponding Doric capitals to ground, Ionic capitals to first and Corinthian to second floor. At first floor level the Bassett coat of arms with family motto and inscription to Richard Bassett commemorating the construction of the porch in 1600 is surmounted by scrolled and pierced strapwork, set between the pilasters. The ground floor has a four-centred doorway with arabesques to the spandrels, the columns to either side sit on plinths formerly with raised lozenges to the faces. The entablature has alternating paterae and bucrania set within the metopes. The second floor has an eight-light mullion and transom window with strapwork pediment above with engaged pilasters enriched with strapwork and modillion cornice with finial above. Side-lights at first and second floor levels. The S range is four bays wide, floorless and roofless, except for a modern floor at E end. Lit on the N side by two 3-light, square-headed mullioned windows at E end, placed above each other. Lit on the S elevation of the projecting wing at the E end by a three-light, square-headed window with doorway to the E connecting the high level walkway and this wing. Above a corbel table is a two-light window in the gable. The S elevation of the W range is four storeys high and roofless, with six pairs of two-light windows above a narrow four-centred doorway at the N end and in the centre three sets of four-light windows with a wide four-centred doorway at ground floor level. and two, square-headed stairlights at the far N end. The S elevation of the S range is three storeys and roofless and has some surviving mullioned windows at the E end while those at the N end have been lost and the openings left empty. (Listed Building Report)

Old Beaupre is the name of the farmhouse and associated buildings in current use, converted from a wing of Old Beaupre Castle. The earliest surviving structures from the original house date to the early-14th century and are associated with the Basset family whose possession of the site may have derived from the marriage of John Basset to an heiress of the de Kardiffs, a family that had held land in St Hilary from the 12th century. The house was modified and added to in the 16th century in several stages to create a residence on an impressive scale which still retains much of its dressed-stone detail. The Bassets largely continued ownership of the site until its sale in 1709, after which there were several changes of ownership during which time the site, apart from the one wing occupied as the farmhouse, became ruinous. (Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust HER)

Medieval manor house, modified during the Tudor period, including a magnificently carved Renaissance porch. (CADW)

King rejects as a castle, writing it is non military. However the original medieval house, loosely arranged around the south court, was strongly built.
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 04/07/2016 07:16:20