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Benton Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Llangwm; Burton

In the community of Burton.
In the historic county of Pembrokeshire.
Modern authority of Pembrokeshire.
Preserved county of Dyfed.

OS Map Grid Reference: SN00530689
Latitude 51.72482° Longitude -4.88964°

Benton Castle has been described as a certain Masonry Castle.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

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


In plan, it comprehends a very small court of irregular figure, at the south-west angle of which rises a small cylindrical tower of three floors, surmounted by an octagonal battlement probably of somewhat later date, of which each face contains one embrasure, whose ruined coping is the only trace of cut stone remaining in the building. (This feature has almost disappeared since 1860.) The walls are thick, the floors have been of timber, there appear to have been no fireplaces, and there are no stairs in the tower wall, so that the access to each floor was probably by ladders and trap doors. The doorway has a pointed arch, but no traces of a portcullis. Appended to its west side is a square projection which rises to the summit, and contains garderobes for the two upper floors. From these a shaft descends to the foot of the tower and opens upon the ditch. The lower stage is lighted by loops, one of which commands the castle entrance. Above are some small coupled windows. A door on the east side opens from the first floor upon a short and low curtain, 9 feet thick, with battlement and rere wall, which is pierced by the main gateway of the place, a narrow and pointed arch, without trace of portcullis or gate-house. At the east end of this curtain is a second and smaller tower, much ruined, and from this the curtain seems to be extended round the court. (Clark)

A medieval castle originally built by Bishop Beck in the 13th century. The ruins were substantially restored during the 20th century and it is now a private residence. The single tower is believed to have originally been adjoined to a smaller tower by the curtain wall. (Dyfed Archaeological Trust HER record)

The small medieval castle of Benton and its surrounds, represented the knight’s fee within the lordship that belonged to the Barony of Walwyn’s Castle. By 1307, it was held of the barony by Thomas de Roche, Lord of Llangwm. It comprised 10 carucates of land, held by homage and knight-service, and one curtilage – ie. Benton Castle – valued at 2s yearly. Benton appears not to have been manorial and may never have supported a vill, and the area was probably always wooded. (Dyfed Archaeological Trust Historic Landscape Characterisation Benton)

Small C13 castle with one tall round tower, and one smaller round tower each side of front. There was an irregular courtyard behind, much depleted, now rebuilt and roofed over. The main SW tower had no floors (originally timber), no fireplaces, no stairs in the tower walls but garderobe chutes. The entrance had no portcullis or defences. Its medieval history is apparently unrecorded. In ruins when painted by Sandby in 1779. Part of the Owen of Orielton estate at one time. The ruins had been stabilised before 1920 by the Scourfields of Williamston. Bought in 1932 by Ernest Pegge (1896-1940), civil engineer who repaired the castle as a house. After his death the work was completed by his nephew Dr Arthur V. Pegge, who built up and roofed the courtyard, completed by 1954. He was aided by J. A. Price, the county architect. Sold in the 1960s and further restored for Col. and Mrs J. A. Sulivan. Col. Sulivan was High Sheriff of Dyfed 1974, his wife a great-grand-daughter of Sir Hugh Owen of Orielton.
Interior largely C20, the splayed plinth of main tower visible within small centre hall. Steps up to cambered headed broad entry into tower base. Inserted fireplace in base of tower. Steps up to first floor narrow cambered-headed door in smaller tower to left.
Castle, now house, whitewashed rubble stone. Tall narrow round tower to left of single-bay curtain wall to round tower with parapet little higher than curtain wall. Left tower has splayed base and corbelled octagonal embattled parapet, double corbels under angles. Two loops to ground floor right and centre left, two to first floor, left and centre right. On left side is big projecting tapered garderobe chute, square plan with steep pyramidal cap tapered off to point under corbels of main tower. Rough cambered-headed base opening and two small loops. To left of tower entrance bay has corbelled embattled parapet, first floor small loop and segmental pointed doorway with stone voussoirs. Round tower to right is without corbels and parapet has narrow slots between each wide-spaced crenellation. Four loops, spaced two at mid height, two at first floor. Behind and with much lower parapet level is main domestic range with flat roof behind embattled parapet. Canted corner. Segmental pointed windows at upper level (ground floor level on entry side): one in E end, one in canted NE corner and two set to right on long curved rear wall with a one to left and a small pointed window on curve to left over basement door. There are basement loops below most of the windows, square put-log holes and a basement pointed door to left on rear wall, set above ground level. The W end has projection similar to garderobe chute on main tower, three-sided with pyramidal cap. One similar window to each side of stair tower cap. Windows have C20 uPVC glazing. (Listed Building Report)

The tenurial history seems somewhat unclear. I can't find anything to support the suggestion made in the HER record that this was built by Bishop Bec. The location does seem suggestive of a hunting lodge. Sir Thomas de Roche, although technically a knightly tenant, was almost of baronial status with several holdings in Pembrokeshire and Ireland so perhaps he intended this as the centre of a deer park, even if the intended park was not actually made. (Philip Davis)
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 20/04/2016 09:45:53