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Dale Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Vale; The Castle

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

OS Map Grid Reference: SM80510582
Latitude 51.70810° Longitude -5.17824°

Dale Castle has been described as a certain Fortified Manor House.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

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


The present castle of Dale consists of a north and south wing, with a connecting passage, but the only ancient portion is the south wing, which constructively remains much as it originally appeared, though its appointments have been greatly modernised. The lower storey has a plain vault.(RCAHMW, 1925)

The modern house at Dale Castle was re-modelled and re-built in 1910 and incorporates parts of a medieval castle. Traditionally the south wing of the current structure is said to have been the central block of the castle. This is 19.5m east-north-east to west-south-west by 17m with turrets at the angles. It is said to have walls c.2.4m thick and to contain vaulted rooms. Pleasure grounds lie to the the east of the castle, with a service court on the west. (Coflein)

Situated just SW of present house at Dale Castle, backing onto forecourt, and including forecourt walls to S, W and N.
Remains of a medieval castle or tower house, with C18 or earlier C19 forecourt walls to Dale Castle. The castle belonged to the de Vale family from c1131 to about 1300 and then to ancestors of the Tudor dynasty. It appears in a view of c1810 as a small rectangular battlemented tower, and in a view of 1857 with an added hipped-roofed range running W. A view in the 1880s shows this range as 3-storey and the castle still complete. About 1910 when the adjacent main house was remodelled for Rhodri Lloyd-Philipps the old castle seems to have been reduced in height and both this and the W range unroofed with the back walls removed, the remainder to become part of the forecourt walls of the mansion. The forecourt walls with gateway do not appear in the c1810 view but do in an 1857 view.
Basement of old castle has large plastered curved stone vault. 3 recesses in S wall with cambered heads. Stone corbelled vaulting within apparently for chimneys in centre and right openings. Small window in centre.
Castle remains and forecourt walls. Rubble stone heavily clad in creeper. Former castle appears to consist of a complete basement storey and truncated ground floor with N wall removed to make floor-level continuous with forecourt. Battlements of c1910. Basement has W door with stone voussoirs and small window to right. E ground floor wall has tall Tudor-arched doorway with large blank window to each side, all with stone voussoirs, probably early C19. From castle a rubble stone battlemented wall runs W, partly the front wall of the hipped roofed buiding seen in C19 views, demolished c1910. Wall then returns N and then W again with lean-to outbuildings below to S. At SW corner, a battlemented square turret, then wall runs N to enclose Castle forecourt with large rubble gateway. Square piers with impost bands, broad stone-voussoir elliptical archway and battlements on projecting flat course, and taller corner square battlemented turrets. Wall continues N, then returns lower to E along S side of stable yard with shallow curved projection into forecourt with plain early C20 Tudor-arched entry. (Listed Building Report)

"the Pevsner ‘Buildings of Pembrokeshire’ volume (Yale University Press 2004, p. 179) mentions a view of the present Dale Castle, from 1810, that apparently shows a ‘late medieval tower house’ immediately to its southwest of the present house" (Neil Ludlow pers corr )
Said by some sources to have some remains of vaulted rooms in the later house and by other to have virtually nothing remaining. The actual form of the medival fortified manor house is not known but could have been a pele tower (a crenellated chamber block attached to an unfortified hall) or perhaps something a little more substancial like Upton Castle 20km to the west.
The original Norman castle may have been at the Great Head promontory fort where medieval remains have been found and Dale Castle, church and village may all be a planned new settlement of the mid to late C13.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
Coflein   County HER       Listing    
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated before 1 February 2016