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Bleddfa Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Bledewach; Bledvach; Bledeach; Blethefou

In the community of Llangunllo.
In the historic county of Radnorshire.
Modern authority of Powys.
Preserved county of Powys.

OS Map Grid Reference: SO20876834
Latitude 52.30719° Longitude -3.16215°

Bleddfa Castle has been described as a certain Timber Castle, and also as a probable Masonry Castle.

There are masonry footings remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


The surviving remains of the motte at Beddfa amount to a mutilated oval mound, c.46m by 36m, ditched with a counterscarp. The surrounding bailey is rectangular, measuring approximately 100m by 60m, and is defined by slight scarps and hedgelines. Traces of masonry have been noted on the mound summit. The castle is first recorded 1195 and is said to have been derelict in 1304. (Coflein)

Motte c9.1m high but badly mutilated in west. The moat is partially filled. The bailey is 100m by 60m with the north being bounded by a hedge. Original bank still visible on west. Fragments of a square tower on the summit of the mound are thought to date from 1195 when a grant for repair is recorded. The castle was captured by Llewelyn ap Gruffydd in 1262 but was probably not rebuilt (Silvester, R J 1994b, 19). (Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust HER)

Very overgrown motte and small bailey lies SE of the church, beside a stream. In 1195 Hugh de Say was licenced by Richard I to refortify the castle and the square tower of which slight traces remain on the top of the motte was probably built around that time, although Hugh himself was killed in the battle of Radnor later that same year. It appears that the 3m of the 9m high motte is in fact the buried stump of this keep. The castle was destroyed in 1262 after being captured by Llywelyn ap Gruffydd from the Mortimers. In 1304 Edward I allowed material from the destroyed castle to be used to build the church tower, itself destroyed by the Welsh c.1403. The bailey has slight traces of two former towers and seems to have been defended by an artificial lake on its west and south sides. (Salter 2001)

The monument comprises the remains of a motte and ditch, dating to the medieval period (c. 1066 -1540 AD). A motte is a large conical or pyramidal mound of soil and/or stone, usually surrounded by either a wet or dry ditch, and surmounted by a tower constructed of timber or stone. The site at Bleddfa is a mutilated oval mound, measuring c.46m north-west to south-east by c.36m and up to c.9m high, surrounded by a ditch and counterscarp. Traces of masonry have been noted on the summit. The castle is first mentioned in 1195, when the stone tower may have been built. It was captured by Llywelyn ap Gruffudd in 1262 and is said to have been derelict by 1304. The bailey, an attached defended area, probably lay to the north of the motte within the outline of the modern field. (Scheduling Report)
It has been incorrectly suggested that a Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1195 (Click on the date for details of this supposed licence.).

The 1195 record is not, in a meaningful sense, a licence to crenellate although has been called this by some.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
Coflein   County HER   Scheduling        
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 04/07/2016 11:09:06