Ancient Monuments

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Llandovery Castle

A Scheduled Monument in Llandovery (Llanymddyfri), Carmarthenshire (Sir Gaerfyrddin)

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Latitude: 51.9927 / 51°59'33"N

Longitude: -3.7962 / 3°47'46"W

OS Eastings: 276767

OS Northings: 234214

OS Grid: SN767342

Mapcode National: GBR Y4.JP08

Mapcode Global: VH5F3.45YR

Entry Name: Llandovery Castle

Scheduled Date:

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 2095

Cadw Legacy ID: CM015

Schedule Class: Defence

Category: Castle

Period: Medieval

County: Carmarthenshire (Sir Gaerfyrddin)

Community: Llandovery (Llanymddyfri)

Built-Up Area: Llandovery

Traditional County: Carmarthenshire


The monument consists of the remains of a castle, dating to the medieval period. It was originally constructed in the 12th century as a motte and bailey; the motte, a large conical mound was scarped out of a rocky hillock overlooking the Afon Bran and stands c 15m high. The bailey, a sub-rectangular embanked enclosure of c 4.5m high above the surroundings is located to the east. Further outlying banks formerly existed to the south west. These defences will have been surrounded by wet or dry ditches and possibly strengthened with palisades, revetments, and/or a tower on top of the motte, all of wood. Later in the thirteenth century the castle was refortified in stone and the remains today comprise the footings of a shell keep, a strong D-shaped tower on the west and a twin-towered gatehouse with a well turret to the north together with sections of a curtain wall around the motte.

The castle had an English foundation and is first mentioned in 1116 when it was attacked by Gruffudd ap Rhys. It fell briefly to the Lord Rhys in 1158 but between 1159 and 1161 was extensively repaired by Henry II. Captured again by Lord Rhys in 1162 it remained in Welsh hands for over 100 years figuring between 1195 and 1213 in a series of repeated skirmishes during the dynastic quarrels of the southern Welsh princes. In 1277 it fell to the English king Edward I and remained in English hands except for when temporarily captured by Llywelyn the Last in 1282. The repercussion of this disturbance was the fortification of the castle in stone following the grant of Cantref Bychan by Edward I to John Giffard who had assisted the king in his wars against Llywelyn.

The monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance our knowledge of medieval defensive practices. The monument is well-preserved and an important relic of the medieval landscape. It retains significant archaeological potential, with a strong probability of the presence of both structural evidence and intact associated deposits. The scheduled area comprises the remains described and areas around them within which related evidence may be expected to survive.

Source: Cadw

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