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Crickhowell Castle

In the center of town, Powys, mid Wales

Map link for Crickhowell Castle

Photographs copyright © 2006 by Jeffrey L. Thomas

From the CADW guidebook

Crickhowell Castle, also known as Alisby's castle, is a conspicuous feature of the small market town and occupies a vantage point with commanding views along the Usk valley. It began life as a motte and bailey with timber buildings, probably built by the Turberville family in the 12th century. In 1272 it was rebuilt in stone, still to the basic plan, by Sir Grimbald Pauncefote, who married Sybil, a Turberville heiress.

A stone shell keep was provided around the top of the motte, slight traces of which are still visible. The base of the motte and bailey were also walled and provided with towers and gateways; only two substantial masonry fragments survive. The one to the south-east of the motte (not a keep as described in some sources) is a strong double tower provided at the eastern corner of the bailey where it adjoined the motte. One side of this survives to a considerable height. More ruinous is the gatehouse to the south-west of the motte. This originally consisted of a pair of drum-towers, one of which remains to an apparently precarious height, while the other is reduced virtually to ground level. The bailey appears to have occupied roughly the area of the present playing field. The remains of a stone tower were discovered in a service trench at its western corner.

During the 14th century the castle was in Mortimer hands but in 1402 it was restored to Sir John Pauncefote, great-grandson of Sir Grimbald, who refortified it by royal command. He was nonetheless unable to resist Owain Glyndwr's forces who left it in ruins. Later in the century it was granted to Sir William Herbert, who became the earl of Pembroke. It seems unlikely that any further work was done; the keep was uninhabitable by the mid-16th century.


Below: approacing the tree-covered motte at Crickhowell


Below: a slender surviving fragment of the gatehouse on the SW sidw of the motte

Below: artist reconstructive drawing of Crickhowell Castle


Additional Photos of Crickhowell Castle


Footpath to the motte


View of the summit of the motte




A Medieval castle bailey is a great place for a playground, right?





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Copyright © 2009 by Jeffrey L. Thomas