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Mathrafal Castle

6 miles WNW of Welshpool at the junction of the A495 & B4389
Powys, Mid-Wales (SJ 131 107)

Map link for Mathrafal Castle

A royal seat - the original capital of the Princes of Powys. The site may have shifted from an earlier one on a hill top 1km away; the motte was probably built either by Owain Cyfeiliog (c1170) or by Robert de Vieuxpoint (c1210). The seat of Powys was transferred to Welshpool in the early c13th, and Llywelyn ab Iorwerth destroyed Mathrafal in 1212. Traces of wall still remain.

Daniel Mersey

 

Mathrafal was an original capital of the Princes of Powys, ranking alongside Aberffraw and Dinefrw as one of the three royal seats of Wales. The fort on the hill 1km NW was perhaps the original seat and the ramparts and ditches enclosing a square of about 100m upon flat ground beside the west bank of the Banwy may be of the 10th or 11th century. The motte in the east corner and the small bailey in front of it were built either by Owain Cyfeiliog c1170 or Robert de Vieuxpont on behalf of King John in 1212, after Gwenwynwyn, son of Owain, had transferred his chief seat to Welshpool. The castle was destroyed the same year by Llywelyn Fawr. Parts of the retaining Wall have been noted on the side of the bailey adjoining the river.

Mike Salter 1991

 

Additional articles by Dan Mersey

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