Castell Blaenllynfi

Has been described as a Possible Timber Castle (Motte), and also as a Possible Masonry Castle

There are masonry footings remains

NameCastell Blaenllynfi
Alternative NamesBlaen Llyfni; Blaen Lleveny; Blean-Llevenny; Blaenllyfni; Blaenllynvi; Bleynleveny
Historic CountryBrecknockshire
Modern AuthorityPowys
1974 AuthorityPowys
CommunityLlanfihangel Cwmdu with Bwlch and Cathedine

Stone-built quadrillateral castle, c.70m by 47m, defined by remains of walls, butresses and towers, within a broad moat, c.120m by 100m overall. To the NW of this is an embanked pool (now dry), 100m by 24m, with which the mound at SO14512300 is associated. The site was excavated by its then owner from 1973. (Derived from Coflein and Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust HER)

Centre of the Fitz Herbert Barony of 1208, probably constructed in the years 1208 to 1215, after which it fell into the hands of the Braose family. It was returned to the fitz Herberts in 1217/8 and was sacked by Prince Llywelyn ab Iorwerth and Richard Marshall in the October of 1233. Rebuilt soon afterwards it was apparently taken by Llywelyn ap Gruffydd late in 1262. It was retaken by September 1273 when Reginald fitz Peter fitz Herbert was rebuked for his castle taking activities in Brecknockshire. The castle was seized by the Crown after the abortive uprisings of 1321-2 and given to the Dispensers until their overthrow late in 1326. The castle by this time was nearly ruinous and an inquisition by jury of 23 January 1337 held at the castle found numerous defects which suggests that the castle had never recovered from the attentions of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, even if the archaeological evidence does suggest that the castle defences were improved at this time. (Remfry)

The monument consists of the remains of a castle, dating to the medieval period. A castle is a defended residence or stronghold, built mainly of stone, in which the principal or sole defence comprises the walls and towers bounding the site. Some form of keep may have stood within the enclosure but these were not significant in defensive terms and served mainly to provide accommodation. Castell Blain-Llynfi was a stronghold of the de Breos family, but was confiscated in about 1208 by William Marshall, the Earl of Pembroke and given to King John

The King then granted it to Peter Fitz Herbert, but it was recovered by Giles de Breos in 1213. (Scheduling Report)

Gatehouse Comments

This site is alternatively spelt Blaenllynfi meaning source of Llynfi (it is the site of the source of the Afon Llynfi) or Blaenllyfni meaning something like source of smoothness. The second spelling seems incorrect but is much used and appears to be an old oft repeated typographical error.

- Philip Davis

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

Not Listed

The National Monument Record (Coflein) number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSO144228
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.

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  • Davis, Paul, R., 2011, The Forgotten Castles of Wales (Almeley: Logaston Press) p. 78-80
  • Morgan, Gerald, 2008, Castles in Wales: A Handbook (Talybont: Y Lolfa Cyf.) p. 231 (listed)
  • Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles of Mid Wales (Malvern) p. 18-19
  • Pettifer, Adrian, 2000, Welsh Castles, A Guide by Counties (Boydell Press) p. 11
  • Reid, Alan, 1998, Castles of Wales (John Jones Publishing) p. 48
  • Remfry, Paul, 1998, Castles of Breconshire (Logaston Press) p. 149-53 (plan)
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 16
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 326
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 111
  • Oman, Charles W.C., 1926, Castles (1978 edn Beetham House: New York) p. 169
  • Clark, G.T., 1884, Mediaeval Military Architecture in England (Wyman and Sons) Vol. 2 p. 504-5 (Reprint of 1876 Arch. Camb. article) online copy
  • Lewis, Samual, 1849, A Topographical Dictionary of Wales online copy
  • Buck, Samuel and Nathenial, 1774, Buck’s Antiquities (London) Vol. 2 p. 350



  • Silvester. R J., Courtney, P. and Rees, S.E., 2004 (published in 2006), 'Castell Blaenllynfi, Brecknock: a Marcher castle and its landscape' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 153 p. 75-103
  • Silvester. R J., 1990, ‘Castell Blen Llynfi. Cathedine’. Archaeology in Wales 30. 63
  • Hogg, A.H.A. and King, D.J.C., 1967, 'Masonry castles in Wales and the Marches: a list' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 116 p. 71-132
  • Hogg, A.H.A. and King, D.J.C., 1963, 'Early castles in Wales and the Marches: a preliminary list' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 112 p. 77-124
  • King, D.J.C., 1961, ‘The castles of Breconshire’ Brycheiniog Vol. 7 p. 74 no. 1 online copy
  • Brown, R, Allen, 1959, 'A List of Castles, 1154–1216' English Historical Review Vol. 74 p. 249-280 (Reprinted in Brown, R. Allen, 1989, Castles, conquest and charters: collected papers (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 90-121) view online copy (subscription required)
  • Clark, G.T., 1876, 'Tretower, Blaen Llyfni and Crickhowel Castles' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 31 p. 284 online copy

Primary Sources

  • Brut y Tywysogion 1215, 1233 (Several transcriptions and translations exist the best being Jones, T., 1952, Brut Y Twysogion (University of Wales, History and Law series 11)–based on the Peniarth MS 20 version. There is a flawed translation Williams ab Ithel, John, 1860, Brut Y Twysogion or The Chronicle of the Princes (Rolls Series) online copy)
  • Williams (ab Ithel), John, (ed), 1860, Annales Cambriae (444 – 1288) (London: Longman, Green, Longman, and Roberts)1233 online copy
  • Jones, T. (ed), 1948, 'Cronica de Wallia and other documents' Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies Vol. 12 p. 27-44
  • Hardy, T.D. (ed), 1833, Rotuli litterarum clausarum in turri Londinensi asservati (Record Commission) Vol. 1 p. 316
  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1895, Calendar of Close Rolls Edward II (1318-1323) Vol. 3 p. 415 view online copy (subscription required)
  • Rickard, John, 2002, The Castle Community. The Personnel of English and Welsh Castles, 1272-1422 (Boydell Press) (lists sources for 1272-1422) p. 98-9
  • C145/129(18) (Survey of 1336) The National Archives reference (calendared in Maxwell Lyte, H.C., 1916, Calendar of Inquisitions Miscellaneous (Chancery), preserved in the Public Record Office (H.M.S.O.) Vol. 2 p. 364 No. 1492 [online copy >])