Castell Dinas

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Other/Unknown), and also as a Certain Masonry Castle

There are masonry footings remains

NameCastell Dinas
Alternative NamesBwlch y Ddinas; Castell Ddinas; Bwlch y Dinas; Bulkdinas; Bolkedynas; Waynards Castle
Historic CountryBrecknockshire
Modern AuthorityPowys
1974 AuthorityPowys

The complex of defensive earthworks at Castell Dinas cover an area c.363m by 280m and represent the remains of an extensive masonry castle constructed over the site of an Iron Age enclosure (King 1961, 77-8; Kay 1964; RCAHMW 1986, 96-9). The castle is thought to have been constructed in the later twelfth century as it is first mentioned in 1234. It is described in a survey of 1337 (Walker 1999) and is thought to have passed out of use thereafter. Leyland reported that the castle had been destroyed in the reign of Henry IV. (Coflein)

Castle comprising curtain wall defining two wards and enclosed a keep c30m by 12m. All much ruined. Built within and utilising Iron Age hillfort (PRN 50422) defences. Castle remains are largely inside the northern half of the hillfort's inner enclosure. Used same entrance as earlier hillfort. Part of gatehouse survives, with 3 sides standing up to 1m high. Halfway along the west side, and at the north end of the enclosure are 2 mounds which are presumably the remains of towers of the curtain wall which ran along the top of the inner rampart (Cadw 1998). (Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust HER)

The monument comprises the remains of a hillfort, which probably dates to the Iron Age period (c. 800 BC - AD 74, the Roman conquest of Wales), within which a Medieval Castle was built sometime between AD 1070 and 1075, although the standing remains probably date to the thirteenth century AD. The site is located on a hilltop overlooking the pass between Mynydd Troed and the Black Mountains. The hillfort is multivallate, roughly oval in plan, and covers an area of around 9 hectares on the summit and down the western and southern sides of the hill. The main hilltop defences comprise an inner bank, c. 2m high on the inside and 4m high on the outside, beyond which is a 2m wide ditch and an external bank around 2m high on the inside and 3m high on the outside

Outside the outer bank is a narrow berm beyond which the ground falls sharply away. A substantial cross bank cuts roughly E/W across the interior of the hillfort, dividing it into two halves. This bank is 1.5m high on the northern side and up to 3.5m high on the southern side where there is an outer ditch 0.7m deep. It post-dates the construction of the main defences . The entrance to the hillfort is at the northern end, where a holloway enters the site through a gap in the defences. On the western and southern sides of the hill are further defences. These are slighter than the main hilltop defences, and enclose areas of relatively level ground. The remains of the castle are located in the northern half of the inner hillfort enclosure and comprise a stone-built keep surrounded by a curtain wall that was built on top of the original Iron Age defences. The castle entrance followed that of the hillfort, with a gatehouse positioned on the inner side of the hillfort defences. The remains of the gatehouse demonstrate that it would have been a rectangular building attached to the curtain wall. Traces of a tower can be seen along the western curtain wall, with a second possible tower positioned opposite the gatehouse. In the interior of the castle traces of buildings can be identified, as can the castle well, visible as a deep circular hollow. On the southern side of the castle enclosure are the remains of a substantial hall keep surrounded by an outer wall which survives as a rectangular, steep sided, stone covered mound. (Scheduling Report)

Gatehouse Comments

This was a sizeable masonry castle but, as so often in this part of Wales, the poor quality of local mortar has meant time has left only a sad pile of rubble as testament to its past.

- 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 ReferenceSO178301
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Copyright Helen Hall All Rights ReservedView full Sized Image
Copyright Helen Hall All Rights ReservedView full Sized Image
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  • Kenyon, John, 2010, The Medieval Castles of Wales (University of Wales Press) p. 112
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  • Walker, 1999, 'Bwlchyddinas Castle, Breconshire, and the survey of 1337' Brycheiniog Vol. 31 p. 19-30 online copy
  • 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
  • Kay, 1964, Brycheiniog Vol. 10 p. 15-27
  • Kay, Richard E., 1964, 'Castell Dinas Parish of Talgarth, Brecknockshire' Brycheiniog Vol. 10 p. 15-27 online copy
  • 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
  • Kay, 1964, Brycheiniog p. 15-27
  • King, D.J.C., 1961, ‘The castles of Breconshire’ Brycheiniog Vol. 7 p. 77-8 no. 5 online copy
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Primary Sources

  • Dugdale, William (Caley, J., Ellis, H. and Bandinel, B. (eds)), 1817-30 (originally pub. 1655-73), Monasticon Anglicanum (London) Vol. 3 p. 265b online copy
  • William ab Ithel (ed), 1860, Brut y Tywysogion Jesus MS 111 (Red Book of Hergest) 1233 online copy [Scan of original manuscript >]
  • Williams (ab Ithel), John, (ed), 1860, Annales Cambriae (444 – 1288) (London: Longman, Green, Longman, and Roberts)1233 online copy
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  • 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. 1014-5
  • 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 >])