Bleddfa Castle

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

There are masonry footings remains

NameBleddfa Castle
Alternative NamesBledewach; Bledvach; Bledeach; Blethefou
Historic CountryRadnorshire
Modern AuthorityPowys
1974 AuthorityPowys

The surviving remains of the motte at Beddfa amount to a mutilated oval mound, c.46m by 36m, ditched with a counterscarp. The surrounding bailey is rectangular, measuring approximately 100m by 60m, and is defined by slight scarps and hedgelines. Traces of masonry have been noted on the mound summit. The castle is first recorded 1195 and is said to have been derelict in 1304. (Coflein)

Motte c9.1m high but badly mutilated in west. The moat is partially filled. The bailey is 100m by 60m with the north being bounded by a hedge. Original bank still visible on west. Fragments of a square tower on the summit of the mound are thought to date from 1195 when a grant for repair is recorded. The castle was captured by Llewelyn ap Gruffydd in 1262 but was probably not rebuilt (Silvester, R J 1994b, 19). (Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust HER)

Very overgrown motte and small bailey lies SE of the church, beside a stream. In 1195 Hugh de Say was licenced by Richard I to refortify the castle and the square tower of which slight traces remain on the top of the motte was probably built around that time, although Hugh himself was killed in the battle of Radnor later that same year. It appears that the 3m of the 9m high motte is in fact the buried stump of this keep. The castle was destroyed in 1262 after being captured by Llywelyn ap Gruffydd from the Mortimers. In 1304 Edward I allowed material from the destroyed castle to be used to build the church tower, itself destroyed by the Welsh c.1403. The bailey has slight traces of two former towers and seems to have been defended by an artificial lake on its west and south sides. (Salter 2001)

The monument comprises the remains of a motte and ditch, dating to the medieval period (c. 1066 -1540 AD). A motte is a large conical or pyramidal mound of soil and/or stone, usually surrounded by either a wet or dry ditch, and surmounted by a tower constructed of timber or stone

The site at Bleddfa is a mutilated oval mound, measuring c.46m north-west to south-east by c.36m and up to c.9m high, surrounded by a ditch and counterscarp. Traces of masonry have been noted on the summit. The castle is first mentioned in 1195, when the stone tower may have been built. It was captured by Llywelyn ap Gruffudd in 1262 and is said to have been derelict by 1304. The bailey, an attached defended area, probably lay to the north of the motte within the outline of the modern field. (Scheduling Report)

Gatehouse Comments

The 1195 record is not, in a meaningful sense, a licence to crenellate although has been called this by some.

- 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 ReferenceSO208683
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

No photos available. If you can provide pictures please contact Castlefacts

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.

Calculate Print


  • Remfry, P., 2008, The Castles and History of Radnorshire (SCS Publishing)
  • Morgan, Gerald, 2008, Castles in Wales: A Handbook (Talybont: Y Lolfa Cyf.) p. 249 (listed)
  • Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles of Mid Wales (Malvern) p. 55
  • Pettifer, Adrian, 2000, Welsh Castles, A Guide by Counties (Boydell Press) p. 181
  • Reid, Alan, 1998, Castles of Wales (John Jones Publishing) p. 31
  • Remfry, P., 1996, Castles of Radnorshire (Logaston Press) p. 116
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 406
  • 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. 112
  • RCAHMW, 1913, An inventory of the Ancient Monuments of Radnorshire (HMSO) p. 15 no. 49 online copy
  • Armitage, Ella, 1912, The Early Norman Castles of the British Isles (London: John Murray) p. 293 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
  • 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
  • Rennell, 1964, Transactions of the Radnorshire Society Vol. 34 p. 63-4 (Inquisitions Post Mortem of 1304) online copy
  • Noble, F., 1963, ‘Further excavations at Bleddfa Church, and associated problems of the history of the Lordship of Bleddfa’ Transactions of the Radnorshire Society Vol. 33 p. 57-63 online copy
  • Butler, L.A.S, 1963, Archaeology in Wales Vol. 3 p. 20
  • Butler, L.A.S., 1962, ‘The excavations of a mound at Bleddfa Church’ Transactions of the Radnorshire Society Vol. 32 p. 25-42 online copy
  • Butler, L.A.S, 1962, Archaeology in Wales Vol. 2 p. 18
  • Butler, L.A.S, 1961, Archaeology in Wales Vol. 1 p. 15
  • 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)

Primary Sources

  • The Great Roll of the Pipe for the seventh year of the reign of King Richard I Michaelmas 1195 (Pipe Roll Society 44) p. 108
  • 'Annales de Wigornia' in Luard, H.R (ed), 1869, Annales Monastici (Rolls Series 36) Vol. 4 p. 447 online copy
  • Williams (ab Ithel), John, (ed), 1860, Annales Cambriae (444 – 1288) (London: Longman, Green, Longman, and Roberts)1262 online copy
  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1908, Calendar of Close Rolls Edward I (1302-1307) Vol. 5 p. 181 view online copy (subscription required)


  • Silvester, R.J., 1994, Radnorshire Historic Settlements (CPAT report) p. 19 online copy