Alisby Castle, Crickhowell

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

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameAlisby Castle, Crickhowell
Alternative NamesCrucywel; Crug Hywel
Historic CountryBrecknockshire
Modern AuthorityPowys
1974 AuthorityPowys

The original Norman motte and bailey at Crickhowell was re-fortified with stone in the late C13 to early C14. Traces of a shell keep have been noted about the summit of an oval-shaped motte that is approximately 60m x 46m and 8m high. There are remains of a twin-towered gatehouse at its foot that opened onto a scarped forecourt, about 70m east-west and 16m deep, which has the ruins of two conjoined towers on the east. The court was set into a large bailey, about 90m by 64m across, its south and west sides followed by Castle Road. The Buck Brothers' view of 1741 shows that the bailey was originally walled, with at least three semi-circular towers. The castle was disused by the fifteenth century and subsequently pillaged for stone. (Coflein)

Situated to the SE of the High Street in Recreation Ground between Castle Road and Beaufort Street. The Castle, known as Alisby's Castle after Gerald Alisby the early to mid C14 governor, was formerly of Norman motte and bailey type. Rebuilt in late C13/early C14 by Sir Grimbald Pauncefote, disused in C15 and much pillaged since for local building. The masonry remains include an engaged round and rectangular random coursed rubble tower; crenellated parapet, narrow openings and early C14 ogee lancets with worn cusping. Various splayed openings to 3-storey and basement inner faces, fireplace at 1st floor level. View of 1893 shows the tower in more complete state. Part of the former circular gate tower to the motte remains in the slope to NW. (Listed Building Report)

The monument consists of the remains of a castle, dating to the medieval period. The castle, also known as Alisby's castle occupies a vantage point with commanding views along the Usk valley. It originated as a Motte, measuring 60m in diameter and 8m high, and Bailey with timber buildings, probably built by the Turberville family in the 12th century

In 1272 it was rebuilt in stone by Sir Grimbald Pauncefote who married a Turberville heiress. On the summit of the motte a stone shell keep was built, traces of which can still be seen, while the base of the motte was enclosed by a defensive wall with two D-shaped towers on the southern side. The bailey, measuring around 90m by 65m, was enclosed by a curtain wall. A print by Samuel and Nathaniel Buck from 1741 shows the curtain wall with at least 3 round towers along the bailey wall. On the SE side of the Bailey a conjoined double tower was built, comprising one round and one square tower, with crenellations surmounting the top of the square tower. The remains of a further tower were identified during the excavation of a service trench on the W side of the bailey. During the 14th century the castle was refortified by Sir John Pauncefote, great-grandson of Sir Grimbald, following royal command, but it was nonetheless unable to withstand attack from Owain Glyndwr's forces who left it in ruins. The castle was never repaired and was uninhabited by the mid-16th century. The remains of the motte and D-shaped towers, together with the substantial remains of the conjoined towers, still stand on the site, while the bailey area is now occupied by a playground. (Scheduling Report)

Gatehouse Comments

The complete lack of remains of the shell keep suggest this was earlier and built with a less good mortar than gatehouse. The gatehouse has had some walls demolished, from the base, in a way which will have allowed access to the valuable, imbedded, large timber floor joists but having got these it does not appear as though it was worth the effort to complete the demolition.

- Philip Davis

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law

Historic Wales CADW listed database record number
The National Monument Record (Coflein) number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSO217182
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Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights ReservedView full Sized Image
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights ReservedView full Sized Image
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights ReservedView full Sized Image
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights ReservedView full Sized Image
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights ReservedView full Sized Image
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights ReservedView full Sized Image

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Primary Sources

  • Rickard, John, 2002, The Castle Community. The Personnel of English and Welsh Castles, 1272-1422 (Boydell Press) (lists sources for 1272-1422) p. 103-4


  • Locock. M., 1994. Archaeological Field Evaluation Alidby's Castle. Crickhowell. Powys (GGAT)
  • Silvester, R.J. and Dorling, P.J., 1993, Historic settlements in the Brecon Beacons National Park (CPAT report)
  • Owen, W.G., 1992. Archaeological Evaluation of Play Area at Crickhowell Castle. Powys (CPAT report)