Brecon Town Walls

Has been described as a Certain Urban Defence

There are masonry footings remains

NameBrecon Town Walls
Alternative NamesAberhonddu
Historic CountryBrecknockshire
Modern AuthorityPowys
1974 AuthorityPowys

Traces remain of medieval wall on a strong bank. Area was oval, on the far side of a small river from the castle. Section from Lower Watergate (Nprn305721) SO04422841 to c.SO04512838, along Captain's Walk has remains of bank preserved in gardens to the N and battered medieval wall base incorporated in current boundary walls. Tower remains at SO04672847 with remains of bank extending 20m NNE. Section of wall at SO04622859 marked "Town Wall" on OS Landline is thought to be modern. (Coflein)

Near river, to rear of No.3 Buckingham Place, Glamorgan Street; best seen from W end of Captain's Walk.

In Speed's Plan of Brecknock of 1610 and Meredith Jones's Plan of 1744 five towers are shown between the Bridge Gate and Watton Gate; this is presumably the second tower to the south of Bridge Gate and is situated close to the River Usk. Theophilus Jones (1805/1809) identified this tower as "Porth y dwr issa", the "lower watergate" one of the ten "towers or turrets" of the town defences of Brecon "at the bottom of Mr Maybery's garden" and remarks that one of the town gates was underneath the tower. The tower probably dates to the C13 or C14. Recent research suggests that the gateway was inserted through an earlier structure.

Ruined medieval tower of stone. Rectangular in plan, but very overgrown with vegetation in 2005. To each side of central opening, beginnings of springing of arch are visible. (Listed Building Report)

The monument comprises the remains of a stretch of the medieval town wall, including the remains of a gatehouse, that extend along the southern edge of the medieval town of Brecon. The section of wall measures 45m in length and comprises a substantial earthen bank 9m wide and 1.5m high fronted by a masonry wall around 4m in height. This wall has been repaired and repointed on multiple occasions since the medieval period, including the addition of new coping stones along the top of the wall

These works have significantly altered the appearance of the wall, although the bulk of the structure is likely to be of medieval origin. The gatehouse is located to the west of the extant section of wall. It is of coursed rubble construction and comprises two parallel sections of walling around 4m high, between which there was a single pointed arch, the springer for which can be seen on the E wall. The gatehouse has recently undergone significant conservation and consolidation works. (Scheduling Report)

Gatehouse Comments

In 1404 the bailiff of Brecon was authorised to spend 100 marks on fortifying the gates, walls and ditches of the town, and four years later he was given an annuity as a reward for his 'great labour and perils' during the rebellion. (HKW–ref. R. Somerville, History of the Duchy of Lancaster i (1953), p. 171 n.). Apart from this relatively small amount of money there is no record for royal support for the building of the town walls which certainly date from before the early C15 and are probably mid C13. They were probably paid for by the towns people and the lords of Brecon Castle (probably Humphrey de Bohun) and constituted part of a major building programme with considerable works also done at the castle.

- Philip Davis

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

This is a Grade 2* 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 ReferenceSO045283
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

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Primary Sources

  • < >See the Gatehouse murage pages for full details of murage [grants >], [petitions > ] and [other such >]. < >


  • Cole, J.R., Dodd, L.J., Garner, D.J. and Walker, W.S., 1997, An Archaeological Evaluation at CRS Foodstore, Brecon, Powys (EAS report)
  • Silvester, R.J., 1993, Brecon Town Study (CPAT report)