Llanddew Palace

Has been described as a Certain Masonry Castle, and also as a Certain Palace (Bishop)

There are masonry footings remains

NameLlanddew Palace
Alternative NamesLlanthew Castle; Lannedeu
Historic CountryBrecknockshire
Modern AuthorityPowys
1974 AuthorityPowys

Residence of the Bishop of St Davids, also site of Archdeacon of Brecon's residence from at least the later 12th century; ruinous by early 16th century: an irregular quadrilateral, about 90m north-east to south-west by 85m, bounded by a stretch of ditch, or moat on the north-east, elsewhere the remains of a wall about the south-western & part of the north-west side; there are remains of substantial masonry buildings on the north-west, including a possible hall block, about 18m north-east to south-west by 12m; towards the centre of the south-west front is a projecting bastion adjoining 'Bishop Gower's Well': recent clearance work on the hall block (Jones 2004 (AW 43 (2003), 145) revealed that the hall was set over a vaulted basement, 15m by 7.0m. (Coflein)

Masonry castle remains comprising rectangular ward with partial curtain having a door at south corner and a half round tower on the south-west. The whole being c80m NE-SW by 40m wide. Rectangular building 10.7m by 20m within.

Reputedly the remains of the Bishop's Palace of Llanddew.

Well set in wall (said to be c.1340) and known as Bishop Gower's well.

Parish pump dated to 1908.

Scheduled area extended 1997 to cover the earthwork defences on the eastern side and house platforms on the south (Cadw 1997).

In private ownership, said to be home in the 12th century of Giraldus Cambrensis when he was archdeacon of Brecon. Much altered. Standing remains presumably date to 13th and 14th centuries (Cadw, 2002, pp27).

Application for grant aid approved by Cadw in 2003 for archaeological evaluation and consolidation works. (Cadw, 2003). (Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust HER)

Just NW of The Old Vicarage N of the crossroads in the centre of the village.

Ruin of the C13 hall of a medieval residence of the Bishops of St Davids recorded from the C12. Llanddew Castle was occupied in the C12 by Giraldus Cambrensis, as Archdeacon of Brecon 1175-1203

He called it 'a small residence. .... well adapted to literary pursuits and the contemplation of eternity'. Archbishop Baldwin of Canterbury stayed at Llanddew on his tour of Wales with Giraldus in 1188. The castle was derelict by the C16. Sold in the 1650s, but returned to the see of St Davids after the Restoration. In the 1741 Buck engraving the front wall, now entirely gone is shown standing and much more survived of the back wall. Restored in 2003 when a cushion shaped corbel was found in the top corner.

Ruins of a medieval hall, rubble stone thick walls on three sides, front wall gone. Walls are thicker at base with ledge to support beams of former basement ceiling. No evidence of former stone vaulting. High surviving end walls and one end of rear wall which otherwise survives to just above basement height. Right end wall has remains of big pointed end window with splayed reveals. Left end wall has external put-log holes a splayed loop to basement right. Rear wall has crease lines of former gabled external porch, of which some projecting stones survive each side of elliptical-arched door with stone voussoirs. Basement has base of a fireplace projection on inside rear wall. (Listed Building Report)

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 ReferenceSO055307
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Copyright Rhisiart Hincks All Rights ReservedView full Sized Image
Copyright Rhisiart Hincks All Rights ReservedView full Sized Image

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  • Davis, Paul, R., 2011, The Forgotten Castles of Wales (Almeley: Logaston Press) p. 175
  • Morgan, Gerald, 2008, Castles in Wales: A Handbook (Talybont: Y Lolfa Cyf.) p. 251 (listed as possible)
  • Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles of Mid Wales (Malvern) p. 28
  • Pettifer, Adrian, 2000, Welsh Castles, A Guide by Counties (Boydell Press) p. 14
  • Emery, Anthony, 2000, Greater Medieval Houses Vol. 2 (Cambridge) p. 641, 643, 644, 645-6, 653
  • Reid, Alan, 1998, Castles of Wales (John Jones Publishing) p. 98
  • Remfry, Paul, 1998, Castles of Breconshire (Logaston Press) p. 118-20 (plan)
  • Thompson, M.W., 1998, Medieval bishops' houses in England and Wales (Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing) p. 183
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 19
  • Rees, Wm, 1932, Map of South Wales and the Border in the 14th century (Ordnance Survey) (A handbook to the map was published in 1933)
  • Lewis, Samual, 1849, A Topographical Dictionary of Wales online copy
  • Buck, Samuel and Nathenial, 1774, Buck’s Antiquities (London) Vol. 2 p. 356


  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1906, Leland's Itinerary in Wales  (Bell and Sons; London) p. 109, 112 online copy


  • Bradley, J and Gaimster, M. (eds), 2004, 'Medieval Britain and Ireland in 2003' Medieval Archaeology Vol. 48 p. 350 download copy
  • Jones, 2003, Archaeology in Wales Vol. 43 p. 145
  • 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
  • King, D.J.C., 1961, ‘The castles of Breconshire’ Brycheiniog Vol. 7 p. 79 online copy
  • Davies, J. Lane, 1873, 'Notes on the Parish and church of Llanddew, Brecknockshire' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 28 p. 282-4 online copy [online copy > http://www.freewebs.com/llanddew/thenameahistory.htm]

Primary Sources

  • 1930, Register of Edward the Black Prince (HMSO) Vol. 1 p. 77


  • Payne, Naomi, 2003, The medieval residences of the bishops of Bath and Wells, and Salisbury (PhD Thesis University of Bristol) Appendix B: List of Medieval Bishop's Palaces in England and Wales (available via [http://ethos.bl.uk])