Pencelli Castle

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

There are masonry footings remains

NamePencelli Castle
Alternative NamesPenkelly; Pengelli; Pencelly; Penketli
Historic CountryBrecknockshire
Modern AuthorityPowys
1974 AuthorityPowys

A castle is recorded at Penkelly in the thirteenth to fourteenth centuries and traces of an earthwork and masonry castle survive. It is sited on a low north-facing promontory and a south-east leaning scarp-line, now followed by the Brecknock & Abergavenny Canal. A subrectangular inner enclosure, c.33m N-S by 25m, occupies the promontory area and is ditched to the south. There are remains of masonry structures, including a rectangular tower, 9.0-11m across. The south of the outer enclosure shows a generally rectangular track, 112m NW-SE by 90m, originally ditch-defined - shown on OS County series (Brecknock. XXXIV.7 1887). A later seventeenth century print shows a twin-towered gatehouse and other masonry structures. The late sixteenth century house within the outer enclosure (Nprn16016) is thought to incorporate medieval fabric, possible that of a chapel. (Coflein– ref. King 1961)

Pencelli castle was probably built in the late C11 by Ralph Baskerville. As such it may have seen service during the war of 1093 to 1099. Robert, the last Baskerville lord of Pencelli, seems to have died around 1210, perhaps as a victim of William Braose's war that occurred in Central Wales that summer. Robert's lands then passed through his daughters to the Le Wafre family, but were seized by Reginald Braose. The Le Wafre's regained it, but lost the castle to rebel and Welsh forces in 1233. The castle was rebuilt and probably taken again in 1262. It was recovered by 1273, after which the twin towered gatehouse might have been built by Roger Mortimer Junior who had acquired the castle probably through his father's agency. The fortress was seized by the king in 1322 and probably fell into decay soon afterwards. Today the ruins of the great square keep can still be made out behind the hotel which itself dates to 1584. (Remfry, 1998)

Not scheduled

Not Listed

The National Monument Record (Coflein) number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSO094249
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved

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


  • Davis, Paul, R., 2011, The Forgotten Castles of Wales (Almeley: Logaston Press) p. 97-100
  • Morgan, Gerald, 2008, Castles in Wales: A Handbook (Talybont: Y Lolfa Cyf.) p. 232 (listed)
  • Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles of Mid Wales (Malvern) p. 30
  • Pettifer, Adrian, 2000, Welsh Castles, A Guide by Counties (Boydell Press) p. 18
  • Remfry, Paul, 1998, Castles of Breconshire (Logaston Press) p. 123-4
  • Reid, Alan, 1998, Castles of Wales (John Jones Publishing) p. 118
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 20
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 371-2
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 275
  • Fisher, J. (ed), 1917 Tours in Wales (1804-1813) by Richard Fenton (Cambrian Archaeological Association) online copy
  • Lewis, Samual, 1849, A Topographical Dictionary of Wales online copy
  • Buck, Samuel and Nathenial, 1774, Buck’s Antiquities (London) Vol. 2 p. 357


  • 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
  • King, D.J.C., 1961, ‘The castles of Breconshire’ Brycheiniog Vol. 7 p. 79-80 no. 8 online copy
  • 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

  • Brut y Tywysogion 1215, 1233-4 (Several transcriptions and translations exist the best being Jones, T., 1952, Brut Y Twysogion (University of Wales, History and Law series 11)–based on the Peniarth MS 20 version. There is a flawed translation Williams ab Ithel, John, 1860, Brut Y Twysogion or The Chronicle of the Princes (Rolls Series) online copy)
  • Williams (ab Ithel), John, (ed), 1860, Annales Cambriae (444 – 1288) (London: Longman, Green, Longman, and Roberts)1233-4 online copy
  • Jones, T. (ed), 1948, 'Cronica de Wallia and other documents' Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies Vol. 12 p. 27-44 (1233-4)
  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1904, Calendar of Patent Rolls Edward II (1321-24) Vol. 4 p. 74 online copy
  • 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. 106


  • Silvester, R.J. and Dorling, P.J., 1993, Historic settlements in the Brecon Beacons National Park (CPAT report)