Dinas Powys Castle

Has been described as a Certain Masonry Castle

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameDinas Powys Castle
Alternative NamesDinas Powis; Dinaunt Poys
Historic CountryGlamorgan
Modern AuthorityVale of Glamorgan
1974 AuthoritySouth Glamorgan
CommunityDinas Powys

Dinas Powys Castle is a ruinous medieval fortress crowning a small and isolated steep-sided hill. It was the centre for a wealthy lordship. The castle is first recorded in about 1200 and was 'al in ruine' by the early sixteenth century. Thirteenth to fifteenth century coins have been found at the site. The castle consists of a near rectangular walled court about 68m north-west to south-east by 32m. The wall is 2.0m wide and in places survives to its battlements. There was a wide arched entrance facing the main approach from the south-east and a narrower postern with a pointed arch in the north-east wall. Masonry and timber buildings, including a great lordly hall, once lined the walls. At the north-west end there are slight remains of a great rectangular tower, some 18m by 13m, attached to the outside of the enclosure wall. A small counterscarped outwork, apparently earlier than the enclosure, lies beyond the tower. It is thought that the tower is earlier than the enclosure and it was probably built in the twelfth century. The enclosure may be late twelfth century, although the form of the postern hints at a thirteenth century date. (Coflein–ref. RCAHMW, 1991)

On a wooded spur in Castle Wood, immediately above the C20 development of Lettons Way and reached by footpath from there.

Masonry castle which replaced the ring work on the hill top to the NW and was the fortified headquarters of the Somery family in the C12. The castle continued in use throughout the C13 and there is evidence of some alterations and additions.

The remains of the castle stand at the NW end of a long narrow ridge which runs NW-SE. The ridge is steep sided on all sides except the SE and is covered in trees and scrub. The remains consist of an enclosure 65m x 53m surrounded by curtain walling, and the stump of a tower. The curtain wall encloses a roughly rectangular area on top of the ridge. The interior is cleared and is 1.5m thick, is roughly coursed

Only in the SE corner are any of the window and door dressings left. (Listed Building Report)

This multi-purpose site lies at the eastern end of the Vale of Glamorgan, one end of the hill having been fortified in the early Christian period by a bank and ditch dating from the 5th to the 7th century. In the Norman period a new bank and ditch were added and the scarp of the new bank was revetted in stone. Whether in wood or stone, the purpose of a revetment was to prevent a bank or mound of earth from collapsing, either into the ditch or the interior enclosure. A double row of postholes at Dinas Powys indicated that the bank was surmounted by a palisade and fighting platform, and there may have been a timber tower at this point; a similar feature was revealed at Penmaen. The entrance at Dinas Powys was on the north-west side, with a timber gate at the end of the passage. This phase has been dated to the 11th century, but there is a question as to who was responsible for building the defences. We do not know whether it was a Norman or a Welshman who refortified the site. A little later the site was strengthened by the addition of banks and ditches, now forming a formidable stronghold. Although this phase cannot be dated precisely, it may have been built by the Normans as part of their general advance into south Wales in the early 12th century. (Kenyon, 1990)

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 ReferenceST152716
Latitude51.4378700256348
Longitude-3.22074007987976
Eastings315270
Northings171640
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Photo by Peter E Presford All Rights Reserved
Photo by Peter E Presford All Rights Reserved
Photo by Peter E Presford All Rights Reserved
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
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
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
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

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Books

  • Davis, Paul, R., 2011, The Forgotten Castles of Wales (Almeley: Logaston Press) p. 110-112
  • Morgan, Gerald, 2008, Castles in Wales: A Handbook (Talybont: Y Lolfa Cyf.) p. 239 (listed)
  • Pettifer, Adrian, 2000, Welsh Castles, A Guide by Counties (Boydell Press) p. 94-5
  • Reid, Alan, 1998, Castles of Wales (John Jones Publishing) p. 76
  • Newman, J., 1995, Buildings of Wales: Glamorgan (Yale University Press) p. 338-9
  • Higham, R. and Barker, P., 1992, Timber Castles (Batsford) p. 62, 352, 358
  • < >RCAHMW, 1991, An Inventory of the Ancient Monuments in Glamorgan Vol. 3 Part 1a: The Early Castles (London: HMSO) < > EM1 p. 307-14
  • Salter, Mike, 1991, The Castles of Gwent, Glamorgan and Gower (Malvern) p. 49
  • Kenyon, J., 1990, Medieval Fortifications (Leicester University Press)
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 163
  • Davis, Paul R., 1983, Castles of Glamorgan (Alun Books) p. 44-5
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 348
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 164, 166
  • Hague, D.B., 1971, in Pugh, T.B. (ed), Glamorgan County History Vol. 3 The Middle Ages (Cardiff) p. 440
  • Lewis, Samual, 1849, A Topographical Dictionary of Wales online copy

Antiquarian

  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1906, Leland's Itinerary in Wales  (Bell and Sons; London) p. 23 online copy

Journals

  • 2001-2002, 'Dinas Powys Castle - For Sale' Castle Studies Group Newsletter No. 15 p. 57-58 online copy
  • Knight, Jeremy K., 1994, 'Welsh Fortifications of the first Millenium A.D.' Château Gaillard Vol. 16 p. 277-284
  • Spurgeon, Jack, 1987, 'The Castles of Glamorgan' Château Gaillard Vol. 13 p. 211
  • Spurgeon, C.J., 1983, ‘Dinas Powis Castle’ 130th annual meeting, Vale of Glamorgan, 1983: programme, CAA p. 15–16
  • Spurgeon, C.J. and Thomas, H.J., 1978, 'Medieval Glamorgan' Morgannwg Vol. 22 p. 21-2 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
  • Corbett, 1909, Cardiff Naturalists' Society Vol. 42 p. 70-82 (history only)

Primary Sources

  • Clark, G.T., 1885, Cartae et alia munimenta quae ad dominium de Glamorgancia pertinent Vol. 1 p. 208-9 no. 224 online copy
  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1901, Calendar of Patent Rolls Henry III (1216-25) Vol. 1 p. 346 online copy
  • Rickard, John, 2002, The Castle Community. The Personnel of English and Welsh Castles, 1272-1422 (Boydell Press) (lists sources for 1272-1422) p. 206