Llantrisant Castle

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

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameLlantrisant Castle
Alternative NamesLandtrissen; Lantrissan
Historic CountryGlamorgan
Modern AuthorityRhondda Cynon Taff
1974 AuthorityMid Glamorgan

Llantrisant castle is a magnificent towered medieval fortress now reduced to fragments. It forms a group with the church (NPRN 14034) and borough (NPRN 33133), all set in a saddle between two hills atop the escarpment marking the southern side of the Glamorgan uplands. A Norman earthwork and timber castle may have stood on this small steep-sided spur next to the grand twelfth century parish church, but the present castle was built in 1246 by the lords of Glamorgan following their annexation of upland Penychen. It was the administrative centre for the commotes or lordships of Meisgyn and Glynrhondda. The borough is first mentioned in 1262. The castle suffered capture and despoilment in the wars and riots of the closing years of the thirteenth century and earlier fourteenth century. It was repaired and continued to be maintained into the fifteenth century, but was ruinous by the early sixteenth century. The castle consists of a small roughly oval court about 30m north-south by 25m. This had a stout wall with great round towers at the north and south ends. A single 13m tall fragment survives of the 14.2m diameter north tower, probably the 'Gilguran tower' of the early sixteenth century. Mere traces remain of the 10-11m diameter south tower. It is possible that there was at least one other tower. The ground falls steeply away on all sides but the north where there was a curving outer court, presumably also walled. In this area is the Guildhall (NPRN 31911) which may originally have been a medieval court house. (Coflein–ref. RCAHMW, 2000)

The remains of the castle are very scanty and the site is now a public recreation ground. Built by Richard de Clare c.1246. (Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust HER)

A dark, ivy-covered ruined tower is all that is left of one of the more important 13th-century castles of Glamorgan

It was built in about 1250 by Richard de Clare, lord of Glamorgan, to hold this hill district of Meisgyn which he had just wrestled from its Welsh overlords. The castle's strategic and commanding position, guarding the important route from the upland to the lowland zone, is very apparent. The castle stands on a flat-topped blunt spur on the edge of a steep drop to the south. Parts of the spur's stone revetment are still visible, and ditches separate it from the rest of the ridgetop on the east and west sides. The north side of a circular tower, once called the Raven, is the main upstanding stonework of the castle. Details of a doorway half-way up it point to a mid-13th century date, and also give an idea of the height of the curtain wall, the wall-walk of which was originally reached from this doorway. The curtain wall would have skirted the spur, but very little of it survives. On the south-west flank there is a much-overgrown base of a half-round projecting tower. The open green to the north of the castle is the probable site of the bailey, but no traces of earthwork or masonry defences survive. The church to the west was originally an aisled Norman church before 19th-century rebuilding. (Whittle, 1992)

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

Not Listed

The National Monument Record (Coflein) number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceST047834
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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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  • Goodall, John, 2011, The English Castle 1066-1650 (Yale University Press) p. 203
  • Morgan, Gerald, 2008, Castles in Wales: A Handbook (Talybont: Y Lolfa Cyf.) p. 239 (listed)
  • < >RCAHMW, 2000, An Inventory of Ancient Monuments in Glamorgan Vol. 3 Part 1b: The Later Castles (London: HMSO) < > p. 185-195
  • Pettifer, Adrian, 2000, Welsh Castles, A Guide by Counties (Boydell Press) p. 98-9
  • Reid, Alan, 1998, Castles of Wales (John Jones Publishing) p. 101
  • Whittle, E., 1992, A Guide to Ancient and Historic Wales, Glamorgan and Gwent (London: Cadw HMSO)
  • Salter, Mike, 1991, The Castles of Gwent, Glamorgan and Gower (Malvern) p. 54
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1
  • Davis, Paul R., 1983, Castles of Glamorgan (Alun Books) p. 22
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 364
  • Hague, D.B., 1971, in Pugh, T.B. (ed), Glamorgan County History Vol. 3 The Middle Ages (Cardiff) p. 442-3
  • Lewis, Samual, 1849, A Topographical Dictionary of Wales online copy


  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1906, Leland's Itinerary in Wales  (Bell and Sons; London) p. 21 online copy


  • 2004-5, 'Llantrisant Castle' Castle Studies Group Bulletin Vol. 18 p. 122-127
  • Spurgeon, Jack, 1987, 'The Castles of Glamorgan' Château Gaillard Vol. 13 p. 214
  • Spurgeon, C.J. and Thomas, H.J., 1980, 'Llantrisant Castle' Archaeology in Wales Vol. 20 p. 76-7
  • 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. and Alcock, L., 1969, 'Ringworks in England and Wales' Château Gaillard Vol. 3 p. 90-127
  • 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
  • Renn, D.F., 1961, 'The round keeps of the Brecon region' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 110 p. 140 and plate
  • 1933, Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 88 p. 364
  • Corbett, J.S., 1901, 'Llantrissant Castle' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 56 p. 1-7 online copy

Primary Sources

  • Clark, G.N., 1910 (2edn), Cartae et alia Munimenta quae ad Glamorgancia pertinent (Cardiff) Vol. 2 p. 532-3 online copy Vol. 3 p. 842-3 [online copy > http://archive.org/stream/cartaeetaliamuni03claruoft#page/842/mode/1up]
  • Rickard, John, 2002, The Castle Community. The Personnel of English and Welsh Castles, 1272-1422 (Boydell Press) (lists sources for 1272-1422) p. 208-9