Penllyn Castle

Has been described as a Certain Masonry Castle

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NamePenllyn Castle
Alternative NamesPenlline; Penllin; Penline
Historic CountryGlamorgan
Modern AuthorityVale of Glamorgan
1974 AuthoritySouth Glamorgan

Remains of an 11th/12th century medieval castle built on a commanding position overlooking the Thaw and Ewenny valleys. The extant keep which is rectangular, is of Norman date, is possibly one of the earliest of its type in Wales. Original material also survives in the present garden wall, and stable-block. The castle was rebuilt at least once, following an attack by Glyndwr, but was described by Leland in 1652 as a ruin with 'adjoining it or in place of it, a fair house'. In 18th century illustrations the house, partly obscured by the remains of the castle, appears ruinous but with 16th century details. This was replaced by the existing late-18th century house built by Miss Gwinnett between 1780-1790. There is now no trace of the original bailey. (Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust HER)

Late C18 house, possibly very close to 1800 (said to have been built by Miss Emlia Gwinett (or Gwynette) between 1789 and 1804), attached to and perhaps also embodying remains of the medieval Penllyn castle, but also with work of the Tudor period, vide the base of the water-tower. The Regency house was further altered in the Victorian period, vide the chimney stacks, but a far more elaborate scheme for rebuilding signed by one of the Wyatts, the drawings for which survive in the house, was not built. The tithe map of 1839 shows it as a simple square block. It was described in 1852 (Lewis) as a ruined castle with 'adjoining it or in place of it, a fair house'. (Listed Building Report)

Probably built by Robert Norris, Earl Robert of Gloucester's sheriff. Lord of Penllyn by 1135, he seems to have erected one of the first Norman keeps in Glamorgan. It was an oblong tower, like contemporary Ogmore. The two surviving walls stand on the edge of a low cliff above the River Thaw. Near the base are six courses of 'herringbone' masonry, a feature of early Norman work in which the stones are set in alternate diagonal layers

Above are traces of a blocked first-floor entrance. The keep now forms one corner of a derelict building. This began as a Tudor manor house of the Turbeville family, but was converted to a stable when the adjacent mansion replaced in in the 1790s. (Pettifer)

Not scheduled

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 ReferenceSS978760
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Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved

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  • Morgan, Gerald, 2008, Castles in Wales: A Handbook (Talybont: Y Lolfa Cyf.) p. 240 (listed)
  • Pettifer, Adrian, 2000, Welsh Castles, A Guide by Counties (Boydell Press) p. 104
  • Reid, Alan, 1998, Castles of Wales (John Jones Publishing) p. 118
  • Newman, J., 1995, Buildings of Wales: Glamorgan (Yale University Press) p. 1995
  • < >RCAHMW, 1991, An Inventory of the Ancient Monuments in Glamorgan Vol. 3 Part 1a: The Early Castles (London: HMSO) < > EM4 p. 336-40
  • Salter, Mike, 1991, The Castles of Gwent, Glamorgan and Gower (Malvern) p. 61
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 167
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 373
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 275
  • Hague, D.B., 1971, in Pugh, T.B. (ed), Glamorgan County History Vol. 3 The Middle Ages (Cardiff) p. 445 (unimportant)
  • Randall, Henry John, 1961, The Vale of Glamorgan, Studies in Landscape and History (Newport: R.H.Johns Ltd) p. 77
  • King, Edward, 1804, Munimenta antiqua or Observations on antient castles (W.Bulmer and Co) Vol. 3 p. 261 and plate 37 online copy


  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1906, Leland's Itinerary in Wales  (Bell and Sons; London) p. 32 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