St Quentins Castle, Llanblethian

Has been described as a Certain Masonry Castle

There are major building remains

NameSt Quentins Castle, Llanblethian
Alternative NamesSt Quintins; Caer Dynnaf; Cowbridge
Historic CountryGlamorgan
Modern AuthorityVale of Glamorgan
1974 AuthoritySouth Glamorgan
CommunityCowbridge With Llanblethian

The ruinous rectilinear stone walled castle enclosure, c.64m east to west by 40-60m, at Llanblethian Castle is set on a spur above steep slopes above the River Thaw. The encience, with a twin-towered gatehouse and two other towers on the east, and the entrance facade are thought to be early fourteenth century. A rectangular tower within is believed to be earlier. The castle is first mentioned 1234 and is believed to have been established around 1102. It was ruinous by 1741 (Coflein)

About 450m NE of Llanblethian church on spur of land above loop in River Thaw.

Although known as St Quintin's Castle, after the first Lords of Llanblethian, the St Quintin family were dispossessed in 1233 by Richard Siward, upon whose outlawry in 1245, the castle passed to Richard de Clare, Lord of Glamorgan. Only the ruinous keep of C12 can be associated with the St Quintin family. The gatehouse belongs with the newly fortified enclosure probably begun circa 1312 by Gilbert III de Clare, killed at Bannockburn in 1314. There are stylistic links with Caerphilly castle. From C15 onwards castle was used as a prison.

Gatehouse (set forward from curtain wall) in local grey lias stone with dressings of buff Sutton stone. Central Gothic archway (provision for portcullis) flanked by towers with splayed corners. Cruciform arrow loops at ground floor level, most of dressed stone from windows and upper loops lost. Smaller arch in rear face of gatehouse. The remains of the curtain wall enclose an irregular quadrilateral about 52m by 50m; foundations of towers at angles N and S of gatehouse, and turret to NW. In centre of enclosure, remains of C12 keep. (Listed Building Report)

The castle was originally built c1312., although an earlier castle on the site is indicated by a large overgrown mound of rubble marking the remains of a large rectangular keep, presumably raised in the 12th century by the St Quintins, the early lords of Llanblethian

It is situated at the end of a spur with steep natural defences on all sides except the east. It is now partly destroyed/ruinous. (Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust HER)

Mainly early C14 remains of a large courtyard castle, including a massive twin-towered gatehouse. Probably built by Gilbert de Clare (the Last, d. 1314). (CADW)

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 ReferenceSS989741
Latitude51.4574508666992
Longitude-3.45635008811951
Eastings298910
Northings174170
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Books

  • Kenyon, John, 2010, The Medieval Castles of Wales (University of Wales Press) p. 138-139
  • 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. 166-185
  • RCAHMW, 2000, St Quentin's Castle, Llanblethian (Cardiff)
  • Pettifer, Adrian, 2000, Welsh Castles, A Guide by Counties (Boydell Press) p. 108-9
  • Reid, Alan, 1998, Castles of Wales (John Jones Publishing) p. 97-8
  • Newman, J., 1995, Buildings of Wales: Glamorgan (Yale University Press) p. 372
  • Salter, Mike, 1991, The Castles of Gwent, Glamorgan and Gower (Malvern) p. 52
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 164
  • Davis, Paul R., 1983, Castles of Glamorgan (Alun Books) p. 23
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 362
  • Hague, D.B., 1971, in Pugh, T.B. (ed), Glamorgan County History Vol. 3 The Middle Ages (Cardiff) p. 441
  • Hopkin-James, L.J., 1922, Old Cowbridge (Cardiff) p. 13-8 online copy
  • Lewis, Samual, 1849, A Topographical Dictionary of Wales online copy
  • Homfray, Jeston, 1828, The Castles of the Lordship of Glamorgan (Cardiff) p. 29 and plate
  • Buck, Samuel and Nathenial, 1774, Buck’s Antiquities (London) Vol. 2 p. 402

Antiquarian

  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1906, Leland's Itinerary in Wales  (Bell and Sons; London) p. 31 online copy

Journals

  • Spurgeon, Jack, 1987, 'The Castles of Glamorgan' Château Gaillard Vol. 13 p. 209n, 215-7, 222
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, ‘Llanblethian Castle’ 130th annual meeting, Vale of Glamorgan, 1983: programme, CAA p. 27
  • 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
  • Corbett, J.A., 1889, 'The Manor of Llanblethian' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 44 p. 70 online copy

Primary Sources

  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1895, Calendar of Close Rolls Edward II (1318-1323) Vol. 3 p. 542 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. 207-8