Benton Castle

Has been described as a Certain Masonry Castle

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameBenton Castle
Alternative NamesLlangwm; Burton
Historic CountryPembrokeshire
Modern AuthorityPembrokeshire
1974 AuthorityDyfed
CommunityBurton

In plan, it comprehends a very small court of irregular figure, at the south-west angle of which rises a small cylindrical tower of three floors, surmounted by an octagonal battlement probably of somewhat later date, of which each face contains one embrasure, whose ruined coping is the only trace of cut stone remaining in the building. (This feature has almost disappeared since 1860.) The walls are thick, the floors have been of timber, there appear to have been no fireplaces, and there are no stairs in the tower wall, so that the access to each floor was probably by ladders and trap doors. The doorway has a pointed arch, but no traces of a portcullis. Appended to its west side is a square projection which rises to the summit, and contains garderobes for the two upper floors. From these a shaft descends to the foot of the tower and opens upon the ditch. The lower stage is lighted by loops, one of which commands the castle entrance. Above are some small coupled windows. A door on the east side opens from the first floor upon a short and low curtain, 9 feet thick, with battlement and rere wall, which is pierced by the main gateway of the place, a narrow and pointed arch, without trace of portcullis or gate-house. At the east end of this curtain is a second and smaller tower, much ruined, and from this the curtain seems to be extended round the court. (Clark)

A medieval castle originally built by Bishop Beck in the 13th century. The ruins were substantially restored during the 20th century and it is now a private residence. The single tower is believed to have originally been adjoined to a smaller tower by the curtain wall. (Dyfed Archaeological Trust HER record)

The small medieval castle of Benton and its surrounds, represented the knight’s fee within the lordship that belonged to the Barony of Walwyn’s Castle. By 1307, it was held of the barony by Thomas de Roche, Lord of Llangwm

It comprised 10 carucates of land, held by homage and knight-service, and one curtilage – ie. Benton Castle – valued at 2s yearly. Benton appears not to have been manorial and may never have supported a vill, and the area was probably always wooded. (Dyfed Archaeological Trust Historic Landscape Characterisation Benton)

Small C13 castle with one tall round tower, and one smaller round tower each side of front. There was an irregular courtyard behind, much depleted, now rebuilt and roofed over. The main SW tower had no floors (originally timber), no fireplaces, no stairs in the tower walls but garderobe chutes. The entrance had no portcullis or defences. Its medieval history is apparently unrecorded. In ruins when painted by Sandby in 1779. Part of the Owen of Orielton estate at one time. The ruins had been stabilised before 1920 by the Scourfields of Williamston. Bought in 1932 by Ernest Pegge (1896-1940), civil engineer who repaired the castle as a house. After his death the work was completed by his nephew Dr Arthur V. Pegge, who built up and roofed the courtyard, completed by 1954. He was aided by J. A. Price, the county architect. Sold in the 1960s and further restored for Col. and Mrs J. A. Sulivan. Col. Sulivan was High Sheriff of Dyfed 1974, his wife a great-grand-daughter of Sir Hugh Owen of Orielton.

Interior largely C20, the splayed plinth of main tower visible within small centre hall. Steps up to cambered headed broad entry into tower base. Inserted fireplace in base of tower. Steps up to first floor narrow cambered-headed door in smaller tower to left.

Castle, now house, whitewashed rubble stone. Tall narrow round tower to left of single-bay curtain wall to round tower with parapet little higher than curtain wall. Left tower has splayed base and corbelled octagonal embattled parapet, double corbels under angles. Two loops to ground floor right and centre left, two to first floor, left and centre right. On left side is big projecting tapered garderobe chute, square plan with steep pyramidal cap tapered off to point under corbels of main tower. Rough cambered-headed base opening and two small loops. To left of tower entrance bay has corbelled embattled parapet, first floor small loop and segmental pointed doorway with stone voussoirs. Round tower to right is without corbels and parapet has narrow slots between each wide-spaced crenellation. Four loops, spaced two at mid height, two at first floor. Behind and with much lower parapet level is main domestic range with flat roof behind embattled parapet. Canted corner. Segmental pointed windows at upper level (ground floor level on entry side): one in E end, one in canted NE corner and two set to right on long curved rear wall with a one to left and a small pointed window on curve to left over basement door. There are basement loops below most of the windows, square put-log holes and a basement pointed door to left on rear wall, set above ground level. The W end has projection similar to garderobe chute on main tower, three-sided with pyramidal cap. One similar window to each side of stair tower cap. Windows have C20 uPVC glazing. (Listed Building Report)

Gatehouse Comments

The tenurial history seems somewhat unclear. I can't find anything to support the suggestion made in the HER record that this was built by Bishop Bec. The location does seem suggestive of a hunting lodge. Sir Thomas de Roche, although technically a knightly tenant, was almost of baronial status with several holdings in Pembrokeshire and Ireland so perhaps he intended this as the centre of a deer park, even if the intended park was not actually made. (Philip Davis)

- Philip Davis

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 ReferenceSN005068
Latitude51.7248191833496
Longitude-4.88963985443115
Eastings200530
Northings206890
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Copyright David Purchase and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Copyright David Purchase and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.

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Books

  • Morgan, Gerald, 2008, Castles in Wales: A Handbook (Talybont: Y Lolfa Cyf.) p. 247 (listed)
  • Hull, Lise, 2005, Castles and Bishops Palaces of Pembrokeshire (Logaston Press) p. 48-9
  • Pettifer, Adrian, 2000, Welsh Castles, A Guide by Counties (Boydell Press) p. 154
  • Davis, Paul, 2000, A Company of Forts. A Guide to the Medieval Castles of West Wales (Gomer Press) p. 59
  • Reid, Alan, 1998, Castles of Wales (John Jones Publishing) p. 31
  • Salter, Mike, 1996, The Castles of South West Wales (Malvern) p. 49
  • Jones, Francis, 1996, Historic Houses of Pembrokeshire (Brawdy Books)
  • Miles, Dillwyn, 1979 (Revised 1988), Castles of Pembrokeshire (Pembrokeshire Coast National Park) p. 10-11
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 391
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 326
  • Stickings, T.G., 1973, Castles and Strongholds of Pembrokeshire (Tenby) p. 88-90
  • RCAHMW, 1925, An inventory of the Ancient Monuments of Pembrokeshire (HMSO) p. 33 no. 86 online copy
  • Edwards, Emily Hewlett, 1909, Castles and Strongholds of Pembrokeshire (Tenby) p. 39 online copy
  • Owen, Henry (ed), 1897, The Description of Pembrokeshire (Society of Cymmrodorion) Vol. 2 p. 401-2 (Llangwm)
  • Lewis, Samual, 1849, A Topographical Dictionary of Wales online copy

Journals

  • Wiles, John, 2013-14, '"Marshall towers" in South-West Wales: Innovation, Emulation and Mimicry' Castle Studies Group Journal Vol. 27 p. 181-202
  • 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., 1962, 'The Castles of Pembrokeshire' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 119 p. 313-6 online copy
  • Clark, G.T., 1865, 'Benton Castle, Pembrokeshire' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 20 p. 82-4 online copy