Dale Castle

Has been described as a Certain Fortified Manor House

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameDale Castle
Alternative NamesVale; The Castle
Historic CountryPembrokeshire
Modern AuthorityPembrokeshire
1974 AuthorityDyfed

The present castle of Dale consists of a north and south wing, with a connecting passage, but the only ancient portion is the south wing, which constructively remains much as it originally appeared, though its appointments have been greatly modernised. The lower storey has a plain vault.(RCAHMW, 1925)

The modern house at Dale Castle was re-modelled and re-built in 1910 and incorporates parts of a medieval castle. Traditionally the south wing of the current structure is said to have been the central block of the castle. This is 19.5m east-north-east to west-south-west by 17m with turrets at the angles. It is said to have walls c.2.4m thick and to contain vaulted rooms. Pleasure grounds lie to the the east of the castle, with a service court on the west. (Coflein)

Situated just SW of present house at Dale Castle, backing onto forecourt, and including forecourt walls to S, W and N.

Remains of a medieval castle or tower house, with C18 or earlier C19 forecourt walls to Dale Castle. The castle belonged to the de Vale family from c1131 to about 1300 and then to ancestors of the Tudor dynasty. It appears in a view of c1810 as a small rectangular battlemented tower, and in a view of 1857 with an added hipped-roofed range running W. A view in the 1880s shows this range as 3-storey and the castle still complete. About 1910 when the adjacent main house was remodelled for Rhodri Lloyd-Philipps the old castle seems to have been reduced in height and both this and the W range unroofed with the back walls removed, the remainder to become part of the forecourt walls of the mansion. The forecourt walls with gateway do not appear in the c1810 view but do in an 1857 view.

Basement of old castle has large plastered curved stone vault. 3 recesses in S wall with cambered heads. Stone corbelled vaulting within apparently for chimneys in centre and right openings. Small window in centre.

Castle remains and forecourt walls

Rubble stone heavily clad in creeper. Former castle appears to consist of a complete basement storey and truncated ground floor with N wall removed to make floor-level continuous with forecourt. Battlements of c1910. Basement has W door with stone voussoirs and small window to right. E ground floor wall has tall Tudor-arched doorway with large blank window to each side, all with stone voussoirs, probably early C19. From castle a rubble stone battlemented wall runs W, partly the front wall of the hipped roofed buiding seen in C19 views, demolished c1910. Wall then returns N and then W again with lean-to outbuildings below to S. At SW corner, a battlemented square turret, then wall runs N to enclose Castle forecourt with large rubble gateway. Square piers with impost bands, broad stone-voussoir elliptical archway and battlements on projecting flat course, and taller corner square battlemented turrets. Wall continues N, then returns lower to E along S side of stable yard with shallow curved projection into forecourt with plain early C20 Tudor-arched entry. (Listed Building Report)

Gatehouse Comments

"the Pevsner ‘Buildings of Pembrokeshire’ volume (Yale University Press 2004, p. 179) mentions a view of the present Dale Castle, from 1810, that apparently shows a ‘late medieval tower house’ immediately to its southwest of the present house" (Neil Ludlow pers corr ) Said by some sources to have some remains of vaulted rooms in the later house and by other to have virtually nothing remaining. The actual form of the medival fortified manor house is not known but could have been a pele tower (a crenellated chamber block attached to an unfortified hall) or perhaps something a little more substancial like Upton Castle 20km to the west. The original Norman castle may have been at the Great Head promontory fort where medieval remains have been found and Dale Castle, church and village may all be a planned new settlement of the mid to late C13.

- 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 ReferenceSM805058
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

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  • 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. 85
  • Lloyd, T. et al, 2004, The Buildings of Wales (Pevsner Architectural Guides) (Yale University Press) p. 179
  • Pettifer, Adrian, 2000, Welsh Castles, A Guide by Counties (Boydell Press) p. 160
  • Davis, Paul, 2000, A Company of Forts. A Guide to the Medieval Castles of West Wales (Gomer Press) p. 117
  • Salter, Mike, 1996, The Castles of South West Wales (Malvern) p. 57
  • Jones, Francis, 1996, Historic Houses of Pembrokeshire (Brawdy Books) p. 53
  • Miles, Dillwyn, 1979 (Revised 1988), Castles of Pembrokeshire (Pembrokeshire Coast National Park) p. 16
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 399
  • Stickings, T.G., 1973, Castles and Strongholds of Pembrokeshire (Tenby) p. 95-7
  • RCAHMW, 1925, An inventory of the Ancient Monuments of Pembrokeshire (HMSO) p. 86 no. 211 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. 402


  • Ludlow, Neil, 1999, ‘Great Castle Head during the Medieval Period – A medieval castle?’, in Crane, P. ‘Iron Age Promontory Fort to Medieval Castle? Excavations at Great Castle Head, Dale, Pembrokeshire 1999’ Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 148 p. 86-145
  • 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


  • Neil Ludow, 2014-15, pers corr