The oldest fragments of the castle, or in fact the fortified court, now called the Old Beaupre Castle, were erected around 1300. At the time, it belonged to the Basset family from Normandy. In the 16th century, at the initiative of Sir Rice (Rhys) Mansel of Oxwich, an intensive expansion was undertaken, continued by William Basset and completed after his death in 1559 by his son, Richard. As a result, Beaupre at the beginning of the 17th century became a luxury residence with already Renaissance features. In the following years, no more works were carried out, and after the English Civil War, the estate of the Basset family declined. At the beginning of the 18th century, their legacy eventually turned to the Jones family. They decided not to settle in the old court and chose a smaller but more comfortable residence, the New Beaupre. The court was sold in 1709 and since then it was in a state of ruin, of which only a part was suitable for habitation. Merely the south-east wing was occupied and used as a farm.
Beaupre was situated on a small hill in a bend of the Thaw River in the Vale of Glamorgan. The original building from the fourteenth century (now located on the south-eastern side of the inner courtyard) probably had the character of a square defensive-residential tower.
In the late Middle Ages, the tower house was enlarged on the west side by adding a rectangular building with a representative hall inside. In the first half of the 16th century, by adding a four-sided building in the eastern corner, situated perpendicular to the older buildings, the whole house had a shape similar to the letter L. The entrance to the building was then located in the corner formed by both wings, in a high and wide passage with semicircular arcade.
As a result of the expansion from the second half of the 16th century, the court occupied an area about 100 meters long and 25 to 56 meters wide with the main buildings clustered around a four-sided courtyard and a significant, rectangular building of the entrance gate on the north side. A three-story building was added to the west side of a second courtyard, and numerous economic buildings were erected in the south.
Beaupre Castle is a perfect example of a late-medieval court that was rebuilt during the Tudor period. Currently only two wings are roofed, the others are in a well-preserved state of ruin. Particularly noteworthy is the hall in the oldest, medieval part of the complex with a magnificent fireplace from the fourteenth century. The mansion is under the care of the Cadw government agency, it is open all year round and is available free of charge for sightseeing. Only the southern, economic buildings from the Tudor age are now private apartments and are not made available to tourists.
Lindsay E., The castles of Wales, London 1998.
Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, vol.4, part 1, The Greater Houses, Cardiff 1981.
Salter M., The castles of Gwent, Glamorgan & Gower, Malvern 2002.
Website castlewales.com, Beaupre Castle.
Website wikipedia.org, Old Beaupre Castle.