The castle, or rather a fortified court in Candleston, was founded in the 14th century on the initiative of the Cantilupe family. It could have been built on the site of an earlier building from the 13th century. At the end of the fifteenth century, it was renovated and rebuilt by Mathew Cradock, a constable of castles in Caerphilly and Kenfig, and around 1500 transformations were made in the range of the great hall. Further modifications were carried out in the 17th century, when a new range was added next to the hall building. The lands of the estate in the Middle Ages were covered with sand from nearby dunes and lost their value, but the building remained inhabited until the 19th century. The last person living in the court was Sir John Nichol. When in 1808 he built a new residence, Candleston was sold and used by new owners as a farm. Eventually it was abandoned at the end of the 19th century and fell into disrepair.
Candleston was situated in relatively flat terrain in the bend of a small stream that flows south into the Ogmore River. The castle consisted of a D-shaped courtyard, about 30 meters wide, surrounded by a wall with a thickness of 1.1 meters and a height of 2 meters. The oldest part of the court was a rectangular economic range and a tower on the south-east side.
The tower was situated in the corner and advanced in front of the defensive perimeter, where it defended the southern entrance to the castle. It had 7.9 by 6.4 meters, with a vaulted ground floor and two upper storeys. The walls were 1 meter thick, only the west wall with stairs reached 1.8 meters thick. Originally, the tower was crowned with a battlement on a parapet embedded on corbels. The first floor room was accessible by a narrow staircase at the western wall, it housed a 15th-century fireplace and a latrine.
In the second phase of construction from the fifteenth century, the northern building was rebuilt, which on the second floor housed the hall, and the kitchen on the ground floor. A new portal from the tower’s floor led to the hall, and it was warmed by a decorated fireplace. In the 17th century, a new west range was added at right angle.
Currently, the Candleston castle is in a state of non-roofed ruin. Its central and northern parts are only preserved in the form of lower parts of the walls. The tower and the nineteenth-century stables have stood the test of time in a better condition. There are also visible fragments of the wall surrounding the courtyard. Admission to the somewhat neglected ruin is free.
Glamorgan later castles, Royal commission on the ancient and historical monuments of Wales, Llandudno 2000.
Lindsay E., The castles of Wales, London 1998.
Salter M., The castles of Gwent, Glamorgan & Gower, Malvern 2002.