Crickhowell – castle

History

Crickhowell Castle was built at the turn of the 11th and 12th centuries by Bernard de Neufmarche or one of his vassals, Robert Turberville. At the time, it was still a wooden motte and bailey structure. At the beginning of the 12th century, the castle certainly belonged to the Turberville family, in which possession remained for the next 150 years. Around 1270, Hugh de Turberville rebuilt the fortress into a stone one, but he was the last member of the family, and when he died in 1293 leaving no male heir, the castle passed into the hands of Sir Grimbald Pauncefote, who married Hugh’s daughter, Sybil. After him, castle became the property of Earl Roger Mortimer, who appointed Garard Alisby as the constable of the stronghold. From his name, the stronghold received an alternative name, Alisby Castle. In 1402 it was returned to the Pauncefote family, and the then owner, Sir John Pauncefoot, received a royal order to restore Crickhowell’s defenses in the face of Owain Glyndŵr’s rebellion. John Pauncefoot’s efforts proved inadequate because the castle was captured and sacked by rebels in 1403. The rebellion was finally pacified, but the castle never regained its former splendor. It went through various owners, but fell into ruin and was mostly pulled down to obtain building materials.

Architecture

The castle from the end of the 13th century consisted of a keep in the form of a stone perimeter of walls on an earth mound (shell keep) with a height of 8 meters and a diameter of 60 meters as well as an outer bailey. Keep was later supplemented with a small gatehouse tower and a twin-tower gate below the south side of the mound, connecting the outer bailey with the keep. In the fourteenth century, the castle, about 90×65 meters in size, was surrounded by a defensive wall reinforced with four towers and a complex of two connected towers: one cylindrical and one four-sided. They had probably defensive and also a residential functions as evidenced by larger gothic windows and relics of the fireplace on the first floor. The entrance to the outer bailey was possible through a gatehouse consisting of two towers flanking the passage between them.

Current state

Currently the main remnant of the castle is a fragment of a two-tower complex, consisting of one wall of a four-sided tower and about half of the cylindrical tower. In addition, you can find relics of the twin-tower gatehouse, there is also an earth mound on which the keep was standing. Entrance to the ruins area is free.

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bibliography:
Kenyon J., The medieval castles of Wales, Cardiff 2010.
Website castlesfortsbattles.co.uk, Crickhowell Castle.