New Radnor Castle, Powys
New Radnor, Presteigne
off High Street
Near LD8 2SL
New Radnor Castle is a fine defensive site that dates back to the Dark Ages and later the site of a wooden keep built by Harold Godwinson during a campaign in the 11th century. It has a rich history as a border castle destroyed and rebuilt all the way through to the Civil War.
Access is from a layby on Mutton Dingle road directly into the outer bailey.
~ History ~
1096 ~ Philip de Braose, Lord of Bramber receives the fortified site and commisions the building of a castle.
A motte is positioned at the summit whilst a rectangular bailey is laid out to the north west. Although overlooked by higher ground on this side, the threat is mitigated by two deep ditches protecting the approach to the bailey.
1196 ~ The castle is destroyed by the Welsh led by Rhys ap Gruffydd after he wins a decisive battle nearby.
A further ten motte's are erected in the area by the Norman's in an attempt to secure the area against Welsh raids.
The castle is however soon back in control of the powerful Norman de Braose family.
1210 ~ William de Braose quarrels with King John who eventually captures his wife and son, starving them to death in Corfe Castle. This and other callous acts causes other barons to form a growing alliance against the tyranical King.
1215 ~ King John's continued behaviour towards his barons, crippling taxes and inept leadership in his French campaigns leads to open warfare. The castle is garrisoned by Llywelyn the Great who allies himself with the de Braose family.
King John's forces attack and burn the castle.
1216 ~ The Welsh return and again destroy the castle.
1231 ~ The castle is rebuilt by the English Crown but is once again destroyed by Llywellyn the Great.
1233 ~ The castle is once more rebuilt, but this time by Richard, Earl of Cornwall.
1247 ~ The castle passes to Roger Mortimer when he marries Matilda, eldest daughter if William de Braose. This powerful Marcher Lord is soon engaged in open warfare against the Welsh. The castle is rebuilt in stone and a curtain wall is added to protect the town.
1262 ~ After the castle is yet again destroyed by Llywelyn the Last's Welsh forces, who is operating in support of Simon de Montfort's rebellion against King Henry III during the second Baron's War.
1264 ~ Before repairs are completed on the castle it is once again attacked and destroyed by Llywelyn the Last's forces.
1267 ~ Despite King Henry III emerging triumphant from his conflict with Simon de Montfort and the barons, he seeks peace with Llywellyn and concedes both Radnorshire and Breckonshire to the native Welsh Prince in the Treaty of Montgomery.
1276 ~ Hostilities between Prince Llywelyn and King Henry's son, now King Edward I of England, see's the castle as a front-line brorder fortress from which fresh offensives into Wales are launched.
1282 ~ Mortimer's garrison is attacked by Welsh forces before the War between King Edward I's forces and Prince Llywelyn's Welsh is bought to a sudden end with the death of the elderly Welsh Prince, betrayed by his own pro-English countrymen and ambushed by English knights, initially unaware of who they have killed.
1283 ~ Grants are submitted to construct a defensive wall to protect the town against further Welsh attacks.
1401 ~ The Welsh under the leadership of Owain Glyndwr capture the castle and kill every one of the 60 garrison.
Many years later their headless skeletons and a seperate pile of skulls are found when digging to build the foundations of a new church. The town is devastated by the Welsh forces so much so as that it never recovers.
1485 ~ Following the Battle of Bosworth and the Welsh born King Henry Tudor to the throne of England, the importance of the border castle becomes redundant.
1535 ~ The long abandoned castle is reported by Bishop Roland Lee to Thomas Cromwell that only the gatehouse is worth repairing for use as the county prison.
1631 ~ The Earls of Pembroke become nominal constables of Radnor Castle for King James I.
1642 ~ The castle is able to briefly accommodate King Charles I, but soon afterwards is captured and dismantled by Parliamentary forces as the Royalist cause starts to fail in Wales. Subjected to heavy damage from Parliamentary artlillery, the final remains of the castle are later slighted.