Dinefwr, like Castell
Carreg Cennen and Dryslwynwas
another early castle of the princes of Deheubarth, which may have begun
its existence as a castle of the Clares during the Anarchy. It
lay about a quarter of a mile south-west of an earlier Roman fort and
rebuilt by the elder brothers of Rhys ap Gruffydd (d.1197) in
thirteenth century the fortress was claimed to be the capital
the kingdom of Deheubarth. As such it certainly attracked
enemies. In January 1214, King John's troops, allied with
Rhys Ieunac (d.1222), a grandson of the Lord Rhys, successfully
attacked the castle after fighting a pitched battle outside its walls
against Rhys Gryg (d.1234). The castle wall was stormed and
the central tower attacked by men with scaling ladders.
they failed to break into the tower, the castle did surrender on terms
the next day. The fortress suffered repeated attacks in the
wars of the 1270s and 80s. King Edward's refusal to turn the
castle over to Rhys ap Maredudd in 1284 led to a renewal of fighting in
South Wales in 1287 and Rhys' death by hanging in 1292.
The castle consists of a fine round keep, now standing
storeys high. Round keeps seem particularly prevailant in South
Wales, but others can be found throughout western Europe. These are listed under Llanstephan and Dundrum. The peculiar centre of Dinefwr keep appears to be the original
internal wall of the tower which had a passageway all the round at this
level. A similar design is seen in the Snowdon tower at
in Scotland and at Hawarden as well as the uncompleted towers at Beaumaris.
Despite unsourced claims to the country this was likely the
attacked in 1214.
The keep is protected on three sides by a tall curtain wall.
has been destroyed on the NE side, while the north wall of the castle
has been replaced by a later courtyard with a hall block,
terminated by a round tower emeshed in the west end of the black.
The SW curtain has two irregular rectangular turrets providing some
flanking, while there is virtually none for the hole in the wall
gateway, although this was protected by a long
Welsh barbican and rectangular gatetower of a later build. Other
versions of long barbicans exist at Denbigh and Carreg Cennen.
There was an outer ward to the east which was also walled and had
no flanking, but a projecting rectangular gatehouse half way along the
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Paul Martin Remfry