According to Wikipedia Carndochan:
castle stands on a ridge overlooking the Lliw Valley; its early history is unrecorded, but it is thought to have been built by Prince Llywelyn ap Iorwerth between 1215 and 1230.  Little is known of the site's history although King Edward I of England visited in 1283–84.
In reality few castles are known to have been built by Prince Llywelyn.  A paper, taken from Harlech Castle and its True Origins, summarising the evidence for this can be found here.  

Carndochan lay in the commote of Uwch Tryweryn in the cantref of Penllyn. As such the castle was held by the kings of Powys until 1160 when King Madog ap Maredudd died at Whittington castle.  His son Elise then held Penllyn until 1202 when he was dispossessed by Llywelyn ab Iorwerth who was attacking Powys.  As a consequence Elise was forced to retire to the commote of Edeirnion, north of Bala, which is based around Corwen and Rug castle.  According to the Welsh Chronicles, Elise was allowed to retain 'for his sustenance a castle called Crogen and seven small townships along with it'.  As Crogen was in Is Tryweryn, due east of Bala, it would seem that Elise managed to keep the eastern part of his domains as the chronicles announced with glee Llywelyn's taking and maintaining of Bala castle.  As Crogen lies 6 miles SE of Bala, towards
Powys which was friendly to Elise, it seems natural for him to be forced back in that direction.  

This leaves the question as to why Llywelyn, holding Bala castle, would then fortify the remote highland site of Carndochan where no one was likely to attack him?  The only feasible route of attack here comes either from Gwynedd to the north or from Bala down lake Tegid.  Carndochan therefore seems to protect solely against attack from Gwynedd or Meirionydd, which Llywelyn had conquered before attacking Penllyn.  The style of the castle too makes it most unlikely that a prince of Gwynedd would have built this castle after Llywelyn's death in 1240.  This therefore leaves the logical answer that Carndochan was built by the princes of Powys, a more Anglophile princely family, who were well known for building and reusing castles, viz, Carreghova (1187), Cymer (1116), Dinas Bran (1187), Edeirnion/Rug (1160), Oswestry (1149), Powis (1111), Tafolwern (bef.1162), Whittington (1149).  The castle therefore seems meant to protect Powys from agression by the princes of Gwynedd, not by the princes of Gwynedd to threaten distant Powys.

Presuming the castle was built by 1202 it obviously fell to Prince Llywelyn that year.  Possibly the prince sub-infeudated the castle, for on 7 August 1281, when Prince Llywelyn ap Gruffydd (d.1282) found his new frontier in Penllyn, he seems to have tried to acquire the castle.  It is possible that Carndochan had been given to Tewdwr ab Ednyfed in the 1240s or 1250s.  Certainly Prince Llywelyn claimed he had given Pennant-lliw to Tewdwr when he swapped it back with Tewdwr's son, Heilyn, in August 1281.  Pennant-lliw was a township in Penllyn in which Carndochan castle lay.  The implication of this might have been that Llywelyn was taking the fortress back over to help defend his new frontier during a time of increased tension between Llywelyn and his Powysian neighbours to the south and east.  This would also have given King Edward a reason to look over the fortress in 1283.

The castle remains have recently been partially excavated which confirms much of the castle's plan.  The centre of the fortress was a keep, 35' square, built on the turf overlying the bedrock.  Such a 'foundation' strongly suggests a quick Welsh build.  There are several keeps of similar dimensions in England; Bridgnorth (38'x35'), Clitheroe (35' square), Clun (30' square), Farnham (37' square), Goodrich (29' square), Hyssington (27' square)
, Moreton Corbet (38'x33'), Peveril (21'x19'), South Mymms (35' square), Wattlesborough (30' square), Whittington (52'x38') and some in Wales, Criccieth (43'x32'), Dinas Emrys (36'x27'), Dolwyddelan I (25'square?), Dolwyddelan II (44'x31'), Usk (35' square), White Castle (35' square) and Castell Y Bere (50'x35').  The tower was surrounded by a bow shaped ward with a round tower to the NE.  To the south was an entrance, of which the pointed arch still survived collapsed into the gatepassageway, flanked some way to the east by a D shaped tower and by an elongated D shaped tower similar to those of Ewloe and Y Bere.  There was a rock cut ditch to the SW, but nothing around the rest of the site which just relied upon the steep slope for defence.  No dateable finds were found within the castle other than a fifteenth century token.  Evidence found in Victorian excavations and in the present one, suggest that the keep at least was destroyed by fire.  As Edward I did visit... it is to be presumed it was fired after this date, unless it had been destroyed by its garrison in 1282 like Criccieth and Harlech.  In which case Edward was probably assessing whether it should be reused like the above two castles, or abandoned.  There would also appear to be a ditched platform with rounded corners surrounding the castle, about 700' E-W and 600' N-S.  Possibly this is an unrecognised site of a Roman fort.


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