Sennybridge may have originally been called Rhyd y Briw as in 1271 the Welsh lord of this district, Einion Sais (Einion the English speaker), was dating letters there.  This may suggest a castle in the district, though it might also possibly have been Cwm Camlais castle.  It has further been suggested that this was Llywelyn ap Gruffydd's new castle above Brecon, destroyed by Prince Edward (d.1307) in 1265.  If so the castle was probably built after December 1262 when Llywelyn ap Gruffydd (d.1282) overran the old kingdom.  However, it should be noted that what little evidence there is on the matter might suggest that this referred to Cwm Camlais castle and not Sennybridge.  Regardless of this, the castle of Sennybridge probably perished with the collapse of the prince's principality in South Wales during 1276.  Certainly no further possible mention of this castle can currently be found.

The fortress now consists of the remains of a D shaped tower about 26' in external diameter with walls nearly 6' thick.  These ruins still stand to a height of about 20' at the end of a platform.  North of this, running east to west across the site and connected by the remains of one wall to the tower, is what appears to have been a curtain wall which makes a right angled turn to the south at its eastern extreme.  Beyond this to the east is a slight ditch before the remains of a concrete Second World War pillbox which may occupy the site of another tower.  At the western end of the site is another pillbox, this time brick built and with a slight forebuilding.  Again it may overlie the site of another tower.  The northern front of the castle is occupied by a modern bungalow and its garden.  In plan this castle, with a possible tower at either extreme and a D shaped tower in between, parallels other Welsh designs at Ewloe, Dinas Bran and Dolforwyn.

Why not join me at other Lost Welsh Castles next Spring?  Please see the information on tours at Scholarly Sojourns.


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