The land of Glasbury seems to have been under Saxon control from an early period and its etymology may suggest a Saxon rather than a Welsh 'clas' foundation. Glasbury castle is first mentioned in 1144 when it was granted by Earl Roger of Hereford to Walter Clifford during the war against Hugh Mortimer of Wigmore and his royalist allies. The castle was mentioned again in c.1165 when William Braose Senior confirmed the castle to Clifford. Braose, no doubt like his predecessors, reserved to himself all judgments in matters affecting life and limb over the men of Glasbury lordship and in the land which pertained to Gloucester abbey as had been granted by Bernard Neufmarché before 1088. In August 1233 Glasbury castle fell to King Henry III during the Clifford war of that year. The castle may finally have been destroyed by Prince Llywelyn ap Gruffydd early in 1263. Certainly by the 1280s Glasbury manor was repeatedly disputed between the successors of the Cliffords and Braose, but no castle was ever mentioned again.
The site of Glasbury castle is still much disputed. The castle site has now been much built over, but it was at Grid Reference SO.175392. The centre and west side of the castle mound can still be seen beside the access road into a cul-de-sac behind the Lamb Inn. Already the western side of the mound has been destroyed and built upon. The eastern side of the motte has been similarly removed in the past in anticipation of future development and the suggested position is now occupied by rough pasture and construction waste. It is clear that the ground levels were also reduced once the mound had been removed probably to raise the ground levels elsewhere. Full details and maps are available at the Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust in Welshpool.
The Castles and History of Radnorshire (ISBN 1-899376-82-8) looks in great detail at Glasbury castle and its complex history. This book consists of 309 pages of A4 and examines in greater detail the history and castles of Radnorshire and Rhwng Gwy a Hafren. Starting in the early eleventh century the book covers the age of the castles up to the Civil War of 1642-46. Each castle description is buttressed by numerous photographs and plans of the earthworks and remains where they survive. A new look is also taken at the battlefield of Pilleth and the evidence for the course of the battle is scrutinised. The book also contains genealogical family trees of the major historical Radnorshire families and a full index.
Available for £39.95.
Paul Martin Remfry