Pipton castle has little known history. It stands on the northern bank of the River Wye and would therefore have lain in Medieval Elfael rather than in the lordship of Brecon. Despite this Pipton seems to be only mentioned in relation to the later lordship and in particular the mesne lordship of Cantref Selyf which was held by the Cliffords. In 1233 the castle apparently belonged to the Gamages of Boughrood lordship in Elfael when the fortress was besieged by rebel Welsh under Roger Vaughan, a grandson of Prince Einion Clud of Elfael. It is not known whether the castle was destroyed, but it does show how far the power of Prince Llywelyn ab Iorwerth spread towards England. The castle may have survived or been rebuilt by June 1265 when the representatives of Prince Llywelyn ap Gruffydd (d.1282) met those of Earl Simon Montfort of Leicester (d.1265) and agreed upon the treaty of Pipton, signed in the castle 'by Pyperton'. After this treaty Llywelyn sent 5,000 foot soldiers eastwards to help Simon and King Henry III at the decisive battle of Evesham. The feudal muster which the principality of Gwynedd owed to the crown at this time was only 24 knights and 1,000 foot within Wales and 500 foot beyond Wales. This shows how much Llywelyn was willing to pay for recognition of his title of prince of Wales.
Of Pipton castle only a small mound remains with a large collection of stone of all sizes at grid reference SO.168381. The remains probably suggest that the castle consisted of a simple round tower set in the shallows of the River Wye. It may have looked rather like the tower seen in the Charlton Heston film, The Warlord.
The Castles of Breconshire, Now out of stock. A new version is planned.
Paul Martin Remfry