The castle had been commenced by
Bernard Neufmarché soon before 17 April 1093 when King Rhys ap
Tewdwr of Deheubarth was killed at the battle of Brecon.
From the first the castle seems to have incorporated a town
defence. After Neufmarché fell from favour the castle
passed to the Gloucester family who soon became earls of
Hereford. From them the castle and barony passed to the hands of
the Braose family in the same manner as Abergavenny.
The castle may have been attacked in 1168 by Rhys ap Gruffydd and was occupied by royal forces in 1208 after the failed Braose rebellion.
In 1215 the two remaining Braose brothers retook the castle and in 1217
the townsmen and Braose garrison successfully bought off Llywelyn
Fawr. After the death of William Braose, Llywelyn returned in
1231 and 1233, but on neither occasion succeeded in penetrating the
In early 1263 the castle was transferred to the keeping of Roger Mortimer of Wigmore. Mortimer
seems to have immediately suffered problems of loyalty with the men of
Brecon who probably resented the loss of their Bohun lord. As a
consequence of this it would seem that Roger wrote to the king
concerning Brecon castle and the intransigence of the
inhabitants. A little time later Roger was wounded in battle and
his garrison 'shamefully surrendered' to Llywelyn about the end of
May. An apparently successful attempt was made on the castle by
the Lord Edward in June/July 1265 when Llywelyn's castle beyond Brecon
fell, though the castle changed hands yet again soon after. The
castle was garrisoned by Llywelyn's supporters when Mortimer tried to
retake it in 1266, but was decisively defeated outside the town on 15
May. Prince Llywelyn then spent some considerable effort on
ensuring the safety of the castle and it may have changed hands 3 times
in 1273, with Humphrey Bohun Junior finally obtaining control.
The castle may have been attacked in 1295 and was a mustering point for
the rebels of 1321, falling undefended to royalist forces soon
afterwards. In 1403 a siege of the castle was broken by the
sheriff of Hereford and in 1483 the castle saw itself as the muster
point for yet another abortive rebellion. Soon afterwards it was
Extracted from the Castles
Breconshire (Logaston Press, ISBN 1-873827-80-6) , which includes Brecon Castle, Aberyscir
Castle, Alexanderstone Castle, Castle Madog, Cilwhybert Castle,
Clawdd British, Cwm Camlais Castle, Llanddew Castle, Llandefaelog-Fach
Castle, Llanigon Castle, Llanthomas Castle, Pencelli Castle, Pont
Estyll Castle, Sennybridge Castle, Trecastle, Ty'n-y-Caeau Castle,
Vaynor Castle, Ystradfellte Castle, Castell Coch, Bronllys Castle,
Aberllynfi Castle, Blaenllyfni Castle, Crickhowell Castle, Garn
y Castell, Hen Castell, Maescelyn Castle, Scethrog Tower, Talgarth
Tower, Tredustan Castle, Trefecca Castle, Tretower Castle, Twmpan
Castle, Builth Wells Castle, Caer Beris Castle, Caerau Castle,
Treflis Castle, Llanafan-fawr Castle, Llysdinam Castle, Forest
Twdin, Castell Dinas, Crickardarn Castle, Waun Gunllwch and Llyswen.
Now out of stock. A new version is planned to follow.
Paul Martin Remfry