Published Booklets on Radnorshire Castles

Radnor Castle, 1066 to 1282 (ISBN 1-899376-03-8) [1994] explores this early castle site dominating the Saxon exploited plain of Radnor. In prehistory the Radnor Plain abounded in ancient monuments and the importance of the district did not disappear with the coming of the Romans. By the 10th century the district was tilled by Saxons and in the early Norman period a castle was built on the hill overlooking the site of a possible roman town. In 1196 the castle was sacked before a relieving force under the Mortimers and Says was destroyed in the battle of Radnor. The castle soon passed into the hands of the Braose family and their tangled history is examined from the Norman Conquest of England until 1230. Such great characters as William Braose and his formidable wife, Matilda St Valery, are met and their battles, victories and defeats recorded. Then, unravelled to some depth, are the mid 13th century campaigns of Radnor's later Mortimer lords, especially the great Roger Mortimer of Wigmore who helped win a kingdom for the Lord Edward (later Edward I) against all the odds and then set his sights upon even higher ambitions. The castle site is examined in detail and an attempt is made to reconstruct its now totally buried masonry remains. Above is the castle mound seen from the high ground to the east.  For more details of the castle please follow this link to the Radnor essay.

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Ten Castles of Radnor Lordship, 1066 to 1304 (ISBN 1-899376-06-2) [1995]. This is the first work to attempt to define the myriad of small castles that apparently pertained to all the major castles in the Marches. The work commences with an introduction concerning the known history and Medieval surveys of these ten sites, Barland motte and bailey, Burfa motte and bailey, Womaston motte and bailey, Castell Nimble ringwork and bailey, Old Radnor ringwork, Evenjobb motte and baileys, Knapp Farm motte, Kinnerton motte and bailey and finally Newcastle motte. There is then a discussion of the development and fortification of Radnor Borough and several suggestions as to its early origin. This is followed by the descriptions of the castles and their little known history. As ever, the text is buttressed with plans, photographs and maps. The picture opposite shows Barland motte from the bailey.

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Four Castles of the Middle Reaches of the River Wye, 1066 to 1282 (ISBN 1-899376-13-5) [1995] examines the castle sites along the River Wye from just west of Hay on Wye to Builth Wells. The history of the land is first examined, then the four castle sites, Llyswen motte and bailey and the three ringworks, Guan Gunllwch, Twyn y Garth and Crickadarn are examined in detail. The peculiar hill fort at Llyswen is also examined and the possibility explored that this was once the llys of 'Cantref Selyf'. Finally a conclusion is reached which suggests that two of these castles may be dated to the time of the Braose war of 1208-10 when the sheriff of Gloucester was active in this region. The grand view of the River Wye from Twyn y Garth is above.

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Painscastle, 1066 to 1405 (ISBN 1-899376-38-0) [1999] deals with the problem of the foundation of this castle probably by Pain Fitz John in the 1120's. To this end the early history of the cantref in which the castle is set is unravelled. This is followed by a recounting of the castle's turbulent and troubled history together with the history of the powerful, if unlucky, Tosny family. The work includes the great battle fought at Painscastle in August 1198 between the princes of Wales under Gwenwynwyn and the Justiciar of England, Geoffrey Fitz Peter. The grubbed up remains of Painscastle can be seen opposite.

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A Political History of Abbey Cwmhir, 1176 to 1282 (ISBN 1-899376-02-X) [1994]. Away from castles for a change, Abbey Cwmhir deals with the politics of the Welsh princes of the Middle Marches fe foundation of the abbey by the brother princes Cadwallon and Einion Clud in August 1176 until the fall of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd in December 1282. Such famous, but now largely forgotten princes as Maelgwn ap Cadwallon, Einion o'r Porth, Gwallter and Iorwerth Clud and the unfortunate Madog ap Maelgwn all make their appearances, often in battle against the forces of Mortimer, Say and Braose. Into the local battlefield the more prominent figures of King John, Henry III and both Prince Llywelyn's often make their mark. After the history of the men who founded and nurtured the abbey, the various grants to the monastery and its extensive land-holdings are explored with the help of maps of the district. This work is crucial to understanding the politics of late twelfth and thirteenth century central Wales.

To the left is a tomb effigy still preserved in New Radnor Church. This unique structure possibly depicts Prince Einion Clud who was killed near Rhayadr during the first days of 1177 or more likely his son, Prince Einion o'r Porth killed in 1191. Note the typically Welsh round shield and now missing spear.  Many other knightly effigies are examined in Medieval Battles, 1047 to 1295.


An updated version of The Political History of Abbey Cwmhir, 1176 to 1282 and the Families of Elystan Godrydd, Mortimer and the Princes of Gwynedd is now available as an A4 sized book of 50 pages.  The revised book includes new photographs and an index and can be bought for £14.95 through the PayPal basket below.
 

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