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A short guide to
Castell Tinboeth and New Radnor castles

by the Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust

Motte and bailey

New Radnor Castle has suffered a turbulent history. A castle was first recorded at Radnor in Domesday as a possession of the crown and again later during the 12th century. It is not always clear however whether the references are to Old Radnor or New Radnor castles. During the 12th century Radnor castle was held by Phillip de Breose but was captured in 1196 by Rhys ap Gruffydd and later occupied by Llywelyn ab Iorweth. In 1216 it was captured and partially destroyed by King John. The New Radnor castle was in use during the 13th century as it was sacked by Llywelyn in 1231. The earl of Cornwall then rebuilt it in 1233 before it was again damaged by Llywelyn ap Gruffudd and Simon de Montfort in 1264. The castle and town were sacked again in 1401 by Owain Glyndwr.

New Radnor Town and Castle CPAT AP 88-C-50

The castle today, although much damaged over the years, consists of a motte topped by a banked oval enclosure containing the foundations of buildings including a keep. Part of the keep survived as late as 1815 and a length of curtain wall still stood in the mid 19th century. To the north-west of the motte is a rectangular bailey known as Bailigas (Beili Glas). Traces of a rectangular structure can be seen against the north-west defences of the bailey. The bailey is cut by later earthworks, including the remains of ridge and furrow, showing the area was cultivated during medieval or later periods.

The original approach to the castle was from the west but this has been destroyed by quarrying.

Less is known about Castell Tinboeth which lies on the bank of the river Ithon about a mile north of Llananno church. The medieval castle is set within an Iron Age hillfort which is roughly circular and about 100 metres in diameter. The rampart, which is built of stone and earth, broadens out on the east side and the entrance lies to the south-east. On the inside of the rampart is a ditch which was used as a quarry to provide material for building the bank. This ditch was deepened during the medieval period to obtain stone for building the castle.

Castell Tinboeth  CPAT AP 85-C-259

The medieval castle was probably built in the late 13th century by the Mortimers. It may have been constructed by Maud, wife of Roger Mortimer after his death in 1282, at which time one of the other Mortimer castles, at Cymaron, appears to have gone out of use. The hillfort defences appear to have formed the bailey or outer ward of the castle while the inner ward was protected by a stone curtain wall and was entered at the north-east corner through a gatehouse which was about 8 metres square. The stone walls are now reduced to banks of rubble. The inner ward is further protected by a deep ditch.

Access and parking
New Radnor Castle lies within the town of New Radnor (at OS national grid reference SJ21176100). It is in private ownership but is crossed by a public footpath leading from the back of the church. Parking is available in the town.
Castell Tinboeth (SO09017544) is situated on a hill immediately east of the A483 Newtown to Llandrindod Wells road and above the river Ithon. It can be approached via a footpath which climbs steeply up from the road just before Llananno bridge and the turning to the right off the A483 towards Bwlch-y-sarnau. Follow the footpath up from the road, through the wood and then turn right at the field boundary. Go up the hill to the castle keeping to the right hand side of another fence. Good shoes are recommended for the walk up to the castle which takes about 15 minutes each way. Parking is available in a layby opposite the footpath. Ordnance Survey Landranger maps 147 & 148

Map of Wales

The above information comes from the Sites and Monuments Record of the Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust. For further information about the historic environment of this area, contact:-

Jeff Spencer
Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust
7a Church Street
SY21 7DL

tel: (01938) 553670
fax: (01938) 552179

Compiled for the Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust by Caroline Earwood and Neville Townsend

You may reproduce this material free of copyright for educational purposes only

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