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Brycheiniog

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Vol. 11 1965

A Castle of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd in Brycheiniog

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A CASTLE OF LLYWELYN AP GRUFFYDD IN
BRYCHEINIOG
By D. J. CATHCART KING, M.C., LL.M.
THE catalogue of The Castles of Breconshire by the present writer, published
in Brycheiniog for 1961,1 contained a brief description of the small castle-
consisting of a single stoutly-built round tower standing on what appears
to be a boss of rock forming a natural motte-which stands high on the
upland of Mynydd Illtud, at map-reference 956260, sheet 141 of the
i-inch Ordnance Survey maps. No original name for this little fortifica-
tion has survived; of modern names it has too many, being variously
called Cwmcamlais, Blaencamlais, and Maes-car, after its parish in older
lists it seems to be called Devynock.
Nothing remains of the tower but its base for all its small size, it was
a formidable place. Had there been any appendant ward, one could
speak of it as a typical cylindrical keep of the 13 th century-a member of a
very powerful category indeed. It was slightly over 42 ft. in diameter,
with walls about 11 ft. thick. Such an isolated tower is typical neither
of English nor Welsh work, but comes nearer to the type of the latter;
accordingly, it was suggested that this was a Welsh stronghold. It now
appears that there is some evidence to support this attribution.
In the fragment of a Battle Abbey chronicle printed in Bemont, Simon
de Montfort (Paris, 1884) 379, we find a list of the victories of the Lord
Edward, later Edward I, after his escape from captivity among the Mont-
fortians in 1265
"Castrum Bristowye recuperavit, Monemutam insuper per comitem
Glovernie, et per se Breckoniam et Hayam atque Huntindon, prius
novo castro ultra Breckoniam a Leulino a fundamentis everso.'
Edward, in fact, had retaken Bristol castle; by the efforts of the Earl
of Gloucester, Gilbert the Red, he had recovered Monmouth, and by his
own efforts, Brecon, Hay, and Huntingdon; but before this, the new
castle beyond Brecon had been destroyed to its foundations, apparently by
Llywelyn. It should, however, be noted that the text is very defective,
and that there is at least a suspicion that a word such as erecto or firmato
has dropped out after 'Leulino' the sentence would read more naturally
in that case, and the meaning would be that the new castle beyond Brecon,
built by Llewelyn, had been destroyed by Edward. In either case, it was a
1 Brycheiniog Vol. VII, pp. 71-94.
2 This is the interpretation put on the passage by Tout; see Collected Papers (Manchester Uni-
versity, 1934) ii, 83. My attention was drawn to the allusion to Llywelyn's castle by this essay.
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