A circular walk passes the motte of the original eleventh century castle and the remains of the later thirteenth century structure. Due to quarrying and construction of a (now disused) railway, little is left of the latter other than earthworks and limited sections of masonry.
Notes: The motte and castle can be viewed from a public right of way that starts at the church but neither are sign-posted. On-road parking is possible on the main road that runs through Aberedw.
Originally a motte-and-bailey fortification that was raised in the late eleventh century by Norman Marcher Lords, Aberedw Castle was later rebuilt on a different site. The new structure was a modestly sized courtyard castle that remained in use until the fourteenth century.
HISTORY OF ABEREDW CASTLE
The first castle established at Aberedw was an earth and timber motte-and-bailey fortification possibly raised in the late eleventh century as the Normans pushed into central and south Wales. If so, it may have been founded by the Baskervilles, retainers of the Tosny family, as one of numerous fortifications designed to cement their dominance of the area. Control of the site would have been lost by the Normans during the Anarchy as the native Welsh re-asserted their control whilst England was distracted by civil war. Although Norman control was restored in 1195 by the de Braose family - powerful Marcher Lords with key bases throughout the area including Builth and Radnor - it is unlikely the motte at Aberedw was re-commissioned at this time.
The second castle at Aberedw was built on a different site from the motte and dates from at least the thirteenth century when the site was owned by Walter Hackelutel, a retainer of Edmund Mortimer, who had previously loyally served him by defending Hay-on-Wye Castle during the Second Barons War. Following the Second War of Welsh Independence, which had ended with Edward I's conquest of all of Wales in 1283, Mortimer dispossessed the native Welsh tenants and installed Walter who probably started construction of the new castle shortly after. The earliest record dates from 24 November 1284 when Edward I granted him permission to crenellate (fortify) and on the 6 October 1285 he was pardoned a debt of £57 owed for "expenses in newly erecting a house in the Welsh Marches and afterwards crenellating it by the King's license for the better security of those parts". Both references are indicative of a new castle on the site. The structure took the form of a courtyard castle with a curtain wall enclosing an area around 40m metres square and round towers on each corner. A defensive ditch surrounded the site on at least three sides
The cantref of Aberedw, including the castle, became the subject to a legal dispute in 1293 when the Tosny family, the original Norman overlords, claimed the area as part of their conquest of Elfael in 1093! The dispute was eventually settled in favour of the Beauchamp family, successors to the Tosnys. Such a powerful family however probably had little use for a small castle such as Aberedw and the site seemingly drifted into ruin thereafter. The structure was damaged badly by construction of a railway (now dismantled) in the nineteenth century with much masonry being removed to support the building effort.