Notes: Very few signs to castle (only one directly opposite) but location is relatively easy to find and obvious from the road. A dedicated lay-by is opposite with space for a few cars.
WHAT IS THERE TO SEE?
A circular tower atop an earlier motte. The tower is accessible and includes access to the parapet. The location of the originally bailey is now on private land and not accessible but there are no remains visible.
1. One of the custodians for the Royal custodians was Roger Vaughan of Tretower Castle.
2. In 1165 the round tower caught fire which led to a falling piece of masonry killing Mahel de Hereford, last male heir of the Earl of Hereford.
Originally the site of a Norman motte-and-bailey, Bronllys Castle was upgraded with an impressive circular stone Keep in the early thirteenth century. From here the Cliffords mounted expeditions against the Welsh and rebelled against Henry III before the castle passed to a native Welshman who rebelled and captured Edward II.
HISTORY OF BRONLLYS CASTLE
The first castle mention of a castle at Bronllys is in the mid-twelfth century; some evidence suggests it may have been founded in 1144 but equally could have been as early as 1080 when the Normans advanced into the area. Granted to the Clifford family an earth and timber motte-and-bailey castle was built with the circular stone keep, which sits atop the original motte, being constructed by Walter de Clifford around the 1220s. Situated at a junction between the Rivers Llynfi and Talgarth, it was well positioned to control local trade routes.
In 1233 the Cliffords were drawn into the war between Henry III and Llywelyn ab Iorweth (supported by Richard Marshall, Earl of Pembroke). The latest Clifford, another Walter, sided with Marshal against the King and this led to Bronllys being briefly confiscated.
In 1311 the castle was granted to a Rhys ap Hywel, a native Welshman who had supported the English Royalty in their campaigns in Wales. In 1326 he supported the Marcher Lords led by Roger Mortimer, Earl of March, in their campaign against Edward II. Along with Henry of Lancaster, Rhys ap Hywel was present at the capture of Edward II and his subsequent incarceration at Corfe and then Berkeley Castles (the latter where he was allegedly murdered).
By the late fourteenth century the castle had passed through marriage and death into the hands of Henry Bolingbroke and, after his accession to the throne in 1399, Bronllys became a Royal Castle. It remained so until 1478 when it passed to the Duke of Buckingham although, due to forfeiture for rebellion, it was confiscated between 1483-1509. In 1521 another Buckingham rebellion led to the final confiscation and the castle remained a Royal property thereafter; albeit one allowed to decay into ruin.