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The ruins of a twelfth century church built castle that was heavily modified in the fourteenth century. The impressive Gatehouse survives albeit only as a gutted shell.

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Castle is managed by CADW.

Bishop’s Accommodation. Senior clergy had a lifestyle similar to that of Norman Barons with Llawhaden’s facilities the rival of any similarly sized secular fortress.


1. The Bishops of St David's erected Palace fortresses at Lamphey, Llawhaden, Ludlow and St David's itself.



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SA67 8HL

51.821652N 4.800938W

Llawhaden Castle

SA67 8HL

51.822346N 4.797570W

Notes:  Castle is found in the village of the same name. There is a small (free) village car park just a short walk away from the castle.

Wales > South West Wales LLAWHADEN CASTLE

In addition to the castles of the Marcher Lords, the church also built fortifications to protect the vast landed estates it had acquired in Norman controlled Wales. Llawhaden Castle was one such fort; designed to protect and administer church assets and provide a lavish residence for senior clergy.


Llawhaden Castle was first constructed by the Norman Bishop Bernard of nearby St David's cathedral in the early twelfth century and provided a means of defence and administration for the substantial church owned estates in the region. It also ensured suitable accommodation for senior clergy; individuals that could expect to live every bit as lavishly as their secular counterparts, the Norman Lords. When initially constructed it was an earth and timber ringwork fort but an attack by Lord Rhys in 1192/3 prompted short term abandonment. When the site was re-occupied in the early thirteenth century substantial modifications were made most notably with a stone curtain wall replacing the earlier wooden defences.

The late thirteenth century saw Bishop Bek establish the borough of Llwhaden hoping to build the economic activity of the area and accordingly the power of the church. This seems to have paid dividends as the castle was significantly upgraded from 1362 by Bishop Adam de Houghton to reflect the new status. The curtain wall was heightened and multi-angular towers added. The residential elements were not forgotten with a new range providing state-of-the-art accommodation for the Bishop and his guests. A substantial double drummed gatehouse was also constructed no later than the end of the fourteen century.

Llahaden was garrisoned against Owain Glyndŵr in the early fifteenth century but this was seemingly the last military use. During the Scottish Reformation the structure was stripped of its lead roofs and windows then in 1616 a licence was granted to demolish it.

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