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CastleUK Blog
May 2009
The blog page, a place where I can record and then archive my monthly updates and what's new in our hunt for castles UK.
This months castles are all from Brecknockshire, in and around the town of Brecon.
April and another castle hunting trip this time to Eltham Palace and boy what a place this is, its got something for everyone. We arrived just after opening time and missed the rush, lovely sunny morning, the gardens were a picture and it's a site we'd wanted to visit forever but never got round to it. Being a Ricardian, it's was a must visit and about time too, there can be no better place to walk in the footsteps of Kings and good old English Heritage just let you walk round after you have covered your shoes. In the house at the top of the stairs, you get a great view of London and the lady there, pointed out that the Wembley Arch, is in the centre of the London Eye, how did they know all three would line up in 1482?? The palace was a popular winter home for the royals from 1305 until 1526 but only the Great Hall, completed in the reign of King Edward IV in 1482, survives and combined with the Art Deco and ocean liner style, the palace is now a stunning masterpiece of 20th century design. Textile magnates Stephen and Virginia Courtauld built their glamorous London showpiece in 1936, on and next to the remains of a medieval royal palace which was originally King Henry VIII boyhood home. After that it was Easter egg time and we also paid a visit to my favourite site, Sandal Castle, it was on a nice sunny day and I've never seen so many people there, all enjoying themselves. I've also got a new toy, it's a bit sad but its very useful, 'website statistics' which tell me what pages you are looking at. Its been a big help so far because it told me I had a shed load of broken external links and incorrect opening times and that nobody is clicking on my large bmp wallpaper pictures but the jpg pictures are popular, people are also surfing my site with mobiles, so next month my wallpaper pictures are getting an update.
Click on the pictures, for more information.
Tinwald Castle Wallpaper
Tinwald Castle, OS 78/NY 003-815 Dumfriesshire Scotland, is this months wallpaper.
The picture was taken in late October 2007, when we were on are way to the west coast of Scotland around Ayr. This was my first view of the mound, looking north-east from Low Road and I always have to stop to take a snap. I do take pictures hoping it will make a good looking wallpaper, framing the castle to the right, which is the clearest part of the desktop and sometimes more by luck it comes off. Overhanging tree, colour in the garden to the front, the Mill Burn sign, I think this is a looker, plus on this side you can see the motte and the scarp of the bailey platform, which is going to be ploughed away in the years to come.
Alexanderstone Castle
Alexanderstone Castle, OS 160/SO 073-301 Brecknockshire Wales, is an early 12th century earthwork motte and bailey fortress, founded by the Mora family. The sub-oval motte, with the remains of its encasing ditch on the east side, is also crowned by an eastern rampart. The site is visible from the road but we were lucky when visiting this castle, I couldn't find the footpath that goes past the motte and the owner of the farmhouse came over to see what his dog was barking at. He was then good enough to let us walk the site 'top man', so we got to have a good look round, it's a super little earthwork castle, that's just up my street.
Troed-yr-harn Motte
Troed-yr-harn Motte, OS 160/SO 070-295 Brecknockshire Wales, is a small medieval earthwork motte but the position of the bailey has been lost. In marshy ground at the bottom of a valley full of streams, this ambiguous site is possibly a 13th century siege work. The site is visible from the road or the gate and you can see all there is from there, which is not a lot. Trouble is, enigmatic motte in a boggy field the middle of nowhere, I just had to take a look, 5 feet high, 30 foot across, with not much of a ditch. Why was it there, what good was it, to the east it's next to a high bank of a road which is later I know but its in a valley anyway, all in all it can't have been any good from new but I just loved it, can't say why only that I'm a total earthworks nut, for me this was the best castle of the trip by far.
Llanddew Bishop's Palace
Llanddew Bishop's Palace, OS 160/SO 055-308 Brecknockshire Wales, is a medieval quadrilateral fortified residence, founded by the bishops of St Davids. Encased by the remains of its irregular 12th century precinct wall, flanked by a small solid half-round bastion, it was built on the site of an earlier Celtic clas or religious community. The site is visible from the road and there's a bit of stone to see. The views not bad for the road but if you email them from there website (link on the page) you can look around the grounds and get up close, that's got to be 'a good on you'.
Brecon Castle
Brecon Castle, OS 160/SO 043-288 Brecknockshire Wales, is a late 11th century earthwork motte and bailey fortress, founded by Bernard de Neufmarché. The motte stands on a promontory above the confluence of the Usk and Honddu rivers and its roughly triangular southern bailey, is generally defined by banks and scarps. The site is a privately owned hotel but is visible from the road. Access is restricted to guests with reservations for an overnight stay or dining in the restaurant. This castle is cut in half by a modern road and the high wall around Ely Tower, which makes the sites feel detached and that's why I've also divided them into two. Good views of what's left of this part of the castle from the roads and that's the pity, what a castle it must have been, it's a very impressive ruin.
Ely Tower - Brecon Castle
Ely Tower, OS 160/SO 043-288 Brecknockshire Wales, is the northern portion of the late 11th century earthwork motte and bailey fortress of Brecon, founded by Bernard de Neufmarché. In the 12th century, the Braose family founded the stone castle when crowning the motte with a round tower and a polygonal shell keep. The site is a private residence, with no public access and is only visible from the road. You can look from the gate to view the motte but the cover of trees makes the remains of the keep hard to see. Nice town Brecon, with a bit of the town wall left.

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