Site of Pencelli Castle

button-theme-canalSite of Pencelli Castle

Near the village of Pencelli, the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal makes a sharp turn around the site of a Norman castle. This is no coincidence – the old castle moat provided a ready-made ditch for the canal builders to re-use!

Pencelli Castle was one of several fortified structures built in this area as Norman Lords asserted their power, amid opposition from the Welsh. The original castle was probably erected in the late 11th century as a timber and earth structure by a member of the Baskerville family, which was rewarded for supporting Bernard de Neufmarché as he established himself in the area.

The castle was recorded as Kastell pen kelli in 1215. At times it was occupied by the Welsh. It was rebuilt in the 13th century, with a gatehouse featuring two towers. The castle was redundant as a fortification by the end of the 14th century.

Over the following centuries, most of the structure disappeared because the ruined walls were a convenient source of stone for building projects – including the canal. Pencelli House, on the site of the castle, was built with castle stones in the 16th century, possibly including parts of medieval structures. The castle site is now home to a caravan park.

Pencelli means “Head of the Grove”. The village was probably developed originally to serve the castle.

Postcode: LD3 7LX    View Location Map

With thanks to Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust

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