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Castell Crug Eryr

about 1m NW of the junction of the A44 & A481 at Forest Inn,
Powys, mid-Wales SO 158 593

Photographs copyright 2002 by Jeffrey L. Thomas

Crug Eryr is a minor motte and bailey castle built on a commanding hill in Radnorshire. Although still prominent on the landscape, the castle and surrounding earthworks appear to have been altered and damaged over the years, making it somewhat difficult to ascertain the site's original form. The castle's present form consists of a D-shaped bailey platform rising above a surrounding ditch, adjoining a motte that is protected by its own ditch. The ditch and rampart are noticeably stronger on the eastern side of the castle, and a causeway (entrance?) to the south crosses the ditch-work there. Paul Remfry notes the eastern rampart consists of shale fragments, which perhaps indicates the presence of a stone curtain wall. There is no direct evidence of an entrance to the castle other than the aforementioned causeway.

The castle may have been built in the 1150s by the Welsh prince Cadwallon ap Madog, who is known to have had influence over this part of Wales in the mid-12th century. It is thought that the castle derives its name from a herald-bard known as Llywelyn Crug Eryr, who apparently lived at the castle. Castell Crug Eryr is first mentioned by Giraldus Cambrensis during his tour through Wales with Archbishop Baldwin in 1188. The castle was captured by the Normans in the late 12th century, but was later re-occupied by the Welsh princes of Maelienydd, and was still occupied in the 14th century. One 17th century source claims the castle was 'defaced" by Owain Glyndwr. An excavation at the site was carried out in the 1930s, however no written report of that excavation survives. Although located on private land, the castle is clearly visible from the road.

References:

Paul M. Remfry, The Castles of Breconshire, Logaston Press, 1999.
Mike Salter, The Castles of Mid Wales, Folly Publications, 2001.

 


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Copyright 2009 by Jeffrey L. Thomas