Full Report for Listed Buildings

Summary Description of a Listed Buildings

Reference Number
Building Number
Date of Designation
Date of Amendment
Name of Property
Dolforwyn Castle  


Unitary Authority
Street Side
Located on a sharp promontory above the Severn Valley, in an excellent defensive position, with good views all round.  


Broad Class

The early history of the castle is uncertain. The claim that it was founded by Bleddyn ap Cynfyn who ruled between 1065 and 1073 is unsupported by documentary or architectural evidence. Claims for Maredudd ab Rotpert (d.1244) , or Dafydd ap Llewelyn (d1246) are similarly tenuous and it is possible that more than one castle site is involved. The suggestion by Lloyd that it was Llewelyn ap Gruffydd who built Dolforwyn is strengthened by the architectural remains that date to the 1270s. It was taken by Rodger de Mortimer after a lengthy seige in 1277 and granted to him by a charter of Edward I in 1279, but in 1321-2 the castle was held by the king and its content inventoried. Thereafter it gradually fell into decay during its later fourtheenth century Mortimer ownership and by 1398 it was 'ruinous and worth nothing'. The castle, in State care, is in the process of consolidation and excavation leading to eventual presentation to the public.  

The castle survives as a ruined structure between a series of earthwork ramparts. It is approximately rectangular in shape and orientated roughly east-west on a high ridge with precipitous slopes to N and S. On the E and W are the earthwork defences of the castle ditch and outer banks, while on the flat land beyond the castle lie earthworks associated with the medieval town. The walls are constructed of roughly course local siltstone and comprise inner and outer faces with corework between. Quarry pits found during the archaeological excavations on site have shown that the stone was acquired on site. The walls survive to a height of c1.5m generally but the keep and sections of curtain wall stand up to 4m. No roofs survive. The castle is bounded by a curtain wall and contains a substantial round tower at the end and a rectangular keep at the W. Between these is a long courtyard divided into two by a deep rock-cut ditch running N-S, and crossed by a masonry bridge. Ranges of rooms stand to the NE, SE and SW with the aisled hall on the NW. Fragmentary remains of a D-shaped tower survive in the centre of the north curtain wall and there is evidence for garderobe projections from the wall on the south. There were two main entrances, one on the W adjacent to the keep, and one on the south by the ditch, which was blocked relatively early in the castle's history. The SW room contains 2 circular ovens, hearths, and a drainage gully. The keep is the earliest feature on the site and consists of thick walls on a battered plinth with narrow doorways and one E window with wide, splayed jambs. It was subdivided later in its history. The round tower has a battered plinth and is equipped with an external stair on the north. The keep, on the highest part of the ridge, was originally free-standing and probably constructed by Llewelyn ap Gruffydd (1273-77), followed quite quickly by the round tower and curtain walls. During English occupation between 1277 and 1398 the keep and courtyard buildings were modified, the latter substantially rebuilt.  


Reason for designation
Listed at Grade I as an important example of a Welsh Princes' castle, retaining exceptionally clear structural and archaeological evidence of its C13 form.. Scheduled Ancient Monument, ref. No.114.  

Cadw : Full Report for Listed Buildings [ Records 1 of 1 ]