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Brecon Castle

The Brecon Beacons are full of ancient history covered with forts and settlements going back some 5000 years. North West of the castle is the remains of Pen-y-crug, an Iron Age hill fort. Two miles to the west of Brecon lies Y-Gaer. A roman fort built around 5O AD and may have been occupied as late as 300 AD. In the 5th century the local ruler is said to have sent his daughter to Ireland in search of a husband. She found her Irish Prince and their son, Brychan, was sent to Wales to grow up at the Court of his grandfather. It is from the name 'Brychan' that the old country name of Brysheiniog and later 'Brecon' was derived. One of his daughters, called Tudful was killed by Barbarians. The welsh for martyr is merthyr, hence the settlement of Merthyr Tydfil 20 miles to the south got its name.

History of Brecon Castle

1093 ~ The motte and bailey castle is built by the Norman Lord Bernard de Neufmarché, brother of William the Conqueror. His invading army sent to subdue the Welsh and are successfull in conquering the Welsh kingdom of Brycheiniog after killing Rhys ap Tewdwr at the battle of Brecon. This opens up South Wales for a much wider invasion, resulting in defeats for the local rulers. Bernard receives the title of Lord of Brecon. He commences the construction of the motte-and-bailey castle at Brecon, thereby creating the first stone castle in Wales. The stones are taken from the Roman town of Caer Badden.

1207 ~ King John captures the castle from the rebellious over powerful de Braoses family. (more in the History section)

Castle today

Today the Norman castle is part of a hotel in the centre of a busy town.

Text by Fred Vinccent