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Tretower Court and Castle

Recognised as a strategically important location since Roman times, Tretower was founded as a motte and bailey castle. In the 12th century, a shell-keep was added to the motte. By the early 13th century a tall cylindrical tower was added to the inside of the shell-keep and the space between was roofed over. At this time the earlier bailey wall was walled in stone with towers. The residential buildings were constructed away from the original fortifications forming today's Tretower Court.

History of Tretower Castle

1080's - A timber motte and bailey is built by a Norman knight of the Picard family who had assisted Bernard de Neufmarche in his conquest of the Welsh Kingdom of Brycheiniog. A dry ditch 30 feet wide is dug around the motte and a bailey 200 by 150 feet is surrounded by a wooden palisade.

1150 - The castle shell keep is built along with a gatehouse.

1160 - The remaining timber defences of the castle are replaced in stone. (more in the History section)

Over time the lords of Tretower favoured the more luxurious Court and the castle fell into disuse. The keep is three stories high with an entrance at the first floor level. Together, this substantial fortified manor house and the ruins of Tretower Castle illustrate quite clearly the changing times and fortunes of medieval life. Situated in a very picturesque valley, beneath the shadow of the Black Mountains, this is an extremely fascinating and evocative site.

Text by Fred Vincent: