HAY-ON-WYE CASTLES

Hay on Wye is a border town just in Powys, 23 miles west of Hereford and 17 miles north-east of Brecon.

Article compiled by Hugh Wood from articles by Paul Remfry
For more information about both castles visit http://www.castles99.ukprint.com/Essays/hay.html

Castle 1
This is situated in the centre of the town.
SO 229423
For more pictures see http://www.castlewales.com/hay.html

HAY1
Photo: Andrew Tivenan

In 1230 the last Braose of Brecon was hanged by Prince Llywelyn ap Iorwerth (also known as Llewelyn the Great or Llewelyn Fawr) and the Brecon lordship with Hay-on-Wye passed into the hands of the Bohuns. The castle saw service in the Barons' War of 1263 to 1266 changing hands three times. First it was handed to Roger Mortimer (d1282) in 1263, then it was surrendered to the great Earl Simon Montfort of Leicester (d1265), before being retaken by Mortimer. In 1267 it passed back from the Mortimers to the Bohuns. With the conquest of Wales by Edward I, life became more peaceful in this Marcher town.

HAY2
Photo:Charles Taylor

The keep is roughly thirty feet square and was once of four storeys. The corners of the tower have been much rebuilt, probably due to insecure foundations. The entire south-east corner of the tower has been replaced and it is possible that when first constructed there was a spiral stair here to allow access to the upper floors. During the twelfth century the powerful curtain wall with gate was added to the rampart around the site. This gateway is one of the finest carved castle gateways in Wales and is comparable with the much more ornate work at Newcastle Bridgend castle. The two gates hanging within the gateway, although of different ages, would appear to be very old - the gates at Chepstow have been dendrochronologically dated to the reign of Henry II (1154-89). Probably during the troubles of the Barons' War a small gatehouse was added in front of the gateway to make a proper gatehouse complete with portcullis. The portcullis mechanism mounted on the wall walk was reached via a flight of steps up over the back of the gate passageway which also allowed access to the wall walks.

Castle 2
This is situated on the west side of the town near St Mary's church
SO 226422
For more pictures see http://www.castlewales.com/haymotte.html

HAY3
Phot: Gregg Archer

The remains of this castle consist of a well-preserved motte in a commanding position above a gorge. Lirrle is known for certain about its history.