Bleddyn ap Cynfyn
Maredudd ap Bleddyn
Madog ap Maredudd
Gwenwynwyn ap Owain
University of York
Ruin - mainly earthworks remaining
Mathrafal near Welshpool, in Powys, Mid Wales, was the seat of the
Kings and Princes of
Powys probably from the 9th century until its
destruction in 1212 by
Llywelyn ap Iorwerth
Llywelyn ap Iorwerth (Llywelyn the Great) of
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On the banks of the River Banwy, just above its confluence with the
river Vyrnwy, about 5 km (3 miles) NE of
Llanfair Caereinion and
10 km (6 miles) NW of
Welshpool on the A495 at its junction with
Entry to the earthworks and view towards the motte
View from the motte
The site known today as "
Mathrafal Castle" is a 90 m by 80 m compound
defended by a bank and outer ditch on three sides, the fourth side
being the river. Little remains of the original walls.
Mathrafal is the original capital of the Kingdom of Powys, in the
cantref of Caereinion. After the division of
Powys in 1160 it became
the capital of the southern portion which eventually became known as
This structure probably replaced an earlier hill fort, about 1 km
away to the NW, which dates from around 656 at the time of the fall of
the neighbouring Kingdom of Pengwern, or perhaps as early as 520 when
the capital of
Powys was moved from the old Roman town of Viroconium
The 35m by 25m by 5m high motte of
Mathrafal Castle dates from around
the end of the 12th century and was probably built either by Owain
Cyfeiliog (circa 1170) or
Robert de Vieuxpont
Robert de Vieuxpont on behalf of King John
in 1212. Prince
Gwenwynwyn ab Owain of
Powys moved his capital from
Welshpool (Y Trallwng) in 1212. Later in 1212, Robert
de Vieuxpont was besieged in the castle by the coalition forces of
Gwenwynwyn and Llywelyn the Great, he was rescued by King John. The
castle was destroyed and never rebuilt.
Excavations by the University of York around 1991 found an iron and
bronze figurine of St
Gwynllyw (or Woolos the Warrior) in a cavity in
a window base.
^ "CPAT Regional Historic Environment Record -
Mathrafal Castle, motte
and bailey". CPAT.
^ a b "
Mathrafal Castle". Castle Wales.
^ Ulwencreutz, Lars (2013). Ulwencreutz's The Royal Families in Europe
V. p. 50.
^ a b Davies, John (1990). History of Wales. Penguin.
^ Lieberman, Max (2010). The Medieval March of Wales. Cambridge
University Press. p. 126.
Mathrafal Castle". Gatehouse Gazetteer.
^ Yorke, Philip (1887). The Royal Tribes of Wales. Liverpool: Isaac
Foulkes. p. 50.
^ Breverton, Terry. Wales' 1000 Best Heritage Sites. Amberley.
Mathrafal on Castle of Wales website
Aerial views of the M