A collection of historical records
March 2016 - Mike asks 'someone leave the light on?'
Currently planning permission has been granted to restore the castle and use it for offices but this is still
' work in progress.' Planning permission was rejected for a number of other uses including a theme park and a golf course. Its history can be traced back to tudor times but it was located on the site of an even older norman castle. History buffs will find many of the historical records of interest. In the blast from the past gallery, there are many entries from former hamlet residents and its current owner Peter Morgan
Filming at pencoed castle- December 2015
For a short while medieval knights and bloody gore replaced the normal 21 st century every day activity as scenes were shot for upcoming episodes of The Bastard Executioner for FOX TV.
The period drama is set in the Wales of the 14th century with English barons ruthlessly trying to rule with harsh taxes and harsh punishments, It covers a lot of familiar Sutter territory with themes of loyalty, loss, brotherhood, betrayal and vengeance.
Most scenes are shot on the specially created set at the new studios just outside Cardiff but there is always need for some real scenes on location and some of these have been in the hamlet at our own Pencoed Castle.
picture right taken by
Mike from his window
In the Associated Collection of Records on the Royal Commissi ancient and historical monuments of Wales there are 235 entries- many of them graphics.
Pencoed Castle in Robin Hood?
It seems that Pencoed Castle was also used in a very sucessful TV series entitled "The Adventures of Robin Hood" that was popular from 1955-1959. The show starred Richard Greene as Robin Hood, and followed his adventures throughout the Kingdom of England.
In the first season, an episode entitled "The Deserted Castle" was shown that apparently featured Pencoed as the "deserted castle" (a quite fitting description). The episode description is as follows:
"The Sheriff is puzzled by something very strange going on in a ruined castle. When he arrives with his men-at-arms, he finds that the castle contains an unnusual occupant."
If anyone has footage of the episode or has proof (although the information I found appears true), please contact me via my e-mail address available on the main page so that I can add it to the site.
Above is the gatehouse as it is today. Below is a drawing from the 1930's. Littleseems to have changed over the last 90 years!
The British Towns and Villages site notes that 'it was brought by Lord Rhondda just before WW I , war stopped work on the site, work began again after the war, but it stopped again about the time of this sketch,'
From castles of Britain,com
Location: Monmouthshire OS: ST 101672 Type: enclosure Date: 1270
The remains of the tower and curtain wall rests beside a 16th century mansion.
Filming at pencoed castle- December 2015
(A description written in 1891)
Penycoed Castle, in this parish, is generally considered as the most ancient of the six castles of Wentwood Forest: this picturesque ruin consists chiefly of a circular arched gateway and two small pentagonal turrets, a round embattled tower and some dilapidated walls: the architecture of these fragments may be considered coeval with the first establishments of the Normans in Gwent; in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, Sir Thomas Morgan K.G., Lord of Llantarnum & Caerleon, resided here: the remains of the keep have for many years been used as a farmhouse.
Pencoed Castle from gazetteer.info/Welshsites
Pencoed Castle is a substantial courtyard castle, now derelict and abandoned. Parts are completely ruined, other parts have been partially restored, chiefly the range on the east side of the courtyard. The castle was probably first built in the early thirteenth century by Sir Richard de la More, but of this phase only the round tower in the SW corner of the courtyard remains. Most of the surviving castle dates from the first half of the sixteenth century, when the castle was owned by Sir Thomas Morgan and his successors. Leland, in 1538, called it 'a fair Maner place'.
There is a three-storey entrance gatehouse on the W side of a rectangular courtyard, which is surrounded by a ruined curtain wall on the W and S sides. There are very partial remnants of a curtain wall on the N side. To the N of the gatehouse there was originally a gabled building butting against the gatehouse. The main residential block was along the eastern side of the courtyard. This stands largely intact and partially restored. Close to the N side of the castle stands a twentieth century house, probably built in the 1920s by Eric Francis. Originally the castle was surrounded by a moat (filled in on the north and east sides), and the remains of this are visible on the west and south sides. The castle's history was uneventful, and it changed hands several times and was neglected from 1751 until it was bought just before the First World War by Lord Rhondda. He intended to restore it and started work with the architect G.H. Kitchen. But work stopped at the outbreak of war, and was resumed by Lady Rhondda and her daughter in 1919, with the architect Eric Francis. However, work was again abandoned, and in 1931 the Rhonddas sold the castle, since when it has been neglected. (Coflein)
Located at the end of a narrow lane from by-road off B4245, approx 1km S of Llandevaud village and 1km E of Llanmartin.
Fortified Tudor manorhouse thought to have been built by Sir Thomas Morgan during the first quarter of the C16 on the site of a moated Norman castle held in 1270 by Sir Richard de la More and in 1306 by Maurice and Walter de Kemeys. The Manorhouse possibly incorporates part of the earlier castle. The Morgan family resided at Pencoed until the end of the C17. By 1780 the castle has passed into the hands of the Gwyns of Llanhowell. During the C19 the castle was let to farmers. In 1914 Lord Rhondda purchased the castle along with Penhow Castle and proceeded to restore it. After his death in 1918 the work ceased.
The castle consists of a large three storied Tudor manorhouse constructed of dressed stone and re-faced in ashlar to the front (W) elevation, with battlemented parapet. The great hall is aligned on a N/S axis with a central three storey porch on the front (W) elevation. The porch is square in plan, full height and with segmental pointed outer door opening with segmental headed recess above. To the right of the porch is a two storey, two window bay, with five-light transomed hall windows to the ground floor and two five light windows aligned above. To the left hand side of the porch is a three storey, two window range with two and three light windows. To the left of this is a further range, the remains of a three storey projecting wall with three openings in it separates the two ranges. The three storey N wing contains the kitchens on the ground floor and the S wing contains further accommodation. The castle has been much restored, being refaced, reroofed and refenestrated using Tudor style chamfered mullion windows. The side and rear walls are mainly unrestored, although some replacement windows are evident. Parts of the masonry appear to be of heavy character suggesting retention of earlier fabric. Two large, three storey wings project at N and S ends of the rear elevation. (Listed Building Report)
Moat and round SW tower may be relics of a castle held in 1270 by Sir Richard de la More, and in 1306 by Maurice and Walter de Kemys. It passed to the Morgans of Tredegar in C15 and a big new mansion on the east side and the gatehouse on the west side were built by Sir Thomas Morgan in c1490-1500. The gatehouse and corner tower are ruined and the mansion lies in a gutted and derelict state, though still with some flooring and the roof more or less intact. (Salter)
The castle grounds are kept in good condition by the owners.
BACK IN THE DAY
Just when this old print was made is unknown but it clearly shows Pencoed Castle back in the day!
The Welsh name Pen-coed means "end of the wood", and refers to the site's location at the southwestern extremity of the Wentwood forest. It was the site of a Norman castle, the property of Sir Richard de la More in 1270. The tower at the south-west corner of the extant ruins dates from the late 13th century. The manor of Llanmartin was owned by the Kemeys family around 1300, but it is not clear whether Pencoed was a separate manor at that time.
Pencoed in about 1800. Engraving by Richard Colt Hoare
By about 1470, the estate was in the hands of the Morgan family of Tredegar. It seems to have been owned by Morgan ap Jenkin Philip, and then his son, Sir Thomas Morgan (c.1453–1510), who is thought likely to have fought at the battle of Bosworth in 1485 and who was probably the first of his family to settle at Pencoed. He was followed by his son Sir William Morgan (c.1480–1542), and in turn his son Sir Thomas Morgan (c.1513–1565). After the end of the Wars of the Roses, the more peaceful nature of society allowed such houses to be built. According to the architectural writer John Newman, it is likely that parts of the remaining building were built by the first Sir Thomas before 1510, and the main range and gatehouse by his grandson (also Sir Thomas) between 1542 and 1565. In about 1545, John Leland mentioned Pencoed as the home of Sir Thomas Morgan, and described it as "a fair maner place".
Around 1584, the estate became the property of Sir Walter Montagu, the husband of Thomas Morgan's grand-daughter Anne; Montagu was also responsible for founding almshouses at Chepstow. In 1701, Montagu's descendants sold Pencoed to John Jeffreys, MP. His son in turn sold it in 1749 to Admiral Thomas Mathews of Llandaff, also an MP. In later years the property was owned successively by Sir Mark Wood, Sir Robert Salusbury, and Thomas Perry, but became increasingly dilapidated and ruined, and was let out to farmers.
It was sold in 1914 to David Alfred Thomas, later Lord Rhondda. Thomas intended to restore the house, and began work on the main central building, but it was incomplete at the time of his death in 1918. His widow then commissioned Chepstow architect Eric Francis to build a new house adjoining the ruins, in 1922; she sold it a few years later and it is now a farmhouse. In the mid-1950s, the ruins were used for filming an episode of the popular British TV series, The Adventures of Robin Hood. A bungalow was built nearby in the 1960s, but the castle remains themselves have become increasingly ruinous and derelict.
Plans to use the site as part of a golf and hotel complex were first mooted in 1989. In 1998, further proposals came forward to build a large theme park, billed as the largest in Europe, around the ruins of Pencoed. The promoters of the scheme, which would have been known as Legend Court, withdrew the proposal after it failed to receive planning permission in 2000. The site was put up for sale in 2001, and bought by businessman Peter Morgan.
According to Newman,
"the large and imposing Tudor mansion languishes as an unconsolidated ruin in a farmyard. To come upon it at the end of an inconsequential lane is quite a shock."
The tower is the earliest part of the building; it is built of Old Red Sandstone and is largely intact. The gatehouse is entirely of Tudor origin, and "on a much grander scale". It is rectangular in plan, of three storeys, with square turrets. The main range is largely intact, rising to three storeys and constructed of ashlar stone, similar to that of Raglan Castle, built around the same time.
It has a battlemented parapet. The great hall has a central three-storey porch, with a two storey range on the south side and a three-storey building on the north side. There is also a three-storey northern parlourwing, which originally housed kitchens, and the remains of a south wing
The interior of the building is entirely ruined, apart from the rooms rebuilt for Lord Rhondda, and largely unsurveyed. Close to the house are the ruins of a 16th-century dovecote. There is also a continuous range of stone-built barns, probably of the 16th and 17th centuries.
Pencoed Castle was given Grade II* listed building status on 3 March 1952. The ruins are not open to the public.