This Norman castle, also
known as Brecon Castle, was built by Bernard de Neufmarche, after he
conquered South Wales in 1093, and the town of Brecon grew up around it.
The earliest castle, a motte
and bailey fortress, no longer stands. It was repeatedly enlarged and
expanded, and the oldest parts of the castle now standing were
erected in the 13th century.
According to Edward Parry of
Christ College "there were two entrances as well as the postern
gate. The main gate faced west and overlooked the Usk. It was
approached across a drawbridge and probably guarded by two
semi-circular towers and the usual great door and portcullis. From
the town direction the castle was also guarded by a drawbridge on the
site of the present bridge which crosses the Honddu. These gates were
joined by the encircling curtain wail. which enclosed the whole area
of the castle. Within these outer defences the most imposing building
was the great Hall; this was the social centre of the castle and the
Lordship where the Lords of Brecon held court when in the area. [...]
There was a chapel, exchequer, kitchen, harness tower, stable and
porter's chamber. The well was described as being 30 feet deep. These
buildings suggest that the castle was more like a bustling town than
the romantic, military fortress of imagination. People from the
surrounding Lordship came to the courts held at the castle, they paid
their dues to the exchequer, they pleaded for privileges or came with
supplies of food, timber and other necessaries."
From Bernard de Neufmarche
the castle was handed down to his daughter Sybil, through whom it
passed to his grandson Henry FitzMiles of Brecknock and Gloucester,
and then at his death to his nephew and closest heir William de
Braos. The castle eventually descended to the Bohuns, then became
property of the British Crown, until it was granted to the Stafford
family, who became the last Lords of Brecon.