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A once proud edifice during mediaeval times, Llantrisant Castle kept watch over the valleys to the north during a war torn period. A stone-built defence, it may have been formed on an even earlier stronghold built by Celtic Lord Gwrgan ap Ithel. Occupied in the early 12th century, prior to the Norman lords first expulsion from the town during a series of Welsh revolutions, it was fortified in 1246 by Gilbert de Clare.

In 1252 a daughter called Margaret was born to Earl of Gloucester Richard de Clare at the castle,. His eldest son Gilbert 'The Red' occupied it by 1262 and went on to build the castle at Caerphilly.

Raided by supporters of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, it had a turbulent history as a fighting castle. Severely damaged in four Welsh attacks, it was said to have been destroyed in 1315 during Llewellyn Bren's revolution.

The castle was of little account from 1404, possibly demolished by Owain Glyndwr or simply fell into disrepair when a period of stability in this part of South Wales emerged.

On November 16, 1326, the castle, run by Constable Robert de Aston, was allegedly used as a prison for the captured King Edward II, later brutally murdered at Berkeley Castle.


Llantrisant Castle C.1910

The weak monarch had inherited constitutional troubles and when his wife Queen Isabella,, plotted against him, helped by her lover Roger Mortimer, disaster ensued when the King's supporters, the Despensers of Caerphilly took up arms against the Hereford Mortimers.

The King fled to Neath Abbey, but failed to recruit an army. In November, he was guided by a Cistercian monk, (a Mortimer spy) for refreshment at Penrhys. Heading for safety, Edward II was intercepted at Pant y Brad - the Hollow of Treason in Tonyrefail and said to have been imprisoned in Llantrisant Castle overnight.

The Marquis of Bute later used its stonework to repair Cardiff, and Caerphilly castles and build Castell Coch, while locals took the stones to build nearby homes.