Pictures of Castles

A guide in pictures to medieval castles in England, Wales, Ireland and Europe

Pictures of St Quentin's Castle Llanblethian

The castle is located in Llanblethian near Cowbridge, South Wales and stands in a loop of the River Thaw on a low ridge with natural slopes on three sides. The castle is in care of CADW and access is free (2010).

The castle features an impressive residential gatehouse. It's outer face originally extended down into a deep defensive ditch. The entrance passage, was defended by portcullises and doors at both ends; the flanking guard chambers each had four arrowloops, though some were altered when the gatehouse was turned into a prison in the late fifteenth century.


There were two upper floors, the topmost of which was residential. Presently it is only possible to climb to the first level.

In about 1102 Robert Firzhamon, the first Norman lord of Glamorgan, granted the small lordship of Llanblethian to Herbert de St Quentin who probably established the first castle on this site. It is not know what form this took but it was probably a 'ringwork' with timber defences and a defensive bank and ditch.

Later in the twelfth century a rectangular stone keep was built; its remains now lie behind the later gatehouse. The keep may have replaced an earlier timber tower close to the entrance and its position suggest that the original castle occupied a smaller area than the present one.

The lordship remain in the hands of the St Quentin family until 1233 when it was seized by Richard Siward who, in turn, lost it to earl Richard de Clare in 1245. Sometime after 1307 Richard's grandson, earl Gilbert de Clare, began to build the present castle with its impressive gatehouse, but he was killed at the battle of Bannockburn in 1314 probably before it could be finished - the weakness of the curtain wall and the lack on internal buildings suggests that the castle was never completed. It continued in limited occupation until the sixteenth century.



Additional photos of St Quentin's Castle

Parts of texts from boards on site.