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Dryslwyn Castle

The Castle stands in a commanding position above the Towy


Dryslwyn Castle occupies a commanding position above the River Towy some five miles West of Llandeilo

The first castle at Dryslwyn was constructed by the sons of the Lord Rhys in the early part of the 13th century and was further fortified by Rhys ap Maredudd later in the century. By 1287 Dryslwyn was possibly the largest stone castle built by a Welsh prince. In June 1287 Rhys attacked and captured the castles of Dynefor, Carreg Cennen and Llandovery causing the King to raise an army under Edmund Earl of Cornwall and invade Deheubarth. Dryslwyn was besieged and fell after three weeks in August and September. Rhys escaped but was captured and executed in 1292. During the siege part of a wall collapsed and a number of the attackers were buried alive.

The castle now in the hands of the English was repaired but after its surrender to Owain Glyndwr in 1403 and subsequent recapture it was effectively destroyed.


The living accommodation of the castle was situated immediately above the Towy.


The picture  shows part of what was the outer gate. A walled town was built on the hill outside the castle.

The River Towy meanders across the valley floor West of Dryslwyn and will eventually straighten, leaving ox-bow lakes.

Just East of Dryslwyn is Grongar Hill, celebrated in John Dyer's 18th century poem of that name. Here he describes the scene:

While stray'd my eyes o'er Towy's flood,
Over mead, and over wood,
From house to house, from hill to hill, '
Till Contemplation had her fill.
About his chequer'd sides I wind,
And leave his brooks and meads behind,
And groves, and grottoes where I lay,
And vistoes shooting beams of day :
Wide and wider spreads the vale ;
As circles on a smooth canal :
The mountains round, unhappy fate !

Deep are his feet in Towy's flood,
His sides are cloath'd with waving wood,
And ancient towers crown his brow,
That cast an aweful look below ;
Whose ragged walls the ivy creeps,
And with her arms from falling keeps ;
So both a safety from the wind
On mutual dependence find. '
Tis now the raven's bleak abode ; '
Tis now th' apartment of the t oad ;

And there the fox securely feeds ;
And there the pois'nous adder breeds
Conceal'd in ruins, moss and weeds ;
While, ever and anon, there falls
Huge heaps of hoary moulder'd walls.

(Full Text)

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Site and Photographs Geoffrey Davies 2008-10  Contact info@enchantedtowy.co.uk