Powys / Brecon Beacons National Park

The Powys / Brecon Beacons National Park Sites & Monuments Record



Talgarth Tower

AN APPARENTLY C14TH TOWER SOME 9M SQUARE STANDING AT E END OF TALGARTH BRIDGE. 3 SIDES MASKED BY LATER BUILDING. RESEMBLES A NORTHUMBRIAN PELE TOWER.

At the NW corner of the square, at the side of the A479. Adjoining the bridge over the River Enig.

Probably C14 rubble tower house, formerly fortified and guarding the river crossing and town. C19 extensions and later alterations. The tower itself is square and 3-storey with later, perhaps C18, pyramidal stone slate roof; this seems to have replaced a flat or low pitch roof with defensible parapet. The main front to NE is largely composed of a C19 2-storey rubble extension with pitched slate roof; this was initially a lean-to (see line on left gable end). Two 6-pane sash windows over simple classical shopfront with bracket cornice and central double doored entrance. Old advertising board to 1st floor. The top floor of the tower is visible above, consisting of a lancet to left and machicolations to right. The NW side has gargoyle at parapet level, central lancet and garderobe; near the front corner another former garderobe window is partially blocked by the addition of the National Westminster Bank. The SW side overlooking the river has rubble chimney stack and lean-to C19 extension with red brick voussoirs and chimney stacks; this includes basement with boarded cellar doors. The tower has 1-window elevation to SE; small pane cross frame window to the top, round arched head to 4-pane 1st floor window and former doorway below, also with arched head; boarded up window to right.

Internally the Tower retains stone stairs within the wall thickness and has corbelled 'vaults' over. On 1st floor opposite the top of the stairs, is the garderobe later converted to dungeon. On the landing is a massive quarter round corbel and a further one on the SE side at the foot of the stairs to the 2nd floor; further stairs formerly led to parapet, now blocked off; the landing also has deep window splay with seat. A tunnel is said to lead from the cellar to Bronllys Castle; semi-octagonal head to doorway. There are fewer than 20 true tower houses remaining in Wales and only one other in Breconshire.

(Former listing description)