Two-in-one architectural wonder spans 900 years of history
The clue’s in the name. So striking was the massive circular tower built by Roger Picard II that his castle became known as Tretower – or ‘the place of the tower’.
Over two centuries, from about 1100, the Picards transformed themselves from invading Norman adventurers to powerful Welsh lords.
So this monumental tower with four storeys and stone walls nine feet thick wasn’t merely for protection. It was social climbing made visible, an open imitation of the castles at Pembroke and Skenfrith.
It would be remarkable enough on its own. But Tretower is two wonders in one. Just across the castle green lies an entire medieval court that became a byword for magnificence.
It was the creation of Sir Roger Vaughan and his descendants. During the Wars of the Roses Sir Roger became one of the most powerful men in Wales – and Tretower reflected his fame.
It became a magnet for medieval Welsh poets who drank its fine wines and sang the praises of its generous host. Now, thanks to meticulous restoration, you can vividly imagine being one of Tretower’s most honoured guests.
You’ll find the great hall laid out just as it might have been for a lavish feast in the 1460s. In the recreated 15th century garden you can stroll among fragrant white roses that symbolise Sir Roger’s passionate Yorkist sympathies.
Travel to Tretower Court and Castle by train
Nearest Station: Abergavenny
4min walk to bus stop > 21min bus ride from station > 10min walk to site - view map