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White Castle

aka Llantilio Castle

Ger Y Fenni, Monmouthshire, Wales

Featured Location Guide


Imposing moated remains of 12th century castle originally known as Llantilio Castle,  with a deep moat, 6 towers and a curtain wall, with only one section of curtain wall missing. The castle was originally like many in Wales covered in render and painted white. Some remains exist today of this rendering.


The earthworks of White Castle forms three separate enclosures. In the centre is the pear-shaped inner ward, surrounded by a wet moat with stone sealed sides, and containing the walls and towers of the main defences of the castle. To the south is a crescentic hornwork. On the north - the side from which visitors approach the castle - is an outer ward with its own stone curtain wall, towers, and a gatehouse surmounting the basic earthworks. Initially, this third area was part of a much larger outer enclosure which surrounded the entire eastern half of the castle. Some traces of its defensive bank can be seen on the ground, but it is much clearer when seen in an aerial photograph.  From this you can see that this was in its time a sizable castle. Both this castle and Usk castle had originally the same design, when they had an earth and timber structure. At this point the entry was from the south. When the current stone castle was developed in the 13th century it was turned so as to have a northern entry.

One of what was known as the "Three Castles" they formed a strategic triangle controlling this area of the southern March. The other two were  Grosmont and Skenfrith, all three were Royal castles in the later 12th century, and in 1201 were granted to Hubert de Burgh by King John. Unlike the other two, White Castle was not rebuilt by de Burgh in the new defensive style of the early 13th century.


The high curtain wall you can climb today, by climbing the gatehouse tower, dates from 1184-86, from where you can see the outer bailey, moat, inner ward and the surrounding countryside. It allows you to see how the castle fits into the countryside and gives an idea of the overall defensive plan of the castle.

Later with threats passed, White Castle, like Grosmont and Skenfrith, was largely abandoned but all three castles remained for a time as local centres of administration, estate management, and revenue collecting. The records show that monies were spent for the repair and upkeep of the castle through the end of the Middle Ages, and this contributed to the castle's state of preservation, where others have fallen down.

Today you can see the deep moat with water steep sides, and impressive structure and explore other remains.

The Original Gatehouse - very little left A view of the inside taken from curtain wall

You will find few photographs of this castle including the full central curtain wall and moat with water, because the moat is deep, and when most go back far enough to get the castle into their photograph they are too far back to see the water. I managed to take a photograph that does include the castle and water with my toes on the edge of the moat using a modified fisheye, 10,5mm on a Nikon DX format camera. without this you could use a helicopter or pole to get the camera higher or perhaps its an application where you could stitch together a number of photographs, like a panorama but in the vertical as well as the horizontal directions to get the field of view required.

Behind the structure, accessible from inside the through a hole in the wall, there is an area of the moat that is part unfilled and where you can now clamber across providing other photographic opportunities.

The history of the developments in Wales that brought about the need for this and the other castles is covered in the article Wales  - a potted history 

a gallery is available for this castle, which links back to this page.

Further information Grid



White Castle,  Monmouthshire, Wales

Ceremonial County: Monmouthshire

Grid Reference:


Map Link:


Aerial photo: Multimap



Best Times to Visit:






Other useful websites:


Castles of Wales

Castle Xplorer

Castle UK


Nearby Locations:  
Other Relevant pages:

White Castle

Castles of Wales

How to photograph a castle



Planning Grid


White Castle,  Monmouthshire, Wales

Grid Reference:


Getting there:

One mile from the village of Llantilio Crossenny


Down very narrow country lanes, and uphill. From car park from pay desk enter through gate and walk across to castle entrance.


limited Parking on site, if it gets busy parking in the lanes will be difficult for others to pass.



Things To Do, See and Photograph:

Castle remains, including some further out, mote, country views.

What to take:

wide angle lenses if you have them

Nature highlights:

You may see some wildlife on the moat, that is varied in width, and plantlife in surrounding grass.


White Castle

Ger Y Fenni





01600 780380

Opening times:

01.10.08-31.03.09: Open site  10am-4pm Daily

01.04.09-31.10.09: Daily 10.00-17.00

01.11.09-31.03.10: Open site 10am-4pmdaily

Closed:- 24th, 25th, 26th December, 1st January

Last admission 30 minutes before closing other than on open site days.


CADW and English Heritage members (1YR plus) free, English Heritage members fist year 50%.

Entry is FREE for Welsh residents aged 60 and over or 16 and under who have a valid pass.

Open sites are unstaffed and open to the public with no admission charge, at all reasonable times, usually between 10am and 4pm daily. See opening hours for when this applies to this location

Adult 2.60, concession 2.25, family 7.45

Photo Restrictions:

None known

Other Restrictions: None known
Special Needs Access: Difficult for wheelchair users
Special Needs Facilities: None
Children Facilities: None specific
Dogs Allowed: From April 2009, dogs on leads will be also welcome at Cadw monuments. please see information for dog owners

Please let us know any other information that we can add to the Further information and Planning Grids or page and any errors that you discover. Before making a long trip to any location it is always wise to double check the current information, websites like magazines may be correct at the time the information is written, but things change and it is of course impossible to double check all entries on a regular basis. If you have any good photographs that you feel would improve the illustration of this page then please let us have copies. In referring to this page it is helpful if you quote both the Page Ref and Classification from the Grids above. To print the planning grid select it then right click and print the selected area.

Please submit information on locations you discover so that this system continues to grow.


By: Keith Park Section: Castles Key:
Page Ref: White_Castle Topic: Castles Last Updated: 03/2009


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