Dale Castle is a 13th-century castle located close to the village of Dale in Wales. In 1910, part of the castle was removed and other parts were incorporated into a new private dwelling house, built in the style of a fortified manor house.
Built after the Norman invasion of South Wales, the castle was originally built by the de Vales, descendants of a knight who had accompanied Robert fitz Martin on his invasion of north Pembrokeshire. The male line died out, meaning that subsequent owners have rotated through the female bloodline. The Walter family of Roch Castle took ownership, from whom Lucy Walter, mistress of King Charles II and mother of the Duke of Monmouth was descended. It was then owned by the families of the Paynters, Allens and Lloyds.
Little remains of the original medieval castle and what there is was largely remodelled and incorporated into the present modern house and farm in 1910. In an illustration dating from around 1810, a rectangular battlemented tower is visible with a range of buildings with a hipped roof running to the west. Another illustration, this time from the 1880s, shows these buildings to have had three storeys and the tower was still complete at the time. At the time of the remodelling in 1910, the tower seems to have been reduced in height and both the tower and buildings seem to have lost their roofs. The back wall of the buildings was removed and the front wall became part of the forecourt of the house.
The south wing of the current structure was the central block of the medieval castle, 19.5 metres east-north-east to west-south-west by 17 metres, with walls 2.4 metres thick.
Owned now by the Lloyd Philipps family and their trusts, they have sold much of the remaining non-core estate land holdings, including the island of Skokholm. The castle is not open to the public.References:
The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.
The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.
The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.
The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.
Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.
At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.
In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.