Old Beaupre Castle
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: A beautifully carved Renaissance gatehouse
The ruined and roofless hall recalls a famous episode, when the bard Meurig Dafydd presented a praise poem to William Bassett, lord of Beaupre. According to legend Bassett read the poem, gave the bard a coin as reward, then threw the manuscript into the fire. Was it modesty, deflecting the bard's praise, or a rather pointed appraisal of Dafydd's poem? We don't know, but the Bassett family had what we might today call 'a bit of a reputation'. They did not get along with their neighbours, and engaged in a series of disputes. Some disputes ended in court cases, others in violence.
No further additions followed, as the Basset family fortunes declined after the Civil War. In the 18th century the castle passed to the Jones family, who chose to make their family seat at New Beaupre, so Old Beaupre went into decline.
Much of Beaupre is ruined, but the exceptional 3 story gatehouse and Tudor porch are well preserved. The 14th century hall boasts an impressive contemporary fireplace - perhaps it is the same fireplace used by William Bassett to burn Meurig Dafydd's praise poem?
Many of the older parts of the castle are closed to the public. The rear of the building has been incorporated into a private dwelling and is closed to the public. As for the ruins, they are in the care of Cadw and is are open at any reasonable time.
You've heard the expression, 'getting there is half the fun'. I'm not sure getting to Old Beaupre is half the fun, but it certainly is a challenge. The site is really poorly signposted, at least it was when we visited. First of all, if you use the official postcode you will arrive in completely the wrong place, near the parish church in St Mary Church (Llan-fair) village.
Where you really want to be is at a layby on St Athan Road, at OS grid reference ST003722, just before the road forks to Llanblethian and St Hilary. There is a small brown tourist sign, half-hidden by foliage when we visited, pointing the way to a footpath across the fields to the castle. As soon as you pass through the hedge onto the footpath you will see the ruins of Old Beaupre visible amid trees across the fields. You'll have to cross a couple of stiles, and the ground can be wet after rain, so please wear good waterproof footwear. Now with all those warnings aside, the walk will take no more than 10 minutes and it is very easy, mostly level going.
As an aside, when I enquired of a local woman where to find the castle, I pronounced 'Beaupre' the way it is spelled, sounding like 'bow-pray'. She looked puzzled for a moment and asked if I meant 'Booper' Castle. Er, yes, I apparently did.
About Old Beaupre Castle
Address: Old Beaupre Farm, Llandough, Glamorgan, Wales
Attraction Type: Historic Building
Location: At Old Beaupre Farm, off St Athan Road, south of Llandough
Website: Old Beaupre Castle
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
Opening Details: Open access site, usually accessible at any reasonable time
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NEARBY HISTORIC ATTRACTIONS
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
Llanmihangel, St Michael Church - 1.7 miles (Historic Church)
Cowbridge Roman Military Site - 1.7 miles (Roman Site)
Llanblethian Castle - 1.9 miles (Castle)
St Quintin's Castle - 1.9 miles (Castle)
Llanmaes, St Cattwg (St Cadoc) Church - 2.3 miles (Historic Church)
Llansannor, St Senwyr Church - 3.2 miles (Historic Church)
Llantwit Major, St Illtud's Church & Crosses - 3.5 miles (Historic Church)
Fonmon Castle - 3.6 miles (Historic House)
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