Well-preserved motte-and-bailey with a turbulent history
Probably built by an early Flemish settler with the unusual name of Wizo, Wiston is one of the best-preserved motte-and-bailey castles in Wales (a motte is a small hill, usually fortified, surrounded by an open area, or bailey, inside an outer wall). First appearing in documents in 1147 when it was attacked by the Welsh, Wiston Castle had a short but eventful life. The Welsh attacked again in 1193, this time led by Hywel Sais (son of The Lord Rhys, ruler of this part of Wales), before the native prince Llywelyn ap Iorwerth (Llywelyn the Great) finished the job and destroyed it in 1220.
The remains of the stone shell-keep – a later addition to the motte – still stand up to 13ft/4m high in places, largely unbroken but for a section to the north possibly brought down in Llywelyn’s attack.