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The Marcher Lordship of Blaenllynfi was created from part of the Lordship of Brecknock in 1208 when the Lord of Brecknock (William de Braose) fell out with King John in a spectacularly bad way. The first Marcher Lord of Blaenllynfi was Peter FitzHerbert. The Castle was probably constructed between 1208 and 1215. It fell into the hands of the Braose family but was returned to the FitzHerberts in 1217/1218 following King John’s death.
King John's successor, Henry III also had trouble with his barons, his chief opponent being Richard Marshal, 3rd Earl of Pembroke. In August 1233, Richard refused to attend the king, and was thus declared traitor. Subsequently, Richard formed an alliance with Prince Llywelynab Iorwerth and they jointly attacked Blaenllynfi castle in October 1233.
Soon rebuilt, the castle was again attacked by Llywelyn ap Gruffydd when the Second Barons' War broke out, in 1262. In 1305 John FitzReginald granted a manor within the Lordship to Rhys ap Hywel, an ally of King Edward I and the heir of the last king of Brycheiniog (the realm which became the Lordship of Brecknock).
In 1322 the king seized the Lordship of Blaenllynfi and gave it to the Despensers. The castle had probably never been adequately repaired after the siege by Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, and at the time of Hugh's death, in 1326, it was nearly ruinous.
An inquisition by jury found many defects in the castle on 23 January 1337, although archaeological evidence shows that the defences were improved around this time.