The motte and bailey was replaced around 1200 by the present stone castle, lying on the south side of the river Wye. It was built by Matilda de Braose, and the castle stayed in the de Braose family until 1230 when William de Braose was hanged in Abergwyngregyn for having an affair with the wife of the Welsh ruler Prince Llywelyn ab Iorwerth, Llywelyn the Great. What followed was typical of Welsh border castles with the stronghold changing hands between the English and the Welsh over the centuries.
The 13th Century saw the rebellions where the Welsh Princes Llywelyn ab Iorwerth and later Llywelyn ab Gruffydd fought unsuccessfully to free themselves from the English yoke The early 15th Century saw the last revolt, the Glyndwr rebellion, and the castle again suffered damage by Welsh forces. But a few years on the Hay Castle was once again listed as defensible against the Welsh. Indeed the castle was sacked by both the English and the Welsh which led to its eventual abandonment and decay.
Come the 17th Century and part of the castle was rebuilt as a Jacobean mansion house that is now part of the longest-established bookshop in the town of books. Little is left now of the castle apart from its ruined walls as many parts were taken down following the building of the railway during the 1860s, but the walls and steps can still be appreciated from Castle Square in the town.
The Jacobean mansion part suffered two severe fires in 1939 and 1977. The resulting damage from the 1939 fire is still as it was after the fire. The west side was rebuilt and repaired by Capps & Capps in 1987/88 when under the ownership of Richard Booth.
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