Caer Dynnaf, Llygod Old Castle

Has been described as a Possible Timber Castle (Other/Unknown), and also as a Possible Masonry Castle, and also as a Fortified Manor House

There are earthwork remains

NameCaer Dynnaf, Llygod Old Castle
Alternative NamesOld Llanbeddian; Llanblethian Castle; Llanblethian Hill; St Quintin's
Historic CountryGlamorgan
Modern AuthorityVale of Glamorgan
1974 AuthoritySouth Glamorgan
CommunityCowbridge With Llanblethian

There is a tradition that a Norman castle was situated on Llanblethian Hill, possibly erected by the St Quintin family, which passed to the Sywards after 1249. Homphray in 1828 suggested that two castles were built on the site, as depicted in Buck's view of 1741 ('Castrum de Llan Blethian' and 'Castrum Lithani'). The surviving ruins have been interpreted as a first-floor hall (PRN 1915s) situated within an embanked enclosure which forms the east annexe of Caer Dynnaf hillfort (PRN 263s). (Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust HER)

The ruins of a rectangular building constructed on a platform levelled into the outer bank of the hillfort which also occupies this site. A much ruined mortared stone building, c. 16m NE-SW by 10m, thought to be the remains of a first-floor hall (RCAHMW 1982 Glamorgan III.2, 178). It is suggested that the building is set within a contemporary, sub-rectangular enclosure, c.78m N-S by 54m, defined by scarps and banks, below the main enclosure of Caer Dynanaf hillfort (Nprn93053). Rejected as a castle site (RCAHMW 2000 Glamorgan III.1b, 166). (Coflein)

Caer Dynnaf is a fine example of a multivallate mid/late Iron Age hillfort. Its ramparts are well-preserved in places, with those on the west end still retaining much of their original profile. The construction of this hillfort (probably in the latter half of the first millennium BC - sometime between 400 BC and the Roman Conquest in AD 74) represented considerable effort on the part of its builders. The hillfort had great symbolic value, although it may not have been occupied all year round - simply providing refuge in times of strife and a highly visible claim to the land on behalf of the tribe and its chief. A complex and well preserved in-turned entrance is visible on the west side, while internal features such as earthwork banks and platforms indicate the positions of houses, enclosures and tracks

The remains of a medieval masonry structure survive at the east end of the hillfort. (Scheduling Report)

Gatehouse Comments

At the east End of Iron Age hill fort, an annexe is isolated by a cross-bank and ditch. In medieval times, the northern third of this annexe was isolated by another cross-bank, and a substantial masonry building was raised within the resulting enclosure. Frequently suggested as a castle by earlier sources (and some later ones) but no contemporary documentary evidence for this being a castle. Spurgeon writes the masonry remains are of a domestic building, probably a first floor hall house. He rejects this as a castle. However, this is clearly a high status building in a defended position. Was this a hunting lodge?

- Philip Davis

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

Not Listed

The National Monument Record (Coflein) number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSS985742
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  • RCAHMW, 2000, An Inventory of Ancient Monuments in Glamorgan Vol III Part lb: The Later Castles from 1217 to the present (HMSO) p. 166
  • Reid, Alan, 1998, Castles of Wales (John Jones Publishing) p. 113
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1
  • RCAHMW, 1982, An Inventory of the Ancient Monuments in Glamorgan Vol. 3 Part 2: Secular Non-defensive Monuments (London: HMSO) MH23 (The masonry house)
  • RCAHMW, 1976, An Inventory of the Ancient Monuments in Glamorgan Vol. 1 Part 2 (London: HMSO) no. 670 p. 40-1(The Iron Age fort and earthworks)
  • Hague, D.B., 1971, in Pugh, T.B. (ed), Glamorgan County History Vol. 3 The Middle Ages (Cardiff) p. 441
  • Hopkin-James, L.J., 1922, Old Cowbridge (Cardiff) p. 13-8 online copy
  • Owen, G. (Pritchard, E.M. (ed)), 1906, The Taylors Cussion (1552-1613) (London) p. 99-100
  • Buck, Samuel and Nathenial, 1774, Buck’s Antiquities (London) Vol. 2 p. 402


  • Merrick, R. (James, B.L. (ed)), 1983, Morganiae Archaiographia: A Book of the Antiquites of Glamorgan (Barry Island) p. 76, 137 (originally published 1578)
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1910, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (Bell and Sons; London) Vol. 5 p. 241 online copy (perhaps)


  • Spurgeon, C.J. with Roberts, D.J. and Thomas, H.J., 1999, 'Supposed Castles in Glamorgan; A review' Archaeology in Wales Vol. 39 27-40
  • Hogg, A.H.A. and King, D.J.C., 1967, 'Masonry castles in Wales and the Marches: a list' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 116 p. 71-132
  • Hogg, A.H.A. and King, D.J.C., 1963, 'Early castles in Wales and the Marches: a preliminary list' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 112 p. 77-124 (Late–attributed to origin in C12 but regarded as later)
  • Clark, G.T., 1878, 'Manorial particulars of the county of Glamorgan (pt2)' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 33 p. 15 online copy
  • 'Antiquarius', 1785, 'Castles and antiquities in Glamorganshire' Gentlemans Magazine Vol. 55 p. 936