Twyn Castell, Gelligaer

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte), and also as a Certain Palace (Other)

There are earthwork remains

NameTwyn Castell, Gelligaer
Alternative NamesCadwallon
Historic CountryGlamorgan
Modern AuthorityCaerphilly
1974 AuthorityMid Glamorgan

This motte is tree-covered, but otherwise quite untouched. This is a large steep sided motte, with a flat top. There is a narrow path on its N side. (Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust HER)

A sub-circular, steep-sided, flat-topped mound measuring 27m across at base, 18m (E-W) by 11m at top, and 6.6m high on the E but only 3.2m high on the W. No signs of masonry and no remains of a surrounding ditch or bailey. Erosion has exposed earth and large boulders in the mound. The castle mound would have been crowned by a great timber-framed tower and would have been associated with a princely court or llys, presumably belonging to the princes of Senghenydd. (Coflein)

The monument comprises the remains of a motte dating to the medieval period (c. 1066 -1540 AD). A motte is a large conical or pyramidal mound of soil and/or stone, usually surrounded by either a wet or dry ditch, and surmounted by a tower constructed of timber or stone. Twyn Castell is a large steep-sided motte, with a flat top with a diameter measuring 15m. (Scheduling Report)

Gatehouse Comments

Small and asymmetrical, this motte has been attributed to the Welsh rulers of the mountain commotes of Senghennydd. May be the castle of Cadwallon held by the Crown in 1196-7.

- 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 ReferenceST136969
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  • Morgan, Gerald, 2008, Castles in Wales: A Handbook (Talybont: Y Lolfa Cyf.) p. 241 (listed)
  • Davis, Paul R., 2007, Castles of the Welsh Princes (Y Lolfa) p. 105
  • Pettifer, Adrian, 2000, Welsh Castles, A Guide by Counties (Boydell Press) p. 111
  • < >RCAHMW, 1991, An Inventory of the Ancient Monuments in Glamorgan Vol. 3 Part 1a: The Early Castles (London: HMSO) < > MO9 p. 70-1
  • Salter, Mike, 1991, The Castles of Gwent, Glamorgan and Gower (Malvern) p. 75 (slight)
  • Davis, Paul R., 1988, Castles of the Welsh Princes (Swansea)
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 164, 171
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 127
  • Hague, D.B., 1971, in Pugh, T.B. (ed), Glamorgan County History Vol. 3 The Middle Ages (Cardiff) p. 440


  • Spurgeon, Jack, 1987, 'The Castles of Glamorgan' Château Gaillard Vol. 13 p. 207
  • Spurgeon, C.J.and Thomas, H.J., 1980, 'Twyn Castell, Gelligaer' Archaeology in Wales Vol. 20 p. 81
  • 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
  • Brown, R, Allen, 1959, 'A List of Castles, 1154–1216' English Historical Review Vol. 74 p. 249-280 (Reprinted in Brown, R. Allen, 1989, Castles, conquest and charters: collected papers (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 90-121) view online copy (subscription required)
  • 1901, Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 56 p. 58-9 (slight) online copy
  • Clark, G.T., 1889, 'Contribution towards a complete list of moated mounds or burhs' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 46 p. 197-217 esp. 216 online copy

Primary Sources

  • The Great Roll of the Pipe for the ninth year of the reign of King Richard I Michaelmas 1197 (Pipe Roll Society 46) p. xxiv