Mill Wood Motte, Dingestow

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte)

There are earthwork remains

NameMill Wood Motte, Dingestow
Alternative NamesThe Mound; Llandingat
Historic CountryMonmouthshire
Modern AuthorityMonmouthshire
1974 AuthorityGwent
CommunityMitchel Troy

Mill Wood Castle is a ditched mound, c.32m in diameter and 5.0m high, is set at the end of a slight natural promontory at the confluence of two streams. To the north a bank and ditch cut across the promontory, segregating an enclosure, c.34m by 55m. (Coflein)

A jungle of undergrowth now defends this large motte, but even if this prevents a closer look a good impression can be gained from the footpath. It is a typical Norman motte, circular and steep-sided, with ditches on the north and south sides. A causeway across the ditch in the north-west corner may indicate an entrance. The bailey was probably on the south side, delineated by an outer bank. The motte is in a good defensive position, with a steep drop to the river Trothy on one side and a dry ravine on the other. Strategically, it was positioned to secure the Monmouth-Raglan corridor into south Wales, and to guard the crossing of the river Trothy. The castle was the precursor of a larger, stone-built one, the site of which is the large rectangular mound to the west of the church (Dingestow . This was under construction in 1182 by Ranulf Poer, sheriff of Herefordshire, when it was attacked by Hywel ap Iorwerth, the Welsh lord of Caerleon, as part of his retaliation for the murder of Seisyllt ap Dyfnwal at Abergavenny Castle in 1175 by William de Braose. (Whittle, 1992)

The monument comprises the remains of a motte and ditch, dating to the medieval period (c. 1066 -1540 AD). The site consists of a large, steep sided mound 40m in diameter and 7m high, located on the E bank of the River Trothy. The summit of the mound is flat and 12m in diameter. On the N side is a ditch 3m wide and 2m deep with a causeway on the NW side. On the S side is a ditch 0.7m deep with a large bank, 2m high, on the external side

The history of the site is largely unknown, although it is thought to be the precursor of Dingestow Castle (MM113) located 300m to the E. (Scheduling Report)

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 ReferenceSO459103
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  • Morgan, Gerald, 2008, Castles in Wales: A Handbook (Talybont: Y Lolfa Cyf.) p. 243 (listed)
  • Prior, Stuart, 2006, A Few Well-Positioned Castles: The Norman Art of War (Tempus) p. 110-164
  • Phillips, Neil, 2006, Earthwork Castles of Gwent and Ergyng AD 1050-1250 (British Archaeological Reports) p. 179-81
  • Whittle, E., 1992, A Guide to Ancient and Historic Wales, Glamorgan and Gwent (London: Cadw HMSO) p. 94
  • Salter, Mike, 1991, The Castles of Gwent, Glamorgan and Gower (Malvern) p. 18 (mention)
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 283


  • 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
  • Renn, D.F., 1959, 'Mottes: a classification' Antiquity Vol. 33 p. 106-12 (listed as siegework)


  • Phillips, Neil, 2005, Earthwork Castles of Gwent and Ergyng AD 1050-1250 (PhD Thesis University of Sheffield) Download