Aberyscir Motte

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

There are masonry footings remains

NameAberyscir Motte
Alternative Names
Historic CountryBrecknockshire
Modern AuthorityPowys
1974 AuthorityPowys

A ditched mound, about 50m north-west to south-east by 38m and generally 3m high, set above the Usk on the south, having a roughly oblong summit area, about 30m north-west to south-east, with remains of strong walling on the south-east: a summer house is thought to have been set upon the mound, utilising the surving walling. (Coflein)

The monument comprises the remains of a motte and ditch, dating to the medieval period (c. 1066 -1540 AD). The Motte is located on a spur of land that projects out towards the River Usk, is roughly teardrop-shaped in plan with steep sides and a flat summit that measures 20m NE/SW by 30m NW/SE. The sides of the motte on the S and W sides are natural and fall to the river level below, but on the N and E sides is a large ditch, around 10m wide and 5m deep, with a slight bank on the outside. On the S side of the motte are the remains of a substantial masonry wall, 10m long and 2m wide, standing up to 2m high on the outside and 1m high on the inside. Most of the facing stones have been lost, with the rubble core visible along the full length. A slight external batter to the wall can be identified. This is likely to be 12th or 13th century in date and possibly the remains of a large shell keep or small inner ward. The wall turns 90 degrees at the southern end of the motte and in the apex of the bend are the remains of a semi-circular wall standing around 3m high. The wall is 0.4 thick and sits on top of the medieval masonry. The walls is faced, with each end carefully finished with facing stones, which suggests that the structure never formed a circuit and was designed to be free-standing. The motte appears to have been landscaped, with the planting of a yew tree shelter belt and the construction of a path up to the summit from the gardens of the Georgian house, and the extant semi-circular wall is probably associated with these works rather than the remains of a medieval tower

The wall may have been built as a folly to mimic a ruined tower. (Scheduling Report)

Gatehouse Comments

By parish church. Must have been built as a manorial centre. The obvious military thing to do would be to reoccupy and modify the existing strong masonry walls and ditch of Brecon Gaer Roman fort 200m to the east.

- 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 ReferenceSO000295
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  • Davis, Paul, R., 2011, The Forgotten Castles of Wales (Almeley: Logaston Press) p. 74-76
  • Morgan, Gerald, 2008, Castles in Wales: A Handbook (Talybont: Y Lolfa Cyf.) p. 231 (listed)
  • Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles of Mid Wales (Malvern) p. 11
  • Pettifer, Adrian, 2000, Welsh Castles, A Guide by Counties (Boydell Press) p. 18
  • Remfry, Paul, 1998, Castles of Breconshire (Logaston Press) p. 99-101(plan)
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 16
  • Lewis, Samual, 1849, A Topographical Dictionary of Wales online copy [online copy > http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=47890#s12]


  • 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
  • King, D.J.C., 1961, ‘The castles of Breconshire’ Brycheiniog Vol. 7 p. 84-5 no. 16 online copy