Pen Llys Ringwork

Has been described as a Possible Timber Castle (Ringwork), and also as a Possible Palace (Other)

There are earthwork remains

NamePen Llys Ringwork
Alternative NamesLlysdinam
Historic CountryBrecknockshire
Modern AuthorityPowys
1974 AuthorityPowys

A rectangular enclosure, resting on a natural scarp to the S, 13m by 12m internally, is defined by banks 6.1m wide, a ditch and, in places, a slight counterscarp bank. Thought to be a medieval moated enclosure. (Coflein)

A D shaped multivallate enclosure some 13m NE-SW by 12m wide internally with entrance on E. Poss bailey noted by RCAHM archive, 1970 but disputed by OS, 1978. Sited on ridge crest. A small section of this ringwork including a section of bank 2m high and 15m long, to the north-west and part of the outer ditch 0.2m/0.3m deep with a slight outer bank 0.3m high and 0.5m wide to the south-west. (CPAT Tir Gofal assessment, 2004). (Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust HER)

The monument comprises the remains of an earthwork enclosure. The date or precise nature of the enclosure is unknown, but it is likely to be later prehistoric or medieval. The site comprises a D-shaped enclosure measuring 13m NE/SW by 12m NW/SE situated on the edge of a rock escarpment, which forms the southern edge of the monument. The enclosure bank stands to a maximum height of 1m internally and 2m externally. Traces of a ditch can be seen around the outside of the bank, and this is most pronounced on the E side where a second bank rises from the E edge of the ditch. The second bank is up to 2m high, measured from the base of the ditch and around 1m high on the E side. To the E of this second ditch is a possible bailey, defined on the N side by a natural scarp and on the E end by a slight bank and ditch. The monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance our knowledge of later prehistoric defensive organisation and settlement. (Scheduling Report)

Gatehouse Comments

Seems to be generally accepted as a medieval ringwork, although both the Coflein and CPAT records have some doubts and the site is scheduled as a prehistoric enclosure. The isolated hill top location seems more prehistoric than medieval, but the llys name suggests early medieval use and some later medieval use and reconstruction of an earlier site is possible.

- 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 ReferenceSN998584
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  • Morgan, Gerald, 2008, Castles in Wales: A Handbook (Talybont: Y Lolfa Cyf.) p. 232 (listed)
  • Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles of Mid Wales (Malvern) p. 29
  • Pettifer, Adrian, 2000, Welsh Castles, A Guide by Counties (Boydell Press) p. 18
  • Remfry, Paul, 1998, Castles of Breconshire (Logaston Press) p. 190
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 19


  • King, D.J.C. and Alcock, L., 1969, 'Ringworks in England and Wales' Château Gaillard Vol. 3 p. 90-127
  • 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. 90-1 no. 30 online copy