Twmpan Motte, Llangors

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

There are earthwork remains

NameTwmpan Motte, Llangors
Alternative NamesTymaur Motte; Llangasty Tal y Llyn; Llangasty Talyllyn Twmpan
Historic CountryBrecknockshire
Modern AuthorityPowys
1974 AuthorityPowys

The Motte at Twmpan is a sub-circular steep-sided, flat-topped mound, showing faint traces of a ditch, thought to represent a medieval castle mound, crowning a slight spur on generally north-east facing slopes, overlooking Llangorse Lake; the mound is about 28.5m north to south by 15.5m and c.4.0m high, having a summit area some 11.5-13m, across. (Coflein)

Steep sided motte c4m high with flat sub-rectangular top (22m by 15m). Base measures c27m by 22m. Faint traces of ditch in north-east and south-east. Wrongtly noted as tumulus by OS 1964. A small pit dug about 7ft deep in the top, seen in 1954, revealed centre and bulk of mound to be composed of a loose mass of red sandstone in small slabs, mostly piled on edge. The outer side of the mound was entirely composed of red sandstone clay. Flat sub-rectangular summit still shows evidence of King's excavations. (OS Record card) Excavated by D J C King in 1954. Quern fragment found at site in 1980 (CPAT archive 1982). (Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust HER)

The monument comprises the remains of a motte and ditch, 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. The motte is a steep-sided circular mound 3.5m high on the north side, 2.5m high on the south side with a flat summit 12m in diameter. There is no evidence for a ditch surrounding the motte, or for an outer bailey. A small-scale excavation carried out in the 1950s revealed the structure of the mound to be a core of slabs of sandstone covered by a layer of clay. (Scheduling Report)

Gatehouse Comments

Remfry and Salter suggest this may be remains of a freestanding round masonry tower. Llangors–Court of William le Breos in 1197 (BT). Perhaps = Llangasty Tal y llyn (King and Hogg). Actually the Brut y Tywysogion does not say William had a court at Llangors just that "Trahaiarn the Little of Brecheiniog, ... was seized, when he was passing through Llangors (on the way?) to the court of William Bruse" The site is quite isolated, Llangasty-talyllyn is a nearer church than Llangors which is 2km away on the other side of a lake. Nothing, other than the mound itself, suggest high status residence. King was an intelligent man with a profound interest in castles but not a professional archaeologist. Is this really a motte? Is it in medieval Llangors? What, other than King's interest in medieval welsh castles and this site in particular, is there to suggest this as the site of the recorded court of William le Breos (or that that court was fortified with a motte).

- 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 ReferenceSO125256
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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. 35
  • Pettifer, Adrian, 2000, Welsh Castles, A Guide by Counties (Boydell Press) p. 18
  • Remfry, Paul, 1998, Castles of Breconshire (Logaston Press) p. 182
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 19


  • 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 no. 28 online copy

Primary Sources

  • William ab Ithel (ed), 1860, Brut y Tywysogion Jesus MS 111 (Red Book of Hergest) 1197 online copy [Scan of original manuscript >]