Rockfield Castle, Llangattock Vibon Avel

Has been described as a Possible Timber Castle (Motte)

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains

NameRockfield Castle, Llangattock Vibon Avel
Alternative Names
Historic CountryMonmouthshire
Modern AuthorityMonmouthshire
1974 AuthorityGwent
CommunityLlangattock Vibon Avel

King (1983) identified a 'motte small and rounded; possible traces of small and weak bailey' at SO483142. Phillips did a survey of this area and found at Kings map reference some drainage works and a spoil heap. However he found, at SO48261412, a motte and 'small triangular bailey, interpreted as a horn work' and a 'larger bailey to the east complete with sections of rampart'. He was of the opinion that this was not the 'motte' identified by King.

'the site is atypical as the motte is not situated at the steep part of the slope; the bailey is. It may be that the motte already existed as an earlier mound which the Normans re-used. Alternatively, its position may have been dictated by the geology of the fault line to the north-east as a quarry source' (Phillips)

Gatehouse Comments

Quite what the full story is is unclear, what method was King using to identify mottes? When did he survey the site and what notes did he have? It seems unlikely that such an experienced and dynamic an observer and surveyor of castles as King would misidentify a spoil heap (although apparently the spoil heap does resemble a weak motte) and not see a motte and bailey reportedly 50m away.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSO483142
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

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  • 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. 307-8
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 284


  • Hogg, A.H.A. and King, D.J.C., 1970, 'Castles in Wales and the Marches (Additions and corrections to lists published in 1963 and 1967)' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 119 p. 119-124


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