Tump Terret, Trellech

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte)

There are earthwork remains

NameTump Terret, Trellech
Alternative NamesTrelleck; Trillech; Trillec; Trillek; Twyn Tirret
Historic CountryMonmouthshire
Modern AuthorityMonmouthshire
1974 AuthorityGwent
CommunityTrellech United

Large steep-sided grass covered mound c5m high. It has a flat top c14m in diameter, with a small hollow in the centre and a bite out of the top of the S side.

No ditch outside the mound on S or W sides, on N side is a wide flat-bottomed ditch 4m wide and 2.2m deep. On E side is a slight ditch c0.7m deep.

First documented in 1231 and described as "the site of the old castle" in 1306.

Phillips notes that Trelech earthwork comprises an earthen mound with steep sides; the motte is surrounded by a levelled ditch (excepting the south and west sides) and it was first recorded on a sketch-plan made sometime between 1937 and 1940 by Kay which shows the complete ditch before it was damaged by the farm buildings. The north section of the earthwork survives the best. The motte (height of 5.58m, a top surface area of 142.762m^2 and an estimated volume of 2236.956m^2) has a natural base indicating that its present base of 758.373m^2 is close to original. The surviving northern ditch separates a raised portion of land from the motte; Phillips records that at this point the depth is 2.6m with a bottom width of 4.3m and refers to excavations and a geophysical survey made in 2002-3 indicating a new interpretation of where the position of the bailey. Phillips concludes by interpreting the site as an early motte and bailey built during the initial conquest of the area, speculating on its original size and indicating major defensive issues (Phillips 2004). (Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust HER)

Tump Terret is a ditched mound, c.36m in diameter and 5.5m high, with the remains of counterscarp to the south. The Castle is mentioned in 1231, and referred to as 'site of' in 1306. A geophysical survey in the area of the motte indicates the presence of structural remains in area of the bailey enclosure to the north and north-east. Structural features on the motte-top are thought to relate to a 19th century summer house

The presence of Court Farm to the south (Nprn43389), may indicate a further enclosure in this area. (Coflein)

The motte and bailey at Trelech can be identified, on the basis of size and shape, as one of the early type of castles built during the initial conquest of the area. The steepness of the motte and the surrounding ditch also show that inner defence was also a major issue. The site is located on the edge of a ridge of land with the motte at the steepest side and the bailey separated from it by a ditch. The bailey stretches to the north and may be of considerable size judging by the modifications to the natural terrain that are evident throughout the village. (Phillips)

The monument comprises the remains of a motte and ditch, dating to the medieval period (c. 1066 -1540 AD). It comprises a large steep-sided mound, 5m high, with a flat summit 14m in diameter. On the S and W sides there is no trace of a ditch, however, on the N side there is a wide, flat bottomed ditch 4m wide and 2.2m deep and on the E side there is a slight trace of a ditch 0.7m deep. Little is known about the history of the castle, however it is recorded as being in existence in 1231. (Scheduling Report)

Gatehouse Comments

The history of the castle is obscure; but it is known to have been in existence before 1231. Trellech was within the Norman lordship of Usk, and the castle presumably had some manorial administrative function.

- 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 ReferenceSO499053
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.

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  • Kenyon, John, 2010, The Medieval Castles of Wales (University of Wales Press) p. 146
  • Morgan, Gerald, 2008, Castles in Wales: A Handbook (Talybont: Y Lolfa Cyf.) p. 244 (listed)
  • Courtney, P., 2008, 'The Marcher Lordships' in R. Griffiths, T. Hopkins and R. Howell (eds), The Gwent County History (Cardiff: University of Wales Press) Vol. 2 The Age of the Marcher Lords, c. 1070-1536 p. 47-9 (tenurial history)
  • Phillips, Neil, 2006, Earthwork Castles of Gwent and Ergyng AD 1050-1250 (British Archaeological Reports) p. 332-5 also excavation report downloadable at same site
  • Pettifer, Adrian, 2000, Welsh Castles, A Guide by Counties (Boydell Press) p. 146
  • Salter, Mike, 1991, The Castles of Gwent, Glamorgan and Gower (Malvern) p. 74 (slight)
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 288
  • Bradney, J.A., 1904-33, History of Monmouthshire Vol. 2 p. 131, 137-8
  • Coxe, W., 1801, An Historical Tour in Monmouthshire (London) Vol. 2 p. 323 (as Roman)


  • Lhwyd, E. (1660-1709) (Morris), 1909-11, Parochialia Being a Summary of Answers to Parochial Queries in Order to a Geographical Dictionary, Etc., of Wales (London: Cambrian Archaeological Association)


  • Anthony, Mark, 2003, ''I have a cunning plan, my lord': A conjectural approach to the layout and street pattern of medieval Trelech' Gwent County History Association Newsletter Vol. 11 online copy
  • Phillips, N., 2002, 'Trelech. C. Tump Terret' Archaeology in Wales Vol. 42 p. 143-5
  • Soulsby, 1982, Trelech: a Decayed Borough of Medieval Gwent Monmouthshire Antiquarian Vol. 4(3-4) p. 41-4
  • 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
  • Wakeman, 1855, Journal of the British Archaeological Association Vol. 11 p. 130 [online copy > http://archive.org//details/journalofbritish11brit

Primary Sources

  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1903, Calendar of Patent Rolls Henry III (1225-32) Vol. 2 p. 427 online copy
  • 1906, Calendar of Patent Rolls Henry III (1232-47) Vol. 3 p. 468 online copy
  • Lyte, H.C. Maxwell (ed), 1913, Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem, Edward I Vol. 4 p. 326 no. 435 (1 May 1307 Joan, Widow of Gibert de Clare) online copy
  • Lyte, H.C. Maxwell (ed), 1906, Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem, Edward II Vol. 5 p. 336 no. 538 (Gilbert de Clare 10 July 1314) online copy
  • Rickard, John, 2002, The Castle Community. The Personnel of English and Welsh Castles, 1272-1422 (Boydell Press) (lists sources for 1272-1422) p. 317


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