Castell Cwm Aran

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte)

There are earthwork remains

NameCastell Cwm Aran
Alternative NamesCymaran; Cymaron; Gemaron; Camaron; Caperun; Cwm Avon; Cwm Aron; Kamhawn; Cans Castle; Cuthremion
Historic CountryRadnorshire
Modern AuthorityPowys
1974 AuthorityPowys
CommunityLlanddewi Ystradenny

Castell Cwm Aran is a subrectangular motte, the summit c.38m by 20m, 15m high above the valley to the S and E, 9.5m high above a rock-cut ditch to the W and N, across which lies a rectilinear bailey, c.47m by 49-62m, also resting on steep slopes to the E, banked and ditched elsewhere, including towards the motte. There is a counterscarp to the W and indications of a further enclosure, c.20m deep, to the N. The whole work is c.150m by 100m overall. The castle was first mentioned in 1144-1195AD. (Coflein)

Roughly rectangular motte rising 9.5m above ditch on N and W and 15m above river flood plain in S and E. Rectangular bailey to N defended by rampart and outer ditch and additional scarping. Entrance to N. Scheduled area enlarged to enclose siegeworks to south 23/8/91. The earthworks are generally in very good condition with little or no damage by grazing animals. Small areas of woody scrub including small trees and gorse are beginning to rejuvenate some areas to the south and south-west have been burnt. (CPAT Tir Gofal assessment, 2004). (Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust HER)

Gatehouse Comments

Possible founded during Mortimer conquest of area in 1093. Exchanged hands between Welsh and English several times until possibly finally destroyed by Llywelyn the Great in 1215. Remfry suggests this is the site of Cans Castle recorded in 1134.

- 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 ReferenceSO152703
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  • Morgan, Gerald, 2008, Castles in Wales: A Handbook (Talybont: Y Lolfa Cyf.) p. 250 (listed)
  • Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles of Mid Wales (Malvern) p. 57
  • Pettifer, Adrian, 2000, Welsh Castles, A Guide by Counties (Boydell Press) p. 181
  • Reid, Alan, 1998, Castles of Wales (John Jones Publishing) p. 50
  • Remfry, P., 1996, Castles of Radnorshire (Logaston Press) p. 92-4
  • Higham, R. and Barker, P., 1992, Timber Castles (Batsford) p. 243
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 407-8, 559, 563
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 345
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 162
  • Colvin, H.M., Brown, R.Allen and Taylor, A.J., 1963, The history of the King's Works Vol. 2: the Middle Ages (London: HMSO) p. 624
  • Howse, W.H., 1949, Radnorshire (Hereford) p. 268
  • Downman, E.A., 1916, Ancient Earthworks in Radnorshire
  • RCAHMW, 1913, An inventory of the Ancient Monuments of Radnorshire (HMSO) p. 73 no. 294 online copy
  • Armitage, Ella, 1912, The Early Norman Castles of the British Isles (London: John Murray) p. 292-3 online copy
  • Davies, Edwin (ed), William, Jonathan, 1905, A General History of the County of Radnor (reprinted from 1858, Archaeologia Cambrensis (ser3) Vol. 4) p. 236-7
  • Lewis, Samual, 1849, A Topographical Dictionary of Wales online copy



  • Remfry, P., 1998, 'Discovering the lost kingdom of Radnor' British Archaeology Vol. 34 p. 10-11
  • 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
  • Kenyon, John R., 1996, 'Fluctuating Frontiers: Normanno-Welsh Castle Warfare c. 1075 to 1240' Château Gaillard Vol. 17 p. 119-126
  • Brown, R, Allen, 1959, 'A List of Castles, 1154–1216' English Historical Review Vol. 74 p. 249-280 (Reprinted in Brown, R. Allen, 1989, Castles, conquest and charters: collected papers (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 90-121) view online copy (subscription required)
  • Brown, R. Allen, 1955, 'Royal Castle-building in England 1154-1216' English Historical Review Vol. 70 (Reprinted in Brown, R. Allen, 1989, Castles, conquest and charters: collected papers (Woodbridge: Boydell Press)) p. 19-64
  • Cole, E.J.L., 1946, 'The Castles of Maelienydd' Transactions of the Radnorshire Society Vol. 16 p. 3-19 online copy
  • Williams, J., 1858, 'History of Radnorshire' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 13 p. 469-616 esp p. 506-7 online copy

Primary Sources

  • Brut y Tywysogion 1144, 1195 (Several transcriptions and translations exist the best being Jones, T., 1952, Brut Y Twysogion (University of Wales, History and Law series 11)–based on the Peniarth MS 20 version. There is a flawed translation Williams ab Ithel, John, 1860, Brut Y Twysogion or The Chronicle of the Princes (Rolls Series) online copy)
  • Pipe Rolls 1182, 1195 (see Pipe Roll Society for references)