Tomen Castle, Cae Banal

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte)

There are earthwork remains

NameTomen Castle, Cae Banal
Alternative NamesLlanfihangel Nant Melan
Historic CountryRadnorshire
Modern AuthorityPowys
1974 AuthorityPowys
CommunityNew Radnor

A motte, 33m in diameter and 3.8m high, with a rather dished summit, 15.5m by 17m, is ditched, except on the E, where it rests on steep natural scarps, with a counterscarp facing a level approach on the SE. (Coflein)

Motte. 33m base dia. summit 17m N-S by 15.5m E-W. 3.8m high. slight central depression. ditch and counter- scarp on all but E sector. lies on spur. No ditch on the east where there are very steep natural slopes. Counterscarp bank on the SE is 4m wide and 0.5m high externally, and is visible for a length of 10m (Cadw). (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. This site occupies the local summit of a steep south-easterly facing spur which overlooks the confluence of two streams. It is c.33m in diameter and c.3.8m high, with a slightly hollowed summit measuring c.17m north-south by c.15.5m. The motte is surrounded by a ditch up to c.1m deep on all sides except the east, where the natural slope is steepest; on the south-east there is a c.10m length of counterscarp c.4m wide and c.0.5m high outside the ditch. (Scheduling Report)

Gatehouse Comments

It stands on the highest point of a ridge overlooking a small steep valley. Any bailey or surrounding building sites may have obliterated by ploughing.

- 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 ReferenceSO172588
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Calculate Print


  • Remfry, P., 2008, The Castles and History of Radnorshire (SCS Publishing)
  • 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. 70
  • Reid, Alan, 1998, Castles of Wales (John Jones Publishing) p. 132
  • Remfry, P., 1996, Castles of Radnorshire (Logaston Press) p. 110-1
  • Higham, R. and Barker, P., 1992, Timber Castles (Batsford) p. 213
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 409
  • RCAHMW, 1913, An inventory of the Ancient Monuments of Radnorshire (HMSO) p. 91 no. 356 online copy


  • 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
  • Phillips, D.W., 1935, 'Notes on some monuments in Radnorshire' Transactions of the Radnorshire Society Vol. 5 p. 16-28 esp 18-19 online copy
  • 1911, Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 65 p. 100-1
  • Banks, R.W., 1875, 'Tomen Castle, Radnor Forest' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 30 p. 339-41 online copy