Castlefacts

England - West Midlands - Shropshire - Castle Bryn Amlwg

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The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a ringwork and an enclosure castle. Traditionally known as Castell Bryn Amlwyg (castle on a prominent hill), it is situated at the south western end, and on the highest point, of a ridge overlooking the Nant Rhuddwr valley. It was strategically placed at the western extremity of the Marcher lordship of Clun, established in 1070. The castle lies just over 2km to the south of the Kerry Ridgeway, a long-established routeway which linked the medieval castle towns of Bishop's Castle and Clun, and which ran westwards into the heart of Wales. The elevated ground on which the castle sits has been adapted in order to form the ringwork, which is oval in plan with overall dimensions of 88m E-W by 104m SW-NE. The oval-shaped internal mound, which measures apx 30m by 48m across the top, is bounded by a steep-sided rock-cut ditch. The ditch is surrounded by a steep-sided rampart between 10m and 15m wide, which has been partly formed by deliberately accentuating the natural fall at the end of the ridge. To the north east, the rampart is set further away from the mound, thereby increasing the width of the ditch. This part of the defensive circuit has been modified by stone quarrying in C19 and C20 .. (details given) .. To the north, corresponding with the gently rising spine of the ridge, is a break through the rampart, about 3.5m wide, which appears to mark the position of the original entrance passage to the interior of the castle. The positions of structures within the interior are marked by embanked wall footings, piles of collapsed masonry and level building platforms. A mass of collapsed stonework also lies within the ditch, particularly to the south and west. In 1963 a small-scale archaeological excavation was conducted in order to provide information about the structural history of the site

From this investigation it would appear that originally the interior of the ringwork had been defined by an inner rampart and that the contemporary structures were built of wood. At a later date a stone round tower or keep was built at the southern end of the interior of the ringwork .. (details given) .. A stone curtain wall, about 2m wide, was then constructed around the interior, abutting the tower and cutting into the remains of the earlier inner rampart. A D-shaped stone tower was added to eastern and western sides of the curtain wall, and a twin D-shaped towered gateway, also of stone, was constructed at the northern end of the interior. Following a major structural collapse, the gateway was rebuilt to form an enlarged gatehouse, and the adjoining part of the curtain wall to the west was also strengthened .. (some details of finds given) .. It is considered that the ringwork was built in the late C11 or the early C12 and would have been vital in securing the lordship boundary. The subsequent stone-built enclosure castle, comprising the round tower, curtain wall, D-shaped side and gate towers, is believed to have been built in C13, during which time it served as a border outpost for the lordship .. Despite some damage from modern stone quarrying, Castell Bryn Amlwyg is a good example of a ringwork which has been subsequently used to form an enclosure castle. (EH scheduling report 2001)

The modern name, in use locally, is Castle Cefn Fron. Paul Remfry informs Gatehouse this is the probably site of Castle Hithoet mentioned in contemporary documents.