Coed Caeau, Waun Gunllwch

Has been described as a Possible Timber Castle (Ringwork)

There are earthwork remains

NameCoed Caeau, Waun Gunllwch
Alternative NamesCrucadarn; Guan Gunllwch; Crickadarn
Historic CountryBrecknockshire
Modern AuthorityPowys
1974 AuthorityPowys
CommunityErwood

A subcircular enclosure, 40m in diameter, set on the tip of a promontory above steep slopes, defined by a crescentic bank facing level ground, a ditch and counterscarp, with a ESE causewayed entrance. (Coflein)

Considered to be a ringwork by (Savory, H N, 1952; King, D J C & Alcock, L, 1966) though could equally well be a hillfort. (Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust HER)

The castle 'half ringwork', as it is described in Castellarium, is indeed a curious structure. ... Sheep digging into the counterscarp have literally unearthed some of the construction of the counterscarp, which may suggest that it was built in two or three sessions. At the lowest point some half way down the ditch the counterscarp was seen to consist of a fine grey clay. Above this is a whiter band of clay which is followed by a reversion to grey. On the very top of the bank it can be seen that there is much angular rubble. The appearance of this rubble only in the top two feet of the counterscarp may be indicative of masonry defences, perhaps a low mantlet wall on the exposed eastern front. (Remfry–online)

Gatehouse Comments

The location appears isolated from medieval settlement and certainly appears to more that of an Iron Age site although this does not exclude medieval use. Certainly is generally accepted as a medieval ringwork. It is a little unclear what Remfry means by mantlet but the bank may have been revetted or topped with a drystone wall a technique available to both Iron Age and medieval builders. The question here is what was worth building a fortification to protect. An Iron Age farmstead is a distinct possibility, Remfry suggests the religious grange of Gwenddwr. Nothing suggests medieval farmstead. Perhaps this was a pure and simple military encampment, designed to protect the horses and equipment of the soldiers who did, from time to time, try to establish some presence and control in this contested area, although the water supply for the horses needs to be consider in this regard.

- 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 ReferenceSO059412
Latitude52.0617599487305
Longitude-3.37390995025635
Eastings305920
Northings241270
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Copyright Philip Halling and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.

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Books

  • Morgan, Gerald, 2008, Castles in Wales: A Handbook (Talybont: Y Lolfa Cyf.) p. 231 (listed)
  • Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles of Mid Wales (Malvern) p. 23
  • Pettifer, Adrian, 2000, Welsh Castles, A Guide by Counties (Boydell Press) p. 18
  • Remfry, Paul, 1998, Castles of Breconshire (Logaston Press) p. 144-5 (plan)
  • Remfry, Paul, 1995, Four Castles of the Middle Reaches of the River Wye, 1066 to 1282 (SCS Publishing Worcester)
  • Higham, R. and Barker, P., 1992, Timber Castles (Batsford) p. 204
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 17

Journals

  • King, D.J.C. and Alcock, L., 1969, 'Ringworks in England and Wales' Château Gaillard Vol. 3 p. 90-127
  • 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
  • King, D.J.C., 1961, ‘The castles of Breconshire’ Brycheiniog Vol. 7 p. 87 no. 20 online copy
  • Savory, H.N., 1952, 'Pipton Long Cairn?' Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies Vol. 14 p. 166-168