Penrhos Castle

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte)

There are earthwork remains

NamePenrhos Castle
Alternative NamesPenros; Penros Farm; Coed y mount
Historic CountryMonmouthshire
Modern AuthorityMonmouthshire
1974 AuthorityGwent
CommunityLlantilio Crossenny

Penrhos Castle is a ditched motte, about 30m in diameter and 6.0m high, standing towards the south of an irregular oval enclosure, about 40m by 80m, defined by a ditch, with an internal bank on the north-east and having a counterscarp except to the south-east. It is possibly the castle mentioned as being demolished c.1252. The castle earthworks appear to be set within the south-west angle of a roughly subrectangular earthwork enclosure, about 160m east-west by 160m, whose eastern side is obscured by a current road; OS County series, 3rd ed. (Monmouth. XIII.4 1920), shows the the scarp of this enclosure's south-west angle where it springs from the south of the castle earthworks. (Coflein)

Moated tumulus 173ft in diameter at its base. N and S 'half-moon' banks also moated, and a trench or hollow way issues from its W side and winds round to the N. Little trace of bailey to N. A castle of Penrhos is mentioned in a patent of 1261, and a year later William de Cantalupe was pardoned for having demolished the Castle of Penrose that belonged to John de Monmouth. This castle may have been on these earthworks. (Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust HER)

A motte and bailey timber and earthwork castle never re-built in stone. Documentary evidence suggests that it may have been built by John of Monmouth c. AD 1248 during a border dispute with William de Cantilupe. It appears to have a very short violent history, probably being dismantled in AD 1253 (Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust)

Gatehouse Comments

Administrative center of a sub-lordship of Abergavenny.

- 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 ReferenceSO409132
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  • Morgan, Gerald, 2008, Castles in Wales: A Handbook (Talybont: Y Lolfa Cyf.) p. 243 (listed)
  • Prior, Stuart, 2006, A Few Well-Positioned Castles: The Norman Art of War (Tempus) p. 110-164
  • Phillips, Neil, 2006, Earthwork Castles of Gwent and Ergyng AD 1050-1250 (British Archaeological Reports) p. 293-5
  • 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. 287
  • Rees, Wm, 1932, Map of South Wales and the Border in the 14th century (Ordnance Survey) (A handbook to the map was published in 1933
  • Bradney, J.A., 1904-33, History of Monmouthshire Vol. 2 p. 85-6


  • Olding, F., 2000, 'Penrhos Castle' Gwent Local History Vol. 88 p. 3-16
  • Hogg, A.H.A. and King, D.J.C., 1967, 'Masonry castles in Wales and the Marches: a list' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 116 p. 71-132 (survived into C13 without being rebuilt in stone)
  • 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
  • 1909, Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 64 p. 138
  • Wakeman, T.,1855, 'Pre-Historic Remains in Monmouthshire' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 10 p. 14-15 online copy

Primary Sources

  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1908, Calendar of Patent Rolls Henry III (1247-58) Vol. 4 p. 28, 29, 97-8, 100 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. 316


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