Twm Barlwm, Risca

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte)

There are uncertain remains

NameTwm Barlwm, Risca
Alternative NamesTwyn Bar-lwm; Twm barlwm; Craig y Neuadd; The Tump; The Pimple; The nipple
Historic CountryMonmouthshire
Modern AuthorityCaerphilly
1974 AuthorityGwent
CommunityRisca

The summit of a lofty mountain spur rising above Risca is enclosed by ramparts with a great castle mound or motte, set at its eastern end. These are the remains of a medieval castle, possibly set within an earlier hillfort. The enclosure circuit (NPRN 307848) describes an elongated oval roughly 330m north-east to south-west by 135m, with an area of 4.14ha. It consists of a high rampart fronted by a ditch and counterscarp bank, set out to take advantage of the natural slopes. Gaps in the west and southern sides have been taken to indicate that the enclosure is unfinished although it is perhaps more likely that these result from later damage. The ground falls steeply away from the ramparts on all sides but the east, where they face onto the level neck of the spur. However, there is a possible approach from the north-west leading to the eastern gap which could be an original entrance. The motte commands or blocks the level approach from the east along the spur. It is a great circular mound 45m in diameter and 8.0m high with a level summit some 20m across. It may have carried a grand timber-framed tower within a small palisaded court. At its base is a deep ditch, rock-cut in places. This appears to cut the enclosure ditch. On the ditch's western lip, within the enclosure, is a round cairn some 10m in diameter and 0.6m high (NPRN 307849). his has been identified as a prehistoric funerary monument, however, it is tempting to regard it as a bridge abutment associated with the castle mound. This is an unusually remote site for a medieval castle, particularly for a lordly territorial centre, and it is possible that the castle was built as a hunting seat within Newport lordship. Against this, if the enclosure is regarded as part of the castle, this would suggest that this was a place of assembly where vassals gathered to attend on their lord. The site was restored and landscaped in 1984. (Coflein)

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 ReferenceST243926
Latitude51.6276092529297
Longitude-3.09376001358032
Eastings324380
Northings192660
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Books

  • Kenyon, John, 2010, The Medieval Castles of Wales (University of Wales Press) p. 149
  • Morgan, Gerald, 2008, Castles in Wales: A Handbook (Talybont: Y Lolfa Cyf.) p. 244 (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. 341-2
  • Pettifer, Adrian, 2000, Welsh Castles, A Guide by Counties (Boydell Press) p. 142
  • Whittle, E., 1992, A Guide to Ancient and Historic Wales, Glamorgan and Gwent (London: Cadw HMSO)
  • 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)
  • Coxe, W., 1801, An Historical Tour in Monmouthshire (London) Vol. 1 p. 75-7

Journals

  • GGAT, 1978, 'Craig-y-Neuadd, Risca' Glamorgan Gwent Archaeological Trust Annual Report 1977-78 p. 46-7
  • 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

Other

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