Nantcribba Castle

Has been described as a Possible Timber Castle (Motte), and also as a Possible Masonry Castle

There are masonry footings remains

NameNantcribba Castle
Alternative NamesThe Gaer, Nant y Cribbau; Gwyddgrug; Wydrug; Wyrebruch; Nant Cribau
Historic CountryMontgomeryshire
Modern AuthorityPowys
1974 AuthorityPowys
CommunityForden with Leighton and Trelystan

The summit of an isolated knoll of rock, c.80m N-S by 64m, appears to have been scarped to produce an enclosure, c.45m by 30m, upon which traces of masonry have been found. The knoll, mutilated by quarrying, is set within an oval enclosure, c.140m N-S by 210m, defined by a broad ditch and external bank. (Coflein)

It stands beside Offa's Dyke, and a ditch on the hill side may show some continuity between a Dark Ages site and a medieval site. The final traces of a stone wall remain on the hill top, and probably enclosed an area of around 40mx35m. Round towers may have stood at the south and west corners. The site was probably the castle of Gwyddgrwg begun around 1260 by the owner of Caus Castle (Thomas Corbet), and destroyed in 1263 by Gryffydd ap Gwenwynwyn. (Dan Mersey)

A lofty and impressive conical outcrop of igneous rock, with steep and partly precipitous slopes, dominates a rounded plateau thrust out from the S. end of Long Mountain. Upon its summit are the vestiges of a stone castle of the 1260s. Surrounding the rock, at a distance of20 m to 30 m from its base, is a wide oval ditch. The area enclosed against the rock is level, except to the E., where the ditch descends a slight fall to form a right-angle about 80 m away. The ditch is wet to W. and S., where there is a continuous counterscarp bank. The absence of an internal bank, except for some 110m around the W. side, is difficult to explain. The outline and large area enclosed by the ditch would seem inappropriate as the outer line of the very short-lived castle on the rock. Overall, the ditch encloses 1.95 ha (4.28 acres), of which the rock occupies about a third. Offa's Dyke passes only 110m W. of the site. Being in the township of Wropton (Urbetune in Domesday), it was the obvious centre for the pre-Norman settlement here, and a crossing of the Dyke may be indicated by the gap for the lane to the adjacent farm. (Spurgeon, 1988)

Gatehouse Comments

In 1963 Hogg and King had consider this a the site of an early (timber) castle but in 1970 seem to reject this possibility. It is marked as motte and bailey on the OS map and any earlier timber buildings are likely to be lost under the later masonry.

- 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 ReferenceSJ237014
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  • Morgan, Gerald, 2008, Castles in Wales: A Handbook (Talybont: Y Lolfa Cyf.) p. 245 (listed)
  • Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles of Mid Wales (Malvern) p. 47
  • Pettifer, Adrian, 2000, Welsh Castles, A Guide by Counties (Boydell Press) p. 152
  • Reid, Alan, 1998, Castles of Wales (John Jones Publishing) p. 55
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 296 Vol. 2 p. 563
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 367
  • Spurgeon, C.J., 1972, 'Enclosures of Iron Age Type in the upper Severn Basin' In Burgess, C. and Lynch, F., Prehistoric Man In Wales and the West (Adams & Dart, Bath) p. 321-44.
  • RCAHMW, 1911, An inventory of the Ancient Monuments of Montgomeryshire (HMSO) p. 35-6 no. 175 online copy
  • Pennant, T. (Rhys, John, ed.), 1883 (orig pub 1784), Tours in Wales Vol. 3 p. 188 online copy


  • Musson, C.R. and Spurgeon, C.J. 1988, ‘Cwrt Llechrhyd. Llanelwedd: an unusual moated site in central Powys’ Medieval Archaeology Vol. 32 p. 97-109 online copy
  • Hogg, A.H.A. and King, D.J.C., 1970, 'Castles in Wales and the Marches (Additions and corrections to lists published in 1963 and 1967)' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 119 p. 119-124 (reject from early castle list 'masonry castle only')
  • 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
  • Spurgeon, C.J., 1966, ‘The castles of Montgomeryshire’ Montgomeryshire Collections Vol. 59 p. 35-6 online copy
  • 1964, Medieval Archaeology Vol. 8 p. 262 download 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
  • Spurgeon, C.J., 1965-6 ‘The castles of Montgomeryshire’ Montgomeryshire Collections Vol. 59 p. 1-59 online copy
  • Spurgeon, C.J., 1961-2, 'Gwyddrug Castle (Forden) and the Gorddwr dispute in the thirteenth century' Montgomeryshire Collections Vol. 57 p. 125-36 (plan) online copy
  • Vize, J.E., 1884, 'Parish of Forden (continued)' Montgomeryshire Collections Vol. 17 p. 112-4 (plan) online copy
  • Clark, G.T., 1880, 'The moated mounds of the Upper Severn' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 35 p. 208 online copy
  • Clark, G.T., 1877, 'The moated mounds of the upper Severn' Montgomeryshire Collections Vol. 10 p. 337 online copy

Primary Sources

  • Brut y Tywysogion 1264 (Several transcriptions and translations exist the best being Jones, T., 1952, Brut Y Twysogion (University of Wales, History and Law series 11)–based on the Peniarth MS 20 version. There is a flawed translation Williams ab Ithel, John, 1860, Brut Y Twysogion or The Chronicle of the Princes (Rolls Series) online copy)
  • Williams (ab Ithel), John, (ed), 1860, Annales Cambriae (444 – 1288) (London: Longman, Green, Longman, and Roberts)1264 online copy


  • Silvester, R.J., 1992, Montgomeryshire Historic Settlements (CPAT report)