Simons Castle, Churchstoke

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

There are masonry footings remains

NameSimons Castle, Churchstoke
Alternative NamesSymons; Simonds; Symondes; Symonds; Sneth; Snead; Sned; Snet
Historic CountryMontgomeryshire
Modern AuthorityPowys
1974 AuthorityPowys

An embanked motte, 40m by c.50m, 4.5m high, with a summit, 22m by 30m, truncated to the SW by quarrying, separated from a bailey platform to the NE, 28m by 15m, by a ditch (Coflein)

Castle situated on rocky knoll. Rock scarped to form motte separated from bailey by ditch. Bailey area 28m to 15.0m. Bounded by natural slopes 5m-10m long 2.0m- 3.5m height. Poss Snead castle recorded 1231 and 1233. Surveyed 1985, topsoil removed from whole of bailey. Rock ditch shown to be natural feature separating two rock outcrops used as motte and bailey. Dumped clay used to shape bailey edge of ditch. Bailey bank formed of dumped clay (Arnold, C J & Huggett, J W, 1985, 43; Youngs, S M, Clark, J and Barry T 1986, 198). Excavation in 1986 demonstrated the leveling of the site with dumped clay. Metalled surface ran into bailey. Large quantities of medieval pottery and coins of C12th and C13th. (Huggett, J W & Arnold, C J, 1986, 56).

Traces of buildings noted in bailey as well as fence lines and footings for bridge. Rock in base of ditch left deliberately to support pier for bridge (Arnold, C J, & Huggett, J W, 1987, 62). Excavation of motte and bailey ditch in 1988. Layout of bailey with timber defences and gateway revealed. Post sockets for bridge across ditch located. Bailey seems to have acted as a bridgehead, only one building located in the bailey and appears temporary or shortlived (Arnold, C J., & Huggett, J W, 1988, 74). Excavations in 1992: burnt building a completed, no floor surfaces found, building interpreted as timber framed. At the northern end of the excavation the burnt remains of a timber building were located c.4 by 3m. Parts of the retaining wall of the rampart were identified. (Arnold, C & Huggett, J 1992). Excavation terminated in 1993 with all excavated surfaces having been reinstated. (Cadw 1998). (Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust HER)

Gatehouse Comments

It overlooks and completely controls the road (leading onto the Ceri Ridgeway). The castle would have been an ideal garrison point for controlling passage into and out of the local area. A stone curtain wall was added to the earlier motte (1.8m thick), and enclosed a court 21m across. King writes "This castle is commonly identified with Sneth, but the name may belong to Hyssington"

- 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 ReferenceSO285933
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Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved

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  • Morgan, Gerald, 2008, Castles in Wales: A Handbook (Talybont: Y Lolfa Cyf.) p. 246 (listed)
  • Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles of Mid Wales (Malvern) p. 52
  • Pettifer, Adrian, 2000, Welsh Castles, A Guide by Counties (Boydell Press) p. 152
  • Burnham, H., 1995, A Guide to Ancient and Historic Wales: Clwyd and Powys (Cadw, London)
  • Arnold, C.J. and Huggett, J.W., 1992, Symon's Castle (Churchstoke. Powys)
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 295
  • RCAHMW, 1911, An inventory of the Ancient Monuments of Montgomeryshire (HMSO) p. 24 no. 118 online copy
  • Lewis, Samual, 1849, A Topographical Dictionary of Wales online copy


  • Huggett, Jeremy, 2002-2, 'Symon's Castle' Castle Studies Group Newsletter Vol. 16 p. 40-45
  • Huggett, J. and Chen Guo-Yuan, 2000, '3D Interpretative Modelling of Archaeological Sites/ A Computer Reconstruction of a Medieval Timber and Earthwork Castle' Internet Archaeology Vol. 8 online copy
  • Arnold, C., 1990, 'Symon's Castle, Churchstoke' Journal of the South West Shropshire Historical and Archaeological Society Vol. 2 p. 8-11
  • Arnold, C.J. and Huggett, J.W., 1988, 'Symon's Castle. Church Stoke’ Archaeology in Wales Vol. 28 p. 74
  • Arnold, C.J. and Huggett, J.W., 1987, 'Symon's Castle. Churchstoke’ Archaeology in Wales Vol. 27 p. 62
  • Youngs, S.M., Clark, J. and Barry, T., 1986, ‘Medieval Britain and Ireland in 1985’ Medieval Archaeology Vol. 30 p. 198 download copy
  • Huggett, J.W. and Arnold, C.J., 1986. ‘Symon's Castle. Churchstoke’ Archaeology in Wales Vol. 26 p. 56
  • Arnold, C.J. and Huggett, J.W., 1985. 'Symon's Castle. Churchstoke’ Archaeology in Wales Vol. 25 p. 43
  • 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)
  • Spurgeon, C.J., 1966, ‘The castles of Montgomeryshire’ Montgomeryshire Collections Vol. 59 p. 36-7, 55-6 online 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
  • Lewis, E.A., 1915, 'A survey of the lordship of Halcetor, co. Montgomeryshire' Montgomeryshire Collections Vol. 37 p. 31-43 online copy
  • Jones, M.C. and Lloyd, W.V., 1880, ‘Simons Castle’ Montgomeryshire Collections Vol. 13 169-76 (history only) online copy

Primary Sources

  • 1906, Calendar of Patent Rolls Henry III (1232-47) Vol. 3 p. 18 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. 320