Rudbaxton Rath

Has been described as a Possible Timber Castle (Ringwork)

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains

NameRudbaxton Rath
Alternative NamesRhos; Simons Castle; St Leonards Rath
Historic CountryPembrokeshire
Modern AuthorityPembrokeshire
1974 AuthorityDyfed
CommunityRudbaxton

This is a ringed enclosure with a ringed keep. The outer ring is 320 feet N. to S. internal measurement; 310 feet E. to W. The rampart is 10 feet high with 23 feet fall to a ditch 6 feet deep, 2 feet of which are artificially built up on the S.; 8 feet high, 16 feet fall to a ditch 3 feet deep on N. Entrance to the N. The inner ring is 150 feet N. to S. and 100 feet E. to W. The rampart is 5 feet high with 18 feet fall to a ditch 5 feet deep. Entrance to the N.E. The outer bank beyond the ditch of the outer enclosure commences at a steep declivity on the E. Along the southern side it is of only moderate dimensions, but on the western side it is of considerable width, though no great height. Outside the entrance of the outer enclosure on the right-hand side are the remains of a ruined chapel (RCAHMW, 1925)

Rudbaxton Rath is a subcircular banked, ditched and counterscarped enclosure, about 100m north-south by 95m, having a possible north-facing entrance; resting within the western ramparts is an eliptical enclosure, about 50m NNW-SSE by 32m, presently ploughed-down, but depicted on OS County series (Pembroke. XXIII.13 1889), as banked and ditched, with a north-east-facing, causewayed entrance - thought to represent a medieval castle. On the north-east St Leonard's well (Nprn 305249 - associated with chapel) impinges on the main rampart. The site is said to have been involved in the English Revolution and finds of unspecified armour have been noted. Two twisted iron rings, about 20cm in diameter, possibly torcs and an approx. half-sized iron model of a hand, found 'at "the Rath"' about 1865, thought to be Iron Age, or possibly Roman, although the presence of a castle, holy well and chapel should be taken into consideration. (Coflein)

The monument comprises the remains of a hillfort, which probably dates to the Iron Age period (c. 800 BC - AD 74, the Roman conquest of Wales)

Hillforts are usually located on hilltops and surrounded by a single or multiple earthworks of massive proportions. Hillforts must have formed symbols of power within the landscape, while their function may have had as much to do with ostentation and display as defence. It occupies the summit of a low rounded hill, falling steeply on the east to the Carlett Brook, on the other sides the land falls more gently. Two defensive ramparts run around the contours of the hill enclosing an area of c 100m in diameter. These are quite widely spaced on the west side though run closer together elsewhere. On the east side the bank stands up to 2.8m above the interior and 6.5m above the ditch. The outer bank is slighter and stands to an average of 1.5m. The original entrance appears to have been on the north side. Two twisted iron rings, about 20cm in diameter, possibly torcs and an approx. half-sized iron model of a hand, found about 1865 in the hillfort and now in the collection of the British Museum are thought to be Iron Age, or possibly Roman. Within the western part of the hillfort is an eliptical enclosure measuring c 50m north north west by 32m south south east showing as a step up of 1.5m in the otherwise ploughed down interior, aerial photographs show an accompanying crop mark ditch and on early maps these are shown accompanied by a north-east-facing causeway, the earthworks are thought to represent the later medieval Symon's Castle. On the north-east side of the hill fort and set into the main rampart is St Leonard's Well now within a restored chamber measuring 1.3m high and 1.4m wide externally. The well is associated with the site of medieval chapel just outside the ramparts to the east apparently first mentioned in 1398 and conferred upon Slebech Commandery along with the parish church in 1152-76. (Scheduling Report)

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 ReferenceSM985188
Latitude51.8319091796875
Longitude-4.92544984817505
Eastings198540
Northings218860
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Rudbaxton Rath 1200 1

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Rudbaxton Rath 1200 2

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Rudbaxton Rath 1200 3

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Rudbaxton Rath 1200 4

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Rudbaxton Rath 1200 5

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Books

  • Morgan, Gerald, 2008, Castles in Wales: A Handbook (Talybont: Y Lolfa Cyf.) p. 248 (listed)
  • Hull, Lise, 2005, Castles and Bishops Palaces of Pembrokeshire (Logaston Press) p. 193-4
  • Davis, Paul, 2000, A Company of Forts. A Guide to the Medieval Castles of West Wales (Gomer Press) p. 40
  • Pettifer, Adrian, 2000, Welsh Castles, A Guide by Counties (Boydell Press) p. 178
  • Salter, Mike, 1996, The Castles of South West Wales (Malvern) p. 87 (slight)
  • Miles, Dillwyn, 1979 (Revised 1988), Castles of Pembrokeshire (Pembrokeshire Coast National Park) p. 5-7
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 397
  • RCAHMW, 1925, An inventory of the Ancient Monuments of Pembrokeshire (HMSO) p. 315 no. 917 online copy
  • Lewis, Samual, 1849, A Topographical Dictionary of Wales online copy

Journals

  • King, D.J.C. and Alcock, L., 1969, 'Ringworks in England and Wales' Ch√Ęteau 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
  • Allen and Williams, 1898, Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 53 p. 268-9 online copy
  • Llewellin, W., 1864, 'The Raths of Pembrokeshire' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 19 p. 12-13 and plan facing p. 1 online copy