St Ishmaels Tump

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte)

There are earthwork remains

NameSt Ishmaels Tump
Alternative Names
Historic CountryPembrokeshire
Modern AuthorityPembrokeshire
1974 AuthorityDyfed
CommunitySt Ishmael's

The surviving motte of St Ishmaels motte and bailey castle. Castell Mound is 5m high and 12m in diameter at the top, with a surrounding ditch 6m wide. One of a large number of medieval earthwork castles erected in Pembrokeshire following the Anglo-Norman conquest of 1093, St Ishmaels was never re-built in stone. The mound is shown as a tumulus on the Ordnance Survey maps. In 1915 Cantrill described "traces of the bailey discernible in a hedge bank", which the CADW inspector felt was probably mostly modern field hedge, but that may incorporate a counterscarp bank. This could be the surviving remains of the bailey, the outer wall of a castle, which in an earthwork castle would have been an earthen bank topped with a palisade fence. The mound is well preserved,with just a little disturbance on the east side. The ditch is well preserved on all sides except for the north-east. (Dyfed Archaeological Trust HER Record)

A ditched mound, 32m in diameter and 5.5m high. AP appears to show traces of a dam to the E, which would have ponded back an area of c.160m N-S by 100m. A bailey enclosure may have lain to the S, between the motte and a mere. (Coflein)

The monument comprises the remains of a motte and ditch, dating to the medieval period (c. 1066 -1540 AD). A motte is a large conical or pyramidal mound of soil and/or stone, usually surrounded by either a wet or dry ditch, and surmounted by a tower constructed of timber or stone. The motte measures 35ft in diameter across the top and 15ft high. It is surrounded by a ditch 20ft broad. The east side of the mound is somewhat hollowed away. (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 ReferenceSM835076
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  • 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. 204
  • Pettifer, Adrian, 2000, Welsh Castles, A Guide by Counties (Boydell Press) p. 178
  • Davis, Paul, 2000, A Company of Forts. A Guide to the Medieval Castles of West Wales (Gomer Press) p. 40
  • 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. 372 no. 1050 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