Clyro Castle

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

There are earthwork remains

NameClyro Castle
Alternative NamesLa Royl
Historic CountryRadnorshire
Modern AuthorityPowys
1974 AuthorityPowys
CommunityClyro

The castle at Clyro is mentioned as being defensible in 1304 and buried remains were uncovered at this location in the early nineteenth century. The earthworks visible today include an oval scarped, ditched and counterscarped enclosure, c.65m NE-SW by 57m. There is a south-west facing entrance possibly adapted from a natural eminence. (Coflein)

Motte formed from a scarped and flattened natural knoll sited at W end of NE-SW ridge. surrounding ditch with counterscarp bank on all except E side. Orig causewayed entrance at sSW. Curtaining wall foundation on motte poss remains of shell keep. (Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust HER)

Natural hillock which as been made into a large mound up to 40m across on the top with a surrounding ditch. There are buried footings of a polygonal curtain wall probably with a keep or gatehouse on the south side and internal buildings. The castle may have been founded as early as the 1070s as a twin to Hay-on-Wye across the river. At the time when Hay was being refortified in stone Clyro was probably abandoned as its lands had been granted by the princes of Elfael to Abbey Cwmhir. Clyro Castle was probably rebuilt after the Tosny family regained Elfael in 1276, although the first specific mention of the castle is not until the area was being ruled by the Beauchamps from Pain's Castle in 1397. Clyro was amongst the several castles fortified in 1403 against Owain Glyndwr but probably soon fell into decay afterwards. (Salter, 2001)

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

Clyro Castle is a very large mound with a summit measuring c.60m north-east to south-west by c.50m, formed from a scarped and flattened natural knoll, sited at the west end of a north-east to south-west ridge. The motte stands c.4 to 5m above the present base of the silted ditch, which is c.2.5 to 3m wide. This ditch runs all the way around it apart from on the south-west, where there is a causewayed entrance. A slight counterscarp bank is present outside the ditch on all sides except the north-east, where it may have been damaged by later activity. The whole area is heavily wooded, making detailed survey difficult. No obvious masonry structures survive standing above ground, but a continuous heap of fallen stone with smaller attached heaps suggests that the whole area was enclosed by a curtain wall running round the edge of the mound with towers or buildings adjoining its inner side. (Scheduling Report)

Gatehouse Comments

Might be considered either as a motte with a embanked edge or a ringwork with a raised interior. There are considerable amounts of small rough stones around the site and in heaps within the site. It seems probable to Gatehouse that the mound was revetted with drystone walling and probably sheer or near sheer sided originally. This stone revetted mound would have made the castle a visual rival for Hay Castle 2km SE, on the other side of the River Wye (although the intervening low rises in the land mean they are not quite in clearly line of sight of each other).

- 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 ReferenceSO214435
Latitude52.0848388671875
Longitude-3.14770007133484
Eastings321465
Northings243575
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 52° 5' 5.78" Longitude -3° 8' 51.22"

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Laitude 52° 5' 5.78" Longitude -3° 8' 51.22"

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Laitude 52° 5' 5.78" Longitude -3° 8' 51.22"

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Laitude 52° 5' 5.78" Longitude -3° 8' 51.22"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 52° 5' 5.78" Longitude -3° 8' 51.22"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 52° 5' 5.78" Longitude -3° 8' 51.22"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 52° 5' 5.78" Longitude -3° 8' 51.22"

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Clyro Castle-2 11102016 154801.Jpg

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Laitude 52° 5' 5.78" Longitude -3° 8' 51.22"

Clyro Castle-3 11102016 155226.Jpg

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 52° 5' 5.78" Longitude -3° 8' 51.22"

Clyro Castle-4 11102016 155029.Jpg

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Laitude 52° 5' 5.78" Longitude -3° 8' 51.22"

Clyro Castle-5 11102016 160119.Jpg

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 52° 5' 5.78" Longitude -3° 8' 51.22"

Clyro Castle-6 11102016 155359.Jpg

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 52° 5' 5.78" Longitude -3° 8' 51.22"

Clyro Castle-7 11102016 155526.Jpg

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 52° 5' 5.78" Longitude -3° 8' 51.22"

Clyro Castle-8 11102016 154839.Jpg

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 52° 5' 5.78" Longitude -3° 8' 51.22"

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Books

  • Remfry, P., 2008, The Castles and History of Radnorshire (SCS Publishing)
  • Morgan, Gerald, 2008, Castles in Wales: A Handbook (Talybont: Y Lolfa Cyf.) p. 249 (listed)
  • Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles of Mid Wales (Malvern) p. 60
  • Pettifer, Adrian, 2000, Welsh Castles, A Guide by Counties (Boydell Press) p. 181
  • Reid, Alan, 1998, Castles of Wales (John Jones Publishing) p. 64
  • Remfry, P., 1996, Castles of Radnorshire (Logaston Press) p. 139
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 407
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 341
  • RCAHMW, 1913, An inventory of the Ancient Monuments of Radnorshire (HMSO) p. 34 no. 115 online copy
  • Davies, Edwin (ed), William, Jonathan, 1905, A General History of the County of Radnor (reprinted from 1858, Archaeologia Cambrensis (ser3) Vol. 4) p. 250
  • Lewis, Samual, 1849, A Topographical Dictionary of Wales online copy

Journals

  • 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
  • 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

Primary Sources

  • 1963, Calendar of Inquistions Miscellaneous, Chancery Vol. 6 (1392-99) no. 228 (London: HMSO) (Thomas Beauchamp owner 24 Nov 1397)
  • Stamp, A.E. (ed), 1929, Calendar of Close Rolls Henry IV (1402-1405) Vol. 2 p. 111 view online copy (subscription required)