New Radnor Town Defences

Has been described as a Certain Urban Defence

There are earthwork remains

NameNew Radnor Town Defences
Alternative NamesMaes Hyfaidd; Radenoure; Radenouere
Historic CountryRadnorshire
Modern AuthorityPowys
1974 AuthorityPowys
CommunityNew Radnor

Town defences, represented by earthworks of a bank, ditch and counterscarp, enclosing a roughly rectagular area, c.500m by 300m, with gates to the N, S. W and E. Best preserved at the SW angle, between SO21256072 to SO21026076. Connected to the N with the castle, where there is an extension, enclosing an area c.150m by 50m, against the E side of the castle. (Coflein)

The monument comprises the well-preserved remains of the medieval town bank and ditch (Item A) and a section of medieval road (Item B). In total there are six scheduled sections of the bank and ditch with the most well-preserved sections being on the west, south and east sides of New Radnor. On the most well-preserved sections the bank and ditch survives as an uninterrupted linear feature, with the bank some 2.7m in height and the ditch having a depth of approximately 0.7m beneath the present ground surface. The monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance our knowledge of medieval settlement, organisation, communication and defence. The site forms an important element within the wider medieval townscape of New Radnor that includes the remains of a castle (RD033) medieval settlement (RD154) and a town layout that still retains many elements of Speed's plan of 1612. Recent excavation work has demonstrated the presence of evidence relating to chronology, layout, building techniques and functional detail furthering our knowledge of the development and layout of New Radnor. The scheduled area comprises the remains described and an area around them within which related evidence may be expected to survive. Item A consists of six scheduled sections of the town bank and ditch: Area A is located on the NW side of New Radnor. The linear feature is aligned NNE/SSW and measures 195m x 40m. It is centred at NGR SO 20982 60879. Area B is L shaped in plan and lies on the SW side of New Radnor. It measures 430m x 490m and is centred at NGR SO21117 60645

Area C lies on the SE side of New Radnor and is L shaped in plan. It measures 215m x 25m and centred at NGR SO21489/60784. Area D lies on the E side of New Radnor and includes a small section of town bank and ditch measuring 70m x 12m. In a field to the west of this section of bank and ditch, but adjoining it is Item B, which is a section of medieval road revealed during an archaeological evaluation of the site. The scheduled section of road is aligned N-S. It measures 10m wide x 70m. This area D is centred at NGR SO 21447 60914. Area E lies on the NE side of New Radnor and is aligned N-S. It measures 95m x 25m and is centred around NGR SO 21438 61019. Area F is a small section of town defences that is located to the E of the Castle on the northern side of the town. It measures 86m x 35m and is centred around NGR SO21315 61027. (Scheduling Report)

Gatehouse Comments

Murage grants in 1257, 1283 and 1290. Leland recorded the town as walled with four gates, but the walls seem to be earthworks, rather than masonry, and the character of the gates is also open to question (Where they within gatehouses; where they solid gates or bar gates?). There are distinct similarities between the former county town of New Radnor and the former county town of Monmouth in layout and relationship with the castle but New Radnor is smaller and, clearly, always has been. There is an uncited suggestion in the wikipedia page {accessed 11 June 2016} that "The layout of the town within the walls might suggest that New Radnor started life as a Roman town or Saxon burgh" The is no evidence for this suggestion and the layout is entirely consistent with a planned medieval town.

- 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 ReferenceSO212608
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

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Latitude 52° 14' 27.41" Longitude -3° 9' 27.08"

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  • Salter, Mike, 2013, Medieval Walled Towns (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 178
  • Remfry, P., 2008, The Castles and History of Radnorshire (SCS Publishing)
  • Creighton, O.H. and Higham, R.A., 2005, Medieval Town Walls (Stroud: Tempus) p. 27, 46, 80, 273
  • Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles of Mid Wales (Malvern) p. 68 (plan)
  • Pettifer, Adrian, 2000, Welsh Castles, A Guide by Counties (Boydell Press) p. 180
  • Silvester, R., 1997, 'New Radnor: the topography of a medieval planned town in mid-Wales' in Edwards, N. (ed), Landscape and Settlement in Medieval Wales (Oxford: Oxbow) p. 157-164
  • Remfry, P., 1996, Castles of Radnorshire (Logaston Press) p. 66-7
  • Remfry, P., 1995, Ten Castles of the Radnor Lordship (SCS Publishing, Worcester)
  • Bond, C.J., 1987, 'Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Defences' in Schofield, J. and Leech, R. (eds), Urban Archaeology in Britain (CBA Research Report 61) p. 92-116 online copy
  • Soulsby, Ian, 1983, The Towns of Medieval Wales (Phillimore; Chichester) p. 206-9 (plan)
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 413
  • Barley, M.W., 1975, 'Town Defences in England and Wales after 1066' in Barley (ed) The plans and topography of medieval towns in England and Wales (CBA Research Report 14) p. 57-71 online copy
  • Turner, H.L., 1971, Town Defences in England and Wales (London) p. 208
  • RCAHMW, 1913, An inventory of the Ancient Monuments of Radnorshire (HMSO) p. 131-2 no. 546a online copy
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (Methuen and Co) p. 248
  • Davies, Edwin (ed), William, Jonathan, 1905, A General History of the County of Radnor (reprinted from 1858, Archaeologia Cambrensis (ser3) Vol. 4) plate facing p. 188
  • Lewis, Samual, 1849, A Topographical Dictionary of Wales online copy



  • Creighton, Oliver, 2006, ''Castles of Communities': Medieval Town Defences in England; Wales and Gascony' Château Gaillard Vol. 22 p. 75-86
  • 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
  • Cole, E.J.L., 1957, ‘New Radnor murage grant, 1283’, Transactions of the Radnorshire Society Vol. 27 p. 25-6 online copy

Primary Sources

  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1908, Calendar of Patent Rolls Henry III (1247-58) Vol. 4 p. 609 (murage grant) online copy
  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1893, Calendar of Patent Rolls Edward I (1281-91) Vol. 2 p. 69, 377 (murage grants) online copy
  • - < >Also see the Gatehouse murage pages for full details of murage [grants >], [petitions > ] and [other such >]. < >


  • Silvester, R.J., 1994, New Radnor: a topographical survey (CPAT report)