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Castell Trefilan

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;

In the community of Nantcwnlle.
In the historic county of Cardiganshire.
Modern authority of Ceredigion.
Preserved county of Dyfed.

OS Map Grid Reference: SN54905710
Latitude 52.19300° Longitude -4.12429°

Castell Trefilan has been described as a certain Timber Castle, and also as a Masonry Castle although is doubtful that it was such.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


Castell Trefilan is a strong castle mound that can be associated with a princely house. It is a rather oval flat-topped and moated mound, about 40m north-south by 35m, and 5.4m high. The oval summit, currently 15m north to south by 12m, is shown as about 21m by 18m on OS County series 1st edition (Cardigan. XXV.8 1888), banked about and enclosing an area approximately 12m across. The moat, generally 60m overall diameter, is thought to have originally held water. Explorations on the motte summit encountered a line of rounded boulders 'like the foundations of a wall' (King 1959, 66). The castle is said (without reference) to have been established in 1233 and may be associated with the 'house' at Trefilan burnt in 1282. Associated with: Suggested borough (NPRN 401517). The trees upon this mound have recently been felled (02.10.03). (Coflein–J.Wiles 08.10.04)

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 mound is c.6m to 6.6m high and c.10.5m in diameter across the top. It is surrounded by a broad ditch c.5m wide and 1.8m deep, with an outer bank rising c.3.5m above the ditch and c.1m above the surrounding field. An old trench appears to have been dug across the top of the mound. (Scheduling Report)

The primary source references, Brut y Tywysogion and Annales Cambriae, were given by King in 1963. The 'house' of Trefilan held 18 prisoners and was a centre for a reported 3000 cattle; there can be little doubt this was Castell Trefilan.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 05/07/2016 22:37