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Dinefwr Town Defences

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Old Dynevor

In the community of Llandeilo.
In the historic county of Carmarthenshire.
Modern authority of Carmarthenshire.
Preserved county of Dyfed.

OS Map Grid Reference: SN611217
Latitude 51.87684° Longitude -4.01689°

Dinefwr Town Defences has been described as a probable Urban Defence.

There are no visible remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


C13 defences of deserted town now vanished, possibly in castle bailey. (Bond 1987)

In common with other similar sites in Wales, a settlement would probably have developed around the gates of the castle. At Dinefwr in 1280 Edward I’s surveyors recorded a villa de Scleygon - ‘vill of the Clerks’, later in 1318 called ‘Trefscoleygyon’. Ralph Griffiths suggests this was a settlement of priests attached to the court of Dinefwr, possibly located close to the castle or even in its outer bailey. Up to 1280 it would seem that the ‘vill of the Clerks’ could hardly be graced by the term town. However, soon after the castle came into English hands in 1280 the justiciar of West Wales proclaimed a weekly market and annual fair at ‘the town of Dinefwr’. Development was rapid, for by 1298 the town contained 26 burgages and a court to dispense justice. However, it is argued below that not all of these burgages were located close to the castle. Although it is likely that the old town of Dinefwr lay close to the castle, the presence of three properties recorded ‘near Llandavyson’ in 1532-32 (Griffiths 1993, 214) raises the possibility that the town was perhaps located close to Llandyfeisant Church. Ralph Griffiths argues that the events of around 1280 allowed for the augmentation of the existing population by immigrants and for the reordering of the settlement, eventually leading to a ‘twin-town’ settlement with Dinefwr becoming the ‘old town’ and the new town (Newton) located on the site of the present Newton House. This reordering did not happen immediately, as in 1300 it is recorded of Newton: ‘Of this town nothing for the burgages and lands, because they are not yet arrented’. It seems likely, therefore, that 26 burgages recorded in 1298 consisted a combination of rented burgages in the old town of Dinefwr and freshly laid but unoccupied burgages ready for settlers in the new town, as in 1302-03 it is noted that the old (or upper) town of Dinefwr consisted of just 13 burgages and the new (or lower) town of Newton had 35. The tenants of the old town were Welsh; the new town was of immigrant origin, apart from one Welsh tenant. Clearly the English Crown was both securing its hold on south Wales by promoting immigration and maximising its profits by encouraging tenants to settle in a new town away from the cramped and rather inconvenient quarters around the castle. (Schlee 2008)

The community serving the castle may have been dispersed over several sites in and around the castle. Dyfed Archaeological Trust topographical survey records some weak defensive banks around one of the possible settlement sites but state the welsh town 'was very small, never more than the 13 burgages recorded in 1302-03 and was specialised, housing just clerks and priests serving the castle'
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 06/07/2016 10:32:45