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Llanelli Old Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Carnwyllion; Castle of Carnwillion; Yr hen gastell

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

OS Map Grid Reference: SN50040036
Latitude 51.68190° Longitude -4.17045°

Llanelli Old Castle has been described as a certain Timber Castle.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


Claimed as partially submerged motte of earthwork castle, although some uncertainty surrounds this identification and the monument has also been described as a 'tumulus'. A bailey is said to be visible when water levels in the reservoir are low. (Coflein)

Monument comprising the remains of a medieval motte and bailey castle partially submerged within the reservoir of the former Old Castle Tinplate works. Roughly 30m in diameter. Motte identified as the likely site of the historic Castle of Carnwyllion, destroyed by Rhys Ieuanc of Dinefwr (d.1222) during his attack on Kidwelly and the Gower in 1215. (Dyfed Archaeological Trust HER)

An early mound castle unquestionably stood at Llanelly, the name of which has fortunately survived and led to the identification of the site. In the upper part of the town is a tin plate manufactory called Old Castle Works, and an adjoining farm is called Old Castle Farm. Within the bounds of the former is a large and fairly deep reservoir in which the mound is almost submerged, leaving only 6 to 8 feet of the top projecting above the water at its normal level, but it is credibly reported that when the water is low the lines of a base court are distinctly discernible. The mound is described as having been about 20 feet high, with a ditch round it, and entirely grass grown. It has been dug into on the eastern side, probably when the bank for the feeder of the reservoir was made. It is referred to in one of die Fenton Mss. in the Cardiff Municipal Library as ‘Yr hen gastell.’ Mention is also made of ‘Y Domen Fawr,’ or ‘Tumulus, by the Hen Gastell,’ which is sufficient to indicate its general character. (RCAHMW 1917)

The monument comprises the remains of a medieval motte and bailey castle. The mound measures roughly 30m in diameter; it is partially submerged within the reservoir of the former Old Castle Tinplate works. The motte has been identified as likely site of the historic Castle of Carnwyllion, destroyed by Rhys Ieuanc of Dinefwr (d. 1222) during his attack on Kidwelly and the Gower in 1215. (Scheduling Report)

Shown on the six-inch OS map of 1878 before the creation of the resevoir as a flat topped circular mound surronunded by a wide ditch at the neck of a meander in the river.
See also Llanelli New Castle.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 06/07/2016 11:08:16