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Tir y Dail house, Ammanford

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Old Castle; Castell Rhydaman

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

OS Map Grid Reference: SN62411247
Latitude 51.79411° Longitude -3.99637°

Tir y Dail house, Ammanford has been described as a certain Timber Castle.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


A roughly circular tree-grown castle mound measuring 35m in diameter and and about 6m high. The top of the mound, diameter 20m, is marked by a wide circular depression 2.5m deep. Traces of the bailey survive on the east where it was defended by a ditch and an outer bank. There is some dispute about whether this motte represents a Welsh or a Norman castle. Historical opinion, including Dr Roger Turvey, favours a Welsh origin with the castle being built to mark and defend the southern approach to Cantref Bychan from Norman-controlled lands of Gwyr (Gower) and Cydweli (Kidwelly) to the south. (Coflein)

This motte and bailey castle is thought to date from the 12th century. There is no documentary evidence to suggest the original builders, however it has been suggested, based on its date and strategic position, that it may have been the Lord Rhys. The surviving defences comprise two concentric ditches to the north of the motte divided by a small ‘horn work’ to the north. The northern ditch is c.15m wide at its greatest extent and some 2m in depth. The ‘horn work’ is crescentic in form and is 15m wide at its widest point. The inner ditch is approximately 12m wide and 4m deep. The motte has a maximum height of 6 - 7m and is 35m in diameter at its base. The top of the motte is approximately 17m in diameter with a flattened area of c.1.5 - 2m surrounding an internal depression some 12m in diameter and approximately 2 - 2.5m deep. The western edge of the defences were truncated during the mid-1800s by the construction of what is now the ‘Heart of Wales Line’ railway line. (Dyfed Archaeological Trust HER)

The monument comprises the remains of a motte and bailey castle, a military stronghold built during the medieval period. A motte and bailey castle comprises a large conical or pyramidal mound of soil or stone (the motte) surrounded by, or adjacent to, one or more embanked enclosures (the bailey). Both may be surrounded by wet or dry ditches and could be further strengthened with palisades, revetments, and/or a tower on top of the motte. At Tir-y-Dail the mound measures roughly 35m in diameter and 6.5m in height; a small hollow is visible on the summit of the mound, measuring about 15m in diameter and 2m in depth. An earthwork which may represent the remains of a bailey is situated immediately to the N of the mound. This earthwork is crescentic on plan, measuring about 38m from E to W by about 15m transversely within a shallow ditch about 14m in width, the footings of a small rectangular building are visible on the SE. (Scheduling Report)

Small motte and bailey and not a ringwork as suggested by King who examined the site when it was 'hatefully overgrown'.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
Coflein   County HER   Scheduling        
Maps >
Streetmap   NLS maps   Where's the path   Old-Maps      
Data/Maps > 
Magic   Historic Wales   V. O. B.   Geology   LIDAR  
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 06/07/2016 11:10:49