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Briton Ferry Motte

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Hen Gastell

In the community of Coedffranc.
In the historic county of Glamorgan.
Modern authority of Neath Port Talbot.
Preserved county of West Glamorgan.

OS Map Grid Reference: SS73159403
Latitude 51.63123° Longitude -3.83427°

Briton Ferry Motte has been described as a probable Timber Castle.

There are earthwork remains.


Hen Gastell is possibly identified with a castle at 'Aberafan' recorded as destroyed in 1153. The site, recognised in the 1970's, occupies a knoll above river cliffs along the right bank of the lower Neath River close to an historic crossing point (NPRN 34422). The site was partly quarried away in the 1930s and 40s and an archaeological excavation was carried out in 1991-2 in advance road construction. The summit of the knoll, an area at least 25m across, was enclosed by at least one bank and ditch, This was associated with a later 12th-early 13th century ceramic assemblage, overlying and cutting deposits producing fifth to sixth century material. A small Romano-British assemblage was also produced. (Coflein–J.Wiles, RCAHMW, 5 October 2004)

Rocky knoll may be castle site recorded by the antiquarian Rice Merrick (c1520-87). Said to have been constructed by Morgan ap Caradog of Afan, during a Welsh uprising in c.1183-4. A lunate rock-cut ditch isolates the summit, which has been hacked level. There appears to be confusion between this site on the west bank of the river and the Vernon House site on the east bank of the river. The site was examined before the M4 affected it. David Maynard writes that "There was definite occupation on the summit, with at least one hearth and some post holes. Although the crag had been seriously damaged by medieval stone quarrying, making it hard to interpret the site, there were pre-Norman finds including pottery and a Hiberno-Norse glass bead."
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This record last updated 28/06/2017 18:13:03