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Castell Nos, Aberdare

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Castelle Nose

In the community of Aberdare.
In the historic county of Glamorgan.
Modern authority of Rhondda Cynon Taff.
Preserved county of Mid Glamorgan.

OS Map Grid Reference: SN96500017
Latitude 51.69045° Longitude -3.49843°

Castell Nos, Aberdare has been described as a probable Timber Castle.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


The SE end of an isolated eminence 35m (N-S) by 12m, an entirely natural hillock, rocky except for the small oval flat top which has been scarped and ditched on the N and W. Traces of a possible bailey lie to the NW. There is no historical record of the motte which is possibly a medieval Welsh attempt to construct a motte-like fortress from this naturally strong position. (Coflein–ref. RCAHMW, 1991)

Medieval Welsh motte & bailey on a natural hillock. Bailey is incompletely fortified but the motte defences are probably complete. (Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust HER)

The monument consists of the remains of a defensive motte probably dating to the medieval period. It is unusual in that instead of creating an earthen mound (motte) to defend, a natural pennant sandstone outcrop has been artificially scarped and steepened. The outcrop is set above the precipitous eastern slope of the head of the Rhondda Fach Valley. It commands the Glamorgan side of the watershed between the Rhondda area and Brecon. It thus controls one of the major routes into the Glamorgan uplands from the north. At the northern end of the outcrop there is a ditch approx. 3m below the break of scarp which curves round in a 'half moon' shape and this protects the less steep northern approach. In the centre of the ditch is a masonry foundation 3m square, possibly connected with a drawbridge abutment. There is a second slight ditch, running concentric to the first, 27m beyond it. It is an usual site and may have been used as a castle mound built in the period following the seizure of Glyn Rhondda by de Clare in 1246. (Scheduling Report)

It is also suggested as a early Medieval (Dark Ages) fortress. A possible gatetower was a drystone construction. Mentioned by Leland as 'Castelle Nose is but a high Stony Creg in the Top of an Hille'.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 06/07/2016 17:14:08