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Ystradowen Motte

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Ystrdd Owen; Druids Grove

In the community of Penllyn.
In the historic county of Glamorgan.
Modern authority of Vale of Glamorgan.
Preserved county of South Glamorgan.

OS Map Grid Reference: ST01077765
Latitude 51.48915° Longitude -3.42614°

Ystradowen Motte has been described as a certain Timber Castle.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


A disturbed, sub-circular, ditched mound, c.41.5-46m in diameter and up to 4.0m high, apparently formed by cutting off the end of a natural bank. A walled plantation about the mound is called "Druids's Grove". Thought to be an unfinished motte, however damage by treasure seekers / early archaeologists, makes interpretation difficult. (Coflein)

Ystradowen Castle Mound is a rare example of an unfinished motte. The NW side is unditched but on the other sides the ditch was left uncompleted. It may have been superceeded by nearby Talyfan Castle. (Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust HER)

Medium-sized motte just west of the church with a quarry hole in the middle. There is a ditch on the north and south sides, stopping abruptly at the west end, suggesting that the castle was unfinished. The masonry castle of Tal y Fan is 1km to the east. However, it is suggested that the abortive motte was the intended caput of a Norman lordship of 'Charlton' rather than a precursor site to Tal y Fan (RCAHMW, 1991, p. 77)

The monument comprises the remains of a motte and ditch, dating to the medieval period (c. 1066 -1540 AD). A motte is a large conical or pyramidal mound of soil and/or stone, usually surrounded by either a wet or dry ditch, and surmounted by a tower constructed of timber or stone. This is a large mound standing just west of the Ystradowen church in a grass field. The mound is 4 - 5m high, with steep sides on all but the north side where it is barely higher than the outside ground level. Here there is a c. 0.5m drop to ground level. On the west side there is a ditch 4 - 5m wide and 1.7m deep on the outside. There is a gradually sloping counterscarp bank on this side. On the south side there is no ditch. The side of the mound here appears to have been disturbed by old quarrying activities: the bank is uneven, and there is a gap in the middle which leads to a hollowed out area ontop of the mound. This is 11 x 12m and c. 2m deep, and occupies the centre of the south side of the top of the mound. The rest of the top is flat, sloping up gently towards the northwest. On the east side there is a shallow ditch 4 - 5m wide and 0.8m deep on the outside. Outside this is a counterscarp bank 3m wide, with an external height of 0.3m. This peters out towards the north and the ditch stops abruptly where the ground level rises. (Scheduling Report)
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This record last updated 06/07/2016 18:45:13