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Pen-uchar llan, Llanfor

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Pen-Ucha'r Llan

In the community of Llandderfel.
In the historic county of Merioneth.
Modern authority of Gwynedd.
Preserved county of Gwynedd.

OS Map Grid Reference: SH93823684
Latitude 52.91849° Longitude -3.58062°

Pen-uchar llan, Llanfor has been described as a certain Timber Castle.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


An oval earthwork enclosure generally identified as a medieval castle. It is defined by a massive rampart, up to 5.2m high, with traces of an external ditch. The area enclosed is only about 26m north-south by 18m. The whole area may have been raised or else a natural knoll was utilised. The enclosure has been mutilated on the south. This is the only castle site known within Penllyn Istreweryn commote. The customs and tolls of the market and fair of Llanfor (?Llanfawr) were transfered to the new foundation of Bala in 1310-11. (Coflein–John Wiles 04.07.07)

A circular earthwork 140yds N of Llanfor church is almost entirely surrounded by a bank 9 - 12ft high, with an outer ditch now obliterated on the S. (RCAHMW 1921)
A small ring-work, the ditch has vanished and its bank is not well marked all round (Alcock and King 1969)
A tree and pasture covered ring work situated upon a small N-S ridge below the W-facing slopes of Moel y Llan at the entrance to the current Morgan Valley.
The earthwork has an overall diameter of 45m N-S by 38m transversely. The rampart has been lowered on the S side to 0.5m high, externally by quarrying into the interior, but it rises to 3.5m on the E and 6m on the W, downhill side. On the interior, the rampart is from 0.5m in height on the W to 1.4m on the E. A gap at the N end may be an original entrance. Opposite is the sole remaining stretch of external ditch, 5m in width, 1.4m maximum depth. (Gwynedd Archaeological Trust HER)

A note by Tudoe Davies in the Society for Medieval Archaeology's newsletter reports work undertaken in 2008 on Pen-Ucha'r Llan ringwork, Llanfor, in Merioneth. Samples for radiocarbon dating suggested a tenth- or early eleventh-century date, but based on typology of the site, it is suggested that the samples were contaminated from older charcoal, and that the earthwork is a Norman ringwork. However, I still think that we need to be careful assessing this site, and not dismiss a pre-Norman period date. (Kenyon 2012)

A ringwork on a low ridge above the village of Llanfor. It measures about 45m N-S and 37m E-W. It is surrounded by a bank 5.0 - 6.0 m high on the west, and 3.5 - 4.0m high on the east. The bank on the south side is only 0.5m high, and there is a levelled rectangular area at a lower level than the interior. This may indicate the presence of a gateway, or a later building, or quarrying. There is no ditch surviving on the north side, but a mound 1.2m high and some 14m long curves round the north side of the ringwork, so giving the impression of a ditch 4.0 - 5.0 m wide. A ditch may be found by excavation, and traces of a scarp on the east side may mark the outer edge of a counter scarp bank. The west side of the ringwork is badly eroded by quarrying and the effects of weathering around tree roots. The interior is some 14m wide by 26m long and is fairly level, with the exception of the disturbances on the south side. The height of the bank above the interior varies between 1.6m on the north and 0.5m on the west. (Scheduling Report)
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 06/07/2016 19:03:56