The comprehensive gazetteer and bibliography of the medieval castles, fortifications and palaces of England, Wales, the Islands.
The listings
Other Info
Print Page 
Next Record 
Previous Record 
Back to list 

Caerwent Motte

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Castell Gwent

In the community of Caerwent.
In the historic county of Monmouthshire.
Modern authority of Monmouthshire.
Preserved county of Gwent.

OS Map Grid Reference: ST47079031
Latitude 51.60913° Longitude -2.76573°

Caerwent Motte has been described as a certain Timber Castle.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


The motte at Caerwent is a subcircular, originally ditched mound, about 24m in diameter, raised over the south-eastern angle of the defences of the Roman town (Nprn93753). A 'castell of Gwent' is mentioned in about 1150. (Coflein)

The interpretation of the site, based on actual remains and location is that the small motte represents a watch-tower or guard-post. Caerwent does not present any outworks that would be expected for a castle in hostile territory and its size does not suggest intensive use at anytime. Based on the possibility that it guarded the quarry source for Chepstow, the motte may be early. (Phillips)

The monument consists of the remains of Venta Silurum, the most important civilian Roman settlement in Wales and the administrative capital, or civitas, of the Silures tribe. The surviving town walls are among the finest examples of Roman masonry in Britain and it was the standing remains that attracted early antiquaries to the town. In the 16th century William Camden noted 'the ruinous walls, the chequer'd pavements (mosaics), and the Roman coyns', while in the 17th and 18th centuries mosaics were uncovered, and most destroyed. Since 1899 over half of the area within the walls has been excavated with the result that much is known about the layout of the town. The settlement at Caerwent was established in the late 1st century AD, soon after the Roman conquest of South Wales, and was located on the line of the road connecting Gloucester with Carmarthen. In the SE corner of the town, overlying the Roman wall is a small medieval Motte around 24m in diameter and 5m high. There is no record as to the date and function of this castle, but it is likely to be 11th or 12th century in date and was probably built to take advantage of the defensive capabilities of the substantial Roman walls. (Scheduling Report)

Although the motte lacks outworks the large Roman town walls were and are intact and survive virtually to full height. This would make an ideal camp for a large cavalry force but would be far to large for a castle with a limited garrison.
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  
Air Photos > 
Bing Maps   Google Maps   Getmapping   ZoomEarth      
Photos >
CastleFacts   Geograph   Flickr   Panoramio      

Sources of information, references and further reading
Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.
It is an offence to disturb a Scheduled Monument without consent. It is a destruction of everyone's heritage to remove archaeological evidence from ANY site without proper recording and reporting.
Don't use metal detectors on historic sites without authorisation.
The information on this web page may be derived from information compiled by and/or copyright of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historic Monuments of Wales, the four welsh archaeological trusts and other individuals and organisations. It may also contain Designated Historic Asset Descriptive Information from The Welsh Historic Environment Service (Cadw), licensed under the Open Government Licence. All the sources given should be consulted to identify the original copyright holder and permission obtained from them before use of the information on this site for commercial purposes.
The author and compiler of Gatehouse does not receive any income from the site and funds it himself. The information within this site is provided freely for educational purposes only.
The bibliography owes much to various bibliographies produced by John Kenyon for the Council for British Archaeology, the Castle Studies Group and others.
Suggestions for finding online and/or hard copies of bibliographical sources can be seen at this link.
Minor archaeological investigations, such as watching brief reports, and some other 'grey' literature is most likely to be held by H.E.R.s but is often poorly referenced and is unlikely to be recorded here, or elsewhere, but some suggestions can be found here.
The possible site or monument is represented on maps as a point location. This is a guide only. It should be noted that OS grid references defines an area, not a point location. In practice this means the actual center of the site or monument may often, but not always, be to the North East of the point shown.
Locations derived from OS grid references and from latitude longitiude may differ by a small distance.
Further information on mapping and location can be seen at this link.
Lidar coverage in the UK is not complete. The button above will give an idea of the area of coverage. Higher resolution lidar images in both DSM and DTM form may be available from Lle A geo-Portal for Wales (click the preview tag to bring up a map and then select format byclicking on the small blue diamond in the top right corner of the map.)
Please help to make this as useful a resource as possible by contacting Gatehouse if you see errors, can add information or have suggestions for improvements in functality and design.
Help is acknowledged.

This record last updated 20/04/2017 05:06:52