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Castell Prin

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Castell Pren Wood

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

OS Map Grid Reference: ST410924
Latitude 51.62746° Longitude -2.85369°

Castell Prin has been described as a Timber Castle although is doubtful that it was such.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


A sub-rectangular enclosure, c.70m E-W by 34m, resting on steep, rocky slopes on the N, elsewhere defined by a bank, ditch and counterscarp, having a SSW facing, inturned entrance. There are ruins within of a stone-founded structure, 4.0m by 3.0m. (Coflein)

The enclosure is situated on a wooded hilltop to the south of Wentwood and is oblong in shape with a flattish interior. It occupies the western end of the hill, with the ground sloping away to the north, south and west rather steeply. The western half of the north side relies only on a natural steep slope for defence, and towards the east end a bank and ditch begin abruptly, with an external height of 2.5-3m, an internal height of 0.8m and a depth of 1.2m respectively. This defence continues along the east side, with particular steep slopes, the ditch ending abruptly at the southeast corner. Large stone lie in the ditch at its north end. The bank continues along the south, with a slightly lower internal height of between 0-0.5m, and outside of this there is a berm, 5m wide, which becomes a shallow ditch in places, with a bank 0.5m high. A steep scarp 2.5m high is below this, after which the ground levels out. An inturned entrance 2.5m wide and 0.7-1m deep is in the middle of this southern side. The defences on the western side of the earthwork consist of two scarps, the upper being 2m high and the lower 0.7m high with a wide berm between them, after which the ground drops steeply. The outer scarp on this side becomes a low bank towards the south, with a further steep scarp below it, at the bottom of which is a farm track. In the middle of this side is a short stretch of the outer ditch and bank, the former 3m wide and 1.2m deep, the latter 1.2m high on both sides. The aforementioned farm track runs outside of this defence. It was noted during the 2006 field visit by that the site is heavily overgrown the trees and shrubs are in need of management in order to not damage this site any further. (Wiggins 2006). (Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust HER)

The monument comprises the remains of a multivallate hillfort, which probably dates to the Iron Age period (c. 800 BC - AD 74, the Roman conquest of Wales). The hillfort is situated in a wood on a small hilltop to the S of Wentwood, it occupies the western end of the hill, with the ground sloping away to the N, W and S quite steeply. The hillfort is oblong in shape and measures 100m E/W by 60m N/S and has a level interior. The W half of the N side has no man-made defences, but is defined by a steep natural slope. Towards the E end a bank and ditch begin abruptly. The ditch is 1.2m deep and the bank has an external height of 2.5-3m and an internal height of 0.8m. These continue along the E side, with very large steep sides. The ditch ends abruptly at the SE corner. There are some large stones lying in the ditch toward its N end. The bank continues along the S side, with an internal height of up to 0.5m, and an external height of 2.5m. Outside this there is a berm 5m wide, which in places becomes a shallow ditch and bank 0.5m high beyond which is a steep scarp 2.5m high, below which the ground levels out. In the middle of this side is an inturned entrance 2.5m wide and 0.7-1m deep. On the W side the ground drops steeply, and the defences consist of two scarps, the upper one being 2m high and the lower 0.7m high. There is a wide berm between them. The outer scarp becomes a low bank towards the S, with a steep scarp below it, as on the S side. At the bottom of the slope is a farm track. In the middle of this side is a short stretch of outer ditch and bank. The ditch is 3m wide and 1.2m deep, and the bank outside it is 1.2m high on both sides. (Scheduling Report)

This site has been considered by some to be a castle but is rejected as such by Hogg and King as a weak enclosure perhaps unfinished. Age and function uncertain, but not a castle site. Salter writes this site was, perhaps, a seat of Roger de Sancto Mauro (anglicised as Seymour) who witnessed a charter in 1129.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 07/07/2016 08:18:37