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 

Moynes Court

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

OS Map Grid Reference: ST51989085
Latitude 51.61515° Longitude -2.69490°

Moynes Court has been described as a Timber Castle although is doubtful that it was such, and also as a certain Fortified Manor House.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.
This is a Grade 2* listed building protected by law*.


Moynes Court was originally C13 stone fortified manor house, founded by Sir Bogo de Knovil. The large oval platform encased by a ditch, with a counterscarp bank, now supports an early Tudor three gabled mansion house. C14 gatehouse and 'a sub-rectangular platform, c.56m E-W by 44m, defined by a moat, with an outer bank except on the N, where there is a causewayed entrance (Coflein)'.

Moynes Court has origins as the medieval castle of Moyns built by the Bishop of Llandaff, the moat and mound of which survives to the south west; but the present house was largely rebuilt by the Bishop of Landaff 1609-10 (probably Bishop Francis Godwin) and was occupied as their main seat after leaving Mathern Palace. The heraldic plaque over the main entrance to the house has his coat of arms and is dated 1609 to record his rebuilding of the pre-existing country house, but how much of the older house survives within the present one is uncertain. (Cadw listing database–S Fielding RCAHMW 13/07/2005)

The gateway is the surviving portion of the medieval castle of Moyns built by the Bishops of Llandaff, the moat and mound of which survives to the south west (MM187 MON). It probably originated in the C14, suggested by the ribbed arch, but the building had a very major re-modelling, particularly the upper walls, in the early C17, contemporary with Moynes Court, built by the Bishop of Landaff in 1609-10 and occupied as their main seat after leaving Mathern Palace (qv). The Bishop moved to Cardiff in 1763 and Moynes Court was sold by the diocese in 1889. The towers had conical roofs for some unknown period, these were removed in 1893. The Gateway is now owned with the larger portion of Moynes Court (qv), and was restored and re-roofed in c1990.
The towers contain spiral staircases, only the one to the left (from outside) was climbed. This gives access to the room over the arch which contains stone doorways and a small C17 fireplace. The staircase continues to the roof of the tower offering an excellent view of Moynes Court and its surroundings. The two rooms on the right hand side, approached by a different stair, were not seen.
The gateway is built of roughly coursed pink sandstone rubble with a Welsh slate roof. In appearance it is wholly C17 and domestic, and it is only the archway which really suggests medieval origins, and little disturbance is visible in the stonework, other than round the arch and to the right of it on the external face. Rectangular block with the archway off-centre. A tower is attached to the right hand gable and to the rear of the left hand gable. The archway has a 2-centred head and opens onto a ribbed passage with large chamfered ribs; this could be medieval. There is an extremely fine oak double door of 1610, with vertical planks studded with nails, and with ledges on the inner face; a wicket with ogee head in the left hand leaf. To the right of the arch is a 2-light early C17 window with ovolo mullion, dripmould and leaded lattices. Above the arch is a 3-light one similar and another 3-light one in the gable over this. The gable is coped and has a finial. Plain roof with coped gable to left. The right hand tower is square and rises to four corner battlement type finials which were added in 1893, the left hand tower the same. The inner face has the archway off-centre to the right but is otherwise extremely similar. There is a 2-light window to the left of the arch and a small foot arch with 2-centred head to the right, this accesses a studded plank door to the stair. Windows in the gable as before, the gable has kneelers with finials, these are probably chimneys. Slit windows to the tower stairs and a 2-light and a single light one in the upper part of the right hand one. External staircase to the first floor on the left hand tower. (Listed Building Report 2042)

The gatehouse, which Coflein record 20439 described as '17th century gateway. 2 tall towers. Embattled corners. Arched carriageway. Gable. Stone mullions', is available as a 'luxury period property' for short lets.
There is clearly some difference between given histories and the dating of the gatehouse which require further investigation and study. Other than the listings database there seem to be no descriptions of the site as a castle but 'moat and mound' seem to suggest an early motte and bailey. I welcome any information anyone has on this.
Certain as a fortified manor house, doubtful as an early timber castle.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
Coflein   County HER   Scheduling   Listing    
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.
*The listed building may not be the actual medieval building, but a building on the site of, or incorporating fragments of the described site.

This record last updated 03/07/2016 11:27:36