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St Illtyds Castle, Llanhilleth

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Twyn; Llanhithel; Castell Hithell; Y Tump; Twmp Siencyn Sion; Twmp y Castell

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

OS Map Grid Reference: SO21720191
Latitude 51.71050° Longitude -3.13426°

St Illtyds Castle, Llanhilleth has been described as a certain Timber Castle.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


A castle mount standing on the south-west side of St Iltyd's church (NPRN 12897). This may be the 'Castell Hithell' destroyed in 1233. This is a roughly circular steep-sided flat-topped mound, about 36m in diameter and 4.0m high. The 16-17m diameter summit has been rather multilated. A ditch runs around the base of the mound, with a causway on the southern side. An elaborate and ornate masonry castle of two great towers has been excavated to the north of the churchyard (NPRN 91965). This is dated to the fourteenth century and presumably replaced the castle of the mount. (Coflein)

The monument comprises the remains of a motte and ditch, dating to the medieval period (c. 1066 -1540 AD). The monument consists of a steep-sided mound, 35m in diameter, with a flat summit 17m in diameter. On the S side the mound is 3.5m high with a ditch or quarry hole, 2m wide and 1.5m deep, towards the W end. The W side is 5m high and very steep. At its base is a flat-bottomed ditch 4m wide and 1m deep which stops halfway along the N side. On the NE side there is a hollow 8m long and 0.6m deep. A retaining wall has been built along the base of the motte on the E side. A path leads up the mound from the N side to the summit. (Scheduling Report)

A record of 1233 records Llywelyn the Graet burnt "the castrum called Castell Hithell" this may refer to either castle at Llanhilleth. See also Castell Taliorum, Llanhilleth.
Phillips interprets this as an early 'watch tower' motte. This seems a fairly straight forward manorial centre dressed up with some fairly simple C12 martial symbolism, although there must be an impressive view from the hill top site.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 07/07/2016 08:47:47