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Twm Barlwm, Risca

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Twyn Bar-lwm; Twm barlwm; Craig y Neuadd; The Tump; The Pimple; The nipple

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

OS Map Grid Reference: ST24389266
Latitude 51.62761° Longitude -3.09376°

Twm Barlwm, Risca has been described as a certain Timber Castle.

There are uncertain remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


The summit of a lofty mountain spur rising above Risca is enclosed by ramparts with a great castle mound or motte, set at its eastern end. These are the remains of a medieval castle, possibly set within an earlier hillfort. The enclosure circuit (NPRN 307848) describes an elongated oval roughly 330m north-east to south-west by 135m, with an area of 4.14ha. It consists of a high rampart fronted by a ditch and counterscarp bank, set out to take advantage of the natural slopes. Gaps in the west and southern sides have been taken to indicate that the enclosure is unfinished although it is perhaps more likely that these result from later damage. The ground falls steeply away from the ramparts on all sides but the east, where they face onto the level neck of the spur. However, there is a possible approach from the north-west leading to the eastern gap which could be an original entrance. The motte commands or blocks the level approach from the east along the spur. It is a great circular mound 45m in diameter and 8.0m high with a level summit some 20m across. It may have carried a grand timber-framed tower within a small palisaded court. At its base is a deep ditch, rock-cut in places. This appears to cut the enclosure ditch. On the ditch's western lip, within the enclosure, is a round cairn some 10m in diameter and 0.6m high (NPRN 307849). his has been identified as a prehistoric funerary monument, however, it is tempting to regard it as a bridge abutment associated with the castle mound. This is an unusually remote site for a medieval castle, particularly for a lordly territorial centre, and it is possible that the castle was built as a hunting seat within Newport lordship. Against this, if the enclosure is regarded as part of the castle, this would suggest that this was a place of assembly where vassals gathered to attend on their lord. The site was restored and landscaped in 1984. (Coflein)

The monument comprises the remains of a motte and bailey castle, a military stronghold built during the medieval period, possibly built on the site of an earlier, Iron Age, hillfort. The motte and bailey occupy a spectacular position on a conical shaped hill at the W end of Mynydd Henllys. The hill slopes steeply on all sides, and there are panoramic views in all directions. The motte is located at the E end of the hilltop. It is steep-sided, 7m high with a flat summit 17m in diameter. On the W side of the motte is a rock-cut ditch, 2.5m deep and 4m wide with near vertical rock faces. On the E and S sides is a shallow ditch, around 1m deep, while on the N side there is no ditch. Extending W from the rock-cut ditch a bank and ditch run around the long oval hilltop enclosing and area of roughly 9 acres. On the S side the bank is 0.4m high on the inside and 3m high on the outside, and the ditch is 1.5m wide and 1.5m deep. Halfway along the S side is a 40m wide gap in the defences, although there are several small lumps in the ditch and on the line of the bank indicating that the rampart could have been disturbed. There are two short, interrupted, sections of bank and ditch around the SW corner, with the foundations of a stone wall on the line of one missing section. There is a short stretch of bank and ditch on the W side and then another large gap. Along the N side the bank and ditch are continuous, except towards the middle of the section where a narrow causeway crosses the ditch and there is a corresponding gap in the bank. The bank and ditch are larger on the N side, with the bank up to 1.5m high on the inside and 4m high on the outside, and the ditch 1.7m deep. The interior of the enclosed area is gently sloping and featureless, with a Trig Point positioned close to the middle. A track runs through the middle of the enclosed area, with newly-built steps leading over the ramparts at the W end. (Scheduling Report)
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This record last updated 07/07/2016 08:51:14