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Cefn Du Motte, Guilsfield

In the community of Guilsfield.
In the historic county of Montgomeryshire.
Modern authority of Powys.
Preserved county of Powys.

OS Map Grid Reference: SJ15100942
Latitude 52.67631° Longitude -3.25590°

Cefn Du Motte, Guilsfield has been described as a probable Timber Castle.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


Probably motte in NE corner of Hillfort. Rectangular mound 16m NE-SW by 9m. Probabably utilized inner rampart of fort as bailey enclosure. (Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust HER report of medieval motte dated as from as site visit in 1978)

An enclosure, c.96m NE-SW by 30m NW-SE, resting on steep slopes on the SE, elsewhere by two lines of banks and ditches, 218m by 56m overall." (Coflein record of Iron Age defended enclosure).

The shape of the camp is a long oval, much narrowed at the ends. Each terminal is cut off from the main body of the camp by deep cross-cuts; at the north-eastern end there are three, constituting small enclosures that it would be necessary to carry before the main enclosure was reached. The ditches are all of about the same depth, from 8 to 12 feet on the inner side, and about half that distance on the counterscarp. Their width, about 15 feet at the level, is also uniform throughout. The cross-cut at the north-eastern end of the camp keeps close to the summit line, until at a distance of 18 yards it swerves out to avoid the second cut. ... The earth excavated from the cross-cuts has at all points been utilised to heighten the ramparts and form mounds on the inner side of the ditches. (RCAHMW report of Hill Fort)

The monument consists of the remains of a defended enclosure, which probably dates to the Iron Age period, (c.800BC – AD74, the Roman Conquest of Wales). Inland promontory forts are usually located on a ridge or spur with steep slopes on two or three sides, and artificial ramparts on the level approaches. Alternatively they may have been constructed on a promontory above the confluence of two rivers, or the bend of a meander. Cefn Du Camp is defended by multiple ramparts along the northern and western sides. The site is naturally defended to the south and east by the steeply sloping ground. The enclosure measures approximately 100m from north-east to south-west, and is 28m wide. The entrance is located in the north-east. Earthworks at the north-eastern end may represent a motte, constructed during later (medieval period) occupation of the enclosure. (Scheduling Report)

The reuse of Iron Age hillforts, particularly by Welsh lords, is not unusually and was done by cutting the ends of the enclosure with ditches in the manner described. The RCAHMW report suggests mounds at both ends of the hillfort. Which of these has been identified as a motte, by whom and on what particular evidence?
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This record last updated 07/07/2016 08:54:36