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Castell Caerwen

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Castell Kilkiffeth; Llanychaer

In the community of Cwm Gwaun.
In the historic county of Pembrokeshire.
Modern authority of Pembrokeshire.
Preserved county of Dyfed.

OS Map Grid Reference: SN01733415
Latitude 51.97059° Longitude -4.88777°

Castell Caerwen has been described as a Timber Castle but is rejected as such.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


This site has been considered by some writers to be a castle but is rejected as such by Hogg and King. Scheduled as Iron Age Enclosure.

An enclosure in Kilkiffeth Wood, 500 yards north of Caerwen House. Owing to the density of undergrowth on and around it, a thorough examination of this work is almost impossible. The defence consisted of a bank and ditch drawn across the neck of a promontory, the enclosure thus formed being defended by steep slopes to the Gwaun and Pontfaen streams. The bank, which is much destroyed, appears to have consisted of earth faced with stones. The ditch is almost filled up with material from the bank. The enclosed area is about 1.5 acres. There is little or no rampart on the verge of the slopes. The field on wrhich the enclosure stands is known as Pare Castell. Note.—Fenton (Tour, 568—9) suggests that this was the stronghold of Dafydd Ddu who gave battle to the Normans at Morville :—" Cilyceithed, the ancient residence of David ddu or black, who first settled there soon after the Norman usurpation of Cemaes, and whose descendants for centuries were the first men in that country. . . . Morville, at no great distance from it, memorable for the gallant stand the Welsh mountaineers made against the Norman usurper, was the portion of a younger son of Cilyceithed." (RCAHMW)

The monument comprises the remains of an earthwork/stone-built enclosure. The date or precise nature of which is unknown, but it is likely to be later prehistoric or medieval. The enclosure is located on a weak promontory on the side of the Gwaun valley and is overlooked by higher ground to the south. An area of approximately 80m east to west by and 54mnorth to south is enclosed by a single bank and ditch; these are slight on the west side where the valley sides are steepest. Elsewhere the bank rises to c. 2m above the ditch externally though only 0.4m above the interior. A stretch of rubble on the south side may be the remains of collapsed wall. The entrance on the southwest side is lined by several large boulders. There is no trace of internal habitation. (Scheduling Report)
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 07/07/2016 09:03:04