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Keeston Castle, Camrose

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

OS Map Grid Reference: SM89851958
Latitude 51.83520° Longitude -5.05160°

Keeston Castle, Camrose has been described as a Uncertain although is doubtful that it was such.

There are no visible remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


What is known as Keeston Hill, rising above the little hamlet of the same name, possesses a commanding position on the gradually sloping ground from St. Bride's Bay, with a fine view towards the sea. The hill is little more than 300 feet above datum, but it is most advantageously placed in relation to the higher ground behind and on either side of it, while it commands an uninterrupted view of the whole of St. Bride's Bay from Ramsey Island at the northern (or St. Davids) point, to Skomer Island at the southern (or St. Brides) end of the wide crescent. This important position is occupied by one of the largest and most interesting earthworks in the county. The plan seems to have been a double-banked enclosure of three sides of the hill, the fourth side, facing to the south-east, being left without protection of rampart or ditch. Whether the defences were never finished, or whether the eastern side was designedly left open, it is impossible to be confident about. (RCAHMW)

Keeston Castle is an incomplete subcircular ditched and banked enclosure, about 58m in diameter, having a second, concentric circuit, about 110m across overall; this complex lies within the south-eastern area of a larger, rather irregular, curvilinear banked enclosure, roughly 270m across, within which the ground falls away from a high-point on the western perimeter and which rests above steeper slopes on the east particularly on the south-east, where up to three lines of ramparts run along the break-in-slope, the innermost appearing to merge with the outer circuit of the concentric enclosure: a further ramparted enclosure nestles beneath the south-eastern ramparts (Nprn308800). The site has been thought to have originally been a concentric enclosure with a ditched approach linking the circuits, modified by additional banks, the southern enclosure being a late addition (James 1988 (AW28) 39). (Coflein)

Air photos taken in 1988 suggest that what we have here is a concentric circle site with a probable flanking ditched inturned entrance leading from the widely-spaced outer rampart to the inner multi-vallate enclosure. At some stage the inside angle formed between the outer bank and one site of the flanking entrance ditch was closed off forming the secondary enclosure reported by other authorities and visible in APs. It is unclear if theflanked ditched approach is blocked by the inner enclosure ditches although is appears to be the case. If so then clearly the inner ramparts are later. (TAJ 23/11/88). (Dyfed Archaeological Trust HER)

The monument comprises the remains of a hillfort, which probably dates to the Iron Age period (c. 800 BC - AD 74, the Roman conquest of Wales). Hillforts are usually Ilocated on hilltops and surrounded by a single or multiple earthworks of massive proportions. Hillforts must have formed symbols of power within the landscape, while their function may have had as much to do with ostentation and display as defence. Keeston Castle is a hilltop camp, which is defended by 3 banks. The outer bank is 5ft - 8ft high from the outside and 3ft on inside, and is approx 75yds from the middle bank. There is a small annexe on the south-east defended by a bank 6ft high except where ploughed out on the east. (Scheduling Report)

Disputed site. This site has been considered by some writers to be a castle but is rejected as such by Hogg and King as probably prehistoric. Scheduled as Prehistoric Hillfort.
The form suggests started as pre-historic but if castles were built as a response to the military dangers of medieval Wales what would be the reason for not reusing this already existing, apparently strategical important fortification. The manorial centre was Camrose were the Norman castle was built, most probably for administrative and residential convenience rather than to 'control' the insignificant ford of the Camrose Brook.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
Coflein   County HER   Scheduling        
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This record last updated 07/07/2016 09:24:53