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Rosemarket Rath

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

OS Map Grid Reference: SM95300805
Latitude 51.73368° Longitude -4.96584°

Rosemarket Rath has been described as a probable Timber Castle.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


Rosemarket Rath is an oval enclosure, about 130m east-west by 97m, set on a south-facing spur-end above a stream confluence, defined by double banks and ditches on the north-east, elsewhere by scarps above steep natural slopes; the north-east-facing entrance appears to have been recently reconfigured. A pipe trench dug across the north-east of the enclosure (Barnie 1975) provided a section through the defences. (Coflein as ? Iron Age defended enclosure)

The Fort measures 149 yards east to west and 101 yards from north to south. There is a deep declivity on the west, south and east. The interior is level with the top of the bank, which is about 14 feet high. On the north, where the entrance was, is a strong outer rampart of about 15 feet, of which there are small traces on the south and east, none on the west. (Dyfed Archaeological Trust HER)

A large earthwork enclosure at the southern end of the village is not fully understood. It may represent an Iron Age hillfort, but the village morphology suggests that it was reused as a castle during the medieval period. It adjoins the parish church, and a planned arrangement of three parallel streets leads northwards from it. It appears never to have been fortified in stone and, by C17 at least, had been superseded by a mansion. (Dyfed Archaeological Trust, 1998-, Historic Landscape Characterisation)

The monument comprises a large defended enclosure, which probably dates to the Iron Age period (800 BC - 43 AD). It is located at the S end of the village of Rosemarket on a S-facing inland promontory above the confluence of two streams. The enclosure is oval in shape on plan and the interior measures 130m E - W by 95m transversely. The inner face of the defensive bank measures between 0.15 - 0.6m in height above the interior. Steep natural slopes, which may have been accentuated artificially, protect the enclosure on the E, S and W sides. An inner bank, ditch and outer bank defend the N side, which collectively measure 20m in width. These are best preserved on the NW side where the inner and outer banks rise to 2 - 2.6m and 1.6 - 2m in height above the ditch respectively. Traces of the ditch appear to survive on the W side. (Scheduling Report)

Given the very obvious location by the church it is a wonder that none of the usual castle studies writers have ever thought to consider that this site may have had medieval use. It is virtually identical in size and form to other raths which are suggested as having medieval use even those in much less likely locations (cf. Rudbaxton Rath)
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 09:31:53