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Castell Cwm Aran

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Cymaran; Cymaron; Gemaron; Camaron; Caperun; Cwm Avon; Cwm Aron; Kamhawn; Cans Castle; Cuthremion

In the community of Llanddewi Ystradenny.
In the historic county of Radnorshire.
Modern authority of Powys.
Preserved county of Powys.

OS Map Grid Reference: SO15277030
Latitude 52.32400° Longitude -3.24466°

Castell Cwm Aran has been described as a certain Timber Castle.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


Castell Cwm Aran is a subrectangular motte, the summit c.38m by 20m, 15m high above the valley to the S and E, 9.5m high above a rock-cut ditch to the W and N, across which lies a rectilinear bailey, c.47m by 49-62m, also resting on steep slopes to the E, banked and ditched elsewhere, including towards the motte. There is a counterscarp to the W and indications of a further enclosure, c.20m deep, to the N. The whole work is c.150m by 100m overall. The castle was first mentioned in 1144-1195AD. (Coflein)

Roughly rectangular motte rising 9.5m above ditch on N and W and 15m above river flood plain in S and E. Rectangular bailey to N defended by rampart and outer ditch and additional scarping. Entrance to N. Scheduled area enlarged to enclose siegeworks to south 23/8/91. The earthworks are generally in very good condition with little or no damage by grazing animals. Small areas of woody scrub including small trees and gorse are beginning to rejuvenate some areas to the south and south-west have been burnt. (CPAT Tir Gofal assessment, 2004). (Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust HER)

The monument comprises the remains of a motte and bailey castle, a military stronghold built during the medieval period. A motte and bailey castle comprises a large conical or pyramidal mound of soil or stone (the motte) surrounded by, or adjacent to, one or more embanked enclosures (the bailey). Both may be surrounded by wet or dry ditches and could be further strengthened with palisades, revetments, and/or a tower on top of the motte. In this case the motte is roughly rectangular with a summit measuring c.38m by 20m. It stands 15m high above the valley to the south and east, and 9.5m above a rock-cut ditch to the west and north. Across the ditch, to the north of the motte, lies a trapezoidal bailey c.47m by 49-62m, which is surrounded by banks on all four sides. The banks are accompanied by outer ditches on the west and north; the position of a ditch is represented by a scarp along the valley slope on the east, and on the south the ditch is shared with the motte. On the north and west the bailey bank stands c.3-4m above the base of the ditch. An outer counterscarp bank, with a small tump adjoining its southern end, runs along the west side of both the motte and bailey ditches, while there are hints of a further enclosure c.20m deep to the north of the bailey. Across the stream to the south-south-east of the motte, earthen platforms are visible on two levels. It has been suggested that these would be well placed to house siege equipment during an attack on the castle. The site was one of the seats of the Mortimer family in Maeliennydd, and is mentioned frequently in historical sources in the mid- to late-12th century. Its end is uncertain, but it may have been abandoned in favour of Tinboeth nearby. There is no sign that the original earthwork structure was ever refurbished in stone. (Scheduling Report)

Possible founded during Mortimer conquest of area in 1093. Exchanged hands between Welsh and English several times until possibly finally destroyed by Llywelyn the Great in 1215. Remfry suggests this is the site of Cans Castle recorded in 1134.
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This record last updated 07/07/2016 09:45:03