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Colwyn Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Mauds Castle; Mawds; Colunwy; Clun

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

OS Map Grid Reference: SO10765399
Latitude 52.17697° Longitude -3.30646°

Colwyn Castle has been described as a certain Timber Castle, and also as a certain Masonry Castle.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


Colwyn Castle is mentioned in documentary sources in 1144 (and possibly again in 1315) and partly overlies the site of a Roman fort (NPRN 401567). The surviving remains include a ditched and counterscarped circular enclosure, c.65m in diameter set within, and at the junction of, two contiguous subrectangular ditched and banked enclosures approximately 280m by 160m. The castle is thought to have been reconstructed in stone in about 1240 and to have been demolished in 1629. (Coflein)

The new fortress was probably begun around 1200 when William Braose was granted rights of conquest in this district and was consequently probably seized from him on his rebellion in 1208. On his sons' subsequent rebellion in 1215 Colwyn was one of King John's castles which were left for Gwallter ab Einion Clud to take on behalf of his Braose allies. The castle seems to have remained in Welsh hands throughout the rule of Llywelyn ab Iorwerth, the truce brokers from England and Wales meeting there to discuss the state of the borders in 1232. On Llywelyn's death the local princes seem to have managed to transfer their allegiance easily to that of King Henry III and to have remained in possession of the castle site. (Remfry)

The monument comprises the remains of a motte and bailey castle, built over the remains of a Roman fort. A motte and bailey is a military stronghold built during the medieval period and 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. At Colwyn Castle, the top of the motte, which is c.65m in diameter, is still occupied by a modern farm. This area is surrounded on all sides except the south-west by a ditch, the base of which is up to c.6m below the level of the summit, with a counterscarp bank beyond standing up to c.4m high above the base of the ditch and c.1m above the surrounding ground surface. The motte stands at the junction of two contiguous sub-rectangular bailey enclosures forming an area c.280m by c.160m in total, surrounded by a bank and ditch. The bailey bank stands up to c.0.5m above the interior on the south-west, but is reduced to a scarp elsewhere; both bank and scarp stand c.1m high externally. The ditch is still visible at the south-west and north-east ends of the bailey and at points along the north-west side, but is largely lost on the south-east side. The south-western portion of the bailey overlies a Roman fort, thought to measure c.160m square; traces of a presumed north corner can be seen to the north-west of the motte. Finds of pottery from badger earths suggest that this fort belongs to the earliest campaigns in Wales in the AD 50s. There are traces outside the north-western and south-western sides of a further slight defence about 16m beyond the main line, forming an annexe. Geophysical survey has failed to locate any associated civilian settlement, or indeed much detail of either Roman or medieval features. Colwyn Castle is mentioned in documentary sources in 1144 and is thought to have been reconstructed in stone c.1240. It was demolished in 1629. (Scheduling Report)

No stonework remains in situ.
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This record last updated 20/04/2017 04:42:44