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Cwrt Llechrhyd, Llanelwedd

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Cwrt Llechryd

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

OS Map Grid Reference: SO02635316
Latitude 52.16788° Longitude -3.42512°

Cwrt Llechrhyd, Llanelwedd has been described as a Timber Castle although is doubtful that it was such, and also as a probable Palace.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


A sub-rectangular rampart and moat, 195m by 206m overall, set about an oval mound with a summit area of 110m by 86m. The outerwork has been dated to c750-1040AD, whilst the mound is thought to be an adopted natural feature. Relict walling has been rumoured upon the mound. (Coflein)

Quadrangular moat with an average depth of 1m. Formerly noted as a motte and bailey due to presence of moraine at SO02735323. Regular plan has also led to Roman attribution. Single bank and ditch mark out area 150m by 200m. Natural internal knoll occupied by farm buildings. Small excavation 1983 (PRN 34716) proved ditch to be 7m wide and 1.2m deep with flat bottom. Bank over 9m wide rising to 1.5m high. Charcoal from below bank gave C14 date of 1125+/-65BP (CAR-672) (Musson, C R 1983b, 64-5; Musson, C R and Spurgeon, S J 1988, 97-109). Calibrated date between AD750 and AD1040. Site probably built in 9th or 10th centuries, most likely by the Princes of Powys (9th century) or inspired by the Alfredian burhs of 10th century. (Burnham, H 1995, 102-3). Slight counterscarp bank noted on the NE side of ditch. This is a maximum of 4m wide and 0.3m high. On NW side the bank is max 0.4m high and 1.5m wide although this may be an old hedgeline. No counterscarp bank visible on the SE side (Cadw, 2000). (Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust HER)

The monument comprises the well-preserved remains of a moated site of probable early medieval date, situated on low-lying ground on the E bank of the River Wye. The remains, which have been cut by the line of an old railway, comprise a large oval mound c.7m high, which may be natural in origin, with a summit measuring c.110m by c.86m, much of which is occupied by the present farm. Around the mound runs a marshy moat, defined on its outer side by a sub-rectangular embanked enclosure which stands up to c.1.5m high, its sides varying between c.150m and c.200m in length. Outside this are a further ditch and a slight counterscarp, though the preservation of these varies around the site, being best on the north and west. Archaeological investigations have recovered evidence to suggest that the site was built between AD 750 and AD 1040. (Scheduling Report)

This site has been considered by some writers to be a castle but is rejected as such by Hogg and King as Moat but mounds purely natural. Did this pre-Conquest medieval welsh noble site have later use? It may be the Alfredian burhs, mentioned by Burnham, and this site both took their inspiration from Roman camps.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
Coflein   County HER   Scheduling        
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 07/07/2016 09:59:42