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Rhayader Town Defences

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

OS Map Grid Reference: SN970680
Latitude 52.30108° Longitude -3.51320°

Rhayader Town Defences has been described as a probable Urban Defence.

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains.


Rhayader appears to have been a defended town and the line of a ditch can still be traced following the outer limits of the property boundaries. (Soulsby 1983)

Town defences inferred from documents. Prob planted borough of circa 1360-1. Presumed earthwork defences unlocated OS 1980. Prob now destroyed. suggested Roman origin (Spurgeon, C J, 1978). (Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust HER)

A town ditch may exist as the outer boundary of the burgage plots (M. Beresford, New Towns 573). (Turner 1971)

In Bond's list of New post-Conquest medieval defensive circuits consisting only of gates and/or earthen defences and coded as Earthern bank and /or ditch. Fragmentary remains only. No documentary evidence. No. archaeological excavations known.

Soulsby references Williams, J., History of Radnorshire, 285 but there seems to be nothing of this at that reference and where Williams account of Rhayader (pp. 247-260) mentions the 'fortifications of the town' (p. 251) these are clearly to the castle and other nearby earthwork castles and are of regional defences based on the River Wye not town walls/banks or gates.
If there were any boundary earthworks these may just have be boundary ditches, functioning as markers and drains, rather than defensive banks.
There does seem to be a wide acceptance of earthen defences at Rhayader and Gatehouse is recording these as possible on that bases. However, in fact, there seems to be no historical or physical evidence of defences and in personal opinion of Gatehouse these supposed defences are, at best, questionable.
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This record last updated before 1 February 2016