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Twyn y Garth, Llandelio Graben

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

OS Map Grid Reference: SO10754374
Latitude 52.08485° Longitude -3.30406°

Twyn y Garth, Llandelio Graben has been described as a probable Timber Castle.

There are earthwork remains.


A sub-circular enclosure, c.32m in diameter, defined by two equal banks & a medial ditch, having an E-facing entrance, that appears to have been constructed over quarrying remains; a rectangular enclosure, c.35m by 24m, defined by a slight bank and ditch, abutts on the SE. The main enclosure appears well defined & an historic, rather than a prehistoric date may be preferred. (Coflein as unknown enclosure complex)

Sub circular enclosure about 30m diameter formed by a 1,5m deep ditch between two banks 0.7m high. Entrance at E. Sub rectangular 'annexe' formed by bank 1m high and external ditch 0.5m deep adjoins on SE. Possibly a medieval ringwork though could equally be a small hillfort. (Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust HER as medieval ringwork)

This site at Grid Reference SO.107.437 was thought to have been a hill-fort, until in 1967 its similarity to a castle ringwork was recognised. The climb up Twyn y Garth accords wonderful views across the Wye valley as well as of the surrounding amphitheatre of mountains. The castle lies with the cantref of Elfael on the opposite side of the River Wye to Cantref Selyf. The main defences of the castle proper were undoubtedly the slightly squashed oval ringwork set on the highest point of the hill. The entrance to the ringwork was apparently gained by a causeway through the ditch and a corresponding break in the rampart beyond. The six feet deep ditch appears to be virtually at its original depth. Beyond the ditch is a slight counterscarp which protects the gently sloping interior platform. To the south lies a rectangular annexe or bailey that covers the southern base of the hill. This bailey that would have effectively doubled the internal area of the ringwork. Its defences are now only marked by a low one foot high rampart with the slightest trace of an accompanying and never substantial ditch. The large amounts of stone found in this slight bank may suggest that it once was a low wall or breastwork, although the flimsy nature of the entire site may suggest that the fortification was never completed and that this bailey was merely marked out on the hill top in a one to one scale ground plan. (Remfry)

This site was rejected by D.J.C. King as to weak for a castle, although the 'weakness' may be because the defences were never finished. Two barrows lie nearby and this may be a prehistoric enclosure adapted as a medieval castle by someone (presumably a welsh lord for whom an earlier site may have had cultural significance) who fairly quickly realised that such hill top sites are not good positions for castles since they lack water in sufficient quantity to maintain horses at the site.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
Coflein   County HER            
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 11/06/2016 07:50:39