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HER Number (PRN):01187
Name:Castell Bryn Amlwyg
Type of Record:Monument
Protected Status:Scheduled Monument 1020148: Castell Bryn Amlwyg

Monument Types

  • RINGWORK (11th century to 12th century - 1066 AD to 1150 AD?)
  • CASTLE (13th century - 1200 AD? to 1299 AD?)

Summary

Scheduled Monument: A strategically situated medieval border fortification, probably built in the late 11th or early 12th century, and refortified in the later 13th century.

Parish:Bettws-Y-Crwyn, South Shropshire, Shropshire
Map Sheet:SO18SE
Grid Reference:SO 1674 8460

Related records

02652Related to: Find before 1874 of a Horse Trapping in the vicinity of Castle Bryn Amlwg (Find Spot)
02650Related to: Find found in late 19th century of a flat axe at Castle Bryn Amlwg (Find Spot)
02651Related to: Find found in late 19th century of a small spearhead at Castle Bryn Amlwg (Find Spot)

Associated Finds: None recorded

Associated Events

  • ESA1620 - 1963 excavation
  • ESA1621 - 1977 field observation by Shropshire County Council
  • ESA1622 - 1986 field observation by English Heritage

Description

Sited on rock spur jutting into bog. Strongly protected on all sides except the north. Oval mount 17ft high with rampart 6ft high on approachable side. The surrounding fosse 7ft deep with outer bank 12ft high. On NE ditch widens and deepens. Outside on the E side is a small rectangular earthwork, an area surrounded by a low vallum with a hollow on its S exterior which appears to be of later date than the other works, and was possibly constructed to strengthen the entrance here <1b>

Excavation in 1963 revealed six phases from C12 to C13 or early C14. Phase I. Oval ringwork of 125ft x 50ft internally with bank 12ft or more wide. Probable wooden palisade and tower. Phase II. Circular stone keep, 21ft internally with walls 8ft thick built at south end of ringwork, possibly overlooking gateway. Phase III. Stone revetment or curtain added to ring bank, butted up to keep. Phase IV. Two D shaped towers added on E and W of curtain. Phase V. Twin-towered gateway added with gate passage 6ft 6ins wide by 30ft long, flanked by drum towers 20ft in diameter. Phase VI Rebuild of gate after major collapse. No pottery or coins found. No documentary references. Position and long structural history suggest it was a border castle of the Lordship of Clun. The later phases may be associated with castle building by Llywelyn ap Grufudd in 1274 in the area <2a>

The remains are clearly those of a strongly fortified masonry castle with surrounding earthworks which may also have had stone walling. The inner area is a flat-topped platform probably partly artificial. On the N side are the remains of a mortared stone wall possibly including two shallow circular towers projecting northwards (gatehouse?). On the summit are earthworks indicative of buildings and the area immediately behind the masonry mentioned by the VCH is 1m above the general level and suggests a major building here. At the SW corner are the probable remains of a corner tower. The area between this inner area and the outer defence is occupied by a neatly cut sharp sided ditch for most of the circuit, but on the NE the space is wider and contains earthworks of at least two buildings and traces of a major wall blocking the approach from the gateway and it seems probable that some form of barbican defence to the inner area was present here. The entrance through the outer banks is staggered, with the southern arm turning in behind the northern, which has a massive rectangular earthwork on its exterior, E side as described by the VCH <5>

Scheduling revised in 2001. Scheduling description: ->

-> The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a ringwork and an enclosure castle. Traditionally known as Castell Bryn Amlwyg (castle on a prominent hill), it is situated at the south western end, and on the highest point, of a ridge overlooking the Nant Rhuddwr valley. It was strategically placed at the western extremity of the Marcher lordship of Clun, established in 1070. The castle lies just over 2km to the south of the Kerry Ridgeway, a long-established routeway which linked the medieval castle towns of Bishop's Castle and Clun, and which ran westwards into the heart of Wales. ->

-> The elevated ground on which the castle sits has been adapted in order to form the ringwork, which is oval in plan with overall dimensions of 88m east to west by 104m south west to north east. The oval-shaped internal mound, which measures approximately 30m by 48m across the top, is bounded by a steep-sided rock-cut ditch. The ditch is surrounded by a steep-sided rampart between 10m and 15m wide, which has been partly formed by deliberately accentuating the natural fall at the end of the ridge. To the north east, the rampart is set further away from the mound thereby increasing the width of the ditch. This -part of the defensive circuit has been modified by stone quarrying in the 19th and 20th centuries. A deep cut has been made through the bank, part of the ditch has been cut away and quarry spoil has been dumped over the outer defences to the north. Next to the outer side of the north eastern part of the rampart there are additional quarry hollows and spoil heaps, which are not included in the scheduling. To the north, corresponding with the gently rising spine of the ridge, is a break through the rampart, about 3.5m wider which appears to mark the position of the original entrance passage to the interior of the castle. The positions of structures within the interior are marked by embanked wall footings, piles of collapsed masonry and level building platforms. A mass of collapsed stonework also lies within the ditch, particularly to the south and the north west. ->

-> In 1963 a small-scale archaeological excavation was conducted in order to provide information about the structural history of the site. From this investigation it would appear that originally the interior of the ringwork had been defined by an inner rampart and that the contemporary structures were built of wood. At a later date a stone round tower or keep was built at the southern end of the interior of the ringwork. It measured about 6m in diameter internally, with a wall roughly 2.5m thick. A stone curtain wall, about 2m wide, was then constructed around the interior, abutting the tower and cutting into the remains of the earlier inner rampart. A D-shaped stone tower was added to eastern and western sides of the curtain wall, and a twin D-shaped towered gateway, also of stone, was constructed at the northern end of the interior. Following a major structural collapse, the gateway was rebuilt to form an enlarged gatehouse, and the adjoining part of the curtain wall to the west was also strengthened. A quantity of iron nails and animal bones, together with an iron arrowhead, was found in a deposit predating the curtain wall, and within the round tower large burnt timbers were discovered. It is considered that the ringwork was built in the late 11th or the early 12th century and would have been vital in securing the lordship boundary. The subsequent stone-built enclosure castle, comprising the round tower, curtain wall, D-shaped side and gate towers, is believed to have been built in the 13th century, during which time it served as a border outpost for the lordship. The rebuilding of the gateway and an adjoining portion of the curtain wall, probably in the later 13th century, emphasises the castle's continuing role as an important border fortification at this time <10>

Record of management issues and reccommendation made in c.1996 <12>

Photographed during aerial survey in 2010. <13>

Photographed from the air by Chris Musson in 1999. <14>

Documentary


<00> Shropshire County Council SMR, Site and Monuments Record (SMR) cards, SMR Card for PRN SA 01187 (Card index). SSA20722.


<01b> Victoria County History, 1908, Victoria County History 1, p383 with plan and section (Volume). SSA178.


<01a> Anon, 1932, Archaeologia Cambrensis, p448 (Volume). SSA4791.


<01> Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission (HBMC), 1986-Apr-09, Scheduled Monument Report on SAM 30247 (09/04/1986) (Field Monument Warden Report). SSA4793.


<02a> Anon, 1963, Shropshire Newsletter (Newsletter). SSA6137.


<02> Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission (HBMC), 1986-Jun-05, Scheduled Monument Report on SAM 30653 (05/06/1986) (Field Monument Warden Report). SSA4794.


<03> Musson Chris R, 1983-Jul-28, CPAT 83/08/0004 (Oblique aerial photograph). SSA17179.


<04> Musson Chris R, 1983-Jul-28, CPAT 83/C/0192 (Oblique aerial photograph). SSA17180.


<05> Burrow Ian, 1977-Jun-03, Visit Notes, 03/06/1977 (Site visit report). SSA4795.


<06> Musson Chris R, 1986-Aug-05, CPAT 86/MB/1109 to 1110 (2 photos) (Oblique aerial photograph). SSA17181.


<07> Musson Chris R, 1986-Oct-16, CPAT 86/MB/1127 to 1130 (4 photos) (Oblique aerial photograph). SSA17182.


<08> Burrow Ian, 1977, Castle Brynamling (Photograph). SSA4792.


<09> English Heritage, 1988, Correspondence, 1988 (Correspondence). SSA4790.


<10> English Heritage, 2001, Scheduling Papers (Revised Scheduling, 18/09/2001) (Scheduled Monument notification). SSA20689.


<11> Stephenson D, 2004, Castell Coch/ Castell Hychoet: a possible identification (Article in serial). SSA22186.


<12> Leigh Judith, 1996, The Clun environmentally sensitive area: management plans for Scheduled Ancient Monuments (Management report). SSA23415.


<13> Shropshire Council, 2010-Mar-7, SA1004_279 to SA1004_281 (3 photos) Flight: 10_SA_04 (Oblique aerial photograph). SSA26609.


<14> Musson Chris R, 1999-Jan-09, CPAT 99/C/0001 to 99/C/0002 (2 Photos) (Oblique aerial photograph). SSA27622.

Sources

[00]SSA20722 - Card index: Shropshire County Council SMR. Site and Monuments Record (SMR) cards. SMR record cards. SMR Card for PRN SA 01187.
[01b]SSA178 - Volume: Victoria County History. 1908. Victoria County History 1. Victoria County History of Shropshire. Vol 1. p383 with plan and section.
[01a]SSA4791 - Volume: Anon. 1932. Archaeologia Cambrensis. Archaeologia Cambrensis. Vol 86. p448.
[01]SSA4793 - Field Monument Warden Report: Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission (HBMC). 1986-Apr-09. Scheduled Monument Report on SAM 30247 (09/04/1986).
[02]SSA4794 - Field Monument Warden Report: Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission (HBMC). 1986-Jun-05. Scheduled Monument Report on SAM 30653 (05/06/1986).
[02a]SSA6137 - Newsletter: Anon. 1963. Shropshire Newsletter. Shropshire Newsl. No 24.
[03]SSA17179 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 1983-Jul-28. CPAT 83/08/0004.
[04]SSA17180 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 1983-Jul-28. CPAT 83/C/0192. Colour. 35mm.
[05]SSA4795 - Site visit report: Burrow Ian. 1977-Jun-03. Visit Notes, 03/06/1977.
[06]SSA17181 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 1986-Aug-05. CPAT 86/MB/1109 to 1110 (2 photos). Black and White. Medium.
[07]SSA17182 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 1986-Oct-16. CPAT 86/MB/1127 to 1130 (4 photos). Black and White. Medium.
[08]SSA4792 - Photograph: Burrow Ian. 1977. Castle Brynamling. Colour.
[09]SSA4790 - Correspondence: English Heritage. 1988. Correspondence, 1988.
[10]SSA20689 - Scheduled Monument notification: English Heritage. 2001. Scheduling Papers (Revised Scheduling, 18/09/2001). 33849.
[11]SSA22186 - Article in serial: Stephenson D. 2004. Castell Coch/ Castell Hychoet: a possible identification. Trans Shropshire Archaeol Hist Soc. 77 (2002). p120-122.
[12]SSA23415 - Management report: Leigh Judith. 1996. The Clun environmentally sensitive area: management plans for Scheduled Ancient Monuments. English Heritage.
[13]SSA26609 - Oblique aerial photograph: Shropshire Council. 2010-Mar-7. SA1004_279 to SA1004_281 (3 photos) Flight: 10_SA_04. Colour. Digital.
[14]SSA27622 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 1999-Jan-09. CPAT 99/C/0001 to 99/C/0002 (2 Photos). Colour. Medium.
Date Last Edited:Dec 10 2015 9:57AM