Ancient Monuments

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Castell Nanhyfer

A Scheduled Monument in Nevern (Nanhyfer), Pembrokeshire (Sir Benfro)

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Latitude: 52.0267 / 52°1'35"N

Longitude: -4.797 / 4°47'49"W

OS Eastings: 208209

OS Northings: 240165

OS Grid: SN082401

Mapcode National: GBR CT.GDSN

Mapcode Global: VH2MZ.SBW6

Entry Name: Castell Nanhyfer

Scheduled Date:

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 152

Cadw Legacy ID: PE160

Schedule Class: Defence

Category: Motte & Bailey

Period: Medieval

County: Pembrokeshire (Sir Benfro)

Community: Nevern (Nanhyfer)

Traditional County: Pembrokeshire


The monument comprises the remains of a motte and bailey castle, a military stronghold built during the medieval period. A motte and bailey castle 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. It is located on a spur formed by the gorge of the River Gamman which is naturally defended on all sides by steep slopes except on the northwest where the spur was enclosed by a system of banks and ditches; two on the north and one on the west. The motte overlies the north-west angle of these defences, it is 8m high and surmounted by the remains of a stone built tower. The enclose spur formed the bailey, the end of which is cut off by a substantial rock-cut ditch to form an inner castle where evidence of an earth and clay bonded stone wall and tower survive. The main approach and entrance to the castle was on its north side, with evidence for two phases, an earlier looped approach running around the eastern end of the outer rampart and along a sunken roadway in front of the inner rampart. A later direct approach crossed the outer ditch and a postern gate was situated in the southern corner of the bailey. Excavation has revealed evidence of an early 12th century earth and timber castle that was substantially rebuilt in stone during the mid to later 12th century whilst the main defences throughout the castles history comprised an earth inner rampart topped with at least three phases of wooden palisade. Stone towers and an additional thin stone wall along the outer north rampart were developed later.

The monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance our knowledge of medieval defensive organisation. The well-preserved monument forms an important element within the wider medieval context and the structure itself may be expected to contain archaeological information relating to chronology, building techniques and functional detail.

The scheduled area comprises the remains described and areas around them within which related evidence may be expected to survive.

Source: Cadw

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