Ancient Monuments

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Cnwclas Castle

A Scheduled Monument in Beguildy (Bugeildy), Powys

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Latitude: 52.3636 / 52°21'48"N

Longitude: -3.1029 / 3°6'10"W

OS Eastings: 324996

OS Northings: 274521

OS Grid: SO249745

Mapcode National: GBR B2.S6R3

Mapcode Global: VH76G.5VHF

Entry Name: Cnwclas Castle

Scheduled Date:

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 1938

Cadw Legacy ID: RD085

Schedule Class: Defence

Category: Castle

Period: Medieval

County: Powys

Community: Beguildy (Bugeildy)

Traditional County: Radnorshire


The monument comprises the remains of a castle, a military stronghold built during the medieval period. In origin Cnwclas appears to have consisted of a motte and bailey, a standard design comprising 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. At a later stage Cnwclas appears to have been modified to include walling in stone. The castle sits on the summit of an irregular hilltop, with the motte occupying the western portion of a large, irregular enclosure which may have been Iron Age in origin, but which probably served as a bailey. This is defined by scarps around its perimeter, which are doubled to the south and east. Its interior drops down from north-west to south-east, with several, possibly natural, shelves visible, and measures at least c.183m west-south-west to east-north-east by c.124m. The topography suggests that it may originally have continued around the contour on the north-west, giving a width of more like c.170m, though a clear scarp cuts off this north-western area from the remainder of the interior and no defences survive around its outer perimeter. The bailey entrance appears to have been immediately to the south of the motte, which would exploit the easiest approach. The motte itself has been badly damaged by quarrying on its top and on its western flank. Some walling is exposed in an external, south-facing section. To the east of the motte is an embanked area measuring c.23m west-south-west to east-north-east by c.40m, within which a scarp defines an inner platform c.23m by c.20m. There is some evidence for a continuation of the embanked area to the south-west of the motte. The castle is mentioned in sources in 1248 and 1262.

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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