Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Cymmer Castle

A Scheduled Monument in Llanelltyd (Llanelltud), Gwynedd

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Latitude: 52.7585 / 52°45'30"N

Longitude: -3.8808 / 3°52'50"W

OS Eastings: 273175

OS Northings: 319538

OS Grid: SH731195

Mapcode National: GBR 60.ZCSL

Mapcode Global: WH56H.CX7M

Entry Name: Cymmer Castle

Scheduled Date: 26 September 1994

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 533

Cadw Legacy ID: ME150

Schedule Class: Defence

Category: Motte

Period: Medieval

County: Gwynedd

Community: Llanelltyd (Llanelltud)

Traditional County: Merionethshire


The stony mound is built on, or modified from, the tip of a spur which gives a superb view in most directions, especially to the W. Although the approaches are not especially steep, particularly on the NE, the 'neck' of the spur, the good visibility provides an obvious reason for the choice of site.

Unfortunately the same view was obviously the incentive for the construction of the lookout tower which now crowns the mound. Stylistically this appears to be of late 18th or early 19th century date, and is very substantial, of at least two storeys, requiring deep foundations. Although it is an interesting feature in its own right (a component of the Grade II* listed Nannau Park), its construction will have caused the destruction of probably all the evidence for the original Welsh castle on the motte. It is possible that the noticeable flat top of the motte is not wholly original but was created or enlarged by levelling for the lookout tower. The tower is of great interest as an element of the designed landscape associated with Nannau, clearly built here to take advantage of the exceptional view. The fireplaces and large windows suggest it may well have been a focus for expeditions within the par. It clearly had at least two floors and presumably a viewing platform at the top. There are fireplaces in the W and N corners, the former at a lower level than the latter, but the steps or staircase have gone. It may be possible to trace 19th-century illustrations of the building which would show how it originally looked.

The monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance our knowledge of medieval settlement and defence. It retains significant archaeological potential, with a strong probability of the presence of associated archaeological features and deposits. The structures themselves may be expected to contain archaeological information concerning chronology and building techniques.

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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