Ancient Monuments

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Graig Foel medieval ringwork

A Scheduled Monument in Llanbadoc (Llanbadog Fawr), Monmouthshire (Sir Fynwy)

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Latitude: 51.7046 / 51°42'16"N

Longitude: -2.9136 / 2°54'49"W

OS Eastings: 336960

OS Northings: 201048

OS Grid: SO369010

Mapcode National: GBR J9.3V42

Mapcode Global: VH79V.GF02

Entry Name: Graig Foel medieval ringwork

Scheduled Date: 26 July 2005

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 4223

Cadw Legacy ID: MM335

Schedule Class: Defence

Category: Ringwork

Period: Medieval

County: Monmouthshire (Sir Fynwy)

Community: Llanbadoc (Llanbadog Fawr)

Traditional County: Monmouthshire


The monument comprises the remains of a small partial ringwork, a military stronghold probably dating to the post-Conquest 11th and 12th centuries. The ringwork forms a well defended compact enclosure, its central area bounded by a substantial crescentic rampart with external ditch and a steep natural escarpment on the NW side. The site is situated within woodland on the leading edge of a steeply-sided ridge above and to the W of the floodplain of the River Usk, overlooking the town of Usk. The interior is roughly D-shaped on plan and measures 16.5m from NW to SE by 13m transversely. The rampart is about 6m wide at its base and up to 3m in height. The rock-cut ditch measures about 1.5m in depth and about 2m in width at its base. A gap in the rampart in the NE side may represent the site of the entrance.

Ringworks were medieval castle enclosures serving a similar function to motte and bailey castles. The principal buildings, such as the lord's hall lay within the enclosure. The surrounding bank had an external ditch and was surmounted by a timber palisade. A bridge across the ditch would give access to the entrance to the enclosure. The timber structures were sometimes rebuilt at a later date in stone.

The monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance our knowledge of medieval earth and timber defensive and domestic architecture. It forms an important element within the landscape and shares group value with a series of small undocumented earthwork castles in the lower Usk Valley, presumably associated with the initial Norman conquest and colonisation of the area and the modest defended residence of a minor military tenant. It may pre-date the foundation of Usk Castle in the mid 12th century. It is well preserved and can be expected to contain buried archaeological evidence of chronology, building techniques and functional detail.

The area scheduled comprises the remains described and an area around them within which related evidence may be expected to survive. It is circular and measures 45m in diameter.

Source: Cadw

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