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Hafotau Settlement on Esgair Gwar-y-Cae

A Scheduled Monument in Rhayader (Rhaeadr Gwy), Powys

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Latitude: 52.2408 / 52°14'26"N

Longitude: -3.5855 / 3°35'7"W

OS Eastings: 291834

OS Northings: 261477

OS Grid: SN918614

Mapcode National: GBR YF.0TH7

Mapcode Global: VH5CV.SYV2

Entry Name: Hafotau Settlement on Esgair Gwar-y-Cae

Scheduled Date: 5 October 1994

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 767

Cadw Legacy ID: BR216

Schedule Class: Domestic

Category: Rectangular hut settlement

Period: Medieval

County: Powys

Community: Rhayader (Rhaeadr Gwy)

Traditional County: Brecknockshire


The monument comprises the remains of a number of stone built rectangular huts, or hafotau, which probably date to the late medieval or early post-medieval period. The site contains an extensive spread of rectangular stone houses, banks, field walls and enclosures. In addition there is a large enclosure and hut circle of probable prehistoric date. Individual elements of the site are:

a. A rectangular stone house with internal partition wall lying N/S on the W side of the stream. A field wall leads from the SW corner of the building towards the stream, and another from the NE, this one forming a small enclosure.

b. A small ruined building measuring 6m by 4m adjacent to the stream.

c. A rectangular stone house with massive stone wall with a possible annexe on the SW side. A possible outer wall lies adjacent on the W side, although this could be natural, and a possible doorway on the NE side.

d. A ruined rectangular stone house measuring 8m by 4m.

e. A rectangular house measuring 12m by 6m with an artificially levelled interior and well-preserved walls surviving to 3 courses (1m) in height. The doorway is on the S side and there is an internal partition near the W end.

f. A roughly rectangular enclosure measuring 10m by 7m with stone and earth perimeter walls standing to 0.6m high. The interior is artificially levelled but there is no obvious entrance.

g. A sub-circular enclosure measuring 24m by 20m comprising a spregad stone wall, 2m wide, surviving to a maximum height of 1m. A small circular hut is incorporated into the wall on the E side of the enclosure. There is no clear entrance. A bank leads from the NE to form a subsidiary enclosure. These features pre-date the hafotau and are probably prehistoric.

The monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance our knowledge of prehistoric and medieval/post-medieval settlement. The monument forms an important element within the wider prehistoric/medieval context and the scheduled area may be expected to contain a wide range of archaeological information, including chronological detail and evidence in regard to construction techniques and agricultural methods. Rectangular huts may be part of a larger cluster of settlement and their importance can further enhanced by their group value.

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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