Ancient Monuments

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Kemeys Inferior Mound & Bailey Castle

A Scheduled Monument in Llanhennock (Llanhenwg), Monmouthshire (Sir Fynwy)

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Latitude: 51.6407 / 51°38'26"N

Longitude: -2.884 / 2°53'2"W

OS Eastings: 338926

OS Northings: 193910

OS Grid: ST389939

Mapcode National: GBR JB.7WV7

Mapcode Global: VH7B7.Y1Q3

Entry Name: Kemeys Inferior Mound & Bailey Castle

Scheduled Date: 13 May 1931

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 3675

Cadw Legacy ID: MM039

Schedule Class: Defence

Category: Motte

Period: Medieval

County: Monmouthshire (Sir Fynwy)

Community: Llanhennock (Llanhenwg)

Traditional County: Monmouthshire


The monument comprises the remains of what has been interpreted as a motte and bailey castle, a military stronghold built during the medieval period. The site is located on the E side of the Usk valley at the top of a steep slope above the flood plain. Immediately to the east is the old Caerleon to Usk road, which cuts into the base of the bank and mound through the line of a former defensive ditch, the southern arm of which survives 2m wide and 1.8m deep and terminates above the slope to the river. the northern side of the site is defended by a deep natural ravine carrying a stream to the Usk. The tiny small 'motte' is located at the north-eastern corner of the site and comprises a steep-sided circular mound c3m high with a flat top just 7m in diameter. To the S of this motte is an L-shaped, flat-topped bank, 2.5m high, which curves around towards the W and ends just before the edge of the slope to the river, leaving a narrow gap which may be an original entrance. Recent survey work has suggested the more likely interpretation that this was originally a small partial ringwork castle backing onto the Usk, the 'motte' being created by a later breach through its bank. if medieval the context of the earthwork is unclear; it is undocumented and lay some distance from the parish church (MM174) and later medieval manor house and may represent the defended home of a military tenant and an early caput of the the medieval manor of Kemeys.

The monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance our knowledge of medieval defensive architecture and settlement and the Norman conquest and colonisation of south Wales. It is well-preserved relic of the wider medieval landscape and shares group value with a series of other small, undocumented and presumably early earthwork castles along the lower Usk Valley. It 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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