Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Pillow Mound at Bryn y Gwyddel

A Scheduled Monument in Cyfarthfa, Merthyr Tydfil (Merthyr Tudful)

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Latitude: 51.7536 / 51°45'12"N

Longitude: -3.4396 / 3°26'22"W

OS Eastings: 300721

OS Northings: 207080

OS Grid: SO007070

Mapcode National: GBR HL.0MJ4

Mapcode Global: VH6CX.B6G1

Entry Name: Pillow Mound at Bryn y Gwyddel

Scheduled Date: 15 September 1998

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 3829

Cadw Legacy ID: GM517

Schedule Class: Agriculture and Subsistence

Category: Pillow mound

Period: Post Medieval/Modern

County: Merthyr Tydfil (Merthyr Tudful)

Community: Cyfarthfa

Traditional County: Glamorgan


The monument consists of the remains of a pillow mound, an earthwork mound surrounded by a shallow ditch used to farm rabbits. They date to the medieval or post-medieval periods. Rabbits remained a source of meat restricted largely to the higher social strata until the 16th or 17th centuries. Warrens were constructed away from arable crops and were devised to encourage nesting. Documentary sources suggest that rabbits were chased out by ferrets and caught in nets. Bryn y Gwyddel pillow mound is cruciform in shape and consists of two straight banks crossing near their centres, each 2m wide and roughly 0.4m high. The banks are roughly 26m long and 22m long and appear to be underlain by stone chambers forming rabbit nests, one of these is a cist some 1.2m long by 0.3m wide.

The monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance our knowledge of agricultural techniques. It retains significant archaeological potential, with a strong probability of the presence of associated archaeological features and deposits.

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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