Ancient Monuments

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Rudbaxton Rath

A Scheduled Monument in Rudbaxton, Pembrokeshire (Sir Benfro)

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Latitude: 51.8319 / 51°49'54"N

Longitude: -4.9255 / 4°55'31"W

OS Eastings: 198521

OS Northings: 218858

OS Grid: SM985188

Mapcode National: GBR CM.VYR7

Mapcode Global: VH1RF.K7Y0

Entry Name: Rudbaxton Rath

Scheduled Date:

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 2671

Cadw Legacy ID: PE101

Schedule Class: Defence

Category: Rath

Period: Prehistoric

County: Pembrokeshire (Sir Benfro)

Community: Rudbaxton

Traditional County: Pembrokeshire


The monument comprises the remains of a hillfort, which probably dates to the Iron Age period (c. 800 BC - AD 74, the Roman conquest of Wales). Hillforts are usually located on hilltops and surrounded by a single or multiple earthworks of massive proportions. Hillforts must have formed symbols of power within the landscape, while their function may have had as much to do with ostentation and display as defence. It occupies the summit of a low rounded hill, falling steeply on the east to the Carlett Brook, on the other sides the land falls more gently. Two defensive ramparts run around the contours of the hill enclosing an area of c 100m in diameter. These are quite widely spaced on the west side though run closer together elsewhere. On the east side the bank stands up to 2.8m above the interior and 6.5m above the ditch. The outer bank is slighter and stands to an average of 1.5m. The original entrance appears to have been on the north side. Two twisted iron rings, about 20cm in diameter, possibly torcs and an approx. half-sized iron model of a hand, found about 1865 in the hillfort and now in the collection of the British Museum are thought to be Iron Age, or possibly Roman.

Within the western part of the hillfort is an eliptical enclosure measuring c 50m north north west by 32m south south east showing as a step up of 1.5m in the otherwise ploughed down interior, aerial photographs show an accompanying crop mark ditch and on early maps these are shown accompanied by a north-east-facing causeway, the earthworks are thought to represent the later medieval Symon's Castle.

On the north-east side of the hill fort and set into the main rampart is St Leonard's Well now within a restored chamber measuring 1.3m high and 1.4m wide externally. The well is associated with the site of medieval chapel just outside the ramparts to the east apparently first mentioned in 1398 and conferred upon Slebech Commandery along with the parish church in 1152-76.

The monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance our knowledge of later prehistoric defensive organisation and settlement. The site forms an important element within the wider later prehistoric context and within the surrounding landscape. The site is well preserved and retains considerable archaeological potential. There is a strong probability of the presence of evidence relating to chronology, building techniques and functional detail. The site is further enhanced by the presence of the medieval motte and well.

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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