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Mathrafal Castle, motte and bailey
Primary Reference Number (PRN) : 50455 Trust : Clwyd Powys Community : Llangyniew Unitary authority : Powys NGR : SJ13171079 Site Type (preferred type first) : Medieval Motte and bailey Status : scheduled monument
Description : Sub-rectangular motte c25m SW-NE by 30m wide and up to 7m high with the possible remains of the single rampart of a small bailey enclosing an area of about 30m by 40m adjoining its south-western side, the whole in turn lying within the north-east corner of a larger rhombic enclosure c90m NE-SW by 80m defended on all sides except part of south-east side (where it abutts adjacent river) by a single bank and outer ditch with a single entrance in each side. Traces of building foundations apparent in outer enclosure (see OS 1972) are most probably associated with post medieval farmstead (see Arnold, C J & Huggett, J W, 1986).
It has been postulated that the outer enclosure represents a Dark Age settlement while the motte and bailey are later features (see Arnold, C J & Huggett, J W, 1986).
The castle is first documented in 1212 and disappears from historical records during the 15th century.
Partial excavation 1985 produced only medieval and post medieval finds (Arnold, C J & Huggett, J W, 1986).
Excavation 1985: motte ditch revetted by stone wall. Bailey levelled up with clay dumps below which were layers of burning (C14 date 700+/-60BP). No dating evidence for outer enclosure (Youngs, S M, Clark, J and Barr, T 1986, 198).
Survey and geophysical survey (1988) with processing by IBM (UK) suggest that relationship between outer enclosure and the motte is ambiguous (Arnold, C J, Huggett, J W, Reilly, P and Springham, C 1988, 73).
Excavation 1989: examined the outer enclosure of the castle and demonstrated that the earlier date is in the 13th century. The outer enclosure was probably that of a manorial enclosure dated after cAD1200 and before cAD 1400 (Arnold, C J and Huggett, J W 1995, 59-74).