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Crickadarn Ringwork

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Crucadarn; Castle Field

In the community of Erwood.
In the historic county of Brecknockshire.
Modern authority of Powys.
Preserved county of Powys.

OS Map Grid Reference: SO08774207
Latitude 52.06956° Longitude -3.33241°

Crickadarn Ringwork has been described as a probable Timber Castle, and also as a Masonry Castle although is doubtful that it was such.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


Earthworks of a small, strongly fortified, enclosure. Probably an undocumented castle site. Natural hillock has been scarped to form a pear-shaped enclosure, 60m north-east to south-west by 40m. This is encircled by a ditch and counterscarp bank. It is approached by a 50m long ramp from the direction of the village to the north-east. (Coflein)

Pear-shaped univallate enclosure c60m NE-SW by 40m wide with simple entrance on north-east. Sited on summit of low hillock. Considered to be a ringwork by Savory, H N, 1952; King, D J C, 1961; Hogg, A H A & King, D J C, 1963 though could equally well be a hillfort. The ringwork earthwork is in good condition with a number of mature trees on its banks particularly to the north-east with little scrub or animal damage (CPAT Tir Gofal assessment, 2004). (Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust HER)

Crickadarn is a D-shaped ringwork castle lying just west of the church in the village of the same name. The ringwork is 50-60m across and is surrounded by a ditch of 3 to 4m, "except towards the main ridge where it appears to have been filled in" (Salter).

The ringwork ditch is supplemented by a counterscarp on all sides except to the north "where the fall is slightly greater". Greater counterscarping found on the eastern side of the ditch is possibly an indication that this was the main entrance to the castle, and traces of a possible round tower have been found in the northwest corner of the platform. Although a fair amount of rubble can be found in the ringwork ditch, there is no real evidence of masonry fortification at the site (Remfry).

The monument comprises the remains of an earthwork enclosure. The date or precise nature of the enclosure is unknown, but it is likely to be later prehistoric or medieval. The monument comprises an pear-shaped univallate enclosure with a counter scarp bank, a simple entrance and projecting bank at the northern end. It is located on the summit of a low hillock. The site is thought either to be a hillfort of Iron Age date or a medieval ringwork. (Scheduling Report)

May well have started as an Iron Age site but could well have had continuous occupation, with regular rebuilding and restructuring to the middle ages. The very poor quality of mortar (sometimes pure clay was used) in this part of Wales does mean masonry buildings do collapse into rubble that is indistinguishable from natural, unless a site is cleared down to foundation level. On the other hand field clearances over thousands of years do also produce piles of natural rubble at fairly frequent intervals and there is no reason to think medieval castle builders would avoid or clear such cairns.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

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Coflein   County HER   Scheduling        
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 05/07/2016 17:31:03