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Lle'r Prior Earthwork, Llanafanfawr

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Llanafan Fawr

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

OS Map Grid Reference: SN96665563
Latitude 52.18922° Longitude -3.51307°

Lle'r Prior Earthwork, Llanafanfawr has been described as a Timber Castle although is doubtful that it was such.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


A circular, level, enclosed area, 24.5m in diameter, bounded by a ditch, 5.0m wide and 1.0-1.3m deep, which is encircled by a bank, 5.0m wide. There are no interuptions to the circuit. A medieval, domestic, interpretation seems unlikely (the site name translates as 'the Prior's Place') and the traditional identification is as a 'British camp'. The association of the site with the church and extensive enclosure of Llanafanfawr could indicate some ritual function, cock-fighting is attested as late as 1911. (source Os495card; SN95NE7) (Coflein–ref. J.Wiles 24.04.02)

There is a small mound, perhaps the ruins of a mansion, called Lle'r prior, the Prior's place (Jones 1908)

Conspicuously marked on all maps, as if it were a motte; a small and weak moated island. (King 1983)

30m diameter circular site. double ditched ringwork of a possible Welsh castle. (Remfry)

The monument consists of an earthwork of unknown character and date. It comprises a slightly raised plateau, circular in shape with a diameter of 27m. It is surrounded by a deep ditch that is waterlogged in parts, measuring 0.5m wide and 1-1.3m deep. A low outer bank, around 0.5m high on the outside, surrounds the ditch. (Scheduling Report)

This site is rejected as such by Hogg and King. It is alternatively suggested as a homestead moat like the 'The Castle' at Radnor (which is probably a rectory site) or as a henge. Sited by church and close to significant river crossing.
The reason for the Coflein record considering medieval domestic use unlikely is not clear but may be because of the lack of breaks in the enclosing bank. Some churchs were deliberatly sited near to older ritual sites so a henge interpretation is not improbable although the bank is inside the ditch. However, whatever this feature was, it is probably not the site of a residence that was fortified in a significant fashion.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 05/07/2016 17:36:23