Hen Castell - Sarah Woodbury

Hen Castell

Hen Castell is a medieval, moated fortification near the village of Llangattock, Crickhowell.

“Hen Castell” means “Old Castle” in Welsh. The name could apply to pretty much any of the castles we’ve ever visited, but in this case also indicates how little we know about the site and its origins. Cadw, the Welsh historical society, investigated the site and calls it “the remains of a well-preserved medieval moated homestead.” At one time it is likely the mound, which is about three meters high, was rectangular, and it is surrounded by a flat-bottomed ditch. The land on which it stood was generally considered part of the domain of the nearby castle at Crickhowell, which would have been visible from the site when it was a complete fortification. Crickhowell was controlled by a succession of Norman lords, including the Tubervilles, the Mortimers, and the Pauncefortes. Who built this fortification, which dates possibly to the 12th century, as well as its purpose–as an outpost, an opposing fort, or merely a hunting lodge–remains a mystery.

The remains of the mound and its accompanying moat are located amidst a stand of trees at the top of a field and consists of a mass of fallen masonry, with fairly large pieces of coarse rag stone. Some of the outside wall can be discerned, particularly on the south side, and there are slight remains of a curtain wall as well.

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