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Moel Froehas Castle

Near Llanfyllin, Powys
Ordnance Survey Map Reference SJ118225

Text & photographs copyright 2009 by John Northall.

With acknowledgements to the
Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales.

Above: The castle sits on a narrow ridge. The bailey platform can be seen to the left of the mound in this picture.

 

The earthwork remains of Moel Froehas castle stand on high ground between the Tanat and Cain valleys, near the mid-Wales border with England. Both valleys penetrate westwards into the Welsh hills and the castle guarded the road between them, providing good views over the route from both directions. An alternative name of the site, Tomen y Cefnlloer (Tomen yr Cefn Lle Oer), can be loosely translated as 'the mound of cold-place ridge'. It's probably not the original name of this undocumented castle but is a good description of its windswept position.

The most striking part of the castle is its prominent 6 metre high motte, which stands near the end of a narrow east-west ridge. There are steep slopes on all sides except to the east where a small bailey was positioned, cut off the the rest of the ridge by a ditch.

 

Below: Looking south at the damaged castle mound.

 

The substantial mound was around 28 metres in diameter at the base and 9 metres at its top, where it has been disturbed by digging. The scarped bailey platform is approximately 22 metres long and 18 metres in width but is not well preserved.

It seems that the motte has been burrowed into from above and the spoil thrown to one side, perhaps in a misguided attempt at finding hidden treasure (which was a common fate for many bronze-age burial mounds).

The castle stands on private land but can be viewed from a minor road that turns off the B4391 towards the settlement of Moel Frochas, a few miles north-west of Llanfyllin.

 

Below: The motte can be seen on the skyline from the valley below.

 

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