What Is Coflein?

Coflein is the online database for the National Monuments Record of Wales (NMRW) – the national collection of information about the historic environment of Wales. The name is derived from the Welsh cof (memory) and lein (line).

Coflein contains details of many thousands of archaeological sites, monuments, buildings and maritime sites in Wales, together with an index to the drawings, manuscripts and photographs held in the NMRW archive collections.

What Sort Of Information Is Available Through Coflein Now?

The Coflein search facility displays a selection of information from the NMRW database, including the name, location and type of site, monument or building. Information in the form of descriptive text is also provided (where available), together with catalogue information for items relating to the site in the NMRW archive. Users should be aware that the database is still under development and not all the information held in the NMRW is available via this facility. A systematic programme of digitisation and cataloguing is underway to increase the amount of information available online, but users are also encouraged to contact the Library and Enquiry Services staff at the NMRW or telephone: 01970 621200 to check for additional records.

The NMRW archive grows daily as information is gathered directly from RCAHMW survey programmes and from donations of material from other organisations and private individuals. Currently there are over 1.25 million photographs, 70,000 plans and drawings and 50,000 historic maps in the collections in addition to thousands of surveys and reports. Gradually, items from these collections are being digitised and will be available online in addition to the catalogue information. RCAHMW survey programmes increasingly capture information in digital formats, and this data will also be made available online.


Details contained within this database have been drawn together from a variety of sources and often have not been verified in the field by RCAHMW. This is particularly the case for maritime sites, most of which have been recorded from secondary sources, and location data for these should be regarded as indicating general areas only. Further information on locational accuracy, where known, would be welcomed.

The aim is to compile a comprehensive listing of archaeological and architectural sites in Wales, but this is an on-going task as further research, field survey or aerial reconnaissance may reveal additional sites, and there can be no guarantee that it is complete. The information provided here is believed to be correct. However, no responsibility can be accepted by RCAHMW or any of its officers for any consequences of errors or omissions, and no claims for compensation or negligence will be accepted.

Access To Sites

Most of the sites or buildings in Coflein are not open to the public, and permission to visit a site should always be sought from the landowner or tenant. Photographs or drawings record buildings at specific points in time, and the building itself may have been subsequently demolished or altered in appearance.

Details of maritime sites are included in Coflein (but see ‘Validation’). For access and safety information divers must consult recognised diving guides. For designated shipwrecks or other protected sites contact must be made with Cadw.

Sites Are Protected By Law

Many of the sites, buildings and maritime remains are protected, and it is a criminal offence to damage them. It is also an offence to use a metal detector on a Scheduled Ancient Monument or to dive on designated wrecks without a licence. Any alteration to a listed building or work on a Scheduled Monument requires consent from Cadw.

Development Control For Archaeological Sites

Coflein is not suitable on its own for development control purposes or for assembling information for agri-environment schemes without further archaeological advice and validation.

Listed Buildings And Conservation Areas

Coflein lists many records in the NMRW archive originating from development work affecting Listed Buildings, and RCAHMW maintains a specialist team of expert staff who work closely with local authority Conservation Officers to identify, research and record historic buildings. These records are extensively used for local studies and family history research as well as for detailed architectural analysis. They are not suitable on their own for assembling information for development control purposes without further advice and validation.


Copyright is reserved on Coflein and on all data from NMRW. This includes our digital site data, and the archive records in the NMRW Archive, whether digital or hard copy.

The archive records held within the NMRW Archive and displayed on Coflein are a mixture of Crown copyright and third party copyrights. Crown copyright material in the NMRW Archive may be used for private study or research for a non-commercial purpose under the Non-commercial Government Licence 1.0.

Our digital site data, available through Coflein, can be downloaded from Data Map Wales and may be used under the Version 2.0 of the Open Government License, which allows the commercial reuse of the data.

If you wish to use information derived from Coflein for publication in printed or multimedia form or to compile resources for commercial or organisational use, prior permission must be obtained in writing

All outputs resulting from the use of the digital site data or archive records, whether available under Non-commercial Government Licence 1.0. or the Commercial Government Licence 2.0, must acknowledge the source as follows: Derived from information compiled by RCAHMW and/or Crown copyright.

If you wish to use archive records from the NMRW Archive derived from Coflein for publication in printed or multimedia form or to compile resources for commercial or organisational use, prior permission must be obtained in writing.

A licence fee may be charged.

Welsh Language Standards

We have received an exemption in our compliance notice for Coflein:


The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales – Issue Date: 25/07/2016

Standard Number Class of Standard Standard Imposition Day
48 Service Delivery You must ensure that:(a) the text of each page of your website is available in Welsh,

(b) every Welsh language page on your website is fully functional, and

(c) the Welsh language is not treated less favourably than the English language on your website.

You must comply with standard 48 in every circumstance, except descriptive text from the National Monument Record of Wales (NMRW) database, such as on the Coflein website.