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Site Details

© Copyright and database right 2020. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey licence number 0100022206

NPRN 306405

Map Reference SO29NW

Grid Reference SO2138098025

Unitary (Local) Authority Powys

Old County Montgomeryshire

Community Montgomery


Broad Class DEFENCE

Period Medieval

Site Description NAR SO29NW8

Hen Domen is substantial motte and bailey castle, the motte of which survives approximately 8m in height and 40m in diameter. It is the original site of Montgomery, named in memory of the home town of Roger of Montgomery, the follower of William the Conqueror who was given extensive lands in this area in 1071. The castle was built in what was then waste ground used as a hunting chase, and overlies an abandoned field system (NPRN 275944). It was the centre of a great lordship and a borough was founded outside its gate in the later twelfth century. The new castle and borough of Montgomery were established in 1223 and occupation at Hen Domen came to a close around the end of the century.

As a result of excavations from the 1960s until the 1990s, the site is the most extensively excavated timber castle in Britain. The buildings revealed were unexpectedly grand and complex. The focus of the castle was the motte, crowned a towering timber building connected by a bridge over the ditch to a hall within the bailey. The bailey was defended by double ramparts and ditches. Remains of a wooden palisade which stood on the bailey defences were recovered during excavations, and evidence of wooden towers was also uncovered. Many other buildings stood within the bailey in addition to the hall, including a granary and a possible chapel.

Sources: Higham & Barker 'Hen Domen, Montgomery: a Timber Castle on the English Border' (1982)
'Hen Domen Montgomery: a Timber Castle on the Welsh Border' (2000), final report

RCAHMW 15 November 2007.

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