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CPAT16152
CPAT Regional Historic Environment Record
The following information is from the on-line database 'Archwilio'.
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Knucklas

Primary Reference Number (PRN) : 16152
Trust : Clwyd Powys
Community : Beguildy
Unitary authority : Powys
NGR : SO2507674198
Site Type (preferred type first) : Multiperiod Settlement
Status :

Description :
1 Location

1.1 Cnwclas Castle, 4km north-west of Knighton, rests on a prominent hill that forms the terminal of the spur between the River Teme and its tributary, the Ffrwdwen Brook. On the further side of the brook in the lee of Castle Hill is the village of Knucklas, just above the valley floor.

2 History

2.1 The Welsh name of this settlement is Cnwclas meaning apparently 'green mound'.

2.2 Beyond the eastern edge of the present settlement, the site of a battle in 1146 AD (PAR 1143) is commemorated in the name 'Bloody Field'.

2.3 The castle was built by the second Hugh Mortimer in c.1220-25, but was destroyed by Llywelyn in 1262, and again by Owen Glyndwr in 1402. Very much later towards the end of the 19th century, it provided a convenient source of stone for Knucklas viaduct.

2.4 There are documentary references to a town here in the Middle Ages, but substantive ground evidence is absent. Soulsby, indeed, suggests that the settlement may have declined terminally after 1262 for the castle was apparently not refurbished.

2.5 It was one of five boroughs returning a joint Member of Parliament in 1536, burgages were recorded in 1649, and as late as the second quarter of the 19th century it was still recognised as a borough under the control of a bailiff and burgesses with a court house. The village then consisted only of a dozen or so cottages, 'mean and inconsiderable in appearance' according to Williams.

2.6 Today, it appearance is unexceptional with cottages and houses spread along the two lanes on the south side of the brook and a small estate on the road leading to Knucklas Station and an engineering works.

3 Buildings and Archaeology

3.1 Although evidence of prehistoric activity is not uncommon in the area around Knucklas, nothing has yet come to light in the settlement itself.

3.2 Cnwclas Castle (PAR 1126; SAM Radnor 85) is a medieval earthwork thrown up within what may well have been an Iron Age hillfort, distinguished as a large oval enclosure with a possible entrance on the west side (PAR 50002). A second, rather slight, inner perimeter scarp is apparent on aerial photographs and may also be prehistoric in date. A platform (PAR 50003) perhaps represents part of a masonry castle site although little stonework remains, and the hilltop has been extensively quarried. Withtin the enclosure, other platforms on the north and east remain to be dated.

3.3 Can it be assumed that the medieval borough lay between the stream and the more southerly lane? There is little supporting evidence yet it appears the most likely location.

3.4 Knucklas Viaduct (PAR 20655; Grade II listing) was built in c.1883 (1864 in another source) with thirteen masonry arches and a battlemented parapet: its style is 'insipid gothic' according to RCAHMW.

1) History of development
The Welsh name of this settlement is Cnwclas but it is as Knoclas that it is first documented
in the years between 1220 and 1227. The Welsh elements – cnwc and glas – simply mean
'green hillock'.

Beyond the eastern edge of the present settlement, the site of a battle in 1146 AD (1143) is
reputedly commemorated in the name 'Bloody Field'.

It is believed that the castle was built by the Mortimers in c.1220-25, but was destroyed by
Llywelyn in 1262, and again perhaps by Owain Glyndŵr in 1402. It is said that by 1403 it no
longer existed. Very much later towards the end of the 19th century, it provided a convenient
source of stone for Knucklas viaduct.

There are documentary references to a town here in the Middle Ages, and its establishment
and growth must have been as a result of the presence of the castle. Substantive ground
evidence for a settlement is, however, absent. It has been suggested though without any
corroborative evidence that the settlement may have declined terminally after 1262, for the
castle was apparently not refurbished.

Knucklas was one of five boroughs returning a joint Member of Parliament in 1536, burgages
were recorded in 1649, and as late as the second quarter of the 19th century it was still
recognised as a borough under the control of a bailiff and burgesses with a court house. The
village then consisted only of a dozen or so cottages, 'mean and inconsiderable in appearance'
according to the Radnorshire historian, Jonathan Williams, at the beginning of the 19th
century. Perhaps then this might explain why there appears to be not a single dwelling within
the village that pre-dates 1800. Nevertheless, the absence of any pre-19th century buildings is
hardly reassuring in seeking medieval beginnings for the settlement.

Today, Knucklas’ appearance is unexceptional with cottages and houses immediately to the
south side of the brook spreading between the two lanes that part company and then further
west rejoin, and a small estate on the road leading to Knucklas Station and an engineering
works.

2)The heritage to 1750
Knucklas Castle (1126; SAM Rd085) is a medieval earthwork thrown up within what may
well have been an Iron Age hillfort, distinguished as a large oval enclosure with a possible
entrance on the west side. A second, rather slight, inner perimeter scarp is apparent on aerial
photographs and may also be prehistoric in date. A platform perhaps represents part of a
masonry castle, although little stonework remains, and the hilltop has been extensively
quarried. Within the enclosure, other platforms on the north and east remain to be dated.
The medieval borough is something of a mystery. The most likely location is between the
stream and the more southerly of the two lanes through the village, but as yet there is little
evidence to support this contention, and this tract of land is now largely built over. A solitary
evaluation in 1999 to the south of the more southerly lane produced evidence of Roman
activity but nothing of medieval date.

There was also a mill on the Ffrwdwen Brook, first referenced in 1384 (72377) when the
customary tenants of Radnor had to carry two millstones to the lord's mill at Knucklas. 19thcentury
references to 'the old mill' may signify its position.

The other outstanding feature of Knucklas is the viaduct which, however, is later 19th-century
in origin (20655; Grade II listing). (Silvester, S J and Martin, C H R, 2010)



Sources :
Radnorshire Society Field Section , 2008 , Radnorshire's Industrial Heritage and Folk History
Silvester, R J and Martin, C H R , 2011 , Historic settlements in Radnorshire ( © CPAT)

Events :
123100 : Historic Settlements Survey, Radnorshire, desk-based assessment 2011 (year : 2011)
123099 : Historic Settlements Survey, Radnorshire, assessment project 2011 (year : 2011)

Related PRNs :

Compiled date : 31-12-1995


Images :



Archaeological data, from the Historic Environment Record, supplied by The Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust in partnership with Local Authorities, Cadw and the partners of ENDEX © CPAT, 2017 (and in part © Crown, 2017). It is intended to be used for private research only and is not for use as part of commercial projects. If you wish to use this information for publication in printed or multimedia form or to compile resources for commercial use, prior permission must be obtained in writing. Use of this information is subject to the terms and conditions of access to HER data published on CPAT's website. Please contact the HER if you have any further questions regarding this information. Please quote the Primary Reference Numbers (PRNs) in any correspondence.

May 24, 2017, 11:32 pm - File produced for Archwilio from CPAT's Regional HER.
Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust, Curatorial Section, 41 Broad Street, Welshpool, Powys SY21 7RR.
tel (01938) 553670, fax (01938) 552179, website www.cpat.org.uk

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