Cwmbrwyn Villa


Situated three miles west of Laugharne in Laugharne parish, just west of the minor road between Pendine and St. Clears, this small enclosure was investigated by members of the Carmarthenshire Antiquarian Society in 1906, and the excavation report published by Mr. J. Ward, Mr. T.C. Cantrill the following year (in Archaeologica Cambrensis VI, vii (1907), pp.175-212).

Substantial defences enclosed an irregular ovoid area measuring about 155 feet N-S by around 138 feet E-W (c.47 x 42 m) across the ramparts; consisting of a V-shaped ditch, 17 ft wide and 8 ft deep (c.5.2 x 2.4 m), separated by a berm 6 ft wide (c.1.8 m) from the rampart, which was 14 ft 6 ins wide (c.4.4 m) at the base, set upon a foundation of clay with traces of an internal revetment in stone. A gateway in the eastern side was indicated by a gap in the defences measuring 13 feet wide (c.3.9 m), and an iron socket for the door post was found amongst the debris here. Opposite this gateway, set against the western rampart was a narrow building measuring 110 feet 6 ins long by 25 feet wide (c.33.7 x 7.6 m).

In 1890 one or more rooms at the northern end of the building were robbed of stone for use in local farm building repairs, and in the process destroyed the remains of what by all accounts was a Roman hypocaust. Finds from the area of the building included slate roofing tiles, fragments of window glass and several box-flue tiles typical of Roman bath-houses; it would appear that the northern end of this large rectangular building was at one time in possession of a substantial underfloor heating system.

The enclosed courtyard between the main building and the gateway contained several interesting features, including traces of a paved area to the north and east, the post-holes of a shed or ‘lean-to’ set against the inside of the eastern defences close to the remains of an oven cut into the rear of the rampart in the north-eastern corner, also the remains of a cistern or tank cut 2 feet deep into the base rock, which was possibly once lined with lead sheeting and used for the collection and storage of rainwater.

Other miscellaneous finds included fine tableware of plain Samian, local cooking pots of grey and black coarse ware, the rims of several mortaria, half of a bronze bucket-handle (possibly pre-Roman), and a pair of fine bronze tweezers. The only coin recovered during excavations was a bronze of Carausius in fine condition.

Mr Ward concluded that the site had been occupied in or soon after the time of Carausius ( A.D. 287-293), and for no long period, perhaps as a military outpost. The character of the pottery supports his dating, but the position has little strategic value, and the place “is perhaps as likely to be a fortified and stockaded farm as a military work” (Professor Haverfield in Trans. Hon. Soc. Cymmrodorion, 1908-0, p.111).

References for Cwmbrwyn, Dyfed

  • Inventory of the Ancient Monuments in Wales and Monmouthshire – V County of Carmarthen by the RCAHMCWM (HMSO, London) pp.58-60 & fig.67.

Map References for Cwmbrwyn, Dyfed

NGRef: SN255120 OSMap: LR159

Roman Roads near Cwmbrwyn, Dyfed

None identified

Sites near Cwmbrwyn Villa