Pen-y-Crocbren Fortlet

Fortlet, Signal Station and Watch-tower

This site lies at a height of 1,580 feet (c.481 m) on a small rounded summit of the Central Welsh Plateau in Powys, about 7½ miles (c.12 km) west of Tefeglwys and about ½-mile (c.0.8 km) south-west of Dylife. An enclosure measuring 82 feet by 73 feet (c.25 x 22.5 m) and covering an area of only 0.13 acre (c.0.05 ha), was defined by a turf rampart and a single ditch with a gateway 10 feet (c.3 m) wide in the centre of the north side, facing the road. The interior was roughly metalled and was divided by a central roadway, but no trace of buildings was recovered, though these could have rested on sleeper beams.

This is most likely a Roman fortlet or signal-station set beside a main east-west route (Margary #64, now called Glyndwr’s Way), similar to others in Wales at the Hirfynydd Ridge Fortlet. It can be compared to the milecastles of Hadrian’s Wall. These had gate towers and building ranges either side of a central roadway. The milecastles are thought to have held garrisons of between eight and thirty two soldiers.

The only dating evidence comes from fragments of a black-burnished jar dating to the late second to early third centuries, but this probably doesn’t indicate the date of the site’s establishment.

Map References for Pen Y Crocbren

OS National Grid Reference: SN855935
Dimensions: c.82 x 73 ft (c.25 x 22.25 m)
Area: c.0.13 acres (c.0.05 ha)

References for Pen Y Crocbren

  • Air Reconnaissance in Britain, 1958-1960 by J.K. St. Joseph in J.R.S. li (1961) p.129;
  • Roman Roads in Britain : Volume II North of the Foss Way – Bristol Channel by Ivan D. Margary (London 1957);

Roman Roads near Pen Y Crocbren

Prabable Road: W (13) to Erglodd (Powys) Margary 64: E (11) to Caersws (Caersws, Powys)