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A.P.A.C. Ltd.

Archaeological Perspectives Analysis Consultancy

Watching Brief
CASTLE COTTAGE, ST ILLTYDS WB/STI/12

Prepared for: Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council

By: Dr. N Phillips (A.P.A.C. Ltd) 12th December 2012

A.P.A.C. Ltd

Castle Cottage, St Illtyds.

WB/STI/12

Contents

Contents..............................................................................................................................................................1 List of Figures ....................................................................................................................................................2 List of Plates.......................................................................................................................................................2 1 NON TECHNICAL SUMMARY ..............................................................................................................3 2 INTRODUCTION ......................................................................................................................................3 3 LOCATION AND SCOPE OF WORK .....................................................................................................3 4 GEOLOGY AND TOPOGRAPHY ...........................................................................................................3 5 ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND HISTORICAL BACKGROUND ................................................................4 AIMS AND OBJECTIVE ..........................................................................................................................5 6 7 WATCHING BRIEF METHODOLOGY ..................................................................................................5 8 WATCHING BRIEF RESULTS................................................................................................................5 9 FINDS ........................................................................................................................................................6 10 DISCUSSION AND INTERPRETATION ...........................................................................................6 11 Acknowledgements ...............................................................................................................................6 Bibliography and references..................................................................................................................7 12

Appendix 1 Digital record Appendix 2 Finds record

Cover Photograph: DSC03047 Castle Cottage, porch.

Copyright Notice: A.P.A.C. Ltd. retains copyright of this report under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988. The Ordnance Survey has granted A.P.A.C. Ltd a Copyright Licence (No. 100046577) to reproduce map information; Copyright remains otherwise with the Ordnance Survey.

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Castle Cottage, St Illtyds.

WB/STI/12

List of Figures
Figure 01 Figure 02 Figure 03 Figure 04 Location Map Site Plan 1843 Tithe Map 1880 1st ed Ordnance Survey 1:2500

List of Plates
Plate 01 Plate 02 Plate 03 Plate 04 Plate 05 Foundation trench north east side, abutting gable end Foundation trench north east side, centre section Foundation trench north west side Foundation trench south west side, abutting gable end Foundation trench north west side, centre section

A.P.A.C. Ltd

Castle Cottage, St Illtyds.

WB/STI/12

NON TECHNICAL SUMMARY


A planning application was submitted to Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council (BGCBC) and as part of the planning process, Glamorgan Gwent Archaeological Trust (GGAT) advised the planning department that the proposed work at the site could likely impact on archaeological resources. As the work would involve excavation and the site is thought to have archaeological resources, the client was advised that he would need to appoint an archaeologist to undertake a watching brief during excavation work. Dr N Phillips from A.P.A.C. Ltd accepted the contract and this document comprises the report resulting from the watching brief. No archaeological resources of significance were found

INTRODUCTION

This report has been prepared by Dr Neil Phillips, A.P.A.C. Ltd, to record the results of an archaeological watching brief undertaken during a program of works to construct a two storey side extension to an existing property; Castle Cottage, Church Rd, St Illtyds. NP13 2AY. NGR 321856 201996, fig 01. The client, Mr C Coombstock, having submitted a planning application to Blaenau Gwent County County Borough Council; pl.app.no C/2011/0325, was granted Approval of Planning Permission, with conditions; one of which required that: No development shall take place until the applicant or his agents or successors in title has secured the implementation of a programme of archaeological work in accordance with a written scheme of investigation which has been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. C/2011/0325 A Written Scheme of Investigation outlining a watching brief, WSI:WB2/STI/12 was compiled, and approved as fit for purpose, N. Maylan GGAT. The watching brief was undertaken during ground disturbance for footings and services; in order to record or mitigate against, any impact on archaeological resources present.

LOCATION AND SCOPE OF WORK

The site can be reached; travelling south from Abertillery to Newport, on the A467, the first turn off the roundabout at Aberbeeg is the 4471 which leads through the village. At the T junction, turn right onto Church Road and then a hard left and up the steep gradient which leads to St Illtyds, (signposted). The proposed site is just past the public House, St Illtyds, fig 02.

GEOLOGY AND TOPOGRAPHY

The solid geology of the site falls within the Upper Carboniferous period, Westphalian D, giving a stratigraphy of coal, sandstone, mudstone, ironstone: Pennant series, (BGS 232). This is confirmed in the borehole reports at SO20SW34 & SO20SW29 http://scans.bgs.ac.uk/ whilst evidence of coal also spurred the open cast interest in the area: 070073 & 070090 http://mapapps2.bgs.ac.uk/geoindex/ The topography of the site location is a roughly east/west spur of land above and east of the Afon Ebwy Valley and the land is mostly pasture.

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Castle Cottage, St Illtyds.

WB/STI/12

ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

The general archaeological and historical background to the area is fairly sparse as can be shown in the records of ADS and RCAHMW as well as the database kept at the HER. Human influence has been at work in the area from prehistoric times; however, at the time of writing; the spread of known archaeological evidence for the designated area belongs mostly to the medieval. The friends of St Illtyds (FSI) have put together a lengthy document on the history of the church and surrounds, which is available to view at the Tredegar Public Library. It begins: Historically, Christianity first arrived in Gwent in AD. 58 and it is believed, from legend that St Paul preached at Llanilleth during the Roman occupation. Adding some circumstantial credence to the possibility are suggestions of a Roman road over the mountain, believed to have been used as pilgrim route connecting Caerleon-Caerwent-Llantarnam-Trevethin-Mamhiledd-LlanhillethMynyddislion-Gelligaer to the shrine at Penrhys in the Rondda, (ibid). An early map of 1833 shows a fairly straight line marked running from St Illtyds to the direction of Mamhilad. The HER carries two records for a Roman road 08666g and 08667g, (appendix 1); resulting from work by TRANSCO 2002-3. However, a later GGAT desk based assessment in 2004 stated: Section of ridgeway Llanhilleth-Abersychan-Mamhilad is an antiquarian proposal (EH 1872), followed by Bradney (1906, 463). Examined by OS fieldworkers who rejected it as being too angular and meandering, and having no traces of Roman consrtruction. RCAHMW 1944, 42, (GGAT 2004). The local belief of Roman connection for the immediate area may have been inspired; or inspired by, the view of Rev. Edmund Jones; writing in 1779, about two tower bases behind the village public house. He wrote that their name Castell Taliorum had been derived from Castrum Italorum, translated as the fort of the Italians (Jones 1988), and therefore of Roman origin. Archedeacon Coxe considered the same two years later; with some possible disquiet, not quoting a source for the translation and instead suggesting that that the surviving remains, were probably, ostensibly Norman, fig 05, (Coxe 1801). A later writer; Joseph Bradney, returned to the Roman link with his statement that Mr John Storrie; then curator at the Museum in Cardiff, found several Roman coins on the mound, when the two mounds (castle bases) were being levelled, (Bradney 1906). These Roman finds are mentioned in the RCAHMW record but denoted as possible Roman pottery and a 3rd century coin (Coflein NPRN 91965). The report also states the two towers are later than the Norman motte beside the church; which it suggests may have been destroyed in 1233 (Coflein NPRN 306241). Interestingly, no Roman evidence was reported from the archaeological excavation of the tower bases undertaken in 1924-5 (Lewis 1924&1925). Castell Taliorum is described in Newman as a circular medieval tower and a keep like structure of irregular Greek cross plan, (Newman 2000). It should be noted that Castle Cottage backs on to one of the noted mounds therefore, Castle Cottage would appear to be closely related to an area of medieval or possibly Roman influence. Historically, Castle Cottage is recorded on the 1843, Tithe Map fig 03 and subsequent Ordnance Survey editions, fig 04.

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Castle Cottage, St Illtyds.

WB/STI/12

The building has an oral history of having been built in 1756, with a use between 1930-1939 as public house. The later is substantiated by not only the present owner but also the local Farmer at Hafordathen Farm, whos grandfather used to drink there, (pers Comm, I. R. Davies).

AIMS AND OBJECTIVE

The aim of the watching brief was to preserve by record, within the resources available, any archaeological deposits uncovered during groundwork. The watching brief would also ensure that: in the event of archaeological resources of significance, being discovered and requiring treatment beyond the remit of the watching brief; then steps would be implemented to ensure that their treatment would be undertaken within the standards recommended by the IFA.

WATCHING BRIEF METHODOLOGY

Groundwork at the site entailed a single period of excavation on the 22nd October 2012. The excavation was undertaken with a tracked mechanical digger. Three trenches were excavated from the west gable end of the existing house in order to provide foundations for the proposed extension.

WATCHING BRIEF RESULTS

Soils and ground conditions


The site and weather conditions during the excavation were reasonable good although there was some light drizzle. Most of the ground appears to be substantially ground fill with occasional glimpses of natural sandy clay. The entire ground area has a layer of blue and black polythene plastic just under the surface. The trench edges were unstable and contexts fairly disturbed.

Description Trench 1
The first trench was excavated from the north west corner of the existing house exposing the shallow foundations of the building itself. The trench was 7.5m x 1m x 0.75m. Plate 01, the trench at the north west gable corner of the house, shows the foundation of the building at about 350mm below ground surface on top of a sandy clay deposit containing angular slabs of mudstone. This would appear to be natural as evidenced elsewhere in the area. The surrounding fill of black sandy soil contains a mixture of angular stone, bricks and a thin scatter of modern ceramics and plastic, Appendix II. Plate 02 shows a centre section of the north wall of the trench showing a cut in which has been deposited a fill of stone. The cut did not go through to the south section of the trench, within the limit of excavation.

Trench 2
The second trench, adjacent to the gable end of the house and 90 from trench 1, had the same deposition on natural as trench 1.

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Castle Cottage, St Illtyds.

WB/STI/12

Plate 03 shows the trench along its length and gives an idea of the upper surface with the polythene membrane. Plate 04 shows the west edge of trench 2 where another localised cut containing rubble was located. Again the cut did not extend across the trench.

Trench 3
Plate 05 shows the length of trench 3 which is the return of trench 2 to the south gable corner of the house. Natural in this trench was at about 550mm. The blue plastic on the left is under the surface and inside a brick built wall which used to run from this side of the house. The black plastic was the subsurface for a small garden.

FINDS

The finds were very sparse and of 20th c origin. A sample of four pieces were retained, appendix II, but a few cans, ring pulls and confectionary wrapper fragments were not.

10 DISCUSSION AND INTERPRETATION The site has been levelled at some point in relatively recent times using land fill of mostly angular stone. At no point during the excavation was and archaeological deposits of significance encountered.

11

Acknowledgements

Thanks to the Mr Coombstock and family for refreshments and Steve Elsdon for an efficient undertaking

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Castle Cottage, St Illtyds.

WB/STI/12

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Bibliography and references


Archaeological Desk Based Assessment. Land Adjoining Church Farm St Illtyds, Aberbeeg, Abertillery. WSI:STI/12. Written Scheme of Investigation for a Program of Arrchaeological Work Castle Cottage, St Illtyds.

A.P.A.C. Ltd 2012.

Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council. C/2011/0325 Castle Cottage, St Illtyds BG8033. Llanhilleth Castle. http://www.blaenau-gwent.gov.uk/8033.asp BG8034. St Illtyds Curch. http://www.blaenau-gwent.gov.uk/8034.asp C/2011/0009, Land adjoining Church Farm St Illtyds, Aberbeeg, Abertillery Bradney, A. J., 1992 (rep) A History of Monmouthshire. The Hundred of Abergavenny Vol 1 pt 2. 1906. Coxe, W., 1995 (rep) An Historical Tour of Monmouthshire 1801. Merton Priory Press. English Heritage, 2010. PPS5 Planning for the Historic Environment: Historic Environment Planning Practice Guide. GGAT, 2004., Report 2004/073. Project no: GGAT 75. Roman Roads in Southeast Wales. GRO D.1163. Gwent Record Office. 1843 Tithe Map llanhilleth Parish. Institute of Archaeologists, Standard and Guidance for an archaeological watching brief. 2008. Code of Conduct and the Code of Approved Practice for the regulation of Contractual Arrangements in Field Archaeology. 2008. Standard and Guidance for the collection, documentation, conservation and research of archaeological materials. 2008. Management of Archaeological Projects (English Heritage 1991). Jones, E., 1988 (rep) A Geographical Historical & Religious Account of the Parish of Aberystruth 1799. Brown & Sons Ltd. Cowbridge & Bridgend. Jones, T., 1952. Brut Y Tywysogyon. Peniarth MS 20. University of Wales Press. Jones, T., 1955. Brut Y Tywysogyon. Reb Book of Hergest. University of Wales Press. Jones, T., 1971. Brenhinedd Y Saesson. University of Wales Press. Lewis, T., Excavations at St Illtyds, Monmouthshire. Archaeologica Cambrensis Lxxix 1924 & LXIX 1925. Newman, J., 2000. The Buildings of Wales Gwent and Monmouthshire. Penguin. Rees, W.J., 1840. Liber Llandavensis. Llandovery. Smith, J.T., 1963 XVI The Long-house in Monmouthshire: a Re-appraisal (in): Culture and Environment, Essays in Honour of Sir Cyril Fox. Foster, I. LL., & Alcock, L., (eds). London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

Cartographic sources British Geological Survey. Geological survey of Great Britain (England and Wales). Abergavenny. Sheet 232. Solid and Drift Edition. 1:50 000 Series. Crown Copyright 1990.

A.P.A.C. Ltd
British Geological Survey, 1:625 000 Series.

Castle Cottage, St Illtyds.

WB/STI/12

Geological survey of Great Britain UK South Sheet. Solid Geology 4th Edition.

Ordnance Survey

1833, Sheet 67 Cardiff. (rep) 1980. Trowbridge: Redwood Burn Ltd. 1840, Llanhilleth, Monmouthshire 1:2,500

Internet sources www.promap.co.uk http://ads.ahds.ac.uk www.bgs.ac.uk

A.P.A.C. Ltd, Registered Address: 36 Hatherleigh Rd, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire. NP7 7RG . 07734962919. Email: apac.philips@btinernet.com. Company Registration No 5041541. VAT Reg No 826 3628 19. www.apac.ltd.uk Director: Dr N. Phillips. D.Phil. BA (Hons). Cert Ed/FE. AIFA. AAI&S

CAstle Cottage, St Illtyd's WB/STI/12

Appendix 1 Digital Photographic Record

A.P.A.C. Ltd

Photo No
DSC03042 DSC03043 DSC03044 DSC03045 DSC03046 DSC03047

Date

Camera

Size
1944x2592 2592x1944 1944x2592 2592x1944 2592x1944 2592x1944

Area
TR1 TR1 TR2 TR3 TR2 Portch

View Description
SE NE SW SE NW V Foundation trench north east side, abutting gable end Foundation trench north east side, centre section Foundation trench north west side Foundation trench south west side, abutting gable end Foundation trench north west side, centre section Porch

22/10/2012 DSC-F828 22/10/2012 DSC-F828 22/10/2012 DSC-F828 22/10/2012 DSC-F828 22/10/2012 DSC-F828 22/10/2012 DSC-F828

A.P.A.C. Ltd.
Castle Cottage, St Illtyds Find no: Area 1 TR1

Appendix 2
Grid Ref: Site No: Alternate No: 321856 201996 Context Description Two sherds of white china 1 sherd blue tin glaze 1 shard glass, tumbler base 1 piece plastic cap. Tube end or cover

Finds Sheet Index


Site No: WB/STI/12 Init Date NP 22/10/2012