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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 April, 2003, 11:46 GMT 12:46 UK
Part of Glyndwr castle discovered
Sycharth castle ( picture courtesy of Clwyd Powys Archaeology Trust)
Sycharth castle was burnt to the ground in 1403

An archaeologist claims he has found the foundations to a lost building on the estate of the last Welsh-born Prince of Wales Owain Glyndwr.

Spencer Smith, 30, has investigated the site of the prince's home at Sycharth in mid Wales in an effort to identify buildings mentioned in the poems of Glyndwr's court poet, Iolo Goch.

The freelance archaeologist believes he has found a building that was part of Glyndwr's estate burnt to the ground by Prince Henry, who later became Henry V, in May 1403.

Exactly six hundred years after the castle's destruction, Mr Smith is to outline his discoveries at a lecture at Llansilin Memorial Hall, near Oswestry, on Tuesday.

The survey shows that the complex as a whole may be similar to one at Rhuddlan which was dated to 1015 so this discovery may be very exciting
Spencer Smith, archaeologist

He hopes he can now attract private funding for a partial excavation of the site.

A partial geophysical survey of the site has already been carried out. It revealed that the building lies under a 200 metre by 100 metre patch of ground.


"The survey gives a rough indication that there is a 25 to 30 foot long building lying underground but we need to do more work to see what it is," said Mr Smith, who is based at Chester but is originally from Wrexham.

"The survey shows that the complex as a whole may be similar to one at Rhuddlan which was dated to 1015 so this discovery may be very exciting."

But Mr Smith needs funding to continue his research and is appealing for help in funding from Welsh businesses and individuals.

"We know very little about what happened to Sycharth after it was destroyed so excavating that area will enable us to date the building accurately and to see what it was used for after 1403," said Mr Smith, who recently obtained his masters degree.

Owain Glyndwr
Owain Glyndwr lived at the motte and bailey castle

He added that the site of this building fitted in with Iolo Goch's poem - Owain Glyndwr's Court - which provides a detailed description about the castle's structure and its surroundings.

Glyndwr was proclaimed Prince of Wales on 16 September, 1400 after rebelling against English rule, and is a key figure in Welsh history.

Sycharth was a motte and bailey castle, with the motte summit serving as the manorial hall where Glyndwr and his family would have lived.

In 1962 an archaeological investigation revealed a few artefacts which appear to have been associated with a residence on the site.

The Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust has welcomed Mr Smith's plans for publishing his research.

"We are pleased to see work of a high professional standard taking place at this important and fascinating site, and would be happy to provide any advice or guidance as necessary," said a spokesman.

Memorial to Glyndwr's daughter
14 Apr 01  |  Wales
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25 Jan 01  |  Wales
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05 Apr 00  |  Wales

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