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Journal of the Pembrokeshire Historical Society

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Vol. 1 1985

Wolfscastle : the outline of a local history /

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Wolfscastle: the outline of a local history.
The village of Wolfscastle stands in Mid-Pembrokeshire on a promontory above the
junction of the Western Cleddau and the Afon Anghof. A harsh highway slices through
its eastern side, separating the village from its motte. For centuries it has been the posses-
sion of the Bishop of St. David's and his tenants but seems never to have attracted atten-
tion: most people have just passed through. (Fig. 1).
Fig. 1.
All around are the remnants of ancient settlements. This paper is an attempt to relate
the modern village and its surrounding farms to some of the documents that illuminate the
history and to features on the ground. (Fig. 2).
The sources
Research began some years ago as the result of an argument about the origin of the
name Wolfscastle or Cas Blaidd. B.G. Charles is unequivocal about its non-Celtic origin
(1) and there appear to be no early documents that use the Welsh form. Of course, the
Latin Castrum Lupi (literally castle of Wolf) is a translation of both forms and as such
appears in some documents. Most Pembrokeshire mottes have non-Celtic names such as
Hayscastle, Pointz Castle and New Moat; but Bird (2) records an Iron Age fort in Rad-
norshire called Castell y Blaidd and recent discoveries suggest an Iron Age structure pre-
ceeded the Wolfscastle motte so the argument is not yet entirely closed.
The central document for the study of the later medieval in Pembrokeshire is The Black
Book of St. Davids (3). Four pages are devoted to Castrum Lupi or the Manor of Wolfs
Castle. The Black Book is a list of all the properties of the Bishopric; it records rentals,
values, tenants, field names, acreages, customs and services; but it presents one problem:
the original manuscript of 1326 is lost. The manuscript in the British Library is a 16th copy
and, while there is no reason to doubt that it is quite faithful to the original, the 200 year
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