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Site Details

© Copyright and database right 2020. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey licence number 0100022206


Map Reference SN15SE

Grid Reference SN1597951527

Unitary (Local) Authority Ceredigion

Old County Cardiganshire

Community Y Ferwig

Type of Site ISLAND


Period General

Site Description 1. Cardigan Island is a small uninhabited island, situated at the mouth of the Teifi estuary, 130m from the mainland, Cat its narrowest point, Carreg Lydan. It is15 hectares (37 acres) in area, measuring approximately 700m from east to west and 100 - 350m from north to south. It is cliff-fringed but relatively level, with the highest point on the south west side at 52m above sea level. The whole of the Island is a Scheduled Monument (CD280), with archaeological features comprising two settlement enclosures, most likely prehistoric (Iron Age) in origin, a possible cairn and later features associated with the agricultural use of the island.

The island was purchased by the West Wales Wildlife Trust, now the Wildlife Trust for South and West Wales in 1963, having managed it since 1944. As to its earlier documented history the Book of Llandaff dated c.1130 may be the oldest purported reference, described as ‘Teithi Island’ and part of the old native Commote of Iscoed. A more definite reference dates to 1268 in the ‘Longleat Extent’ held by the Marquess of Bath, where it is referred to as Hastiholm (Norse name ‘horse island’) and held by the King. Thereafter, the island is mentioned in extents, ministers’ accounts and patent rolls as the King’s land, held by a succession of different farm tenants predominantly for grazing sheep and cattle. There is also an unfounded rumour that it was at one time a possession of the Abbey of St Dogmaels, although no direct mention of this has been found in documents. By the turn of the 17th century, the island forms part of the Earl of Carbery’s Llanllyr Estate and was subsequently acquired in 1641 by Cardiganshire landowner David Parry. By the 18th century it was owned by the Jenkins family as part of the Blaen Pant estate in the parish of ‘Verwick’ and subsequently through marriage by the Brigstocke family until 1920.

The archaeological sites on the island were surveyed and studies by P. Brewers in the early 1990s and were revisited by the Royal Commission in 2013. The island has been documented during RCAHMW aerial reconnaissance.

Louise Barker & Toby Driver, RCAHMW, June 2015

Brewers P., 1993 Cardigan Island: A survey. Unpublished B. A. Dissertation submitted to the Department of Archaeology, St David’s University College, Lampeter.
Bewers 1994 (Archaeology in Wales 34), 3-6.
Heritage of Wales News, Exploring the Archaeology of Cardigan Island, 21 May 2013 (RCAHMW blog).
Johnson, Glen, 2015. Island of seabirds and shipwrecks, Pembrokeshire Life, March 2015, 28-9.

2. The island is under study for the EU funded CHERISH Project 2017-2021, with the promontory enclosure being a baseline monitoring site. CHERISH Project survey visit made 30-10-2018.

Digital Images

Archive Records

Associated Sites