Bryn Castell, Bagillt

Has been described as a Possible Timber Castle (Motte)

There are earthwork remains

NameBryn Castell, Bagillt
Alternative NamesBasingwerk; Dinas Bassing; gastell Basing
Historic CountryFlintshire
Modern AuthorityFlintshire
1974 AuthorityClwyd

Mound 28m diam x 5m high, possible ditch on S. Scheduled as a motte. Tumulus 50yds E of Coed Ffrith surrounded at its base by a slight platform of earth 3-5 inches high. Tumulus is 20ft high on W and 14ft high on E. Circular top 10ft diam. Mound composed of rubble and sand. A section has been dug into it from the summit to ground level while on S side a trench has been driven into centre (RCAHM 1912, 17). Base diam 28m and ave 5m high. Around S sides are traces of a ditch 4-5m wide but now less than 0.2m deep. Also traces of a berm 2-2.5m wide and less than 0.2m high probably result of plough encroachment on mound (OS 1976). Substantial mound c. 30m diameter x 5m high. Excavation trench on SW side, 4m wide x 1.5m deep, cut from outer edge to centre . Mound now covered in gorse & nettles with hawthorn and nettles. Sides steeply sloping. No clear trace of a ditch although there is a broad flat terrace up to 6m wide surrounding the mound. Size and profile may suggest a motte rather than a barrow, but difficult to be sure. Sited in undulating pasture. Has a commanding position overlooking a deep valley (to N) and Flint (to E) (CPAT 1999). (Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust HER)

The monument comprises the remains of a motte and ditch, dating to the medieval period (c. 1066 -1540 AD). A motte is a large conical or pyramidal mound of soil and/or stone, usually surrounded by either a wet or dry ditch, and surmounted by a tower constructed of timber or stone. The motte stands to a height of 18ft and has a flattened top with a diameter of 25ft. There is a large hole cut into the top of the motte, measuring 7ft deep, which is continued as a trench down the west side. (Scheduling Report)

Gatehouse Comments

Scheduled as a motte but also recorded in CARN as round Barrow. This is Kings favoured site for the Castle of Basingwerk (Dinas Bassing) record in 1157 and 1166, which is also identified with Hen Blas, Holywell or a lost site near Basinwerk manor. The record for 1157 (Ann. Cest.) reads 'rex Henricus Ruelan et Basiwerch firmavit' -King Herny fortified Rhuddlan and Basingwerk- does not mention a castle and Hogg and King write 'may have been no more than a road block.'

- Philip Davis

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

Not Listed

The National Monument Record (Coflein) number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSJ224735
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Calculate Print


  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 153, 155 Vol. 2 p. 559
  • RCAHMW, 1912, An inventory of the Ancient Monuments of Flintshire (HMSO) p. 17 no. 59 online copy


  • Swallow, Rachel, 2016, 'Cheshire Castles of the Irish Sea Cultural Zone' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 173.2 p. 288-341
  • Hogg, A.H.A. and King, D.J.C., 1963, 'Early castles in Wales and the Marches: a preliminary list' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 112 p. 77-124

Primary Sources

  • Brut y Tywysogion 1157 (Several transcriptions and translations exist the best being Jones, T., 1952, Brut Y Twysogion (University of Wales, History and Law series 11)–based on the Peniarth MS 20 version. There is a flawed translation Williams ab Ithel, John, 1860, Brut Y Twysogion or The Chronicle of the Princes (Rolls Series) online copy and Owen, Aneurin (ed), 1864, 'Brut y Tywysogion' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 19 supplement p. 130-1 [online copy >] )
  • Christie, R.C. (ed), 1887, Annales Cestrienses: Chronicle of the Abbey of S. Werburg, at Chester p. 21 online copy
  • 1889 The Great Roll of the Pipe for the thirteenth year of the reign of King Henry II A.D. 1166-1167 (Pipe Roll Society 11) p. 140 online copy