Prestatyn Castle

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte), and also as a Certain Masonry Castle

There are earthwork remains

NamePrestatyn Castle
Alternative NamesPrestinton'
Historic CountryFlintshire
Modern AuthorityDenbighshire
1974 AuthorityClwyd

A castle excavated in 1913 that consists of a roughly rectangular enclosure defined by traces of walling with an external ditch. There is a projection, possibly a gate, on the northern side. A low circular ditched motte, c.20m in diameter and 0.9m high, is placed eccentricly within the enclosure. A causeway leads c.60m east-south-east. (Coflein)

Low mound and ditch excavated 1913 showing most of the walls of the castle and the approach causeway, all of which are dated to C11. (Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust HER)

Occupies a low-lying position, but still commands a view across much of the flat coastal plain. It consists of the remains of a motte c.20m in diameter with surrounding ditch, and a bailey which, unusually, encloses the whole of the motte. Excavation in about 1913 revealed a substantial stone wall 1.2m thick surrounding the bailey, inside its ditch, but no trace of a structure on the motte. A slightly raised causeway approaches from the south, but no detail is now visible where it meets the bailey; there is no obvious entrance gap in the motte ditch. Probably built by the Norman Robert de Banastre about 1164, and was destroyed by the resurgent Welsh under Owain Gwynedd in 1167. (Helen Burnham - Castle of Wales website)

The monument comprises the remains of a motte and bailey castle, a military stronghold built during the medieval period. A motte and bailey castle comprises a large conical or pyramidal mound of soil or stone (the motte) surrounded by, or adjacent to, one or more embanked enclosures (the bailey). Both may be surrounded by wet or dry ditches and could be further strengthened with palisades, revetments, and/or a tower on top of the motte. Prestatyn Castle consists of a low, ditched motte, c.20m in diameter and 0.9m high, within a roughly rectangular enclosure. The enclosure is defined by traces of walling and an external ditch

There is a projection, tentatively identified as a gate, on the northern side. Excavation in 1913 identified walls of the castle and an approach causeway, all dating to the eleventh century. (Scheduling Report)

Gatehouse Comments

Hogg and King (1963) add to the listing of this site "No motte" although this was, at that time, not a site visited by King. There is a low motte and quite why they though otherwise is unclear. The castle was granted to Robest Banaster by Henry II in c. 1265 but not necessarily built by him, although he may have done some new building work.

- 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 ReferenceSJ072833
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Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights ReservedView full Sized Image
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights ReservedView full Sized Image

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  • Morgan, Gerald, 2008, Castles in Wales: A Handbook (Talybont: Y Lolfa Cyf.) p. 238 (listed)
  • Pettifer, Adrian, 2000, Welsh Castles, A Guide by Counties (Boydell Press) p. 80
  • Reid, Alan, 1998, Castles of Wales (John Jones Publishing) p. 122, 124
  • Salter, Mike, 1997, The Castles of North Wales (Malvern) p. 76
  • Burnham, H., 1995, A Guide to Ancient and Historic Wales: Clwyd and Powys (Cadw, London)
  • Harris, D.W., 1989, The History of Prestatyn (Rhuddlan)
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 154
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 374
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 285
  • Neaverson, E., 1947, Mediaeval Castles in North Wales: A study of Sites, Water Supply, and Building Stones (London) p. 22-3
  • Lowe, W.Bezant, 1927, The Heart of North Wales (Llanfairfechan) Vol. 2 p. 187
  • Armitage, Ella, 1912, The Early Norman Castles of the British Isles (London: John Murray) p. 270 online copy
  • RCAHMW, 1912, An inventory of the Ancient Monuments of Flintshire (HMSO) p. 79 no. 220 online copy
  • Farrer, William and Brownbill, J. (eds), 1906, VCH Lancashire Vol. 1 p. 369 (history) online copy
  • Lewis, Samual, 1849, A Topographical Dictionary of Wales 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., 1967, 'Masonry castles in Wales and the Marches: a list' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 116 p. 71-132
  • 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
  • Brown, R, Allen, 1959, 'A List of Castles, 1154–1216' English Historical Review Vol. 74 p. 249-280 (Reprinted in Brown, R. Allen, 1989, Castles, conquest and charters: collected papers (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 90-121) view online copy (subscription required)
  • 1913, Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 68 p. 350

Primary Sources

  • William ab Ithel (ed), 1860, (ed), Brut y Tywysogion Jesus MS 111 (Red Book of Hergest) 1166 online copy [Scan of original manuscript >]
  • 1888 The Great Roll of the Pipe for the twelfth year of the reign of King Henry II A.D. 1165-1166 (Pipe Roll Society 9) p. 67 online copy