Tomen y Faerdre, Llanarmon yn ial

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte)

There are earthwork remains

NameTomen y Faerdre, Llanarmon yn ial
Alternative NamesYale; Tomen y Vardra
Historic CountryDenbighshire
Modern AuthorityDenbighshire
1974 AuthorityClwyd
CommunityLlanarmon yn ial

Impressive motte, 6m high on the east and 25m across the summit. It sits on a natural rock outcrop, forming a cliff above the river Alyn on its west. An artificial ditch runs around its remaining sides, tapering down towards the stream on the south, but ending in mid-air above the crag on the north. There is no trace of a bailey. Possibly C11 in origin and like Tomen y Rhodwydd was refortified by King John in 1212 against Llywelyn ap Iorwerth, when the rock-cut ditch was either dug or enlarged. (Burnham)

A natural outcrop, resting on the Afon Alyn on the NW, forms the basis for a motte, c.54-58m in diameter and 7.1m high, with a summit diameter of 30-33m, ditched and countercsarped away from the river (source Os495card; SJ15NE5). The name suggests a commotal centre, as does the proximity of St Garmon's church, across the river. It is thought that the entry in the Pipe Roll for 1212-13, "For iron mallets for breaking the rocks in the ditch of the castle of Yale", refers to this site (Pratt 1978, 132). (Coflein)

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. Tomen y Faedre consists of a mound with a summit diameter of c.30m diameter and 6m high, located upon a natural outcrop with the Afon Alyn in the north-west. The motte is ditched and counterscarped away from the river. It is considered to have been built by Owain Gwynedd in 1149 in connection with his annexation of Powys. It was then taken by Iorwerth Goch ap Maredudd of Powys and burnt in 1157, and later restored and ditched by King John of England in 1212 (Scheduling Report)

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 ReferenceSJ193561
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  • Morgan, Gerald, 2008, Castles in Wales: A Handbook (Talybont: Y Lolfa Cyf.) p. 116-7
  • Pettifer, Adrian, 2000, Welsh Castles, A Guide by Counties (Boydell Press) p. 68
  • Salter, Mike, 1997, The Castles of North Wales (Malvern) p. 86
  • Burnham, H., 1995, A Guide to Ancient and Historic Wales: Clwyd and Powys (Cadw, London)
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 104
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 323
  • Lowe, W.Bezant, 1927, The Heart of North Wales (Llanfairfechan) Vol. 2 p. 227
  • RCAHMW, 1914, An inventory of the Ancient Monuments of Denbighshire (HMSO) p. 82-3 no. 264 online copy
  • Armitage, Ella, 1912, The Early Norman Castles of the British Isles (London: John Murray) p. 271-2, 300 online copy
  • Lewis, Samual, 1849, A Topographical Dictionary of Wales online copy [online copy >]


  • Pratt, Derrick, 2008, 'Anatomy of the Conquest: Bromfield and Yale 1277-84' Denbighshire Historical Society Transactions Vol. 56 p. 17-58
  • 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)
  • Davies, 1931-3, Llandudno Field Club Vol. 17 p. 21-3
  • Lloyd, 1921, Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 76 p. 344-6
  • Clark, G.T., 1889, 'Contribution towards a complete list of moated mounds or burhs' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 46 p. 197-217 esp. 217 online copy

Primary Sources

  • Barnes, P.M. (ed.), 1955, The Great Roll of the Pipe for the fourteenth year of the reign of King John, Michaelmas 1212 (Pipe Roll 58) (Pipe Roll Society Publications 68)