Domen Ddreiniog, Llanegryn

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

There are earthwork remains

NameDomen Ddreiniog, Llanegryn
Alternative NamesTomen Ddreiniog; Thorny Motte; Tal y Bont; Talybont
Historic CountryMerioneth
Modern AuthorityGwynedd
1974 AuthorityGwynedd

Talybont Castle mound is a near circular mound identified as a medieval castle mount. Set at a former bridging point on the right bank of the Dysynni river, the mount may have been associated with a llys or princely court. This is a steep sided flat-topped mound, 34m in diameter & 7.0m high. The 15m diameter summit is somewhat mutilated. A ploughed out ditch, in 1972 some 10m wide and 0.8m deep, runs around the base of the mound except on the east where it stands over the riverbank. There are no traces of any other defensive works. Llewelyn dated a letter from Talybont in 1275 the king was here in 1295. Other castle mounds in north Wales are associated with apparently unfortified houses, for example Aber in Caernarvonshire (NPRN 95692) and Castell Prysor (NPRN 308964), Crogen (NPRN 306558) and Rug (NPRN 306598) in Merioneth. It is possible that the castle mound was associated with or an adjunct of, the lys. (Coflein–John Wiles 11.07.07)

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. Domen Ddreiniog, also known as Tal-y-bont, lies on the west bank of the river Dysynni near what was historically its lowest crossing point. The motte measures c.34m in diameter and stands c.7m high above the base of the ditch, with a summit c.15m in diameter. The ditch has been reduced by past cultivation but now appears as a hollow c.0.8m deep and c.10m wide, running out on the slope towards the river. Llewelyn ap Gruffydd addressed a letter from the site in 1275, and Edward I was there in 1295. (Scheduling Report)

Gatehouse Comments

Overgrown hillock on the very edge of the Dysynni. Its history can be inferred only from what is known of similar constructions elsewhere. It has been linked with Castell Cynfael and Tomen Las near Pennal as one of the Motte and Bailey Castles built by the Normans during the phase of expansion, and destroyed, or taken over by the Welsh towards the end of C11. The very marked meander of the river north-east of the motte provides an ideally defended site but presumably, even if the loop was there in mediaeval times, the land inside it was too wet and subject to violent floods to be suitable. It may have been when the mound was constructed there was a similar meander at the base of the mound, forming a bailey suitable for the safe keeping of horses, at least in the dryer months (although, Gatehouse having spent many a 'summer' camping in North Wales, wonders what constitutes a dryer month in Wales.)

- 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 ReferenceSH596036
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  • Morgan, Gerald, 2008, Castles in Wales: A Handbook (Talybont: Y Lolfa Cyf.) p. 242 (listed)
  • King, D.J.C. with Kenyon, J.R., 2001, 'The Castles: a Study in Military Architecture' in Smith J.B. and Smith L.B. (eds), History of Merioneth Vol. 2 p. 415
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 277
  • RCAHMW, 1921, An inventory of the Ancient Monuments of Merionethshire (HMSO) p. 90 no. 251 online copy
  • Lewis, Samual, 1849, A Topographical Dictionary of Wales online copy


  • 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
  • Clark, G.T., 1875, 'Moated mounds' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 30 p. 67-8 (where called Tal-y-bont) online copy