Oakley Arms

Has been described as a Questionable Timber Castle (Motte)

There are earthwork remains

NameOakley Arms
Alternative NamesMaentwrog; Mayn Turroc; Ffestiniog
Historic CountryMerioneth
Modern AuthorityGwynedd
1974 AuthorityGwynedd

What has many similarities to a mound-and-bailey castle, but is probably not one, is an earthen mound which is situated in a fertile valley surrounded by hills about 90 yards north of the river Dwyryd. There is an elevated platform of earth, rectangular on all sides except the north where it is curved outwardly and raised slightly above the ground level. Where this platform is straight-sided it is 112 feet long and 53 feet broad; the semi-circular enclosure is 39 feet long. On this platform is placed a mound of 8 feet average height. Its summit is flat, of a diameter varying from 38 feet east and west to 41 feet north and south. On the flat top is a square tower called a summer house, an erection probably of the 18th century. The platform is not surrounded by a ditch or moat, the present ditches on tho east and south sides being modern land drains. To the west of this construction and directly attached to it is a slightly raised parallel-sided enclosure, about 41 yards long by 38 yards broad, and surrounded by a ditch. It is difficult to say if this earthwork is not an unusual form of household moat. It seems to have no name or history.—Visited, 4th September, 1913. (RCAHMW 1921)

King writes possible motte. Recorded in CARN as either an enclosure of unknown date or a Post Medieval folly?

Gatehouse Comments

In the flood plain of the river. The heavy drainage of this part of the flood plain suggests the site must have been very marshy before that drainage and is most unlikely as the location of a medieval dwelling of any sort. The more usual position for a castle would be the other side of the river by the church and medieval settlement of Maentwrog (Mayn Turroc). This is a site visited by King and identified as a possible site by him, although he used the term 'possible' for site about which he had significant doubt. This is an important crossing and one might expect a castle at this crossing point but the specific site seems doubtful. Was this mound actually built at the time the drains were constructed with the intent of mainly being a flood refuge for livestock, although the use as a 'summer house' should also be noted.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

The National Monument Record (Coflein) number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSH661406
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  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 278
  • RCAHMW, 1921, An inventory of the Ancient Monuments of Merionethshire (HMSO) p. 34 no. 79 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 (possible)