Rug Park Motte

Has been described as a Possible Timber Castle (Motte)

There are earthwork remains

NameRug Park Motte
Alternative NamesDernio; Edernion
Historic CountryMerioneth
Modern AuthorityDenbighshire
1974 AuthorityClwyd

Overgrown mound. Scheduled as Prehistoric Round Barrow but otherwise described as Bronze Age Kerb Cairn, Medieval Motte and Post Medieval Garden Feature. King writes "Motte; no ditch or bailey now. Erected upon a round barrow. Perhaps mentd. 1160 as Dernio Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust report confirms this as a motte built upon a Bronze Age barrow.

Rug mound has been excavated on several occasions revealing that it is a castle mount raised over an earlier funerary monument. It has been identified with the Castle of Edeirnion mentioned in 1160. The only other castle site in the commote is Owen Glyndwr's Mount (NPRN 300518) on the other side of the Dee. The original mansion of Rug stood immediately north of the mound (illustrated in Arch. Cam. IV (1887), facing 48 & JMHRS I (1949-51), plate 1.12) and is likely to have originated in a medieval house. This is one of several instances in Merioneth where an apparently unfortified mansion is associated with a castle mound, for example Castell Prysor (NPRN 308964) and Crogen (NPRN 306558). This house was replaced by the present mansion at the end of the eighteenth century. The mound had by then been adapted as a landscape or garden feature (see NPRN 265144) and a sketch of about 1700 (reference above) shows it girdled by a wall or path and topped by a tall mast. In the 1690s Lhuyd observed that it was 'adorn'd for an ornamt'. Footings of an octagonal building, 7.8m across, excavated on the summit of the mound probably represent a summer or banqueting house. A standing stone set south of the mound (NPRN 306599) is likely to be a garden feature. The mound is roughly oval, some 30-32.5m across and 3.7m high, with a level summit about 10-12m across. It was first opened in 1875 and was further explored when a storeroom was constructed within it. More scientific excavations were conducted in 1921

The funerary monument consisted of a rough cists, containing fragments of burnt bone, within a cairn about 1.6m across. This was enclosed first by a low wall or kerb, 8.0m in diameter, and then by the oval outer kerb, 32.5-35m across. The castle mound was raised over this kerbed enclosure, and was surrounded by a V-profile ditch, 6.5m wide and 3.0m deep. Seven bone draughts counters were found in 1878-9. (John Wiles 10.07.07) RCAHMW aerial reconnaissance in drought conditions on 31st July 2006 recorded a number of parchmarks around the motte, including the clear line of the plough-levelled bailey to the north-east, and a variety of other cropmarks including those of a rectangular ditched structure. See RCAHMW aerial photographs AP_2006_3965 to 3970. (T. Driver, RCAHMW, 30th Jan 2009). (Coflein) (unfortunately these air photos are not available online)

Rûg Mound comprises the remains of a round cairn with a cist, within a eleventh century castle mound. The artificial mound in its present form represents the motte, or mound for a timber/timber and stone castle. It stands 3.7m high, and is approximately oval, measuring 30-32.5m across. Excavations in 1878-9 to create an ice house chamber and access passage identified a stone-built cist which remains in situ to the rear of the later chamber. Further excavations in 1921 confirmed the dual nature of the mound, identifying burnt bones and soil within the cist., and a mound of stones set within a kerb. At the south side of the mound lies a large standing stone, which is reputed to be the last of a ring of stones which surrounded the burial mound. The later castle site has been identified with the Castle of Edeirnion mentioned in AD1160. The castle motte was formerly surrounded by a V-profile ditch. Octagonal footings excavated on the summit probably represent the footings of a post-medieval summer or banqueting house associated with the eighteenth century mansion. (Scheduling Report)

Gatehouse Comments

There are historical references to a castle at Corwen or in the commote of Edeirnion; These are usually assumed to be Rug but could be one of the other castles Glyndwr's Mount, Hendom or a weakly suggested site at Pen y Bryn y Castell.

- 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 ReferenceSJ056438
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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. 241 (listed)
  • Davis, Paul R., 2007, Castles of the Welsh Princes (Y Lolfa) p. 68
  • 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. 414
  • Pettifer, Adrian, 2000, Welsh Castles, A Guide by Counties (Boydell Press) p. 120
  • Reid, Alan, 1998, Castles of Wales (John Jones Publishing) p. 129
  • Salter, Mike, 1997, The Castles of North Wales (Malvern) p. 87 (slight)
  • Higham, R. and Barker, P., 1992, Timber Castles (Batsford)
  • Davis, Paul R., 1988, Castles of the Welsh Princes (Swansea)
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 276
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 304-5
  • Bowen, E.G. and Gresham, C.A., 1967, History of Merioneth Vol. 1
  • RCAHMW, 1921, An inventory of the Ancient Monuments of Merionethshire (HMSO) p. 16-17 no. 38 online copy
  • Armitage, Ella, 1912, The Early Norman Castles of the British Isles (London: John Murray) p. 268 online copy
  • Lewis, Samual, 1849, A Topographical Dictionary of Wales online copy (as small fortress)


  • 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
  • Gardner, W., 1961-4, 'The mound at Rug, near Corwen' Journal of the Merioneth Historical and Record Society Vol. 4 p. 3-6
  • 194?, Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies Vol. 13 p. 251-2 (finds)
  • 1922, Antiquarian Journal Vol. 2 p. 64

Primary Sources

  • 1884, The Great Roll of the Pipe for the sixth year of the reign of King Henry the Second, A.D. 1159- 1160 (Pipe Roll Society Publications 2) p. 26 online copy
  • Jones, Thomas (ed), 1971, Brenhinedd y Saesson : or, The King of the Saxons: BM Cotton MS Cleopatra B v, and The black book of Basingwerk, NLW MS. 7006 (University of Wales Press)