Aberffraw llys and motte

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

There are earthwork remains

NameAberffraw llys and motte
Alternative Names
Historic CountryAnglesey
Modern AuthorityAnglesey
1974 AuthorityGwynedd

The probable site of a medieval llys, a princely court partly dismantled in 1317. Excavation, 1973-4 (White 1979) & 1979, with further work 1987-8 (White & Longley 1995), recorded part of a rectilinear enclosure with at least one rounded corner. Its ditch had been recut on at least one occasion. It was traced for 70m north-north-east to south-south-west. Intially thought to represent a Roman military work, refurnished in the early medieval period. The apparently curving corner has suggested the presence of a castle mound (see NPRN 400058). This overall interpretation is supported by a radio-carbon determination of about 27-387AD, however scarsity of Roman material, limited to a single scrap of samian and some uncertain sherds, counts against the presence of a fort. It is possible that this was the site of a later Prehistoric style settlement occupied in the Roman period. The site of the llys is otherwise uncertain (see Johnstone 1997, 63; Longley 1997, 45). Two possibly thirteenth century sculptured heads are known from the village (White 1978). Excavations at the traditional site of the llys, about 650m to the west-south-west recorded only C18 remains (see NPRN 15012/401125). (Coflein–John Wiles 12.07.07)

Not scheduled

Not Listed

The National Monument Record (Coflein) number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSH354689
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  • Longley, David, 2009, 'Gwynedd Before and After the Conquest' in Willams, D. and Kenyon, J. (eds), The Impact of the Edwardian Castles in Wales (Oxbow) p. 16-26
  • Morgan, Gerald, 2008, Castles in Wales: A Handbook (Talybont: Y Lolfa Cyf.) p. 251 (listed as possible)
  • Johnstone, 1997, in Edwards, N. (ed), 1997, Landscape and Settlement in Medieval Wales (Oxford: Oxbow Monograph no. 81) p. 54-69
  • Longley, 1997, in Edwards, N. (ed), 1997, Landscape and Settlement in Medieval Wales (Oxford: Oxbow Monograph no. 81) p. 41-54
  • RCAHMW, 1937, An inventory of the ancient monuments in Anglesey (HMSO) p. 2 no. 8 online copy
  • Lewis, Samual, 1849, A Topographical Dictionary of Wales online copy



  • White and Longley, 1995, Transactions of the Anglesey Antiquarian Society p. 13-21
  • White, 1979, Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies Vol. 28.2 p. 319-42
  • White, 1977, 'Sculptured stones from Aberffraw, Anglesey' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 126 p140-5