Tomen y Rhodwydd, Llandegla

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte)

There are earthwork remains

NameTomen y Rhodwydd, Llandegla
Alternative NamesCastell y Rhodwydd; Buddugre; Llanarmon yn Ial; Yale; Castle in Ial; Castell yr Adwy
Historic CountryDenbighshire
Modern AuthorityDenbighshire
1974 AuthorityClwyd

Motte, 20m across the top, is surrounded on the north and west by a dramatic ditch and outer bank. It stands 7.8m above base of the ditch and 4.9m above the bailey to its south-east, with only a slight hollow between the two. The bailey measures about 40m across internally; no visible traces of buildings remain. Its undulating bank stands about 1-1.5m above the interior, and 4-5m above the base of the ditch, which joins the motte ditch on the south and surrounds the bailey except for a causeway at the northernmost corner beside the motte. An outer bank, possibly built of spoil from the ditches, survives on the south, although the site has been damaged by the road on this side. Built in 1149 by Owain Gwynedd. The castle was taken in 1157 by Iorwerth Goch ap Maredudd of Powys and burnt, although like Tomen y Faerdre, it was restored and ditched by the English forces during King John's 1212 campaign. (Derived from Pratt, 1978)

A ditched motte, c.38-42m in diameter and 4.9-7.8m high, stands on the NE of a crescentic bailey, c.57m E-W by 46m, defined by a bank and ditch. There is a continuous counterscarp about both motte and bailey, the work occupying an area, c.118m by 90m. The castle's construction is recorded in 1149 and its destruction in 1157. (Coflein–J.Wiles 22.10.02)

Gatehouse Comments

Recently (2015) cleared of shrubs and trees with plans to open the site to the public. The primary sources are open to interpretation particularly the 1212 Pipe Roll record for the castle of Yale which, if it refers to picks for a rock cut ditch, may well apply to Tomen y Faedre.

- 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 ReferenceSJ176516
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Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Eirian Evans and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.

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  • Kenyon, John, 2010, The Medieval Castles of Wales (University of Wales Press) p. 52
  • Butler, L., 2009, 'The Castles of the Princes of Gwynedd' in Willams, D. and Kenyon, J. (eds), The Impact of the Edwardian Castles in Wales (Oxbow) p. 27-36
  • Morgan, Gerald, 2008, Castles in Wales: A Handbook (Talybont: Y Lolfa Cyf.) p. 116-7
  • Davis, Paul R., 2007, Castles of the Welsh Princes (Y Lolfa) p. 66
  • Pettifer, Adrian, 2000, Welsh Castles, A Guide by Counties (Boydell Press) p. 69
  • 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)
  • Higham, R. and Barker, P., 1992, Timber Castles (Batsford) p. 216-7
  • Davis, Paul R., 1988, Castles of the Welsh Princes (Swansea)
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 104
  • Avent, Richard, 1983, Castles of the Princes of Gwynedd (Cardiff)
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 324
  • 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. 83 no. 265 online copy
  • Armitage, Ella, 1912, The Early Norman Castles of the British Isles (London: John Murray) p. 271-2, 300, 388-9 online copy


  • Kenyon, John R., 1996, 'Fluctuating Frontiers: Normanno-Welsh Castle Warfare c. 1075 to 1240' Château Gaillard Vol. 17 p. 119-126
  • Avent, Richard, 1994, 'Castles of the Welsh Princes' Château Gaillard Vol. 16 p. 11-17
  • Pratt, D., 1978. ‘Tomen y Rhodwydd’ Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 127 p. 130-2
  • 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
  • 1960, Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 109 p. 197-8
  • Lloyd, 1935, Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 90 p. 322-3
  • Davies, 1931-3, Llandudno Field Club Vol. 17 p. 23
  • 1926, Journal of the British Archaeological Association (new ser) Vol. 32 p. 78-9
  • Lloyd, 1921, Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 76 p. 342-3
  • 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
  • Lloyd, John, 1851, ‘Letters from and to Edward Lhwyd. (from the collection of W W E Wynne)’ Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 6 p. 57 (antiquarian description) online copy

Primary Sources

  • Brut y Tywysogion 1149, 1157 (Several transcriptions and translations exist the best being Jones, T., 1952, Brut Y Twysogion (University of Wales, History and Law series 11)–based on the Peniarth MS 20 version. There is a flawed translation Williams ab Ithel, John, 1860, Brut Y Twysogion or The Chronicle of the Princes (Rolls Series) online copy)
  • The Great Roll of the Pipe for the fourteenth year of the reign of King John,: Michaelmas 1212 (Pipe Roll Society 68) p. 90 (part of £7 3s. 7d. for iron and provisions)