Domen Castell, Welshpool

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte)

There are earthwork remains

NameDomen Castell, Welshpool
Alternative NamesDomen Gastell; Pola; Pole; Pool; Pol; Powis; Trallwng; Trallung; Trallwm
Historic CountryMontgomeryshire
Modern AuthorityPowys
1974 AuthorityPowys

Domen Gastell is an oval enclosure, c.60m east-west by 44m, defined by a bank, up to 2.0m high. Attached on the south is a rather irregular motte, c.25-30m in diameter and 6.1m high, which gives the impression of being secondary to the enclosure. The castle has been much altered by its incorporation into the civic landscape of Welshpool, notably losing its ditches. The interior of the enclosure has been levelled as a bowling green, with trees planted upon the bank and sundry pavilions constructed. Possibly a predecessor of Powis Castle (Nprn29858). (Coflein–J.Wiles 07.11.02)

Motte up to 6.1m high with tail cut back on south and east for railway siding. Adjoining embanked oval bailey up to 6.1m high with levelled interior now used as a bowling green. Retaining wall on outside of eastern arc of the motte and bailey was removed and replaced as part of the Welshpool relief road construction. The majority of the ground behind the wall was 19th century infill with sterile clay bank of medieval bailey towards the base of excavation. Foundation trench did not bottom the clay bank. Profile suggests that the medieval earthwork was more ogival than the present bailey profile (Gibson, A M 1991e, 49; Nenk, B S, Margeson, S & Hurley, M 1992, 307-8). (PRN 34944). Watching brief 1996 (PRN 34944) identified part of a bank but did not determined if this was of medieval date or part of the modern landscaping of the bowling green (Gibson, A M,1996a). Scheduled area of motte extended to reflect the extent of the archaeology. The outlying ditch of the motte and west side of the bailey have now been included (Cadw, 2001). (Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust HER)

Probably the seat of Powys before Powis Castle was built. Domen Castell stands near to the railway station, and may be the site built in 1111 by Cadwgan ap Bleddyn, ruler of Powys. If so, this is probably the castle captured by the Anglo-Normans in c1190, and recaptured shortly afterwards by Gwenwynwyn

When Gryffydd ap Gwenwynwyn plotted against Llywelyn ap Gryffydd from Welshpool in 1274, the site was still a wooden structure; it was destroyed when Llywelyn removed him. The ramparts have been changed greatly, but was probably 60mx46m, and the south side still houses a 5m motte (9m across at the summit). (Daniel Mersey-Castle of Wales)

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 ReferenceSJ230074
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  • 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
  • Purton, P.F., 2009, A History of the Early Medieval Siege c. 450-1220 (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press) p. 264, 317
  • Morgan, Gerald, 2008, Castles in Wales: A Handbook (Talybont: Y Lolfa Cyf.) p. 246 (listed)
  • Davis, Paul R., 2007, Castles of the Welsh Princes (Y Lolfa) p. 92 (mention)
  • Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles of Mid Wales (Malvern) p. 53
  • Pettifer, Adrian, 2000, Welsh Castles, A Guide by Counties (Boydell Press) p. 152
  • Reid, Alan, 1998, Castles of Wales (John Jones Publishing) p. 136
  • 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. 64
  • Davis, Paul R., 1988, Castles of the Welsh Princes (Swansea)
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 301 Vol. 2 p. 567
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 382
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 342
  • Armitage, Ella, 1912, The Early Norman Castles of the British Isles (London: John Murray) p. 265 online copy
  • RCAHMW, 1911, An inventory of the Ancient Monuments of Montgomeryshire (HMSO) p. 182 no. 931 online copy
  • Lewis, Samual, 1849, A Topographical Dictionary of Wales online copy (history but confused with Powis Castle)


  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1906, Leland's Itinerary in Wales  (Bell and Sons; London) p. 53 online copy


  • Barton, P.G., 2013, 'Welshpool 'Motte and Bailey' Montgomeryshire Collections Vol. 101 p. 151-54
  • Barton, Peter G., 2012-13, 'Powis Castles Middle Park 'Motte and Bailey'' Castle Studies Group Journal Vol. 26 p. 185-89
  • Silvester, R.J., 2008, 'Humfrey Bleaze's map of Welshpool and Powis Castle, 1629' Montgomeryshire Collections Vol. 96 p. 1-14
  • 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
  • Nenk, B.S., Margeson, S. and Hurley, M., 1992, 'Medieval Britain and Ireland in 1991' Medieval Archaeology Vol. 36 p. 184-308 download copy
  • Gibson. A., 1991, ‘Welshpool Motte. Welshpool’ Archaeology in Wales Vol. 31 p. 49
  • Spurgeon, C.J., 1966, ‘The castles of Montgomeryshire’ Montgomeryshire Collections Vol. 59 p. 13-4, 51-4 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
  • Brown, R, Allen, 1959, 'A List of Castles, 1154–1216' English Historical Review Vol. 74 p. 249-280 (Reprinted in Brown, R. Allen, 1989, Castles, conquest and charters: collected papers (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 90-121) view online copy (subscription required)
  • Renn, D.F., 1959, 'Mottes: a classification' Antiquity Vol. 33 p. 106-12 (listed as precursor to Powis)
  • 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
  • Jones, M.C., 1882, Montgomeryshire Collections Vol. 15 p. 368
  • Clark, G.T., 1877, 'The moated mounds of the upper Severn' Montgomeryshire Collections Vol. 10 p. 348 online copy

Primary Sources

  • Brut y Tywysogion 1196 (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)
  • Christie, R.C. (ed), 1887, Annales Cestrienses: Chronicle of the Abbey of S. Werburg, at Chester p. 45 online copy
  • Jones, T. (ed), 1948, 'Cronica de Wallia and other documents' Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies Vol. 12 p. 27-44 (1196)
  • Pipe Rolls 1196-98 (see Pipe Roll Society for references)


  • Gibson, A.M., 1996, Domen Castell Motte & Bailey Castle, Welshpool: archaeological watching brief (CPAT report)
  • Silvester, R.J., 1992, Montgomeryshire Historic Settlements (CPAT report)