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Castell Cynfal, Bryn Crug

A Scheduled Monument in Bryn-crug, Gwynedd

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.5946 / 52°35'40"N

Longitude: -4.0462 / 4°2'46"W

OS Eastings: 261499

OS Northings: 301610

OS Grid: SH614016

Mapcode National: GBR 8T.9NDB

Mapcode Global: WH57C.T1FR

Entry Name: Castell Cynfal, Bryn Crug

Scheduled Date: 18 August 1988

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 3234

Cadw Legacy ID: ME121

Schedule Class: Defence

Category: Motte

Period: Medieval

County: Gwynedd

Community: Bryn-crug

Traditional County: Merionethshire

Description

The monument comprises the remains of a motte and ditch, dating to the medieval period (c. 1066 -1540 AD). A motte is a large conical or pyramidal mound of soil and/or stone, usually surrounded by either a wet or dry ditch, formerly surmounted by a tower constructed of timber or stone. Castell Cynfal is a modest but remarkably well preserved motte built on a prominent natural boss of rock commanding an impressive view to the SW and NW across the valley of the Afon Dysynni. Immediately to the NW there is a precipitous drop of over 30m but elsewhere the slope is not so steep nor is the fall so marked as the ground level rises towards Cynfal-fach. The interior on the top of the mound is roughly circular, measuring c.12m in diameter internally. There is a low bank around the edge of the mound but this is very spread and in places is more than 4m wide, while only 0.5m-0.75m high. From the crest of the bank the slope of the mound falls steeply c.5m-6m on all sides to the base of a well preserved rock-cut ditch. This is particularly impressive on the SW and NE where it is up to 4.5m wide and 1.3m deep below the external ground level, but it does in fact continue around the complete perimeter, even along the top of the precipice on the NW. There may, however, be an interruption on the ESE which could mark the position of an entrance leading in from a slight, possibly artificial, ramp up the natural rock slope. A bailey could perhaps have existed to the SW, but the area has been cultivated so that now no evidence remains, although it is possible that some of the irregularities close to the edge of the precipice on the NW may be of some antiquity. The motte was built in 1147 by Cadwaladr ap Gruffudd ap Cynan and was defended by Morfran, lay-abbot of the clas of Tywyn, but was captured later that year by Cadwaladr’s nephews, Hywel and Cynan, sons of Owain Gwynedd.

The monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance our knowledge of medieval defensive practices. The monument is well-preserved and an important relic of the medieval landscape. It retains significant archaeological potential, with a strong probability of the presence of both structural evidence and intact associated deposits.

The scheduled area comprises the remains described and areas around them within which related evidence may be expected to survive.

Source: Cadw

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