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the Red Castle, as early as 1233. Leland states that

, there were formerly two castles of two different Lords Marchers at Welshpool ;? possibly this throws some light on the existence of these two motte-castles.

When Henry II. came to the throne in 1154, one of the many questions which he had to settle was the Welsh question. His first expedition against North Wales was in 1157. Here he was one day placed in grave difficulties, and fortune was only restored by his personal courage. But in spite of this we learn even from the Welsh chronicler that he continued his advance to Rhuddlan, and that the object of the expedition, which was the restoration of Cadwalader, one of the sons of Griffith ap Cynan, to his lands, was accomplished. The English chronicler Roger of Wendover says that Henry recovered all the fortresses which had been taken from his predecessors, and rebuilt Basingwerk Castle ; and when he had reduced the Welsh to submission, returned in triumph to England. The undoubted facts of the Pipe Rolls show us that in the year 1159 Henry had in his hands the castles of Overton, Hodesley, Wrexham, Dernio, Ruthin, and Rhuddlan, castles which would give him command of the whole of Flintshire and of East Denbigh and the valley of the Clwyd. Similarly, after the expedition of 1165, sometimes stated to have been only disastrous, we find him in possession of the castles of Rhuddlan, Basingwerk, Prestatyn, Mold, Overton, and Chirk ;8 so that after the battle of Crogen, or Chirk, he actually held the battlefield.


1 Brut y Tywysogion.

2 Itin., vii., 16. 3 Pipe Rolls, 1158-1164. It should be noted that the Brut does not claim the battle of Crogen as a Welsh victory.




We are thus introduced to an entirely new group of castles, Rhuddlan being the only one which we have heard of before. But it is highly probable that most of these castles were originally raised by the earls of Chester or Shrewsbury, and were in Henry's hands by escheat.

*BASINGWERK.—The werk referred to in this name has probably nothing to do with the castle, but refers to Wat's Dyke, which reaches the Dee at this point. The abbey at this place was founded by an earl of Chester, which makes it probable that the castle also was originally his work, especially as Wendover says that Henry rebuilt it. There is no trace of a castle near the abbey, but less than a mile off, near Holywell Church, there is a headland called Bryn y Castell, with a small mound at the farther end, which has far more claim to be the site of Basingwerk Castle, especially as it is mentioned in John's reign (when it was retaken from the Welsh) as the castle of Haliwell.3

OVERTON, in East Denbigh, on the middle course of the Dee. In custody of Roger de Powys for the king in 1159-1160. As Leland speaks of the ditches and hill of the castle, it was probably a motte-castle of the usual type. “One parte of the ditches and Hille of the castel yet remaynith; the residew is in the botom of Dee.” 4 It is probably all there now, as not a vestige can be traced. [B. T. S.]

DERNIO, or Dernant.—There can be no question that


1 Lyttleton's History of Henry II.

? Pennant thought he saw vestiges of a castle “in the foundations of a wall opposite the ruins” [of the abbey]; but his accuracy is not unimpeachable.

3 Pipe Rolls, 1211-1213. “For the money expended in rescuing the castles of Haliwell and Madrael, £100."

4 Itin., p. 67. Toulmin Smith's edition of Welsh portion.

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Dernio is Edeyrnion, the valley stretching from Bala Lake to Corwen. Domesday Book tells us that Rainald the Sheriff, a "man” of Earl Roger of Shrewsbury, held

fines” in Wales, Chenlei and Dernio, that is, Cynllaith and Edeyrnion. Towards the end of the 11th century there must have been a Norman castle at Kug in Edeyrnion, as it was to this place that the earls of Chester and Shrewsbury enticed Griffith ap Cynan, the rightful ruler of Gwynedd ; they then sent him prisoner to Chester for twelve years. Very likely the castle of Dernio, which Henry II. was putting into a state of defence in 1159, was at Rug, it miles from Corwen, where there is still a motte in some private grounds, and there was formerly a bailey also. The place was the seat of an important family in later times. At any rate, the castle was in Edeyrnion, and shows that Henry was holding the northern part of Merionethshire.

HODESLEY; undoubtedly The Rofts” near Gresford, a motte with remains of a bailey, on a headland above the river Alyn. It is in the former lordship of Hoseley.

WREXHAM, the Wristlesham of the Pipe Rolls (Fig. 40).- Henry was paying for the custody of this castle and that of Hoseley in 1160 and 1161. Both castles are in the district of Bromfield, which was one of the eariy acquisitions of the earls of Chester. Mr Palmer remarks

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1 D. B., i., 255a.

2 Life of Griffith. 3 Pipe Roll, 1159-1160. £4, 35. 4d. paid to Roger de Powys "ad custodiam castelli de Dernio”; “In munitione turris de Dermant £6, 45. od." It cannot be doubted that these two names mean the same place.

4 Arch. Camb., iv., 1887.

6 At the time of the Survey the manor of Gresford (Gretford) was divided between Hugh, Osbern, and Rainald. Osbern had 6 hides and a mill grinding the corn of his court (curiæ suæ). This probably is a reference to this castle. D. B., i., 268. It was waste T. R. E. but is now worth £3, 55. od.




that this district was probably ceded to the princes of Powys, in return for the help which they often rendered to the English king against other Welsh princes, as it is found as part of Powys at a later period. There are no remains of any castle at Wrexham itself, but about a mile off, in Erddig Park, there is a motte and bailey of considerable size (though the motte is reduced) showing that a castle of some importance once stood there. There were formerly some remains of masonry. Wat’s Dyke has been utilised to form one side of the bailey. It is probable that the importance of the two Bromfield castles, Wrexham and Hoseley, was lost when the princes of Powys built their castle on Dinas Bran.

*Ruthin. This important castle, defending the upper valley of the Clwyd, was probably in existence

, long before Henry II. repaired it in 1160, and may perhaps be attributed to Earl Hugh of Chester. The plan shows distinctly that it was once a motte and bailey, though the castle is now transformed into a modern house, 8

Chirk, or Crogen, in the valley of the Ceiriog:Henry was paying for the custody of this castle in 1164, and was provisioning it in 1167.4 King John paid for the erection of a bretasche there, possibly after some destruction by the Welsh. Probably the first castle of Chirk did not stand in the commanding situation now occupied by the castle of Edward I.'s reign, but is

1 “On the Town of Holt,” by A. N. Palmer, Arch. Camb., 1907.

? Beauties of England and Wales, North Wales, p. 589. I am glad to find that Mr Palmer, in the new edition of his Ancient Tenures of Land in the Marches of Wales, confirms the identifications which I have made of these two last castles, pp. 108, 116, 118.

3 Arch. Camb., 5th ser., iv., 352. Camden's statement that this castle was founded in Edward I.'s reign shows that he was unacquainted with the Pipe Rolls.

* Pipe Rolls, 1164-1165, and 1167-1168. 6 Pipe Rolls, 1212-1213.


represented by a small motte in a garden near the Ceiriog stream, and close to the church. An AngloNorman poem of the 13th century attributes the first building of this castle to William Peverel, Lord of Whittington and Ellesmere, and says he placed it “on the water of Ceiriog."1 No doubt it defended the passage of the stream, and an important road into Shropshire.

PRESTATYN.—This castle defended the coast road from Chester to Rhuddlan. Henry II. granted it to Robert Banaster for his services in 1165. It was destroyed by Owen Gwynedd in 1167, and does not appear to have been rebuilt. A low motte with a halfmoon bailey, and a larger square enclosure, still remain. [B. T. S.]

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Mr Davis has remarked that John was more successful in extending his authority over the British Isles than in anything else. In 1211 he led an expedition into the heart of Wales, and reduced his son-in-law Llywelyn ap Jorwerth to complete submission. As usual, the expedition was marked by the building or repair of castles. The Earl of Chester restored Deganwy, which shows that the English frontier was again advanced to the Conway; he also repaired the castle of Holywell, which the Pipe Roll shows to have been recovered from the Welsh about this time. These Rolls also show that in 1212-1213 John was paying for works at

1 “Sur l'ewe de Keyroc," History of Fulk Fitz Warine, edited by T. Wright for Warton Club.

2 Victoria County History of Lancashire, i., 369. 3 England under the Normans and Angevins.

4 “Ad recutienda castella de Haliwell et Madrael £100.” Pipe Rolls, 1212-1213.

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