Canolfan Owain Glyndwr CentreCYMRAEG  

Owain Glyndŵr's Wales


On the sixteenth of September 1400 Owain Glyndŵr proclaimed himself Prince of Wales at Glyndyfrdwy in the company of some of his closest family, a number of friends from Sycharth and Wrexham, the Dean of St Asaph and his prophet or seer together with ordinary folk from the area totalling some three hundred people all together. From here Owain and his supporters went on a destructive campaign torching Ruthin, Denbigh, Rhuddlan, Fflint, Holt, Oswestry and Welshpool – this was the beginning of his national revolt against the English crown.

Glyndyfrdwy is a motte and moated site near the town of Corwen Community in Denbighshire. The whole area is a Scheduled Ancient Monument, although so far no programme of archaeological investigation has been undertaken here. The motte is 6.5m high, 36m in diameter at the base and 12m diameter at the summit, and the moat remains partly water-filled. The site lies between the main A5 road and the Llangollen Railway, and is in private hands, though with public access.

The presence of a motte indicates a Norman military presence here in the 11th century, and the creation of a moat on a scale to enclose a dwelling suggests familiarity with the pattern of moated houses common further to the east, such as in the Maelor Saesneg, where they date from the 12-14th centuries. Prince Hal describes how he and his forces arrived at ‘Glyndourdy’ and burnt ‘a fine lodge in his park … and laid waste all the country around’ after burning Sycharth' (Et puis nous enalasmes droit a son autre place de Glyndourdy, pour lui querer illoques, et la nous fismes ardre un beau logge en son parc, et toute la paiis la entour). Again it is remarkable that Prince Hal should have been impressed by the ‘fine lodge’.

The motte and bailey site at Glyndyfrdwy
Image © Copyright Jeremy Bolwell and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
This imposing motte and separate moat site lies between the A5 main arterial route in and out of North Wales and the Llangollen Steam Railway. It is easily accessible from Llangollen and the market town of Corwen and within easy travelling distance of Sycharth and the village of Hanmer. Currently visitors can access the site either by parking near Carrog station and walking along a pavement on the A5 or by parking in an informal parking area opposite and crossing the road to the stile. Once on top of the motte its dramatic and strategic location in relation to the river Dee can be appreciated, especially in winter when the trees are not in leaf, with spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. The site is clearly identified as ‘Glyndwr’s Mount’ at the stile and an interpretation panel at the bottom of the motte explains its importance and layout.
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The Centre is sponsored by CADW and the Welsh Assembly Government