The comprehensive gazetteer and bibliography of the medieval castles, fortifications and palaces of England, Wales, the Islands.
The listings
Other Info
Print Page 
Next Record 
Previous Record 
Back to list 

Bryn y Castell, Gobowen

In the civil parish of Selattyn And Gobowen.
In the historic county of Shropshire.
Modern Authority of Shropshire.
1974 county of Shropshire.
Medieval County of Shropshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SJ30393404
Latitude 52.89928° Longitude -3.03625°

Bryn y Castell, Gobowen has been described as a certain Timber Castle.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


The motte castle adjacent to Preeshenelle United Reformed Church is a well-preserved example of this class of monument, despite the partial removal of the eastern edge of the motte in the 19th century. The mound will retain evidence of the buildings constructed upon its summit, which together with the associated artefacts and organic remains, will provide valuable evidence about the nature of the occupation and the life styles of those who inhabited the castle. Organic remains preserved within the buried ground surface under the motte and within the ditch will provide information about the local environment and use of the land prior to and following the construction of the motte. The importance of this motte castle is further enhanced by its close proximity to Wat's Dyke. In the medieval period this section of the Dyke may have been reused to serve as a defensive outwork to the castle. The organic and artefactual remains preserved within the ditch of the dyke will provide dating evidence relating to the construction of the dyke and the period of its use. The organic remains preserved within the ditch also have the potential to enhance and add to the information about the changes to the environment and land use in this area.
The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a motte castle, traditionally known as Bryn-y-Castell, meaning the castle on the hill, and an adjacent section of Wat's Dyke, which lie within two separate areas of protection. The motte occupies an elevated position at the northern end of a spur above the flood plain of the River Perry. From this location there are extensive views of the uplands to the west and the undulating lowlands to the east. The motte lies immediately to the west of Wat's Dyke, an earlier territorial boundary. The motte is oval in plan, measuring approximately 46m by 60m at its base and 36m by 44m across the top. In order to create a level building platform, in relation to the sloping ground on which its stands, the height of the motte increases from 0.7m on the western side to 1.7m on its southern side, where the natural slope appears to have been artificially enhanced. The deep cut into the eastern side of the spur for the construction of Preeshenlle United Reformed Church in the 19th century has partly removed the lower portion of the edge of the motte on this side. The church is not included in the scheduling. A ditch was constructed around the motte, except to the north east where the natural slope is steepest. The ditch, which is visible as a shallow depression about 6m wide to the west, has become infilled over the years, but will survive as a buried feature. Wat's Dyke is a major territorial boundary consisting of a bank about 7m wide, bounded by a deep ditch, also about 7m wide, on its western side. It mostly runs in a north to south/north easterly to south westerly direction, and generally defines the lower land to the east from the higher ground to the west. It has been traditionlly interpreted as an Anglo-Saxon frontier earthwork, marking the western extent of the Mercian kingdom in the 8th century AD. Scientific dating of a section of the Dyke, following an archaeological excavation to the south of Oswestry town centre, has indicated that the Dyke was probably constructed in the 5th century AD. The stretch of the Dyke to the south of the flood plain of the River Perry follows the lower ground immediately to the east of the spur on which the motte castle was built. A section of the Dyke ditch, 22m long, is visible as a broad, flat depression, about 7m wide, to the north east of the motte. The western side of the ditch is discernible as a scarp, which has cut into the natural slope. Surviving largely as a buried feature, this infilled part of the ditch is thought to be as much as 4m deep. There are no visible indications of the adjacent bank. This area has been landscaped over recent centuries, and as a consequence is not included in the scheduling. Other sections of Wat's Dyke to the north and south are the subject of separate schedulings. (Scheduling Report)

Possible ringwork castle sited in a prominent position on the end of a spur of land overlooking the R. Perry to the N, in which direction the ground falls away steeply as it does to the E. The site takes the form of an almost circular raised mound standing on the highest point of the natural spur. It measures c35m in diameter and stands up to 0.7m high. There is a slight but definite trace of a ditch on its W side. The site is best interpreted as a ringwork rather than a motte due to the lack of height of the mound, which does not appear to have been levelled......All trace of any ditch that may have run along the W side of the mound has been obliterated by the building of a C19 chapel..In doing so it has also destroyed the portion of Wats Dyke which previously ran N/S here....the exact relationship of (Bryn Y Castell) with the Dyke cannot now be determined due to the C19 chapel. ..Bryn Y Castell may have been the site of a lookout post/ fort placed forward of the Dyke but contemporary with it. There is a slight suggestion of a low bank around the W edge of the mound, and on the E side a small area of the mound appears to be very slightly raised, suggesting a possible building platform. There is no obvious trace of any bailey or attached additional enclosure. (Shropshire HER ref. Watson Michael D. 1983-Feb-04. Site Visit)

Centred at SJ 30393404, within Bryn-y-castell field is a level- topped, artificially - constructed, oval mound. It measures overall, 60.0m. north-south, by 46.0m. transversely, and in height, is from 2.0m. on the south, to 1.0m. on the north, and 0.4m. on the west. The ground falls away fairly steeply on the north to a stream 60.0m. away, and less steeply to the west and south. Although rather low, its general appearance and the field name suggest it is a castle mound. A line of steep slopes, 25.0m. from the mound on the north-west, may have given the impression of a bailey but they are quite natural.
The hollow at 'a' is now levelled-up and built over. (PastScape ref. F1 ASP 12-OCT-79)

Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER   Scheduling        
Maps >
Streetmap   NLS maps   Where's the path   Old-Maps      
Data/Maps > 
Magic   V. O. B.   Geology   LiDAR   Open Domesday  
Air Photos > 
Bing Maps   Google Maps   Getmapping   ZoomEarth      
Photos >
CastleFacts   Geograph   Flickr   Panoramio      

Sources of information, references and further reading
Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.
It is an offence to disturb a Scheduled Monument without consent. It is a destruction of everyone's heritage to remove archaeological evidence from ANY site without proper recording and reporting.
Don't use metal detectors on historic sites without authorisation.
The information on this web page may be derived from information compiled by and/or copyright of Historic England, County Historic Environment Records and other individuals and organisations. It may also contain information licensed under the Open Government Licence. All the sources given should be consulted to identify the original copyright holder and permission obtained from them before use of the information on this site for commercial purposes.
The author and compiler of Gatehouse does not receive any income from the site and funds it himself. The information within this site is provided freely for educational purposes only.
The bibliography owes much to various bibliographies produced by John Kenyon for the Council for British Archaeology, the Castle Studies Group and others.
Suggestions for finding online and/or hard copies of bibliographical sources can be seen at this link.
Minor archaeological investigations, such as watching brief reports, and some other 'grey' literature is most likely to be held by H.E.R.s but is often poorly referenced and is unlikely to be recorded here, or elsewhere, but some suggestions can be found here.
The possible site or monument is represented on maps as a point location. This is a guide only. It should be noted that OS grid references defines an area, not a point location. In practice this means the actual center of the site or monument may often, but not always, be to the North East of the point shown. Locations derived from OS grid references and from latitude longitiude may differ by a small distance.
Further information on mapping and location can be seen at this link.
Please help to make this as useful a resource as possible by contacting Gatehouse if you see errors, can add information or have suggestions for improvements in functality and design.
Help is acknowledged.
This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:52

Home | Books | Links | Fortifications and Castles | Other Information | Help | Downloads | Author Information | Contact