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Dinas Bran Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Crow Castle; Chastiel Bran

In the community of Llangollen.
In the historic county of Denbighshire.
Modern authority of Denbighshire.
Preserved county of Clwyd.

OS Map Grid Reference: SJ22244306
Latitude 52.97924° Longitude -3.15928°

Dinas Bran Castle has been described as a certain Masonry Castle.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


Castell Dinas Bran (OS national grid reference SJ222430) is both a hillfort and medieval castle. The Iron Age defences and medieval castle are located high above the valley of the Dee overlooking Llangollen. The castle is sited on a long rectangular platform which may have been artificially levelled. The ground drops away steeply on all sides but particularly to the north with its crags and cliffs. The site is a scheduled ancient monument.
The hillfort has a single bank and ditch enclosing an area of about 1.5 hectares. To the south and west the defences are most considerable being up to 8 metres high in places. The entrance lies in the south-west corner of the fort and is defended by an inward curving bank. To the north the fort is defended by the natural steepness of the land and no earthwork defences were required.
The castle was built towards the later part of the 13th century by the princes of Powys Fadog and was the site of a meeting between the sons of Gryffydd Maelor in 1270 when they granted the lands of Maelor Saesneg for the upkeep of their mother, Emma Audley. During the wars between Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, Prince of Wales and Edward I of England the castle was burnt by the Welsh before it was captured in 1277 by Henry de Lacy, earl of Lincoln. It was not repaired and ceased to be used after the 1280s.
The castle consists of a courtyard with the main buildings being ranged along the east end and with a tower built partway along the south curtain wall. The tower is the most impressive part of the standing remains, originally it protruded south of the curtain wall. A large rectangular building with windows looking southwards lay to the east of the tower. This may have been a hall or chapel. The keep is a large square building set in the south-east part of the castle, only the west wall and part of the south survive to any height. On the outside of the south wall is a wide buttress housing the chutes of a pair of latrines. The original entrance to the keep lies on the west side where the remains of stairs can be seen. The gatehouse is in the north-east corner and is flanked by round towers. The castle is defended by a deep rock-cut ditch on the east and south sides. (Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust)

Crowning the summit of Dinas Bran (NPRN 165276) are the ruins of a thirteenth century castle of the Princes of northern Powys. The castle is thought to have been built in about 1270, if not rather earlier. Although the ruins are stark, the castle seems to have been magnificent and sumptuous, as befitted the principal residence of a prince. It was burnt by its own garrison in 1277 in the troubles of the late thirteenth century. The castle was abandoned after 1282, when the castle of Holt on the Dee was built as the centre of a new lordship. The castle consisted of a rectangular court, about 82m east-west by 35m, enclosed by a stone curtain wall and with a massive rock-cut ditch and counterscarp bank except on the north where there are headlong slopes. On the short east side there was a great rectangular tower, isolated from the court by a rock cut ditch, and an ornate twin towered gatetower. Midway along the long south side a D-shaped tower projected from the court wall and there appears to have been a hall between this and the tower ditch. There was a further stone built range on the west side of the court. All this is now greatly ruined. The castle stands within the earthworks of what appears to be an Iron Age hillfort (NPRN 93290). There is a slighter outer circuit of earthworks of unknown date and purpose. (Coflein–John Wiles 26.07.07)
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This record last updated 20/04/2017 03:58:52