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Tomen Gastell, Bala

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Tomen y Castell; Hen Hafod; Llanfor

In the community of Llandderfel.
In the historic county of Merioneth.
Modern authority of Gwynedd.
Preserved county of Gwynedd.

OS Map Grid Reference: SH95043722
Latitude 52.92219° Longitude -3.56252°

Tomen Gastell, Bala has been described as a probable Timber Castle.

There are earthwork remains.


A roughly circular mound set hard by the point where the road east of Bala crosses the Nant Meloch and washed by its waters and those of a tributary, on the north and east sides. The mound has been identified as a castle mount, although it is more often thought to be a natural feature. The mound is about 50m across and 4.0-5.0m high with a level summit some 18-20m across. Where it is not fringes by streams the mound is bordered by the road on the south and a garden on the west, so that there is no trace of a ditch, if this existed. (Coflein–John Wiles 10.07.07)

This is a small mound placed in the fork formed by the junction of a small stream with the river Meloch, on the north side of the modern high road between Bala and Corwen. It stands from 12 to 15 feet high, and is about 60 feet in diameter at the top. There are no signs of an attached court or ditch, but it has so obviously suffered mutilation that these features may have been swept away. Pont Tomen gastell has replaced a bridge which in Edward Lhuyd's time (c.1700) was called 'Pont rhyd y Ffraink,' a name which attests the character and era of the adjoining mound (RCAHMW, 1921). A large mound, entirely natural and showing no signs of ever having been used as a motte. No bailey could ever have existed (Hemp, W.J., 1943). Natural mound, partly shaped (on N & E sides) by streams. A garden has been constructed on the west slope and landscaped (soil added). Any ditch here would have been destroyed by building of a house and outbuildings (OS). (Gwynedd Archaeological Trust HER)

This is a natural mound with some question as to if it was adapted for use as a small motte. The location would be useful as a taxation point or, arguably, as an outwork or observation post for Bala. If used in this sort of way the lack of a bailey (or a slight bailey now lost) might not be significant. However it may just be a natural mound the location of which has mislead some writers.
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This record last updated before 1 February 2016