A Brief Report on Pen y Bryn and Aber, Gwynedd


The book's blurb reads:

This publication provides the first detailed and independent evaluation of the primary evidence uncovered for the homes of the princes of Gwynedd. These include the house at Pen y Bryn, Aber motte and bailey castle, as well as llysoedd and castle sites in North Wales.

Adopting an holistic research approach for the building activities of the princes of Gwynedd, this publication is ideal as a major reference point for further research on this significant subject.

Paul Martin Remfry, studied at Aberwystwyth University College of Wales and has produced a series of books on the castles and history of Britain over the past twenty years based on his research into contemporary documents.




Table of Historical Events at Aber between 1100 and 1710 . . . . . . .  . . . 3
A Description of the Pen y Bryn House . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
The Basement (B) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
The East Range (E) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
The House (H) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
The South Range (S) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
The Porch (P) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  52
The Tower (T) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62
Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69
The Early Castles of Gwynedd . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70
Aber Motte and Bailey Castle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72
Llys sites in Gwynedd . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82
Rhosyr . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84
Llys Gwenllian and Dinorben . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89
Aberffraw . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  91
Antiquarian References to Llywelyn’s Palace at Aber . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94
Other Houses of Medieval Date in North Wales . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98
The Bishop’s Palace, Gogarth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100
Cochwillan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101
Penrhyn Castle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102
Gwydir Castle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . 104
Coed Helen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  106
William Thomas’ Caernarfon Town House of 1652 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108
Penhyddgan, Nefyn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110

Pen y Bryn, Edern . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110
Windmills, Dovecots and Watchtowers . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  .
. . . . . . . . . 111
The Repairs to the Palace of Aber, 1303-6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 112
Proposals for Further Study of the Llys site at Aber . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114
Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115


The tower of Pen y Bryn from Aber castle showing the site 'on a hill by the church' as it was described by Leland.  The church was behind the houses on roughly the same level as the motte as can be seen in the first photograph on the Aber castle paper on Academia.  The medieval church was just behind the houses to the left of the motte in that photograph.
Therefore the motte of Aber castle, by Leland's description, could not have been the palace on a hill by the church.  However the site of Pen y Bryn perfectly fits his description.

Another good sketch of the vill can be found from 1838.  This shows the house of Pen y Bryn on its hill with smoke issuing from the chimney.  The castle site and church lie in the trees on the valley floor by the river.  This shows that the castle motte is not standing on a hill overlooking the church to meet with Leland's description of:

The Mwd (Moode), in the parish of Aber otherwise Llan Bodfan (Boduan), where Prince (Tussog) Llywelyn ab Iorwerth Drwyndwn had a castle or palace on a hill by the church, whereof yet part stands.

The book, consisting of 120 A4 pages and 92 illustrations and maps can be bought via the link below.



 

Copyright©2012 Paul Martin Remfry


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