Summary Description and Reason for Designation
The following provides a general description of the Scheduled Ancient Monument.
The monument comprises the remains of a church, and of a motte and ditch, probably dating to the medieval period (c. 1066 -1540 AD) in origin and possibly inter-related, though the remains of the church as seen today may be rather more recent. A motte is a large conical or pyramidal mound of soil and/or stone, usually surrounded by either a wet or dry ditch, and surmounted by a tower constructed of timber or stone. At the time of scheduling in 1949, Llandyfriog Castle Mound had been considerably damaged by the digging of a trench to ground level across it, and it was subsequently levelled (in 1980). It was formerly c.36m in diameter at its base and c.20m in diameter across its summit, and stood c.6m high above the base of a 5m-wide ditch, which extended c.1.8m below the level of the surrounding field. The position of the former motte is still visible as a stony spread and the site remains scheduled because archaeological material may still survive in the infilled ditch.
The ruins of St Mary’s Church, also known as Llanfair Treflygen, are located c.45m to the south-west of the Castle Mound. The church, measuring c.12m by 6m, stands within a roughly rectangular enclosure measuring c.32m east-west by 30m, bounded by a low dry-stone wall c.1m high. The enclosure, or graveyard, has rounded corners, and the interior stands c.0.7m higher than the level of the surrounding field. The church, of mortared stone, stands to a maximum height of c.2m in the best-preserved south-east corner. Most of the south wall has fallen; the north wall stands to five courses (up to 0.8m) and the west wall to 1m, while the majority of the east wall has also collapsed. The interior of the church is strewn with stone fallen from the walls, but there is no obvious trace of any internal partitioning. The church is said to have fallen out of use in about 1800.
The monuments are of national importance for their potential to enhance our knowledge of medieval ecclesiastical organisation and defensive practices. The monuments form an important element within the wider medieval context and the structures themselves may be expected to contain archaeological information in regard to chronology, building techniques and functional detail.
The scheduled area comprises the remains described and areas around them within which related evidence may be expected to survive.