Hen Domen was built after 1071, when Roger de Montgomery, the first Earl of Shrewsbury, received extensive areas of Shropshire from king William the Conqueror. Archaeological excavations suggest that the construction was completed before 1100. Roger called the castle Montgomery just like the town in France (St Germain de Montgommeri), from which he arrived. Its current Welsh name means “Old Mound”.
Roger died in 1094, handing over the property to a son named Hugh. A year later Hen Domen was plundered by Cadwgan Bleddyn, the Welsh prince of Powys. A few years later Hugh was killed off the coast of Anglesey in the fight against Norwegians, and his successor was his elder brother Robert of Bellême. As he took part in the anti-royal conspiracy, in 1102 he was imprisoned, deprived of his property and died in the dungeon of King Henry at the castle of Corfe, while Hen Domen was the residence of the de Boulers (Bowdler) family since 1105. Probably from the name of its representative Baldwin the Boulers, Montgomery also began to be called the Welsh name Trefaldwyn – Baldwin Town, despite the fact that it was a wooden – earth motte and bailey castle.
Around 1223, at a distance of 1.5 kilometers from Hen Domen, a new stone castle was erected (today’s Montgomery), but the older timber foundation probably functioned until the end of the 13th century protecting the Welsh – English border. The end of Hen Domen may have been associated with the shifting of the border as a result of Edward I’s war campaigns, and therefore lost its importance.
The outer bailey occupied an oval area of about 50 by 38 meters, surrounded by a dry moat (ditch) 2.7 meters deep and earth rampart. Motte, an artificially built mound, was located in the south-west corner. It was 8 meters high, a diameter of about 40 meters with steep edges and a flat peak with a diameter of 6.7 meters. There was a timber keep in a tower-like character on it, connected by a bridge with an outer bailey. This bridge came to a large, probably two-story building measuring 5×6 meters. The remaining buildings were a timber palisade surrounding the castle, a timber tower near the mound and a gatehouse on the south side.
The castle has not survived to modern times, the only remnant of it is an earth mound. It is located on private property and can be visited only with the agree of the owner.
Butler L., Knight J., Dolforwyn Castle, Montgomery Castle, Cardiff 2004.
Salter M., The castles of Mid Wales, Malvern 2001.
The Royal Commission on The Ancient and Historical Monuments and Constructions of Wales and Monmouthshire. An Inventory of the Ancient and Historical Monuments of the County of Montgomery, London 1911.
Website coflein.gov.uk, Hen Domen, Montgomery.
Website cpat.org.uk, A short guide to Hen Domen motte and bailey castle.