Erddig Castle is a late 11th century earthwork motte and bailey fortress, which was probably founded by Hugh de Avranches, earl of Chester. A bluff above the confluence of the River Clywedog and the Black Brook, was cut through by scarps and deep ditches, to form an oval motte and a sub rectangular bailey. Also on the western side of the site, runs Wat’s Dyke an 8th century defensive boundary earthwork.
There are two entrances to the bailey, one opposite the motte and the other at the south-west corner and the rounded projections on the angles and along its southern side may have been associated with timber towers. ‘The castle of Wristleham’ was mentioned in King Henry II pipe roll of 1161 and in 1574 the site was called the ‘ruin of a castell great’. Sadly the site has been altered by mid to late 18th century landscaped gardening, associated with Erddig Park.
Diameter of motte is 21.5m E-W, and a roughly circular hollow and platform 10m across is centrally placed.
In 1999 CPAT was commissioned to undertake a detailed contour survey of the Erddig motte and bailey castle by the National Trust as an aid to management and visitor interpretation.
A very large and impressive motte and bailey built on a scarp high above the river. The Bailey is defined by a steep dry moat which is cut into the peninsular. on the west side Wat’s Dyke is amalgamated into the medieval fortifications. The motte lies to the north and is now little higher than its bailey. It has a surprisingly large platform. The entire monument lies within the heavily planted and landscaped big wood. Landscaping may be responsible for the paths which are cut into the earthworks and they may have undergone other alterations.