A mile or so west of the modern town of Colwyn Bay rises Bryn Euryn; a steep, grassy hill, which commands fine views along the north Wales coast. Traces of a fortification, probably dating from the 5th or 6th century, can be seen in the rocks strewn across the summit. This area was once partially encircled by a defensive limestone wall, while lower down an earthwork bank was erected to bolster the hill’s natural defences.
The name Bryn Euryn seems to date from the 19th century, but in earlier times the site was known as Dinarth – ‘the fort of the bear.’ This might link it with a particular early 6th century Welsh ruler, Cynlas Goch – ‘Cynlas the Red’ – who was the king of nearby Rhos. The 6th century writer Gildas refers to Cynlas as belonging to ‘the bear’s refuge,’ which has been interpreted as a reference to Dinarth.
On the way up to the summit you’ll come across the impressive ruins of a 15th century manor house, known as Llys Euryn. This, it is believed, was built on the site of an important 13th century residence, home to the Welsh official Ednyfed Fychan, who was seneschal (chief minister) to Llywelyn the Great and his son Dafydd. Ednyfed, a loyal and able warrior and diplomat, played an important part in negotiations between Llywelyn and King John of England.
Nothing of Ednyfed’s mansion survives today but the 15th century ruins, dominated by a 50 foot high chimney stack, have been recently cleared and conserved, and are well worth exploring.