Looking at the remains of the castle in its quarry site today belies the importance and original size of this historic building. Now only a part of its original red Triassic sandstone base remains to support the courtyard and the surviving inner walls.
The sandstone plinth on which the core of the castle was built rises twenty three feet from the surrounding area being sculpted from the surrounding rock to form the castle’s central floor plan. The castle, at its widest point, was at least twice that which can be seen today. On top of this plinth the pentagonal castle rose a further three floors enabling the castle to tower above the surrounding village, to give views of the important border crossing over the river Dee to England, which it defended on many occasions.
The strength of the castle comes from its location on top of this plinth within the quarry and being surrounded by a deep moat plus the river Dee. From the castle’s entrance, two bridges, linked by the central Exchequer tower, spanned the moat to reach an outer gatehouse on top of the northern cliff of the quarry giving access to both village and main routes.
From the outer gatehouse on the cliff, buildings radiated round to the south and east, accommodating various trades and workshops plus a courthouse. In 1495 these outer buildings consisted of a brew house, malt house, storage house, bakery, slaughter house, kiln, stables, ox house, more stables, storage house, poultry house, granary, barns and gatehouse.
It is possible that the courthouse was near the Endowed School at the top of Dee-side lane with the twelve barns, stores and ancillary buildings stretching southwards down to the river with the gatehouse possibly located between the two modern bungalows south east of the school.