This site was lived in until the 4th century by what remained of the people that abandoned Dinas Dinorwig hillfort at the beginning of the Roman occupation. Indeed its’ design, whilst keeping round huts as dwellings shows signs of mimicking a Roman villa. Much of Cae Metta was destroyed in the 1860s when the stone was used to build the village of Saron, Bethel. The moated fort at Ty Mawr and round huts at Penygroes near Dinas Dinorwig (in a field known as ‘Upper Smithy’) are also from the Roman period. All these sites show signs that the local population enjoyed very prosperous lifestyles.
|Organisation / Company||Kate Roberts Heritage Centre|
Born in 1891 and raised on a traditional smallholding in Rhosgadfan, Kate Roberts, a quarryman’s daughter, became one of Wales’ most renowned authors. A literary critic and nationalist, she was often referred to as ‘Oueen of our literature’. Her greatest achievement, however, was to chronicle the rich history of the quarrying community at the beginning of the twentieth century. In 1965 Kate Roberts purchased Cae’r Gors, Rhosgadfan, her former childhood home. The house by that time was a neglected derelict ruin, and subsequently work commenced to safeguard the site for future generations. In 1969 Kate Roberts presented the site to the nation and with the tireless work and commitment of ‘Cyfeillion Cae’r Gors’ and a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, in May 2007 the Kate Roberts Heritage Centre opened its doors to the public of Rhosgadfan, Wales and beyond.
The village of Capel Celyn was drowned in 1965 to create a reservoir (Llyn Celyn) for Liverpool residents. The chapel, school, post office and twelve farms were drowned. In 1957 a parliamentary bill was introduced (without consulting with any authority in Wales) which meant Liverpool City Corporation could buy the land without asking permission from the local owners. The plan was opposed by all political parties in Wales. Gwynfor Evans lead a parade of 70 villagers through Liverpool to show opposition to the plan but Liverpool Councillors voted to continue. Many poets and musicians sang of the drowning of the Tryweryn Valley.
The name Tryweryn became a powerful symbol in Welsh history. Llyn Celyn reservoir opened in 1965 and in 1966, Gwynfor Evans was elected to Parliament; Plaid Cymru’s first MP. 31 years later Wales voted for devolution and the Welsh National Assembly was established.
Llywelyn ab Iorwerth (Llywelyn Fawr) began to build Castell y Bere in 1221, on lands captured from his illegitimate son, Gruffudd ap Llywelyn. The aim was to protect Meirionnydd from pretenders to supremacy in Gwynedd, including Gruffudd. Following the death of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd in 1282, his brother, Dafydd attempted to secure independence from English rule, but Edward I unexpectedly continued his war against Gwynedd. Dafydd ap Gruffudd was forced to flee from Dolwyddelan Castle to Castell y Bere, but Edward I’s army of 5400 men were after him, and Dafydd was forced to flee to Dolbadarn Castle. Regardless of this, Castell y Bere remained under the control of the Princes of Gwynedd until April 1283, when it was seized by Edward I’s soldiers and this was the last Welsh castle to fall to the English. Following this, the castle was partly restored and an English settlement was built at the foot of the castle’s mount.
Cefn Caer, a Medieval Hall House was built on a Roman Fort is best known for its association with Owain Glyndŵr, the last native Welshman to hold the title Prince of Wales. To establish himself as leader of the whole of Wales he had to form alliances with other sovereign countries, especially France. On 31 March 1406, he sought to formalize the link between Wales and France by declaring his allegiance to the Avignon pope, Benedict XIII. This was done in a letter called the "Pennal Letter", as it is likely that the letter was written at Cefn Caer. The Papacy at this was time divided, one pope in Rome and another at Avignon. Charles VI of France was keen to ensure that his allies were loyal to the pope in Avignon. There are two parts to the letter, one part states the intention to obey the Avignon pope, and the other is a formal document sealed with his great seal that sets the terms of his loyalty, including establishing an independent church and two universities in Wales.
|Organisation / Company||CADW|
The construction of Criccieth Castle was initiated in the 1230s by Llywelyn ap Iorwerth, and developed further by Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, Edward I and Edward II.The castle was also used occasionally as a prison - Gruffudd Owain ap Llywelyn Fawrand his son Owain were incarcerated there by Dafydd ap Llywelyn in 1239. The castle was captured by the English in 1282-3. Nevertheless, some of the Welsh wanted to re-capture it. In 1294, Madog ap Llywelyn led a siege of the castle but it did not succeed. Given the strategic location of the castle,ships from Ireland were able to transport important supplies there. By 1403, the English had to worry about another uprising, the Glyndŵr Rebellion. By late 1403 the castle was besieged by Glyndŵr’s troops. Due to lack of support and supplies, the siege, backed by the French navy, succeeded. The English were forced to surrender the castle in the Spring of 1404.
Glyndŵr and his followers ensured that the castle would never be used as a stronghold against the Welsh again. They demolishing the walls and set fire to it.
David Lloyd George was born in Manchester in 1863. After his father's death ione year later his mother and her children moved to live with her brother, Richard Lloyd, at Highgate, Llanystumdwy. He began his career as a solicitor in Criccieth. By the early twentieth century, he was much more involved with national politics. Unexpectedly, after holding several ministerial posts in government, he was appointed Prime Minister in December 1916, when Asquith resigned. As Prime Minister, he won praise as ‘the man who won the war '. During October 1922 Lloyd George was forced to resign because the coalition with the Conservatives came to an end. Although he continued as a politician until January 1945, he did not hold any office. So far, he is the only prime minister with Welsh as a first language and English as a second language. He was also one of the most important founders of the welfare state.
He died on 26 March 1945 and is buried on a wooded hillside above the River Dwyfor, Llanystumdwy.
This important hillfort dominates the landscape and dates from around 600BC. Two massive banks of earth and stone enclose an area of 3 acres where traces of round huts have been found. The loose stone would have made it dif¬ficult to attack the fort. In the Iron Age the hill would have been surrounded on three sides by wet ground and rivers which is why we see farms called R’Ynys (Island) and Rhydau (Fords) today. The fort was abandoned early in the Roman period and the occupants downsized to a smaller site at Cae Metta half a mile away.
There were tiny slate quarries in Dinorwig from the 1770s. When Asheton-Smith of The Faenol Estate realised that there was a fortune to be made from slate in 1809 he established one big quarry and ran it himself. By the golden age ios slate in the 1880s the quarry employed 3000 men but the industry deteriorated throughout the 20th century, finally closing down in 1969.
Originally founded as a whiskey brewery by R.J. Lloyd Price, Rhiwlas, but after the site closure it became a location for holding prisoners of war. Until 1916, it was used as a prison for German soldiers from World War I, and after the1916 Irish Easter Rebellion, some 1,800 IRA volunteers were imprisoned there. Among the prisoners were Michael Collins and Arthur Griffith, who became famous for their part in the Irish rebellion. Frongoch was a great opportunity for the IRA to develop their revolutionary ideas, and it is suggested that Michael Collins and his comrades gave fighting and military lessons to fellow inmates. When many of them returned to Ireland, they seriously challenged the British Empire in a war of independence. Many of the former prisoners at Frongoch became leaders in that war, so much so that Frongoch became known as the 'University Sinn Féin' or 'University of the Revolution '.
The Memorial reads:
Bhí 1,800 Eireannach i / ngéibheann anseo / tar eis Éirí Amach na Cásca, / Baile Átha Cliath 1916
1,800 Irishmen were / interned here after the / Easter Rising, Dublin, 1916
This site was first established as a ‘cell’ by Saint Deiniolen as early as 580AD. Recent tree ring dating confirmed the age of the ancient Yew trees in the churchyard to be an astonishing 2000 years old. The present church was completely rebuilt in 1843 and it is said that this is the fourth to stand on this site. The original church was probably made of wood and local tradition states that this was burnt to the ground. There is evidence of the former church in the shape of a plaque dating to 1692 on the gate and the stone mortars either side of the door dating from the 16th century. In the graveyard near the doorway is a ‘Skull and Crossbone’ grave. This grave does not belong to a pirate but to Pierce Lloyd, a drover who died in 1712. A copy was made of the gravestone in the 1980s (see photo above) to help decipher what was written on it. It transpired that Pierce Lloyd died of Smallpox and it was a tradition from the days of the Great Plagues to carve ‘Skull and Crossbones’ on the tombs of pox victims. Pierce Lloyd had driven his animals all the way from Herefordshire, meaning that there was probably a Drovers Road through the parish at that time.
Founded in the Fourth Century A.D. - The Church of Saint Rhedyw is one of the oldest churches in Wales.
Llanllyfni Church is dedicated to Saint Rhedyw - or Rhedicus in Latin, fl. 316 A.D. No early written history exists, but there is a strong tradition that either he was born in Arfon or that he founded the first Christian church here. At one point in his career he was a high official in the church at Augustodunum in Gaul (Autun in modern France). His feast day is 6th of July when Llanllyfni Fair is held each year.
The Pagan site, Rhedyw’s Well was probably rededicated by early Christians, also one of the oldest in Wales and a visiting place for pilgrims to Bardsey.
In 1406, Owain Glyndŵr presided over the last Welsh Assembly of an independent Wales. This was believed to have been held at St. Peter Ad Vincula Church, Pennal which was, at the time Glyndŵr’s Chapel Royal. It is believed that the Pennal Letter was signed at the Church.
The original letter is housed in the Archives Nationales, Paris. A ‘facsimile’ of the letter can be seen at the Church along with the painting by Aneurin Jones “The Welsh Assembly of 1406” which celebrates the signing of the Pennal Letter.
There are 15 national parks in Britain and Snowdonia was amongst the first to be created in 1951. Apart from the Peak District it’s the only one to have a professional training centre and this is based at Plas Tan y Bwlch, which translates to ‘the mansion beneath the pass’.
What we see of the Plas today are the results of substantial rebuilding during the 1800s but the history goes back a lot further with the first house probably built in the early 1600s. © Huw Jenkins
Click on the above web link for more of the history of Plas Tan y Bwlch by Huw Jenkins
Methusalem Jones, a quarryman fromCilgwyn, was the first to take a serious approach to mining in the area in the1760s. In 1831 the toll on slate was abolished which gave impetus to the industry. Yn1833 the Ffestiniog railway was built to transport slate to the port of Porthmadog.Because part of the city of Hamburg was destroyed by fire in 1842, Germanybecame an important market for Blaenau Ffestiniog slate.In1846 J. W. Greaves struck the famous 'Old Vein', the start of Llechweddquarry.While the industry grew during the C19, it was followed by asharp decline. 8 quarries closed area between 1908 and 1913, and because we lost the first World War the slate industry lost the German market.On the whole, North Wales quarries declinedduring the C20. During theSecond World War, Manod quarry was used to store and protect the treasures of the National Gallery and the Tate Gallery.Today Llechwedd quarry has turned into a huge exhibition, where visitors can descend into the depths of the Deep Quarry and look at how the old quarry workers lived and worked.
Cadfan was a monk who had been exiled from Brittany. He landed first at Tywyn, Meirionydd and established a church there before crossing the bay to Llŷn, becoming the first abbot on Ynys Enlli between 516 and 542 AD... King Arthur reigned during this period and his sister, Gwenonwy, married Gwyndaf Hen, whose remains are buried on Ynys Enlli. Their son Henwyn, or Hywyn, became the patron saint of the church at Aberdaron.
Extract from the book 'Llŷn' by Elfed Gruffydd (Gwasg Carreg Gwalch 01492 642031)
On the edge of Porth Sadlan near Aberdaron there is a huge prominent rock called Maen Gwenonwy.
One of the most impressive monuments in Wales. Located at the easternmost summit Rivals, it looks out over the Irish Sea and Cardigan Bay. Because of its remote location and large stones, for centuries it was believed that the hill fort was a village of giants, thus it was named Tre’r Ceiri, the Town of Giants. Within its walls lies around 150 different sized round huts built sometime between 140 and 400 AD - the middle of the Roman period in Britain. The other hillforts can be seen in the area, namely Boduan and Garn Madryn. These belong to a few centuries earlier than Tre'r Ceiri. When the Romans arrived in North Wales, the region was controlled by the Ordovices, (or the Hammer Fighters), a Celtic tribe. But it was probably the Deceangli tribe who lived in Tre'r Ceiri and nearby hill forts. It has been a popular tourist destination, especially since Thomas Pennant mentioned it in his book Tours of Wales published in 1813.