Snippets about Lleyn


1770 to 1870


1770 to 1800

In 1771 there was a glut of Herring in Porth Neigwl, so numerous that a 100 could be bought for three pence, and farmers carried them away in carts.

In 1786  Owen Owen (Owain Lleyn) was born at Bodnithoedd, near Sarn. He became famous for his englynion and many a gravestone in Llyn today testifies to his great bardic talents. He died in 1867 at the age of 81 years.

1800 to 1810

In 1801 a pilot was dropped ashore by Grepach Rocks, Uwchmynydd. He climbed the cliff safely but fell asleep in a sheepfold and awakening suddenly, fell headlong to a terrible death on the rocks below.

Nefyn wich possessed 63 fishing nets and some boats, and had its own Goldsmith, had a population of 1028 in 1801. in the next hundred years this increased by over 700 people. The population of Pwllheli in 1801 was 1166, so Nefyn must have held a high position as a town in Lleyn in those days.

In 1802 the “Lovely” was wrecked at Maen Mellt, Porthoer, it carried a cargo of foodstuff and hailed from Chester. In the hold were copper bars, found years later amongst the Maen Mellt rocks. Some of the foodstuff consisted of cheese and these floated about on top of the waves, the local people speared them from boats with pitchforks. This must have been the strangest fishing ever witnessed in Lleyn.

In 1804 some 700 ships sought shelter in the harbour at Porthdinllaen and in one month alone a 100 ships came there to escape storms. These were the days when Porthdinllaen was considered to have claims of becoming a first rate harbour, and up to 1873 when Holyhead harbour was opened, many thought the former might obtain that honour. In later years traffic grew so brisk that locals talked about a railway being constructed to Porthdinllaen. But it never materialized for which many of us are thankful today.

1810 to 1820

In 1811 the Enclosure Act came into force. The Common Lands, which from time immemorial had been used by the inhabitants for grazing etc, were sold and this caused great dis-satisfaction throughout Lleyn. In 1635 the burgesses of Nefyn had successfully established their claim to the freeholds, but 200 years later when the Royal Commissioners paid a visit to Nefyn, the Common Lands went the way of others. In 1809 an old man at Llithfaen, who had built a cottage on the Commons, was tried, sentenced, and sent to Botany Bay. The inhabitants of Rhoshirwaen were incensed, at the Act and came with reaping hooks, scythes and guns to defend what they considered to be their rights. This was the time when walls were built over the Lleyn hills. The previous year the Government had bought the Rhoshirwaen Commons and they were closed right away from Llidiardau to Pencopa, Bryncroes. Later a road was constructed between these two places opening up remote districts. In 1811 the population of Bardsey was 71 and during the next 90 years it rose to 124, whilst the population of Llanfaelrhys went down from 224 to 198. In 1812 and 1813 the bridges at Rhydlios and Saithbont were built, the former bridging over what had always been considered a very dangerous crossing.

1n 1814 the “Dunahoo” was wrecked on the rocks at Porth Colmon, Llangwnadle and the captain, whose body came ashore, was buried on the cliffs. During this year Ieuan O’ Lleyn was born at Ty’n Pwll, Garnfadryn. His real name was John Henry Hughes and he became a well known clergyman. About this time there was a heavy tax on salt. Restrictions were stringent and salt became difficult to procure, two natives of Llangwnadle who possessed a boat took a trip to Ireland to buy the untaxed salt there. They brought it back to Lleyn, evading the Customs when selling. In spite of the success of the venture, the story got round, and Government officials swooped down, the two men were imprisoned at Caernarvon. One of the men, William Williams, decided to escape and tearing his bedclothes into strips, made a temporary rope with which he descended safely to the ground and ran  home to Lleyn. When the officials tracked him down, his mother hid him in a churn. When they left, he dressed up as a woman, boarded a ship in Liverpool and finally reached the U.S.A. where he lived for many years.

In December 1817 Evan Thomas, of Pwll Parc, Edern lost his life in a terrible storm, when proceeding by boat from Porthdinllaen to Caernarvon. The boat struck the Chwislan rock in Porthdinllaen bay.

1820 to 1830

In 1821 the Lighthouse on Bardsey was built. And on November the 30th 1822 the Bardsey Light Tender was wrecked and six persons lost their lives. They were Thomas Williams, Mariner of Bardsey and his daughter Sydney, David Thomas, Pantfali, Rhydlios, Ellis Griffith,Rhydlios, and John Jones and William Williams. In gratitude for the past services of Thomas Williams as master of the Bardsey boat, Mr Joseph Goddard, collector of H.M. Customs at Caernarvon, had a stone raised to his memory in Aberdaron churchyard.

On January 13th 1823 there was a big snowfall over Lleyn. The snow remained for over nine weeks during which time it froze and cottage and hedgerow were completely obliterated. The cold weather lasted until July. Then followed a very dry summer and a good harvest.

In 1826 a Limestone quarry was started on Morfa Trwyn Glas cliffs, by Mr Griffiths, Bodegroes and Griff Jones, Rhydlios. Business increased in subsequent years until the limestone gave out, then the company went bankrupt.

The year 1828 saw a Revival in which Christmas Evans took an active part in Lleyn. About this time lime became an important factor in farming, and limekilns were built at various parts near the seashore, including one at Porthoer.

In April 1830 the 3-masted sailing ship Newry of Warren Point, Ireland was wrecked at Porth Orion, Anelog. It had on board 400 passengers for Canada, and many of them lost their lives. The bodies which came ashore, were buried in St Hywyn’s churchyard Aberdaron. Those saved went back to Ireland. This was a shipwreck to remember, and a cave near where the ship came ashore was afterwards named “Ogof Newry”

1830 to 1840

In 1831 there was another Revival in Lleyn and on September 16th John Elias preached at a Pwllheli Sassiwn. The following year the Revival spread to Llwyndyrus, Pentreuchaf and later to Edern and Tydweiliog.

On September 25th 1831 Richard Parry of the Brig “Endeavour” was drowned when he fell overboard near the Rivals, Nafyn.

In 1832 the Candle Tax was repealed. Candles were then 1penny a lb and some 3pence a lb. Poorer people found the price too high.

In 1832 the ship “Rossey” of Ireland came ashore at Morfa Trwyn Glas, the crew being saved.

In 1834 the Tax on almanacs was repealed. It used to be the custom for sailors that call at Dublin on their voyages to Ireland to buy almanacs. Some of these were printed in Welsh at a penny each. These were smuggled into Wales and sold at a profit.

In 1835 Nefyn possessed a silver seal.

On Sunday May the 15th 1835, there was an Eclipse of the Sun one of the most exiting events witnessed for sometime in Lleyn.

On May 15th 1838 a meeting of Temperance supporters took place at Aberdaron, and they marched in procession, waving banners, down into the village. The previous day they had marched to Rhiw.

In 1839 the ship “Transit” was wrecked at Porth Neigwl with a cargo of cotton.

In 1840 the ship “Arfestone” came ashore at Porth Neigwl with a part cargo of gold. The ship carried a crew of 22.

1840 to 1850

In 1841 the New Church, Aberdaron was completed at a cost of £1400 and the same time the bridge at Bodernabwy was built. Previously it had been difficult for farmers and pedestrians to cross. Travelers had to ford the stream, which in wet weather ran swiftly.

On April 14th 1841 John Williams lost his life crossing to Aberdaron with the Bardsey boat.

On January 7th 1843 the s.s. Monk was lost when crossing Caernarvon Bar on a journey from Porthdinllaen to Liverpool, in a great storm. Six local men lost their lives, including Thomas Jones, brother of Robert Jones of Tocia Coaches, Aberdaron.

In 1843 John Williams, King of Bardsey, was drowned when fishing from a rowing boat, which overturned in a squall.

In 1844 the search for coal became more vigorous at Hebron, Llangwnadl. A shaft was sunk at Rhos Cabli, but was soon closed.

In 1845 a potato disease broke out in Lleyn, causing great losses to farmers.

In 1847 a mysterious event occurred at Porthychain, Penllech, Tydweiliog. A ship was wrecked and came ashore with no one aboard her. When boarded, a watch was found still ticking in the cabin, together with a live pig, which was taken to Nanhoron.

In 1847 the Afon Fawr Bridge at Llangwnadl was built. Previously there had been a wooden bridge here, loosely placed on two large stones. On dark nights many a traveler missed his footing and fell into the river, which at times was swift and deep.

In  1848 a ship came ashore in Porth Neigwl with a cargo of saddles and leather goods.

On December 3rd 1848 Cadwaladr Owen preached at a meeting at Bodwrdda which started a Revival extending later to Rhydlios, Pencaerau, Pengraig and Ty Mawr. All the chapels in these districts increased their membership considerably.

In 1849 the cost of flour was considerable. Brown flour cost 4 pence a lb, and oatmeal at the mill was about 3 ¼  a lb. In order to cheapen the price a little, some millers sold sweepings at a cheap rate to the poor. When the Corn Bill was repealed in 1849 it was possible to get flour at just over a 1d a lb. Which proved a great benefit to the poor.

1850 to 1860

In 1850 the “Sellar” was wrecked on Porthoer rocks. The captain was William Owen, of Glanymor, Llangwnadl.

On Monday, Nov 1st 1852, there was a great earth tremor in Lleyn. Many people living in Pwllheli were terrified and thought the world was coming to an end.

In 1853 a Norwegian ship cams ashore at Porth Cadlan. She carried a cargo of oil, and after refloting was towed to Pwllheli for repairs, but was lost on her next voyage with all hands. In the summer of 1853 hot weather prevailed and many people died of sunstroke.

In 1855 a cold snap continued from January until March and the land was frozen up for practically three months.

In 1858 another earth tremor occurred in Lleyn and a huge stone at Llangian was split in half. This stone can be seen today near the church.

In 1858 another search for coal was made on the Hebron and Rhoshirwaen Commons, but it proved unsuccessful.

On October 26th 1859 a great storm swept the country. Many ships were wrecked at sea, notably the “Royal Charter” on the Anglesey coast. A Spanish ship, the “Villa” came ashore at Cerrig y Defaid, Llangwnadl. Nine other ships were wrecked at Porthoer and seven were lost with all hands. Some of the bodies were terribly crushed between the rocks. Capt William Richard, one of the skippers was drowned. This was one of the greatest storms known in Lleyn.

1860 to 1870

In 1861 a ship carrying flour was wrecked near Porth Llanllawen, Anelog, and a boy came ashore carrying a bible under his arm. Two of the crew were drowned.

In 1863 the Tea and Sugar Tax was repealed. Before this Tea cost 5/- a lb and brown Sugar 6d a lb. When a spoonful of brown sugar was put into a cup it turned the Tea black, and many people thought they were poisoned.

In 1864 the first Hiring Fair were held in Sarn on the 15th of  May and the 11th of November.

In 1864 the first Lifeboat went to her station in Porthdinllaen. Previously thirteen shipwrecks were reported in the bay in one day. The first boat was a large rowing boat with sails and was named the “George Moore”.

In 1864 the Rev Evan Lloyd, minister of Hebron chapel, Llangwnadl was found dying on the side of the road.

On Thursday Dec 6th 1866 the schooner “Henry Catherine” of Nefyn was wrecked at Porth Neigwl and her Capt Henry Roberts lost his life, but many of the crew were saved.

In 1867 the brigantine “Columbia” of Carnarvon and the “Catherine” of Barmouth were wrecked at Porthdinllaen.

In 1867 a search was made for copper near Deunant, Aberdaron, but no results were obtained, and the search was abandoned.

In Porthdinllaen in1868 the schooner “Denbighshire Lass” of Bumaris was wrecked, and from 1869 to 1870 the “George Moore” Lifeboat saved eight lives from the flat “Williams”, brigantine “Gleaner” and the schooner “Gronant”, all hailing from Caernarvon.

On January 24th 1868 the “Sarah Caroline” was wrecked at Porthdinllaen.


(Gleaned from a book written by Eddie Kenrick)


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