Snippets about Lleyn
1770 to 1870
1770 to 1800
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
September 25th 1831 Richard Parry of the Brig “Endeavour” was
drowned when he fell overboard near the Rivals, Nafyn.
1832 the Candle Tax was repealed. Candles were then 1penny a lb and some 3pence
a lb. Poorer people found the price too high.
1832 the ship “Rossey” of Ireland came ashore at Morfa Trwyn Glas, the crew
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
1835 Nefyn possessed a silver seal.
Sunday May the 15th 1835, there was an Eclipse of the Sun one of the
most exiting events witnessed for sometime in Lleyn.
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.
1839 the ship “Transit” was wrecked at Porth Neigwl with a cargo of cotton.
1840 the ship “Arfestone” came ashore at Porth Neigwl with a part cargo of
gold. The ship carried a crew of 22.
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.
April 14th 1841 John Williams lost his life crossing to Aberdaron
with the Bardsey boat.
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
1843 John Williams, King of Bardsey, was drowned when fishing from a rowing
boat, which overturned in a squall.
1844 the search for coal became more vigorous at Hebron, Llangwnadl. A shaft was
sunk at Rhos Cabli, but was soon closed.
1845 a potato disease broke out in Lleyn, causing great losses to farmers.
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
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
1848 a ship came ashore in Porth Neigwl with a cargo of saddles and
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.
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 the “Sellar” was wrecked on Porthoer rocks. The captain was William
Owen, of Glanymor, Llangwnadl.
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
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.
1855 a cold snap continued from January until March and the land was frozen up
for practically three months.
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.
1858 another search for coal was made on the Hebron and Rhoshirwaen Commons, but
it proved unsuccessful.
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.
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.
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.
1864 the first Hiring Fair were held in Sarn on the 15th of
May and the 11th of November.
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”.
1864 the Rev Evan Lloyd, minister of Hebron chapel, Llangwnadl was found dying
on the side of the road.
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.
1867 the brigantine “Columbia” of Carnarvon and the “Catherine” of
Barmouth were wrecked at Porthdinllaen.
1867 a search was made for copper near Deunant, Aberdaron, but no results were
obtained, and the search was abandoned.
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.
January 24th 1868 the “Sarah Caroline” was wrecked at
(Gleaned from a book written by Eddie Kenrick)
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