1287. Nevin in this year possessed 63 fishing nets and some boats.
1587. French privateer in distress at Porthdinllaen Bay.
1647. Bardsey Island attacked by pirates.
1650. Bardsey Island again attacked.
1690. William III, and his fleet anchored at Porthysgaden, Llyn on their
way to Ireland.
1716. Customs built a storehouse at Porthdinllaen.
1725. Smuggling riots at Nevin.
1729. First Customs Office appointed to Nevin.
1735. Sloop “Maria” with a cargo of timber, on
passage from Barmouth to Milford, put in to Aberdaron on account of the
1735. Thomas Williams, a native of Wales, found
guilty of piracy at the Old Bailey and hanged.
1748. 51,000 barrels of herrings were disposed of in
Nevin during this year.
1759. Brig “Barry” of 46 tons, built at Pwllheli.
She was the first vessel to be built ther of which there are any records.
1760. The first vessel built at Nevin. She was the
1762. Nevin ships in this year supplied herrings to
Cork and Dublin, and at Cork they supplied a transport sailing for H.M.
1763. Smuggling Cutter landing rum at Porthdinllaen.
1767. A sloop of 100 tons anchored at Aberdaron
smuggling tea and brandy.
1767. Sloop “Nancy” built at Edern.
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.
1774. Sloop “Venus” built at Abersoch.
1780. Capt. Timothy Edwards of Nanhoron, who was in
command of the 76-gun ship “Cornwall” died.
1785. A large smuggling cutter was temporarily
disabled on the rocks at Porthdinllaen and was seized by the Customs
1786. Boat seized at Porthdinllaen after being in
communication with a smuggling lugger. Another lugger sailed from there
1790. John Evans, a native of Caernarvonshire,
sailed to America to discover the Welsh Indians. He penetrated 1300 miles
up the Missouri river.
1791. In February a smuggling lugger and French
Privateer seen off Porthdinllaen.
1791. Customs boat seized at Porthdinllaen by a smuggling lugger.
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, which 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
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.
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
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
1814 the “Dunahoo” was wrecked on the rocks at Porth Colmon, Llangwnadle
and the captain, whose body came ashore, was buried on the cliffs. 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.
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”
September 25th 1831 Richard Parry of the Brig “Endeavour” was
drowned when he fell overboard near the Rivals, Nafyn.
1832 the ship “Rossey” of Ireland came ashore at Morfa Trwyn Glas, the
crew being saved.
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.
1839 the ship “Transit” was wrecked at Porth Neigwl with a cargo of
1840 the ship “Arfestone” came ashore at Porth Neigwl with a part cargo of
gold. The ship carried a crew of 22.
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 Coaches, Aberdaron.
1843 John Williams, King of Bardsey, was drowned when fishing from a
rowing boat, which overturned in a squall.
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.
1848 a ship came ashore in Porth Neigwl with a cargo of saddles and
1850 the “Sellar” was wrecked on Porthor (Whistling Sands) rocks. The
captain was William Owen, of Glanymor, Llangwnadl.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
Porthdinllaen in 1868 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
1876, October 3. The
men of Bardsey rescue the hands of the ship ‘Leah’ they were four in
number. The ship was completely wrecked on the rocks.
1877, December 15. A
shipwreck at Trwyn y Fonwent, close to the Cafn, the islands harbour. The
vessel struck the rocks at midnight. The two men onboard namely Capt
Thomas Jones, Amlwch and Isaac Collins of Holyhead managed to get ashore
safely and were kindly given hospitality at his home by Mr Griffith
Pritchard, Ty Pella.
1881, October 14. Bardsey, a storm of wind and rain the like of
which no one on the island can recall ever experiencing before. This has
been a very tempestuous month indeed. (See Cyprian wreck)
1881, November. This
month in relation to Bardsey can be best described as the month of the
great imprisonment, when it was three weeks before any communication could
be had with Aberdaron. This was due to gale force winds that lasted from
the 8th to the 29th of this month. It’s been thirty
five years since the islanders were stranded for so long.
1891, July, on Bardsey the lighthouse tower colours are changed from white to red and white.