"Porthdinllaen Shipbuilding"


Trwyn Llwyd.

This is where the Lifeboat Hut stands today and two ships were built here even though it was quite a distance from where ships were normally built. The reason being that all the other sites at the time were full to capacity and there was no other location to be had and this just goes to show what an industrious place Porthdinllaen was during the 19th C. The ships were built at the bottom of the cliff and launched sideways on the ebb.


"John Williams"

A very old photograph (1869) of John Williams one of Porthdinllaen's Blacksmiths

Photo from I M Evans, thank you very much.


At the bottom of the cliff between the Ty Coch and Whitehall and path that leads up to the golf a ship called the ‘Voelas’ was built. Not far from here was David Rice’s sail loft. David Rice began his career as the sail maker but went on to make quite a name for himself as he owned the lime kilns, imported coal, and lent money for goods and to mortgage ships. He also owned quite a few properties in the area.


Hen Blas.

The ‘Three Brothers’, ‘Brothers’ and the ‘Anne Ellen’ were built here by Watkin Jones, Pwll Blew, between Hen Blas and ‘Warws Dora’. There was a smithy here owned by a Mr Bracegirdle.


James Owen, Oakfield and Robert Roberts, Llain Hir Edeyrn, who were partners built ships here on the Hen Blas side of Bwlch. This was the main site for shipbuilding and it was very busy. On average fifteen months to build a ship and most of the ships built here were for the Beck family of Newcastle. The ships bore the Beck name for example ‘Fanny Beck’. They had a cradle to launch the ships and they were launched bow first. On the other side of Bwlch Evan Ellis Rhos and Huw Huws built a good deal of ships, though they were not in partnership.

The Wood

The wood to build these ships would come from various places apart from the woodlands of Caernarfonshire, places such as Meirionethshire and Newhaven. The baulkes to build the masts would be imported from America and the ships that carried these had what was known as Boke Ports on their bows. These Boke Ports were trap doors where the timber could slide in and out for loading and discharging as it would be impossible to do so in any other way as they were long and bulky timbers. Men would come with horses and wood wagons from Pwllheli to unload, these wagons would also be used to bring wood from woodlands in the county.

The Men

The men employed in Nefyn and Porthdinllaen not only came from the immediate vicinity but also from outlaying villages as well as from Pwllheli. Quite a few of the carpenters came from the village of Llaniestyn and they would have an early start to walk to Porthdinllaen by the time they started work at six am. It would be a long day and they would finish at eight pm. During the winter months when the days drew in, many of the workers would take pieces of wood home and spent their evenings shaping the wood into wedges for use the following day, whilst others would be down on the beach before daybreak working round the fires preparing the oakum for caulking the ships. For this they would earn about 12/- to 14/- a week.

Joiners would be responsible for making the cabins and furnishing the ships. Men such as Thomas Jones, Caerpwll and Thomas Jones, Pen y Graig.

One who carved figureheads was Evan Hughes, Pen yr Orsedd, but the majority of the work force, were carpenters.

List of carpenters

Griffith Parry, Tyn Llwyd, Morfa Nefyn.

Robert Parry, Bol Llaith, Penrallt, Nefyn.

Henry Parry, Caepwll, Morfa.

William Jones, Caerpwll, Morfa.

Thomas Jones, Ben a Jun, Llwyn Gwalch, Morfa.

Evan Ellis, Rhos Morfa.

Watkin Jones, Pwll Blew, Morfa.

John Roberts, Glanrafon, Morfa.

James Owen, Olffilt, Morfa.

Hugh Hughes, Penrhos, Morfa.

John Hughes, Penrorsedd Morfa.

Owen Williams, Werddon, Morfa.

John Williams, Werddon.

William Rowlands, Fron Deg.

William Williams , Caergwrle.

Richard Jones, Barics.

William Jones, Mount.

John Parry Penrallt.

Robert Parry Penrallt.

William Roberts Cae Coch, Morfa.

Hugh Jones, Glandwr.

John Williams, Llain Fadryn.

Griffith Owen, Dyffryn.

John Owen, Dyffryn.

Robert Humphreys, Cae Bach.

Hugh Roberts, Glanrafon

Richard Williams, Penrallt.

Evan Hughes, Penrorsedd.

Ellis Humphreys, Cil.



Robert Thomas, Tai’r Lon.

William Roberts, Vron.

Robert Williams, Llwyn Mary Mynydd Nefyn.

Evan Jones Rhos bach.

William Roberts Siop Glanrafon.

List of ships built at Porthdinllaen


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