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Historic Buildings of Merionethshire

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Historic Buildings of Merionethshire, Wales

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Image right - Harlech Castle HELP is always welcome - Please get involved!!

If you have information about any of the Buildings mentioned below please share it here. If you have ancestors linked to any of the places please add them to the project.

The object of this project is to provide information about historic buildings in the county of Merionethshire, with links to sub-projects for specific buildings as appropriate. GENi profiles of people associated with those establishments can be linked to this project and/or to individual projects where they have been set up.

Castles, Baronial and Historic houses

... in alphabetical order

❊ Indicates an available image in Gallery attached to the project

Including Castles, Abbeys, Manor Houses, Mansions, Stately Homes, Country houses, Estate houses, Courts, Halls, Parks and other listed buildings of historic interest

Bold links are to GENi projects and profiles; others are to external websites



  • Cae Ednyfed - once the property of Ednyfed Fychan, commander-in-chief to Llywelyn ap Iorwerth.
  • Castell y Bere, Llanfihangel-y-Pennant - a stronghold of the princes of Gwynedd in the 13th century
  • Coleg y Bala, Bala - of the Calvinistic Methodists was founded in 1712
  • Cors-y-gedol (The Bog of Hospitality), family mansion of Vaughan dynasty, (who were instrumental in placing Henry VII on the throne in 1485) with the family chapel. The existing mansion was built in 1576. Nearby, the Cors-y-gedol burial chamber stands amidst the site of ancient fields and settlements.
  • Cymer Abbey 12th century near Dolgellau.
  • Cynfal motte-and-bailey castle, Bryncrug - built in 1137 by Cadwaladr ap Gruffydd, brother of Owain Gwynedd.


  • Dolmelynllyn Hall Ganllwyd - (now a Hotel and owned by the National Trust)


  • 'Esgair Weddan' - farmstead just outside Pennal which from the 14th century until the mid 18th was the home of the Price (ap Rhys) family of Esgair Weddan, patrilineal descendants of Dafydd ap Llywelyn, son of Llywelyn Fawr (the great) Prince of Wales (1240-1246). Their home was called Plas yn y Rofft in Elizabethan times and was located in a field behind the present farmhouse above the village of Cwrt,(originally Pont y Cwrt, meaning "court") near to Mynydd Esgairweddan.


  • Gwerclas Hall - situated approximately a mile north-west of Cynwyd village. The present grade II* listed building dates mainly to 1767 and was built for Hugh Hughes Lloyd, replacing a house that had stood on the site for several hundred years. In was constructed in three storeys with a three-bay frontage and a central pedimented porch entrance. The Gwerclas estate became part of the Rhug estate in 1824 on the death of Richard Hughes until it was sold in 1972.


  • Harlech Castle ❊ - a medieval fortification, constructed on a spur of rock close to the Irish Sea. It was built by Edward I during his invasion of Wales between 1282 and 1289 at the substantial cost of £8,190. Over the next few centuries, the castle played an important part in several wars, withstanding the siege of Madog ap Llywelyn between 1294–95, but falling to Owain Glyndŵr in 1404. It then became Glyndŵr's residence and military headquarters for the remainder of the uprising until being recaptured by English forces in 1409. During the 15th century Wars of the Roses, Harlech was held by the Lancastrians for seven years, before Yorkist troops forced its surrender in 1468, a siege memorialised in the song Men of Harlech. Following the outbreak of the English Civil War in 1642, the castle was held by forces loyal to Charles I, holding out until 1647 when it became the last fortification to surrender to the Parliamentary armies. In the 21st century the ruined castle is managed by Cadw, the Welsh Government's historic environment service, as a tourist attraction.
  • Hendre Hall (located next to the Snowdonia National Park Headquarters) Where Humphrey Humphreys was born in 1648, Bishop of Bangor and then Hereford. According to Edward Llwyd he was the most patriotic Welshman of his time. His parents Richard Humphreys and Margaret Wynn are buried at St Brothen's Church, Llanfrothen. He died in 1712. One of the family carvings at the Holy Trinity Church Penrhyndeudraeth is of him and there is also an oak chest which Richard Humphreys gave to Llanfrothen Church whilst working as its warden in 1690.
  • Hengwrt House near Dolgellau whose 17th century owner Robert Vaughan (1592–1667) kept an extensive library. This was home, among other treasures, to the Book of Taliesin, the Black Book of Carmarthen, the White Book of Rhydderch and the Hengwrt manuscript.


  • Llugwy Hall - just outside Pennal, on the banks of the Dovey opposite the hamlet of Morben, is the home of the Anwyl family since 1682. This family have patrilinear descent from Rhodri Mawr through Anarawd, his eldest son, and Owain Gwynedd (king of Gwynedd c.1137 - 1170) to the present day.


  • Palé Hall - built in 1871, on the site of an older manor house in Llandderfel. It was designed by Samuel Pountey Smith of Shrewsbury for Henry Robertson MP, a railway engineer and local landowner. The house was used as a military hospital in World War I and a home for evacuated children in World War II. The Robertson family sold the estate to the Duke of Westminster in the 1950s
  • Parc, Llanfrothen a Grade II* Listed Building - ancestral home of Tywyn Family. The Anwyl's are direct male line descendants of Rhodri ab Owain Gwynedd and as such are members of the House of Aberffraw and represent a surviving fragment of the mediæval Welsh princely families.
  • Plas Tan y Bwlch, Maentwrog - house substantially rebuilt during the 19th century by the rich Oakeley family on the site of a first house probably built in the early 17th century
  • Portmeirion within the parish of Penrhyndeudraeth. Portmerion is best known for its eponymous pottery and as the filming location for the 1960s television series The Prisoner.


  • Ynysymaengwyn, Bryncrug - a mansion built in 1758 but now demolished.. 'Sir' Arthur ap Huw, the grandson of Hywel ap Siencyn of Ynysymaengwyn, was vicar of St Cadfan's between 1555 and 1570, and was a notable patron of the poets as well as being a translator of Counter-Reformation literature into Welsh. The Ynysymaengwyn family were important patrons and many of the poems to them have been preserved in a manuscript of cywyddau (British Library Additional MS 14866) copied by a native of the Tywyn area, David Johns who was the great-grandson of Hywel ap Siencyn. Later additions to this manuscript contain several 18th-century Welsh poems, some of which relate to the Owen and Corbet family of Ynysymaengwyn and to the Rev Edward Morgan of Tywyn. Edward Morgan, the brother of the poet John Morgan, was vicar of St Cadfan's from 1717 and was one of the 18th-century owners of David Johns's manuscript. The poet and scholar Evan Evans (Ieuan Fardd, 1731–88) was curate of St Cadfan's between 1772 and 1777. During his time at Tywyn he was the bardic teacher of David Richards (Dafydd Ionawr) (1751–1827), a native of the parish. During the 18th century, the Corbet family of Ynysymaengwyn played a leading role in the Tywyn area. They were responsible for draining much of the morfa or salt marsh between the town and the Dysynni river, which greatly increased the land available for farming in that part of the parish. In Samuel Lewis's A Topographical Dictionary of Wales (1833) it is reported that popular horse races were held on land by the Dysynni every September. The raven was the Corbet family emblem (an allusion to the Norman French for 'raven') and the bird is still used as emblem of Tywyn. The name Raven was once that of a public house in the centre of the town. One notable landlord of the Raven was Griffith Owen (1750–1833), who was both butler and harpist to the Corbets before he moved to the Raven. A portrait of him by Benjamin Marshall (1768–1835) was formerly at Ynysymaengwyn. Ynysymaengwyn was bought by John Corbett of Chateau Impney, Droitwich in 1878. He was not related to the previous Corbet family, but the similarity of the names certainly attracted him. Although not a permanent resident, Corbett spent long periods and even more money in Tywyn, and some of the town's key features are the product of his investments. He developed the water and sewerage system and also constructed the promenade at a cost of some £30,000. He gave land and money for the Market Hall, built to celebrate Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee in 1897. It was his money that enabled Brynarfor to be opened as Towyn Intermediate School in 1894. He rebuilt the Corbett Arms Hotel (thenceforth spelled with two 't's), and also contributed to the Assembly Room (1893), now Tywyn Cinema. Ynysymaengwyn passed in time to the local council, who neglected the house and eventually demolished it.

References and Sources

Merionethshire Specific


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