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"FFESTINIOG, a parish and town in the hundred of Ardudwy, county Merioneth, North Wales, 19 miles N. W. of Bala. Its post town is Carnarvon. It stands on an eminence at the head of a beautiful vale called by its name-the Festiniog Vale. This picturesque vale, which gives celebrity to the village, has been eulogised by many distinguished travellers. Mr. Pennant calls it "the Tempe of the country." Mr. Warner observes, that "it comprehends every object that can enrich or diversify a landscape." Mr. Wyndham affirms, that "it affords as rich studies for the painter as the neighbourhood of Tivoli or Frescati;" and Lord Lyttelton, who visited the place about the year 1756, is still more lavish of his encomiums: "With the woman one loves, with the friend of one's heart, and a study of books," said his lordship to the notorious Archibald Bower, "one might pass an age in this vale, and think it a day."" [From The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868) - Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003]


Ab Owain, Steffan. Blaenau Ffestiniog Market Hall : a glance at its history. [Blaenau Ffestiniog] : [Cyfeillion Neuadd y Farchnad], 1995

Boyd, James I C. The Festiniog Railway : a history of the narrow gauge railway linking the slate quarries of Blaenau Ffestiniog with Portmadoc, North Wales, together with outline histories of quarry undertakings connected to the railway, 1800-1974. [Blandford] : Oakwood Press, 1975.

Brown, Roger L. The parish of Ffestiniog with Maentwrog : the tribulations of three nineteenth century incumbents . Journal of the Merioneth Historical and Record Society 10 (1987/88), p. 241-8

Buckley, John. The militia list of the parish of Ffestiniog, Merionethshire, 1827. Gwreiddiau Gwynedd/Gwynedd Roots 11 (1986), p. 14-18

Canmlwyddiant Eglwys y Bowydd (M. C.), Blaenau Ffestiniog (1882-1982). [Blaenau Ffestiniog] : [Eglwys y Bowydd], [1982]. 21p

Canmlwyddiant Eglwys Hyfrydfa, Manod, Blaenau Ffestiniog : 1879-1979. Blaenau Ffestiniog : Hyfrydfa, 1979. 12p  

Davies, Lewis. Hanes y Bedyddwyr Neillduol yn Ffestiniog, o'i dechreuad hyd y flwyddyn 1900. Blaenau Ffestiniog : Argraffwyd dros y cyhoeddwr yn Swyddfa y Gloch, 1900.  80p

Ffestiniog yesterday and today : a history of our village. [S.l.] : Gwynedd Meirionnydd Federation of Women's Institutes Project, 1998. 111p

Gareth Maelor. Bara brith o'r Blaenau. [Caernarfon] : Gwasanaeth Llyfrgell Gwynedd, 1986. 35p

Hanes ysgolion sabbathol dosbarth Ffestiniog : o'r cychwyniad hyd ddechreu yr ugeinfed ganrif. Blaenau Ffestiniog : Argraffwyd gan Davies & Co, [1906?] 331p

Hoskins, D. Hanes ysgolion Sabbothol dosbarth Ffestiniog, o'u cychwyniad hyd ddechreu yr ugeinfed canrif. Blaenau Ffestiniog : Argraffwyd gan Davies and Co., [1906?] 331p

Hughes, A Lloyd. Sylvanus Evans (1833-1911), Ffestiniog : porthmon a masnachwr ceffylau. Journal of the Merioneth Historical and Record Society 11 (1993), p. 483-4

Isherwood, J D. Slate : from Blaenau Ffestiniog. Leicester : AB Publishing, c1988. 48p

Johnson, Peter. Festiniog 150 : the history of the Ffestiniog railway. Weybridge : Ian Allan, 1986. 48p

Johnson, Peter. Festiniog in colour = Ffestiniog mewn lliw. Shepperton : Ian Allan, 1995. 64p

Jones, Brian. The Owens of Neuadd Ddu, Blaenau Ffestiniog : a Calvinistic methodist family in teh 18th and 19th centuries . Gwreiddiau Gwynedd / Gwynedd Roots. 35 (1998), p. 20-21

Jones, Ernest. Blaenau Ffestiniog in old picture postcards. Zaltbommel, Netherlands : European Library, 1985. 80p

Jones, Geraint Wyn. Dyddiadur ysgol : Ysgol y Manod 1867-1967. Blaenau Ffestiniog : Cymdeithas y Fainc Sglodion, 1997. 49p

Jones, J Gordon. Trem ar hanes Ffestiniog 1800-1914. [Caernarfon] : Gwasanaeth Llyfrgell Gwynedd, 1990. 22p

Jones, J Gordon. The social consequences of industrialisation in the Ffestiniog district, 1800-1914. Journal of the Merioneth Historical and Record Society 12 (1994), p. 29-42

Jones, J Llewelyn. Eglwys Bethesda M.C., Blaenau Ffestiniog Dathlu can mlynedd a hanner yr Achos 1819-1969 a chanmlwyddiant y capel 1869-1969. Abergele : J. H. Williams, 1968. 36p

Jones, William. Hanes plwyf Ffestiniog a'r amgylchoedd : yn cynwys desgrifiad o'r gwahanol fynyddoedd, cymoedd, dyffrynoedd ac afonydd, y chwarelau a'r ardaloedd; amryw nodiadau hynafiaethol, yn nghyda lliaws o ystadegau dyddorol. Blaenau Ffestiniog : Argraffwyd gan Jones a Roberts, 1879. 122p

Lewis, Michael J T. Pioneers of Ffestiniog slate. Maentwrog : Snowdonia National Park Study Centre, 1987. 31p

Lewis, Michael J T. Sails on the Dwyryd : the river transport of Ffestiniog slate. Blaenau Ffestiniog : Snowdonia National Park Study Centre, 1989. 116p

Lewis, Michael J T. Archery and spoonerisms : the creators of the Ffestiniog Railway. Journal of the Merioneth Historical and Record Society 12 (1996), p. 263-76

Parry, Cyril. Agweddau ar hanes Ffestiniog yn y dau-ddegau. Caernarfon : Gwasanaeth Llyfrgell Gwynedd, 1989. 19p

Roberts, H O. Hanes Annibyniaeth yn mhlwyf Ffestiniog, yn cynwys byr gofnodion am bersonau...  Blaenau Ffestiniog : Jones a Roberts, 1879. 56p

Williams, David. Hanes Annibyniaeth ym mhlwyf Ffestiniog. Blaenau Ffestiniog : Cyhoeddir gan Bwyllgor Eisteddfod Gadeiriol Annibynwyr Ffestiniog, [1927]  148p

Williams, G J. Hanes plwyf Ffestiniog o'r cyfnod boreuaf .   Wrexham : Hughes and Son, [1882]

Williams, Merfyn C. Chwarelwyr cyntaf Ffestiniog. Maentwrog : Canolfan Astudio Parc Cenedlaethol Eryri, 1987. 30p

Business and Commerce Records

 Details of extant records on Archives Network Wales  for the following;

  • Ffestiniog Railway Company archive 1832-1965 
    "The Ffestiniog Railway Company ... was incorporated by Act of Parliament in 1832. James Spooner of Worcestershire was responsible for the survey and construction of the railway, which ran between Blaenau Ffestiniog Merionethshire, and Porthmadog, Caernarfonshire............."
  • Craig Ddu Slate Quarries, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Papers 1882-1941   "Craig Ddu Slate Quarries, an open quarry, was formerly the Manod Quarry when opened in 1800. It developed as the later name in 1840s......"
  • Edward Jones & Son [Blaenau Ffestiniog], Solicitors' Records 1801-1973
     "Include;..... leases and tenancy agreements relating mainly to properties in Ffestiniog 1836-1960, and letters, 1894-1955; deeds and documents relating to properties in Ffestiniog, Trawsfynydd and elsewhere in Merionethshire, and in Caernarfonshire and Montgomeryshire, 1801-1966;..... records of Ffestiniog Urban District Council, 1899-1969 ..... ; papers relating to education, 1889-1968, including Ffestiniog County School, 1895-1968, and Ffestiniog School Board, 1889-1960   ................."
  • Robert Griffith, Solicitor, Blaenau Ffestiniog Papers 1899-1945   "including; .......records relating to Blaenau Ffestiniog Petty Sessions, 1945.............."
  • Llechwedd Quarry, Blaenau Ffestiniog Records and Correspondence 1875-1916    "Llechwedd Slate Quarry, Blaenau Ffestiniog was owned by J. W. Greaves & Sons during the 19th and 20th centuries. Tal-y-Weunydd is the western part of the quarry. The quarry ..... was opened in 1846....."
  • Llechwedd Slate Quarry Collection 1834-1974
  • Oakeley Slate Quarries Company collection 1831-1972   "Oakeley Slate Quarries Co. Ltd was created in 1883 as an amalgamation of the Upper (Hollands) and Middle quarries (Gloddfa Ganol), Blaenau Ffestiniog. Later, Cwm Orthin and Nyth y Gigfran quarries made the Oakeley Quarries the third largest in the industry.............."
  • Oakeley Slate Quarry Papers 1880 - 1884   "Pay sheet counterfoils, January to May and June to October 1880 Waybills, February to October 1884"
  • Rhiwbach Slate Quarry, Blaenau Ffestiniog records 1875-1929   "The Rhiwbach Slate Quarry has been commercially exploited since 1812......"
  • Rhiwbach Papers 1858-1920   "include accounts of 'country sales', particulars of slate making, wharf accounts, 'bargain' books, slate inspector's book, day wagemen accounts, pay sheet deduction ledgers, time books, stores accounts, accident returns, price cards ......"
  • Votty and Bowydd Slate Quarry Co. Ltd Records 1850-1964   "Votty and Bowydd Slate Quarry Co. Ltd, were based in Blaenau Ffestiniog. Bowydd Quarry was begun in the 18th century but developed substantially after being amalgamated with Votty Quarry in the 1830s.........."
  • Hafodlas Slate Quarry [Ffestiniog] Papers 1865-1866  
  • Tanygrisiau Cobbler Account Books 1885 - 1909   " ...... containing the names of customers from the Ffestiniog area."

Church History

Church and chapel data from The Religious census of 1851 : A Calendar of the returns relating to Wales, Vol 11, North Wales. Ed. by Ieuan Gwynedd Jones, UWP,   1981. The names given towards the end of each entry are those of the informants.

Parish statistics; Area 16456 acres; Population 1878 males, 1582 females, total 3460

  • The return is missing

Rees, Thomas & John Thomas. Hanes Eglwysi Annibynnol Cymru (History of the Welsh Independent Churches), 4 volumes (published 1871+). Here is the entry from this book for Salem, Rhiwbryfdir chapel (in Welsh ) - with translation by Eleri Rowlands (Feb 2008)         
Also Bethania chapel (No translation)       Also Llan chapel  (No translation)      And Tanygrisiau chapel (No translation)     And Fourcrosses  chapel (No translation)

Church Records

Joyce Hinde has supplied a list of Parish Registers held at Merioneth Record Office.

Details of extant records on Archives Network Wales  for the following;

  • Capel Brynbowydd, Blaenau Ffestiniog, cofnodion (records) 1880-1980  "Capel Brynbowydd was an Independent chapel founded in 1880 ............."
  • Capel Tabernacl (MC), Blaenau Ffestiniog, cofnodion (records) 1891-1958   "Capel Tabernacl Calvinistic Methodist Church, Blaenau Ffestiniog was established in 1864, and was still active in 1958"
  • Tabernacl Chapel [CM], Blaenau Ffestiniog Account Book 1918 - 1926
  • Capeli Hyfrydfa a Bethania, Blaenau Ffestiniog, cofnodion (records) [1872]-1978    "Capel Bethania and Capel Hyfrydfa, Manod, were Independent Churches in Blaenau Ffestiniog. Bethania was ..... established in 1818....... forced to establish several daughter chapels ....... Capel Hyfrydfa was ..... founded in 1879.
  • Eglwys Bethesda, Blaenau Ffestiniog records 1839-1975   "Eglwys Bethesda, Bethesda Calvinistic Methodist Church, ........ first chapel was built in 1826........"
  • Jerusalem, Blaenau Ffestiniog, cofnodion (records) 1872-1977  "Jerusalem Independent Church (also called Fourcrosses), Blaenau Ffestiniog was established in 1869........."
  • Eglwys Engedi [CM], Ffestiniog, cofysgrifau (records) 1881-1948   ".......Agorwyd Eglwys Engedi ar 15 Mai 1881 a'i sefydlu yn eglwys ar 23 Mai 1881. Daeth 160 o aelodau Peniel yn aelodau yn Engedi......."

Description and Travel

You can see pictures of Ffestiniog which are provided by:

P Base.com's photographic gallery of Blaenau Ffestiniog

Ffestiniog Power Station  - on the First Hydro site

Blaenau Ffestiniog - on the Anglesey.info site



Details of extant records on Archives Network Wales for the following;

  • Casson family papers 1826-1897
    "Include; .........the Diphwys slate quarry [Ffestiniog], 1836-1892;...... and letters relating to Ffestiniog Poor Law Union, 1852-1860......"
  • Tanymanod and Gelli estate, papers 1799-1932, 1953-1955   "Papers of the families of Vaughan and Jones relating to the Tanymanod and Gelli estates, Ffestiniog..........."
  • Cadwaladr Jones, Ffestiniog Papers 1838 - 1891   "Cadwaladr Jones of Pen-y-ffridd, Ffestiniog, was a zealous Congregationalist and one of the main supporters of the cause in Ffestiniog..........."

Historical Geography

You can see the administrative areas in which Ffestiniog has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.


Women who knitted socks at Blaenau Ffestiniog during the First World War - on the People's Collection Wales site

Details of extant records on Archives Network Wales for the following;

  • Festiniog Benefit Society Records and Correspondence [18th century]-1957     "....... active from 1898 ......."
  • Reese, W. H., Blaenau Ffestiniog casgliad (collection)    "......including notebooks on the history of Blaenau Ffestiniog and history generally, [20th century,....."
  • Hugh Roberts Photographic Collection 1852-[1970s]    "...... was a native of Blaenau Ffestiniog ... collected and took photographs of the town, its industries and its people"

Land and Property

Details of extant records on Archives Network Wales for the following;

  • Blaenddol Collection  1802-1906    "The estates of Tanymanod and Blaenddôl in Ffestiniog, were closely linked with the slate industry. The brothers Thomas and William Casson lived at Blaenddôl in the early 19th century and were partners of William Turner at Diffwys Slate Quarry. Evan Parry Jones managed the Diphwys Casson Slate Co......"


Gwynedd Family History Society  havea diagram of the ecclesiastical parishes of Merionethshire (under Parishes)  - with some links to photographs of parish churches

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SH703418 (Lat/Lon: 52.957827, -3.932296), Ffestiniog which are provided by:


The manganese mines of Merionethshire

Rhosydd, a Ffestiniog Slate Quarry - on Dave Sallery's site

Ffestiniog Railway site

W Hughes, Ffestiniog carrier, c 1875 - on the People's Collection Wales site

Poor Houses, Poor Law etc.

Ffestiniog Workhouse -  on Peter Higginbotham's site