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"PENNAL, (or Penalt, Upper And Lower), a parish in the hundred of Estimaner, county Merioneth, 3 miles W. of Machynlleth, its post town, and 8 from Towyn. It is situated on the river Dyfi, and under Arran-y-Gessel Hill. The village, which is considerable, is a petty sessions town. A portion of the inhabitants are employed in the woollen mills. The surface is ragged and barren, and is traversed by the Roman way Sam Helen. The living is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of Bangor, value £75, in the patronage of the Bishop of Llandaff. The church, dedicated to St. Peter, is partly constructed of Roman bricks. The parochial charities produce about £1 per annum. There is a place of worship for the Wesleyans. Roman coins have been found near the ancient camp called Cefn Caer." [From The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868) - Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003]


Leigh, Leslie A. Tenant farmer family in-migration and stability in the parishes of Pennal and Tywyn, 1838-1910. Journal of the Merioneth Historical and Record Society 12 (1996), p. 277-88

Owain Glyn Dwr 1400-2000 : 'Llythyr Pennal' = Owain Glyn Dwr 1400-2000 : 'Pennal letter' [Aberystwyth] : [Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru], 2000.

Owen, Robert. Cofiant Dafydd Rolant, Pennal. Dolgellau : E. W. Evans, 1896. 151p


Peter Davies's census transcription pages for Pennal

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 7461 acres; Population 309 males, 297 females, total 606

  • St Peter's Parochial Church             Originally a Chapel of Ease under the Collegiate Church of Towyn               Attendance - morning 100          Services in Welsh       "The Tythes amount to about £225 now in the hands of Lord Seaham who allows only £22 for the maintainance of the Minister and the Parish Clark"          Edward Pryce, Churchwarden
  • Wesleyan Methodist Chapel           Attendance - usual 80 + 40 scholars                  Informant; Edward Bell, Registrar
  • Nebo, Calvinistic Methodists            Erected 1820              Attendance - morning, school, afternoon 131, evening 119             David Rowlands, Deacon
  • Carmel, Congregational                  Erected  1816          Attendance - morning 96, afternoon 37, evening 116             Grey Evans, Minister, Bryn Cottages, Pennal
  • Pantreithog Chapel, Welsh Calvinistic Methodists          Erected 1831      Attendance - morning 83, afternoon and evening no service      "The usual number of Scholars attending the Sunday school are 85"       Thomas Jones, Deacon, Glanfechan, nr Machynlleth

St Peter Ad Vincula Church, Pennal - on Castle Wales

Rees, Thomas & John Thomas Hanes Eglwysi Annibynnol Cymru (History of the Welsh Independent Churches), 4 volumes (published 1871+). The Pennal  section (in Welsh) has been extracted

Description and Travel

You can see pictures of Pennal which are provided by:

Domen Las castle, Pennal - on Castle Wales

Aerial photograph of Cefn Caer Roman fort, Pennal, 1989  - on the People's Collection Wales site

Pennal - on Wikipedia


PENNAL, a parish, comprising the Upper and Lower divisions, in the hundred of ESTIMANER, county of MERIONETH, NORTH WALES, 4 miles (W.) from Machynlleth, containing 776 inhabitants, of which number, 258 are in the Upper, and 518 in the Lower, division. This parish, which is situated on the river Dovey, and is intersected by the turnpike road from Machynlleth to Aberdovey and Towyn, comprises a tract of hilly and rocky ground but little adapted for purposes of agriculture. The soil is thin and poor, but, in some of the lower grounds, not altogether unproductive ; the declivities of the hills afford only a scanty pasturage for sheep and young cattle : peat, which forms the principal fuel of the inhabitants, is found in various parts of the parish. The petty sessions for the hundred are held here every alternate month. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the archdeaconry of Merioneth, and diocese of Bangor, endowed with £ 200 royal bounty, and £ 1400 parliamentary grant, and in the patronage of the Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry. The church, dedicated to St. Peter, was rebuilt about fifty years ago, with the materials of an ancient Roman fortress, called Cevn Caer ; but, as the building is entirely covered with stucco, the ancient Roman bricks are not discernible. There are places of worship for Calvinistic and Wesleyan Methodists. Sunday schools are supported by subscription, in connexion with the established church and the several dissenting congregations. Of the ancient Roman fortress of Cevn Caer, nothing but the site is remaining. Several coins of Domitian, Augustus, and Tiberius have been dug up in this spot; and in a turbary at no great distance from it was found a spear head, evidently of Roman construction. From this situation is obtained a fine view of the river Dovey to its mouth, and of Cardigan bay, With the Cardiganshire coast, and the country adjacent. At Esgair Llyverin, in this parish, are preserved the bed and furniture for the reception of Charles I., when on his way through this country to Chester, which was removed to this place from an ancient mansion still remaining in the parish of Machynlleth. In the grounds of Pant y lludw is a remarkably fine yew tree of amazing growth : the trunk is thirty-two feet in girth, at the height of six inches from the ground, and forty-eight feet in height ; and the largest branch is nine feet in girth, and forty-four feet in length. The average annual expenditure for the support of the poor amounts to £331. 7. (A Topographical Dictionary of Wales by Samuel Lewis, 1833)


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

  • The Anwyl Papers 1633-1950   "The Anwyl family have resided at Llugwy in the parish of Pennal, Merionethshire, from ........ 1682..............."

Historical Geography

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


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

  • Cymdeithas Hanes Pennal a Corris, casgliad (collection) 1842-[1984]  "Cymdeithas Hanes Pennal a Corris ('the Pennal and Corris Historical Society') collected photographs and other historical items relating to the parishes of Pennal and Corris and surrounding area....."
  • Machynlleth Poor Law Union Relieving Officer, records "Papers of Ivor Jones, Relieving Officer, 1922-1930, relating mainly to the cases of Mary Davies, Pennal, Merionethshire, and Ann Davies, Cemmaes, including letters, 1923-1930; bills and receipts, 1930."

Land and Property

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

  • Thruston family of Pennal papers 1684-1927   "Deeds of the Pennal Tower estate in Merioneth and Montgomeryshire, 1684-1908, letters, 1842-1927, and letters and reports relating to the prospects of the Gellyllog and Cwmbreichiau slate and slab quarries, Merioneth, 1869-1893."
  • Pennal Tower Estate Records 1501-1922   "Pennal Tower estate records of the Price family of Esgairweddan, Pennal, Merioneth, and the Edwards and Thruston families of Talgarth Hall and Pennal Tower, Pennal, Merioneth, including title deeds, 1501-1918, of the Esgairweddan, Talgarth Hall and Pennal Tower estates, mainly in Merioneth and Montgomeryshire............."
  • Title Deeds to the Fronfelen Estate 1810-1898   "....... The Fronfelen estate lay mainly in the parish of Llanwrin, Montgomeryshire, but also in the parish of Pennal, Merionethshire. The estate owned two fulling mills and a water corn grist mill at Esgairgeiliog.............."


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 SH699004 (Lat/Lon: 52.585768, -3.921791), Pennal which are provided by: