Abergwyngregin - Gazetteers


The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868

National Gazetteer (1868)

"ABERGWYNGREGIN, (or Aber), a parish in the hundred of Uchaf, and union of Bangor, in the county of Carnarvon, North Wales, 4 miles E. of Bangor, and now a station on the Holyhead railway. The village, which is small, stands at the opening of a pleasant glen, near the Lavan sands, on the Menai Straits, which at this point are about 7 miles in breadth. At low water there are 4 miles of fine sands, pleasant for walking. The small river Gwyngregyn flows through the glen and falls here into the straits. The prospect is very fine, extending over the Bay of Beaumaris, and the hills of the Isle of Anglesey, to Great Orme's Head, and the distant Island of Priestholme.

The native princes had once their residence here. A castle was built near the village by Llewellyn the Great, but of this no vestiges remain. It was from this place that Llewellyn sent his wife, the daughter of King John, to intercede with her father, who was attempting the subjugation of North Wales. And hence, too, the last Llewellyn led his forces to the final conflict with Edward I. The church, which is dedicated to St. Bodvan, is spacious and old, with a square tower. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Bangor, value £382, in the patronage of Sir R. B. W. Bulkeley, Bart. The Independents and Wesleyans have places of worship here. There is a school in the village which was established and endowed by Dean Jones, for the purpose of teaching ten poor children of the parish to read Welsh.

[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)
Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003]

A Topographical Dictionary of Wales Samuel Lewis, 1833

ABER, or ABER-GWYNGREGYN, a parish in the hundred of LLECHWEDD UCHAV, County of CARNARVON, NORTH WALES, 6 miles (E. N. E.) from Bangor, containing 552 inhabitants. This place was anciently the residence of the native princes of North Wales, of whom Llewelyn the Great erected, on an artificial mount near the village, a strong castle, to defend the pass, of which, except the site, there are no vestiges ; neither can any traces be discovered of the palace in which he resided. When King John, with a numerous army, attempted the subjugation of North Wales, the same Llewelyn ordered all his men of Denbigh to retire within the fastnesses among the mountains of Snowdon, and from this place despatched his princess, who was the daughter of that monarch, to Aberconway, the head-quarters of the English forces, to intercede with her father, in which she succeeded, and obtained for Llewelyn a treaty of peace, but upon very unfavourable terms. In this castle Llewelyn, in the reign of Henry III., entertained William de Breos, whom he had inveigled into his power, under pretence of celebrating the festival of Easter, and whom, after a sumptuous banquet, he hanged upon one of the adjacent hills, for the supposed corruption of his wife's fidelity, during his previous confinement in the castle as a prisoner of war.

In the reign of Edward I., Llewelyn ab Grufydd, the last of the British princes, made this his principal residence, while struggling against the power of that monarch for the independence of his country. The situation of Aber was highly favourable to the prosecution of his desultory mode of warfare, as, in case of emergency, he could either retire into his strong holds in the mountains, or take shipping in the fine bay adjoining the town. It was at this place he received the summons of Edward I., to surrender his principality to the English crown, and entered into a treaty with that monarch to hold this mountainous district, together with Mona, or the Isle of Anglesey, in vassalage ; and hence, after having broken that treaty, he led his forces, in a final effort for the recovery of his dominions, in which he was slain near Builth. His brother Davydd, together with his wife, two sons, and seven daughters, is said to have been taken in a morass near the mountain of Bere, in this parish, and delivered a captive to the English monarch, then at the castle of Rhuddlan.

The village is small, but is very pleasantly situated near the Lavan sands, at the extremity of a fine vale, or glen, watered by the river Gwyngregyn, which here falls into the Irish sea, and on the road from London to Holyhead, through Chester : it overlooks the beautiful and extensive bay of Beaumaris, and commands a view of the elevated portions of Anglesey, covered with well-grown oaks, and of the wide expanse of waters between that bay and Great Orme's Head, comprehending in the distance the island of Priestholme, which has been made a telegraphic station. The glen extends for a mile and a half between its environing mountains, and on one side is bounded by a majestic rock, called Maes y Gaer, thinly overspread in one part, and richly covered in the other, with trees of stately growth : at its extremity is a mountain of concave form in front, from the centre of which a magnificent cataract descends, forming two successive falls ; the upper is broken into several torrents by projecting masses of rock, and the lower precipitates itself in one broad sheet from an elevation of more than sixty feet. Situated at the termination of the Menai straits, Aber possesses every facility of commercial intercourse, but no trade or manufacture is carried on in the parish. The ferry to Beaumaris is seven miles across, of which four miles are fine sands, that may be walked over at low water; passengers cross this ferry to Beaumaris, but, since the construction of the suspension bridge at Bangor, few carriages are conveyed over it.

The living is a rectory, in the archdeaconry and diocese of Bangor, rated in the king's books at £14. 7. 3 1/2., and in the patronage of Sir R. Bulkeley Williams Bulkeley, Bart. The church, dedicated to St. Bodvan, is an ancient and spacious structure, with a good square tower, having been greatly improved by the late Viscount Warren Bulkeley : the interior, which is neatly fitted up, consists of a nave and chancel of equal length, the latter lighted with a series of low windows, differing in their style, and probably inserted at various times. There are places of worship for Independents and Wesleyan Methodists. The Rev. John Jones, Dean of Bangor, in 1719, by deed to the rector and churchwardens, gave £100, to be laid out in the purchase of land, and the produce to be appropriated to teaching ten poor children of this parish to read Welsh. There are also several small charitable donations and bequests for distribution among the poor. The average annual expenditure for the support of the poor amounts to £144. 4.

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