"LLANAELHAIARN, a parish in the hundred of Uwch-Gorfai, county Carnarvon, 5 miles N.W. of Nevin, and 6 N. of Pwllheli. It lies at the foot of Yr Eivel or Rivel, a lofty hill 1,866 feet high. In the vicinity are the ancient British camp, Tre'r Caeri, and the pass known as Vortigern's. Small portions of copper and manganese have been found. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Bangor, value £226, in the patronage of the bishop. The church, an ancient structure built in the form of a cross, stands on the cliffs overlooking Carnarvon Bay. It is dedicated to St. Aelhaiarn. The parochial charities produce about £7 per annum." [From The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868) - Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003]


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.

Llanaelhaiarn Parish; Statistics; Area 6698 acres; Population 317 males, 299 females, total 616

  • Llanaelhaiarn Parish Church    "One of the oldest Churches in the Kingdom"        Attendance - morning 37       Services in Welsh               "The Evening service does not commence till Easter, being discontinued during the depth of winter......"               J Williams Ellis, Rector
  • Cwmcoryn, Calvinistic Methodist          Erected 1811                 Attendance - morning 81, afternoon 66 scholars, evening 62                 Robert Hughes, Minister, Uwchlawrffynnon, nr Clynnog
  • Pentref Chapel, General Baptists             Erected 1815           Attendance - morning 34, afternoon 50 scholars, evening 98                   Evan Jones, Deacon, Ty'n lon las, Pwllheli
  • Bethlehem, Independent              Erected 1813           Attendance - morning 95, afternoon 84 scholars, evening 93                 "There is no minister taking charge of the Chapel of Bethleham at present, but there is a sermon or two preached in the Chapel every Sunday by some of the Independent Ministers"                John H Jones, Deacon, Morfa, nr Clynnog
        • 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 Llanaelhaiarn   chapel (in Welsh ) - with a translation by Eleri Rowlands (April 2011)

          Church Records


          Description & Travel

          Llanaelhaiarn - on the Penllyn.com site

          Aerial photograph of Tre'r Ceiri Iron Age hill fort, Llanaelhaearn, 1990 - on the People's Collection Wales site

          You can see pictures of Llanaelhaiarn which are provided by:



          LLANELHAIARN, or LLANHAIRN (LLANAELHAIARN), a parish in the hundred of UWCHGOR-VAI, county of CARNARVON, NORTH WALES, 7 miles (N.) from Pwllheli, containing 660 inhabitants. This parish, which is situated on the shore of Carnarvon bay, and in an extensive mountainous district, comprehends the lofty range of mountains called Yr Eivl, the conical summits of which are conspicuous from every elevated point in this part of the principality. These mountains, which are three in number, the central one having an elevation of one thousand eight hundred and sixty feet above the level of high water, rise abruptly from the shore of St. George's channel, in which they form boldly projecting promontories, separating the districts of Arvon and Lleyn. The village, which is small, is pleasantly situated on the turnpike road from Carnarvon to Pwllheli : the surrounding scenery is boldly varied, and some parts of the parish command extensive prospects over the surrounding country, which abounds with features of picturesque beauty. The living is a discharged rectory, in the archdeaconry and diocese of Bangor, rated in the king's books at £ 6. 15. 4., endowed with £200 private benefaction, and £200 royal bounty, and in the patronage of the Bishop. The church, dedicated to St. Aelhaiarn, is a spacious and venerable cruciform structure, in the later style of English architecture the interior, which is appropriately arranged for the performance of divine service, possesses some interesting architectural details, and the building is kept in excellent repair. There are places of worship for Calvinistic and Wesleyan Methodists. A parochial school, in which poor children are gratuitously instructed in the Welsh language, is supported partly by a small endowment, and partly by subscription. A bequest of £ 100 in money, and another of a certain portion of land, both by unknown benefactors, were originally assigned to the relief of the poor. Through the Yr Eivl mountains is the celebrated pass into Vortigern's Valley, across which extends an immense rampart of stones ; and on the southernmost are the remains of one of the strongest and most extensive British fortifications in Wales, called Tre'r Caeri, or "the town of the fortresses." This strong military post is defended on the side on which alone it is accessible by triple ramparts, of which the two innermost are nearly entire. The foundations of buildings, of various forms and dimensions, are scattered over the whole of the summit of the mountain, which is almost level, and also on the declivities. Within the walls of defence are the foundations of several circular buildings, about thirty-two feet in diameter : the upper wall is about twelve feet in height, and, in some places, fourteen in thickness at the top. Nearly the whole of the enclosed area is filled with cells of various forms, round, oval, oblong, and square. Several other mountains in the neighbourhood are fortified in a similar manner, though not with equal strength, from which circumstance it is supposed that Tre 'r Caeri was the principal of a chain of military stations, and most probably the principal strong hold of the native Britons driven into this part of the country by the victorious arms of the Saxons. The mountains abound with copper-ore and manganese, but no mines of either have yet been opened. Under the Yr Eivl mountains, and about a quarter of a mile from the church, is a very copious spring, called Fynnon Aelhaiarn, contained in a square enclosure, surrounded by a wall: the water of this spring, which was anciently in high estimation for its sanctity, is still in some repute for cold bathing. The average annual expenditure for the support of the poor is £ 136. 8. ( A Topographical Dictionary of Wales by Samuel Lewis, 1833)

          Historical Geography

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



          Robert William Jones Notebooks 1890s - details of extant records on Archives Network Wales
          "Includes; ....... essay on the antiquities and traditions of Llanaelhaearn parish ....."

          Jones, Geraint, Trefor , papurau (papers) 1817-1988  - details of extant records on Archives Network Wales
          "Include; Papers relating to Trefor (a village in this parish), and the vicinity, 1817-1988.................. diaries, mainly of Richard O. Williams, Trefor, 1900-1962; ................... records relating to organisations, including Trefor Village Institute, Trefor Silver Band and Trefor Flower Show, 1929-1988, and the Cors y Mynydd charity, 1817-1980 "


          Land & Property

          Constable Ellis, deeds relating to Llanaelhaearn, Llanwnda and Clynnog  - details of extant records on Archives Network Wales
          "Include; Deeds, 1690-1906, relating to properties in the parishes of Llanaelhaearn, 1690-1893 etc ...."



          Gwynedd Family History Society have a diagram of the ecclesiastical parishes of Caernarfonshire (under Parishes)

          The parish of Llanaelhaiarn in Carnarvonshire  - on the People's Collection Wales site

          You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SH403453 (Lat/Lon: 52.980838, -4.38067), Llanaelhaiarn which are provided by: