Llandegai - Gazetters


The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868

National Gazetteer (1868)

"LLANDEGAI, a parish in the hundred of Uchaf, county Carnarvon, 1 mile E. of Bangor, its post town and nearest railway station, and 10 miles from Carnarvon. It is situated near the coast, to the N.W. of Snowdon, and includes the townships of Coed-y-Park, Port Penrhyn, and Trer-Garth. The surface is mountainous, including the peaks of Carnedd Llewelyn and Carnedd Davydd, above 3,000 feet high. In 1648 a battle was fought near this spot between Sir John Owen, of Clenenney, and Colonel Mytton, at the head of the parliamentary army, in which the former was taken prisoner. The Bangor and Holyhead line of railway here crosses the valley of the Ogwen, a little to the left of the village, on a lofty viaduct. In this parish are extensive quarries of roofing-slate, employing above 2,000 workmen; they have been wrought for nearly a century:; and in other parts are minerals, including copper, iron, lead, manganese, zinc, &c.

The village, which is a model of rustic architecture, takes its name from St. Tegais, son of Ithel Hael, who came over about the close of the 5th century from Armorica, with Cadran, and founded a church near this spot. The cottages are all neat and well kept, each forming part of a design, and are clustered round the church, which stands on a slight eminence embosomed in trees, and approached by a densely thick avenue of yews. Near the entrance into the village is a Norman gateway leading into Penrhyn Park, the seat of the Pennants, built of Anglesey marble by the late Hon. E. G. Douglas Pennant, M.P., brother of the Earl of Morton, who on marrying the heiress of the house of Pennant, in whose possession the lands have been since the reign of Henry VI., assumed the name of Pennant.

The living is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of Bangor, value £114, in the patronage of the bishop. The parish church, dedicated to St. Tegais, is a cruciform structure of the 14th century, and has been completely restored by Colonel Pennant. It contains a mural monument of Archbishop Williams, the unfortunate lord-keeper of Charles I., and an alabaster altar tomb of great beauty brought from the monastery of Llanfaes. The charities amount to about £5 per annum. The Wesleyans have a chapel, and there are National schools for both sexes."

"CAPEL-CURIG, a chapelry in the parish of Llandegai, hundred of Uchaf, in the county of Carnarvon, North Wales, 5 miles to the S.W. of Llanrwst. It is situated at the foot of Mount Siabod, in the vicinity of Snowdon, and is much frequented by tourists on their way to that mountain. The district is rich in minerals, containing much lead, copper, and calamine. The hard rock called serpentine is found here. The village is one of the polling places for the county elections. In the neighbourhood are the fine waterfall of Rhaiadr-y-Wenol, Lake Ogwen, and the castle of Dolwyddelan. The living is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of Bangor, value £89, in the gift of the bishop. The church, dedicated to St. Curig, is a very ancient building. Remains of an ancient edifice, probably Roman, exist at Bryn Gwalian. A large sheep fair is held here on the 28th September."

"COED-Y-PARK, a hamlet in the parish of Llandegai, in the county of Carnarvon, 2 miles S.E. of Bangor."

"TRER GARTH, a hamlet in the parish of Llandegai, county Carnarvon, 2 miles S.E. of Bangor."

[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

LLANDEGAI (LLAN-DEGAI), a parish in the hundred of LLECHWEDD-UCHAV, county of CARNARVON, NORTH WALES, 1 mile (E.) from Bangor, on the Holyhead road, containing 2600 inhabitants. This parish, which derives its name from the dedication of its church to St. Tegai, a divine of the fifth century, who came over from Armorica with Cadvan, to revive the Christian faith in Britain, then in a declining state, is situated on the river Ogwen, and extends for more than fifteen miles in length, from the shore of the Menai strait far into the mountainous regions of Snowdon, comprehending a widely extended district, abounding with almost every species of mineral  treasure. The only historical event peculiarly relating to it is the battle which was fought within its limits, in 1648, between the royalists, under Sir John Owen, and the parliamentarian forces under Colonels  Carter and Twisleton : the former, whose number was by much the smaller, had raised the siege of Carnarvon to meet the latter, who were advancing to its relief : a furious encounter ensued on the banks of the Ogwen, near the church of Llandegai, in which Sir John was defeated and made prisoner : this was the last battle fought in the principality. Among the mountains within the parish are the Gluder-Vawr, Gluder - Vach, Carnedd - Llewelyn, Carnedd - Davydd, Y Garn, Carnedd y Filiast, Lidir-Vawr, and several others. On the summit of Carnedd-Llewelyn is a large heap of stones, said to be the grave of one of the princes of the royal family of North Wales, from which the mountain took its name ; and on the top of Carnedd-Davydd are some loose stones, supposed to have formed the last retreat of Davydd, brother to Llewelyn, the last native prince of Wales, before he was taken prisoner by Edward I. The former of these mountains rises to the height of three thousand four hundred and sixty-nine feet above the level of the sea in Carnarvon bay, and the latter has an elevation of three thousand four hundred and twenty-seven feet above the same level. The scenery of the neighbour-hood is beautifully picturesque and impressively grand, comprehending on one side a vast amphitheatre of mountains, and on the other a fine view of the Menai strait. Penrhyn Castle, the residence of G. H. Dawkins Pennant, Esq., is beautifully situated between the rivers Ogwen and Cegin, which flow through its extensive demesne, and commands an unbounded prospect over the Menai strait, the bay of Beaumaris, and the Isle of Anglesey. This mansion was originally a royal palace, and the residence of Roderic Molwynog, who began his reign about the year 720; and subsequently of Llewelyn ab Iorwerth, and other princes of North Wales, after being once destroyed, in 987, by Meredydd ab Owen, who in that year invaded North Wales, and slew Cadwallon ab Ievav, the reigning prince. In the reign of Elizabeth it was occupied by the celebrated Piers Grufydd, who, at his own expense, fitted out a ship of war, and, sailing from Beaumaris, joined the fleet under Sir Francis Drake, in its South American expeditions, and afterwards aided in the defeat of the Spanish Armada. In 1622, it became the property of the Lord Keeper Williams, and passed from him into the possession of his nephew, from whom the present proprietor is descended. The castle, which is situated in the centre of an extensive park, surrounded by a wall thirteen feet high and seven miles in circuit, is being rebuilt in the ancient style of architecture : the whole of the exterior is of Mona marble, and displays a magnificent range of building, crowned with lofty towers, of which five are circular : the keep, and another of the principal towers, are square, with light and beautiful angular turrets, and the whole, when completed, will form one of the most spacious and elegant structures in the principality. The internal decorations correspond in every respect with the magnificence of the exterior, the mantel-pieces and other ornaments being of the same marble, which is susceptible of a high degree of polish ; and the furniture has been chosen with an especial regard to appropriateness of character. There are several lodges forming entrances into the park, all elegant in their design, and lofty in their elevation : the principal lodge, which is near the junction of the London and Liverpool roads, is a stately and beautiful specimen of the architecture of the whole.

Copper-ore is found in most of the mountains in this district ; and iron of excellent quality, lead, zinc, manganese, molubdena, and pyrites, in greater or less abundance throughout the parish. Beautifully transparent crystals, both white and of a red colour, are found on the Glydr-Vach : these vary in their form, some having five, and others six, eight, and ten faces : they are of the largest kind, and sometimes single crystals have been found, weighing more than six lb. But the most important and distinguishing feature in the mineralogy of this parish, and the principal source of its wealth, are the slate quarries of Dolawen, or Braich y Cavn, which were originally opened on a very large scale by the late Lord Penrhyn, in 1782, and which, by a regular series of progressive improvements, have now become the most extensive and the most valuable in the island. Prior to the year 1785, the annual export of slates from these quarries did not exceed one thousand tons ; and, owing to the ruggedness of the road, they were conveyed from the quarries to the creek of Aber-Cegin, since called Port Penrhyn, close to the city of Bangor, in panniers on the backs of horses. This amount, however, was shortly increased by the facilities afforded by a good road formed from the quarries to the same port by Lord Penrhyn, who likewise continued the same line of communication from the quarries a further distance of nine miles, through Nantfrancon and the romantic interior of Snowdon, to Capel-Curig, the whole tract being his own property. It is probable that his lordship, from the commencement of his improvement of these roads, had in view the substitution of this nearer route for the Irish mails, to be brought through Shrewsbury, for the old one through Chester and Aberconway, a change which has since taken place, the former joining the latter near the church of this parish, after running a course of twenty miles through the most mountainous and rugged parts of North Wales : by this means the distance between Pentrevoelas and Bangor is shortened upwards of ten miles. The demand for the slates of these quarries at the same time increasing in an enormous degree, caused his lordship to construct an iron railway from Dolawen to Port Penrhyn, a distance of six miles, and to increase the number of men employed in the quarries at the former place from sixty to between four and five hundred. In 1794, the annual exportation of slates from these quarries amounted to fifteen thousand tons ; but in the following year, the imposition of the tax on slates carried coastwise reduced it to eight thousand, and the number of men employed in quarrying and carrying them in proportion : in a few years, however, it amounted to twenty thousand tons, the duties having been taken off. These quarries are on the north side of the Lidir-Vach, in the vale of Nantfrancon, and afford employment to one thousand four hundred men, who, upon an average, raise in them from five to six hundred tons of slate per diem. On the adjoining river a large mill was erected, in 1801, for sawing the blocks of slate into slabs for mantel-pieces, tombstones, and other purposes, and for dividing them into laminae for roofing, for the American, as well as the British and Irish, markets. The roofing slates are of all the various sizes described in the article on the county of Carnarvon. Lord Penrbyn also established, near Bangor, a manufactory in which the finest slates are planed and framed for writing, of various sizes, and to the number of ten thousand dozens annually : these are exported to London and various other British ports, and some of them, without frames, to different parts of the Continent. The schist of the Dolawen quarries is also converted into casing for the outside of buildings, as a defence against the weather, which, by being painted and sanded, have the appearance of freestone ; dados and plinths for stables and passages; dairy-tables; side-boards; pannels for doors, shutters, &c. ; inkstands, washball-stands, &c. It is wholly exported from Port Penrhyn, where a commodious wharf, projected by the late Lord Penrhyn, and subsequently enlarged and completed by the present proprietor, has been constructed, with extensive quays, accessible at every state of the tide, and spacious ware-houses, provided with every requisite accommodation. Port Penrhyn was originally only an insignificant inlet, formed by the mouth of the small river Cegin, but these and other improvements have rendered it a commodious harbour, capable of admitting vessels of three hundred tons' burden. About two hundred men are employed at the port, making the total number connected with the slate-works about one thousand seven hundred. Ochre is dug out of a mine near the slate quarries, and, having been separated from the sand with which it is intermixed, by grinding and successive filtrations, is collected in a sediment, and dried by the sun and air in summer, and upon kilns in winter. The general colour of this earth is yellow, but others of various hues, with which, in their natural state, the Snowdonian shepherds mark their sheep, are ground in the same manufactory, also for the use of painters. Quartz and chert, from neighbouring quarries of these materials at the base of Carnedd-Llewelyn, together with flint, brought in ballast by ships which convey slates hence to London and Ireland, were formerly ground for the use of the English porcelain and delft ware potteries, at a mill erected on the stream of the Ogwen, in this parish, by the late Lord Penrhyn. An ore of manganese was also prepared here for the purposes of bleaching, and an ore of zinc as a substitute for white lead in the composition of paints.

The living is a perpetual curacy, with those of Capel-Curig and St. Anne annexed, in the archdeaconry and diocese of Bangor, endowed with £ 800 royal bounty, and £ 200 parliamentary grant, and in the patronage of the Bishop of Bangor. The church is a small ancient cruciform structure, with a low square central tower, containing six bells, the gift of the late Lady Penrhyn : the interior is elegantly fitted up, and contains some ancient sepulchral memorials, among which is a mural monument to the memory of Archbishop John Williams, with his effigy in an episcopal habit, kneeling at an altar ; an altar-tomb with two recumbent figures, probably of the ancient family inhabiting Penrhyn castle ; and a splendid monument to the late Lord and Lady Penrhyn, exquisitely sculptured by Westmacott, and universally admired. The church is beautifully situated on an eminence overlooking the river Ogwen, and commanding an extensive and richly varied prospect ; and forms a picturesque and interesting object in the scenery of the grounds of Penrhyn castle, within which it is situated. A chapel, dedicated to St. Anne, was erected near the slate quarries, by the late Lord Penrhyn, at an expense of £2000, for the accommodation of persons engaged in those works : it was consecrated in 1813, and endowed in 1815 by Lady Penrhyn : it is a neat, well-built edifice, and is appropriately fitted up for the performance of divine worship. The living is a perpetual curacy, endowed with £400 private benefaction, and £ 2200 parliamentary grant, and in the patronage of G. H. Dawkins Pennant, Esq. The chapel of Capel-Curig is noticed under its appropriate head. There are within the parish two places of worship for Calvinistic Methodists, and one each for Baptists, Independents, and Wesleyan Methodists. Two free schools, one for boys and the other for girls, were established in this parish by the late Lady Penrhyn, who, however, made no provision towards their permanent endowment ; they are, nevertheless, liberally supported by the present proprietor of Penrhyn castle, and are open to all the children of the parish. Several charitable donations and bequests by various benefactors, together with munificent additions from the family at the castle, are annually distributed among the most necessitous of the poor at Christmas. Archbishop Williams, whose monument in the church has been noticed above, was a resident at Penrhyn castle during the reign of James I., who, in 1610, made him dean of Salisbury, and, in 1620, dean of Westminster : in the following year he was appointed Lord-Keeper of the Great Seal, in which office he succeeded the illustrious Lord Bacon, and in less than a month was promoted to the see of Lincoln. On the accession of Charles I. he was dismissed, through the influence of Buckingham : he was moreover censured by the Court of Star-Chamber, and imprisoned from 1637 till 1640, but soon after his release he was promoted to the archiepiscopal see of York. He was subsequently, with several other bishops, impeached of high treason, and imprisoned for a year and a half, but was ultimately released on bail, on the express condition of not entering his diocese during the disturbances which then prevailed in the city of York : disobeying the injunction, however, he was enthroned in the cathedral, but was immediately driven away by the Hothams, and retired into his native country, where he ended his life on the anniversary of his birth, March 25th, 1650: he died at Gloddaith, the seat of Sir Roger Mostyn, an eminent loyalist, having completed his sixty-eighth year. The drinking horn of Piers Grufydd, a large bugle, formed from the horn of an ox, enriched with chased silver, and suspended by a silver chain, is still preserved in Penrhyn castle : at one end are the initials P. G., together with R. G. K., those of his father and mother, Rhys and Katherine Grufydd. The average annual expenditure for the support of the poor is £ 529. 10.


CAPEL-CURIG, a chapelry in the parish of LLANDEGAI, hundred of LLECHWEDD-UCHAV, county of CARNARVON, NORTH WALES, 14 miles (S. E.) from Bangor, on the road from London to Holyhead and Dublin. The population is returned with the parish. This place, from its vicinity to Snowdon and other mountains of note in this part of the principality, and to several of the finest lakes in North Wales, has been. for a long time the resort of tourists ; and, since the diversion of the road through Nant-Francon, and the erection of a spacious hotel here by the late Lord Penrhyn, has become a place of fashionable resort, and during the summer season is visited by families of distinction and others, for whose accommodation the hotel, large as it is, has been found inadequate. A new line of road from this place to Carnarvon is now being formed through the pass of Llanberis, at the foot of Snowdon, affording a more direct communication with the interior of the counties of Carnarvon and Merioneth, which it is expected will be opened in the course of the present year. Near this place is Rhaiadr y Wenol, on the river Llugwy, one of the most interesting and beautiful waterfalls in the principality.

Capel-Curig is situated in a district abounding with mineral wealth : a great quantity of calamine has been obtained here, and in the vicinity is found the hard primitive rock called serpentine. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the archdeaconry and diocese of Bangor, endowed with £600 royal bounty, and in the patronage of the Bishop of Bangor. The chapel, dedicated to St. Curig, appears to have been erected at a very early period, as a chapel of ease not only to the parish church of Llandegai, from which it is thirteen miles distant, but also for the mountainous districts in the several parishes of Llanllechid, Llanrhychwyn, Dolwyddelan, Llanrwst, and Trevriw, the inhabitants of which are at a great distance from their several parish churches, and are entitled to seats in this chapel : the inhabitants of Llandegai, however, are exclusively bound by ancient custom to keep the building in repair.

A large sheep fair is annually held here, on the 28th of September, which is numerously attended. Near a place called Bryn Geveiliau, between Capel Curig and Llanrwst, there are some remains of a Roman edifice, a great part of which has been removed for building materials : one of the apartments was found, by Mr. Lysons, to be sixty feet by twenty in dimensions, and another, eighteen feet six inches square, in which latter were several short square pillars of stone, similar to those of the hypocaust under the Feathers inn at Chester.



PORT-PENRHYN, a small sea-port in the parish of LLANDEGAI, hundred of LLECHWEDD UCHAV, county of CARNARVON, NORTH WALES, 2 miles (E.) from Bangor. The population is returned with the parish. This place, which is of recent origin, owes its existence to the late Lord Penrhyn, by whom it was selected, as the shipping-place for the slates from his very extensive quarries in the vale of Nantfrancon, in this parish. It is very conveniently situated for that purpose on the Menai strait, closely adjoining the city of Bangor. About the year 1790, his lordship constructed a commodious wharf at the mouth of the river Cegin, which here falls into the strait, and in proportion to the extension and increased production of the quarries have been the subsequent improvements of this port. Extensive quays, accessible at all states of the tide to vessels of considerable tonnage, and additional wharfs, have been constructed ; several sluices have been made; and spacious ware-houses for depositing the produce of the quarries have been erected. A railway, six miles in length, has been formed from the quarries to the port, and every possible accommodation has been provided for facilitating the business here transacted. The only article shipped is the slate, of which immense quantities are sent coast-wise, and several cargoes of roofing slates are annually exported to America. The business transacted at this port affords constant employment to more than two hundred men, making, with the number engaged in the quarries, nearly one thousand seven hundred persons employed in these very extensive and important works. Port Penrhyn, for representative purposes, is included within the new limits of the city of Bangor.

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