Llyn Barfog is a small lake in Snowdonia occupying high ground above the northern banks of the River Dyfi. Covered by yellow water lilies in the summer and surrounded by rushes that give it a bearded appearance. However, Celtic Folklore suggests a different derivation for the name: it has been suggested that the lake was originally called Llyn y Barfog or The Bearded One’s Lake. The Bearded One was some ancient mythical being who lived there. The lake is also linked to King Arthur, a monster, and elves.
Castell y Bere is the largest and most elaborate of the native Welsh castles in north Wales and was built by Llywelyn ap Lorwerth, also known as Llywelyn the Great, Prince of Gwynedd, in the early 13th century. Typically, the Welsh princes had not constructed castles preferring to build undefended palaces called ilysoedd or courts. This tradition changed as the Normans advanced into Wales in the 11th century taking lands in the north and establishing a band of occupied territory in the south called the Welsh Marches.
Criccieth castle was built at the beginning of the 13th century by Llywelyn the Great and sits atop a rocky promontory that dominates Criccieth itself and the waters of Tremadog Bay. Over the years its defences have been extended and improved as ownership swapped between the Welsh and Edward I. As a result, there is some dispute regarding which parts of the castle were built by whom.
The site for the Ynysymaengwyn Caravan Park was once a country house built around 1758 and the house’s ruins still remain. The house was bequeathed to the town council in 1948, following it’s use by the army at the end of WWII, as the current owners were unable maintain it’s upkeep. Unfortunately, neither was the council. The house quickly fell into disrepair and ended it’s days as a practice site for the fire brigade.
Dolwyddelan Castle, like Castell y Bere, is unusual in a land dominated by fortresses in that rather than built by the English, it was built by a Welsh prince, Llywelyn ap Iorweth (latterly known as Llywelyn the Great) between 1210 and 1240. Llywelyn dominated North Wales, and large parts of the rest of Wales, for a period of 40 years and declared himself the first Prince of Wales, a title formally recognised by Henry III in 1267 in the Treaty of Montgomery.
This is a story about a young girl that walked 26 miles to buy a book. She wasn’t being sponsored. She didn’t have a TV crew in tow. She wasn’t travelling in a group. She was on her own. She travelled 26 miles along paths she had never walked; through villages and settlements that she had never visited. She didn’t have a map: just a rough set of directions. There is precious little that would persuade me to make a similar effort. And she walked all that way for a book.
Cymer Abbey is now a ruined Cistercian abbey near the village of Llanelltyd, just north of Dolgellau. Founded in 1158-9 by Cistercian monks and dedicated to the Virgin Mary under the patronage of Maredudd ap Cynan ab Owain Gwynedd, Lord of Merioneth.
On the monk spectrum the Cistercians were definitely towards the pious end hardly ever eating or sleeping eschewing the material world believing in simplicity in all things. Their lives revolved around the Liturgy of the Hours with a mass at midnight and then prayers every three hours around the clock. This did not leave a lot of time for farming, fishing or hard labour – the traditional pastimes of the medieval monk. To accommodate this schedule they would employ lay people to manage their farm holdings.
As Barmouth is so big I couldn’t fit it all into a single post! Here is the concluding post for Barmouth’s Heritage Trail. Please let me know if I have missed something that should have been there.
When you think of Barmouth, what images spring to mind? Whatever your age there’s a good chance that they’ll include donkey rides, deckchairs, candy floss, wind brakes, sandcastles, crabbing, ice-cream and the dodgems. When we visited in August Barmouth had all that together with yapping dogs, running kids, stressed mums and dive-bombing seagulls.
At the end of the 13th century Edward I invaded Wales determined that the locals would submit to his divine right to rule. He achieved this with stone building a mighty ‘iron ring’ of fortresses with which he encircled the rebellious Welsh princes in their Snowdonian stronghold. This iron ring consisted of Harlech, in the south, and Caernarfon, Colwyn, and a little later, Beaumaris in the north and east.