History of Criccieth/Hanes Cricieth
|The town in Gwynedd, North Wales, The United Kingdom|
|Y ddrêf yng Ngwynedd, Gogledd Cymru|
|In English Criccieth is "officially" spelt with two "C"s - un yng Nghymraeg|
|Back to Local and Family History and Welsh information|
During the iron age bands of wanderers settled in the area and lived as tribes (the Ordovicii). The rocky promontory jutting into the sea would have been an ideal place to establish a community. However, unlike Pen y Chain to the westwards, there is no archaeological evidence of this.
Yn y'r oes haearn sefydlodd teithwyr yn yr ardal a preswyliodd mewn llwythi. Buasai'r penmaen fe oedd yn ymestyn î'r môr yn llê perfaith am gymuned ond nid oes dystiolaeth i brofi hwn fel yr oilion archeoleg sydd yn Pen y Chain î'r orllewin ag ô gwmpas yr ardal.
Roman influence in the area centered on Segontium (Caernarfon). The mention of this place in the "Mabinogion" story of Macsen Wledig, based on the historical Maximillian - a Spanish born Roman governer of Britain who (according to the legend) married a Gwynedd Princess, gave an ideal "target" for later generations to claim pedigrees to Roman Britain and even further back . "The Dream of Macsen Wledig".
Ganolwyd y ddylanwad Rhyfeinig yn Segontium (Caernarfon neu Aberseiont ). 'Roedd sôn am y llê yma yn stori Macsen Wledig, yn y Mabinogion yn ddarparu targed i genedlaethau ddiweddar i hawlio achau i Brydain Rhyfeinig a mwy bell yn ôl ddrachefn.
As the Welsh nation (or identity) developed, the land was divided into family groups - "gwelyau" (beds), "trefi" (townships)and "maenolion" (manors). Certain families grew to prominence and a local system of laws and land ownership developed. The commote of Eifionydd always remained part of Gwynedd though being on the coast was invaded by the Irish at times. The Llýn Penninsula takes its name from the men of Leinster who were finaly ejected by Maelgwyn during the first part of the sixth century. For administration purposes the commote of Eifionydd was joined with Ardudwy, to the East and South, to form the Cantref (Hundred) of Dunoding. Communication between the two divisions must have been difficult with the "Traeth Mawr" (Great Strand) penetrating inland between the two.
Ar ôl ddatblygiad genedl (neu hunaniaeth) y Gymry, rhanwyd y tîr mewn grwpiau deuluoedd - "gwelyau", "trefi" a "maenolion". Tyfodd deuluoedd enwedig i amlygrwydd (yr uchelwyr) a ddatblygwyd gyfundrefn ô gyfraithau a ddrefn perthynogol y tîr.
Yr oedd Eifionydd gyda Ardudwy, i'r ddwyrain, yn gynnwys un "gantref" a enwir Dunoding, ond hefo'r "Traeth Mawr" yn ymestyn rhwngddynt mae'n haws i weld syt cynnyddwyd Eifionydd fel gwmwd annibynol.
Perhapshe oldest building in what is today Criccieth, is the parish church, Saint Catherines (see photo at start), though surprisingly this is set back from the shoreline. Supposedly this Catherine is the martyr mentioned in the earliest name of the vicinity which was Treferthyr (martyrs town).
The church has been added to and renovated several times over the centuries. Records indicate the first incumbent was in 1301 though there was probably a church on the site much earlier.
Efallai Eglwys St Catherines yw'r adeilad hynaf yng Nghricieth. Awgrymir fe enwir ar ôl y ferthyr yn yr enw gynar y fan, megis Treferthyr.
English influence and power over the region ebbed and flowed for centuries with periods when native born Princes recovered ground then lost it again through fighting and squabbling with each other.
ddylifwyd ddilanwad a grym y Sais dros y ddeyrnas am ganrifoedd gyda
ambell trô pan adennillodd y ddywysogion frodorol dîr ond
i golli fô eto oherwydd y ffrwgwdio a gwffio fe oedd gyda
There is some debate as to the early history of the castle. There is no doubt that there are both Welsh and English characteristics so there was a fortification on the hill before Edward I finaly subjugated the Welsh in 1282. The first castle was probably built by Llywelyn ap Iorwerth (Llywelyn Fawr) around 1230. Llywelyn consolidated his position in Wales but there was constant warfare and always, the ominous threat from England.
Y mae ddipyn ô dadl am hanes gynar y gastell. Oes na ddim amheuaeth ond mae yna hynodrwyddau Gymreig ag Saesnig felly fe 'roedd amddiffynfa ar y fryn cyn i Edward I gorchfygu'r Gymry ô'r ddiwedd. Mae'n ddebygol mai Llewelyn ap Iorweth (y Fawr) a adeiladodd y gastell gyntaf tua 1230. Estynodd Llywelyn ei safle ddrwy Gymru ond 'roedd rhyfel yn torri allan ô hyd gyda fygythiad argoelus a gyson gan Lloegr.
|"The Castles of Wales site contains much information on Welsh castles and the history of early/medieval Wales / Gwynedd, Owain Glyndwr's rebellion etc. / 'Rhan ô'r wefan yng Nghymraeg - Cestyll Brodorol Cymreig|
1239 his two sons Dafydd and Gruffydd were at each others throats and
Gruffydd was imprisoned in the castle for a while. The use of the castle
as a prison could be the origin of the name Criccieth. The Welsh name
Crug caeth (rock of the prisoner) has been suggested .
Ar ôl marwolaeth Llywelyn' roedd ffrwgwdio gyson a rhyfelio rhwng ei ddau feibion, Dafydd a Gruffydd. Carcharwyd Gruffydd yn y gastell am amser. Efallai ddyna ydi'r wreiddyn yr enw Gricieth, megis "Crug y caeth"('Rwyn ddrwgdybio'r stori am "crî y cathod" yn boddi mewn llî!)
|The arms of Llywelyn ap Gryfydd|
|Llywelyns grandson Llywelyn ap Grufydd carried out some additional work in the 1260s. These were the last years of Welsh independence and the English were gradually taking over the country. By skillfull negotiation and diplomacy, Llywelyn kept the English at bay and held on to Gwynedd. An ill advised rebellion by Llywelyns brother Dafydd finally pushed Edward into a final campaign and Llywelyn (the last native born prince of Wales) was killed in 1282.|
|Mab Gruffydd oedd Llywelyn ap Gryffydd. Adeiladodd mwy a gryfhâodd y gastell yn y 1260degau. Yr oedd ddiwrnodau dwythaf ô Gymru annibynol wedi gyrraedd. Cadwodd Llywelyn y Sais allan ô Gwynedd gyda trafodaeth a pwyll ond ar ôl gwrthryfeliad ddrwg gyfarwyddol gan Dafydd, frawd Llywelyn, yn erbyn y Sais, gollodd Edward ei fynnedd. Mewn y rhyfelgyrch ddwythaf ddinistrodd y Gymry a lladdwyd Llywelyn (y ddywysog brodorol dwythaf) yn 1282.|
After the defeat of the Welsh, Edward consolidated his hold on the region and strengthened existing castles and built new ones. 500 pounds was spent on Criccieth. The location of the castle proved useful when, during various rebellions in the ensuing years, it was possible to victual the garrison by sea. In 1284 the town was granted a royal charter and made a borough.
gorchfygu'r Gymry gadarnhaodd Edward ei grâff ar yr wlâd a
gryfhâodd y gastelli eisoes ag adeiladodd rhai newydd. Gwariodd
500 bunt ar Cricieth. 'Roedd safle y gastell yn ddefnyddiol oherwydd
'roedd ô'n posibl i ddarbodi'r warchodlu ô'r môr pan
gwrthryfeilwyd yr brodorion.
Edward the First of England ("Longshanks")
|The Common Seal of the Borough of Criccieth/ Sêl Cyffredin Fwrdeistref Gricieth|
At the base of the hill burgages were laid out and Englishmen implanted into the borough. The local Welsh were not allowed to own land or carry out business. Traces of these burgages and the medieval layout can still be seen. The properties at the rear of Marine Crescent, at Tan y Craig, Gardd yr Esgob and down Castle Street are built on the foundations of these buildings. A vestige of the arable plots can be seen between y Dinas hill and the railway station. Here there used to be two long strips called "Y Llathen " and Y Dwy Llathen but only part of one remains as the remainder has been incorporated into a football pitch.
Ar gwâelod y fryn rhanwyd y dîr mewn lleiniau a planwyd Saeson î'r ddrêf. Nid ganiatawyd y Gymry frodorol sefydlu ty mewn ffiniau'r ddrê. Y mae oilion y lleiniau â'r hên gynllun i weld fyth. Y mae'r dai presennol, ô dan, a bôb ochr y gastell, wedi adeiladu ar ben yr hên preswylfeydd. Medrwch weld lle oedd caeau y ddrêf, rhwng y "Dinas" â'r orsaf rheilfordd. Enwir y lle yma "Y Llathen" ag "Y Ddwy Llathen". Ond ychydig ô un sydd yna 'rwan, lle mae'r maes pêl droed (yr hên "Cae Swings" a "Cae Bâch").
the 14th century one of the most famous constables of the castle was
Sir Hywel ap Gruffydd ("the Axe"). He was a member of the
local gentry, Bron y Foel on the slopes of Moel y Gest, and supported
the English king. He received his position for bravery at the battle
of Crecy. He kept this post until his death in 1381. Soon after (1404)
the town and castle was attacked by Owain Glyndwr and laid to waste.
Sir Hywel's nephew, Evan ap Einion ap Gruffydd was a rebel as was
Robert ap Ieuan of Ystumcegid who was one of Glyndwr's generals.
According to Dr Gresham the town lay derelict for many years and
gradually local Welsh people moved in to the burgages. There seemed
little effort to stop them. This way, and by marriage, the English
character was supplanted and the town became Welsh again.
|Baner Owain Glyndwr. The arms of the "True" Prince of Wales" that Owain Glyndwr claimed.|
|Sir Hywel ap Gruffydd/ Hywell y Fwyall|
There then followed a long period where only slow development took place. The burgages passed into the ownership of the various estates in the area. These gentry were the descendants of the old tribal chiefs and "gwely" land consolidators such as Collwyn ap Tagno or directly from Owain Gwynedd, Prince of North Wales in the 12th century. These families gradually took on an English attitude through marriage and for convenience though still maintaining some Welshness. During Tudor times the Welsh were given equal status with the rest of England (gee, thanks!). The ability to speak English was essential because of all the court cases contesting boundaries that these families were for ever involved in. The advantage of owning property within the borough was that the owners had a say in parliament as only burgers (who were the tenants and did as they were told!) could vote. Some of the local estates were Aberkin, Clennenau, Bach y Saint, Gwynfryn, Ystum Cegid, Talhenbont, Cefn Treflaeth, Trefan, Ystumllyn and Brynkir. The Rhiwlas estate also owned much land at one time but was itself outside the area.
|Dilynodd amser hîr pan fu'r ddatblygiad yn araf. Pasiodd y lleiniau î'r ddwylaw yr amryw ystadau yn yr ardal. Yr oedd y bonheddwyr yma yn ddisgynyddion yr hen bennaethon y llwythi a gynylleidwyr dîr "gwely", fel Collwyn ap Tagno, neu yn uniongyrchol ô Owain Gwynedd, ddywysog rhan mwyaf ô Gogledd Gymru yn y 12fed ganrif. Cymrodd y deuluoedd yma wyneb Saesneg ddrwy phriodas ag am hylaw ond yn gadw rhywfaint ô'r Gymreig. Yn amserau Tudor rhoddwyd statws gyfartal â'r Sais î'r Gymry (well diolch yn fawr iawn!!). Yr oedd yn fanteisiol i siarad Saesneg oherwydd am yr achosau yn y llysau ddros y ffiniau, 'roedd y deuluoedd yma yn ornestio yn gyson. Y fantais i berthynogi dîr ô fewn ffiniau'r ddrêf oedd oherwydd ond yr tenantiaid oedd gan bleidlais a wnaethynt nhw beth archebir. Yr ystadau yma (yn Eifionydd) oedd: Aberkin, Clennenau, Bach y Saint, Gwynfryn, Ystum Cegid, Talhenbont, Cefn Treflaeth, Trefan, Ystumllyn a Brynkir. Oedd rhywfaint ô'r tîr yn perthyn î'r ystad Rhiwlas ô Feirionydd.|
The town would have been an administrative and commercial centre for the area. There were regular markets held and there would have been taverns etc. (Ellise ap Cadwalader of Ystymllyn, fell off his horse and was killed after visiting the taverns at Criccieth!). There was a water mill just upstream from where the brook (Afon Cwrt) enters the sea and a fishing fleet was based in the east bay. Houses were built between the last burgage, at the base of the hill, along the shore to the stream and also by the main road (track) which ran northwards past the common grazing area (yMaes). There was some shipping activity and small cogs and smacks beached in the lee of the castle to discharge their cargoes.
Canolfan gweinyddol a fasnachol î'r ardal oedd Gricieth. Fe oedd marchnadau rheolaidd a dafarnaid etc. I fynny ô lle gwagiodd yr Afon Cwrt î'r môr yr oedd felin. Gweithiodd llynges ô gychod bysgota allan ô'r lan y môr ac yr oedd ambell smac neu fflat yn llwytho neu ddadllwytho dan gysgod penmaen y gastell. Adeiladwyd tai a fythynnod ger lan y môr, ô gwaelod rhiw y gastell, yn amgylch y felin ag ar ochr y prîf ffordd (llwybr) a aeth î'r gogledd heibio'r Mâes Glâs.
The land owning gentry gradually died out with no male heirs or ended with heiresses who married men from similar families in England. The seats of the combined estates would invariably move from the bleak Lleyn peninsula to more hospitable England or the border areas. The Bach (Braich) y Saint family ended up at Tan y Bwlch with the Oakley name. This family was involved in the early development of the slate quarries and Porthmadog. A prominent member of these gentry in the last century was Mr Ormesby Gore. He was a descendant of the Ystum Cegid and Clennenau families and claimed the right of Mayor and constable of Criccieth castle. This family survives today with Lord Harlech. The last resident "gentry" were Squire Nanney at Gwynfryn/Talhenbont (He was the local Tory M.P. who was defeated by David Lloyd George), his daughter and the sisters at "Trefan". Amongst the last of the landowners were the two Greaves brothers, at Wern and Bron Eifion. They were not descended from local gentry but came from outside and built up their own estates during the latter part of the last century. They were heavily involved with the slate industry and owned several of the Porthmadog ships.
Marwodd allan y deuluoedd fonheddigedig neu briododd y ferched i deuluoedd gyffelyb ô'r Lloegr neu Iwerddon. Sumudoedd nhw î'r Gororau neu llefydd mwy gysyrus. Un ô'r fonheddwyr ddwythaf oedd Ormesby Gore, gyndâd î' r Arglwydd Harlech.
Criccieth Castle played no part in the Civil war though the gentry took sides and raised some forces. Sir John Owen of Clennenau was a famous cavalier who fought on the side of the king.
Cymrodd gastell Gricieth ddim rhan yn y Rhyfel Sifil heblaw î'r fonheddwyr yn gymryd ochrau a codi milwyr. Oedd Syr John Owen ô Clennenau yn filwr enwog a gwffiodd ar ochr y frenin.
In the 19th century the area became important with the building of Portmadoc (now Porthmadog). From this small port Welsh slate was exported all over the world. Many of the small schooners and brigs and larger square riggers (out of Liverpool) were owned, commanded and manned by men from the Criccieth area. Click here for my Maritime Database
Yn y 19fed ganrif ddatblygwyd Porthmadog i safle pwysig. Ô'r porthladd fychan yma anfonwyd llechi i bob rhan ô'r fyd. 'Roedd rhan mwyaf ô'r sgwneri a brigiau fechan â'r "llongau hwyliau sgwâr" (allan o Lerpwl) yn perthyn i bobl yr ardal gyda criwiau local. Gwele' fy Hysbysrwydd Arforol.
At this time the turnpike road was built through the area. This was an attempt at making a direct route through to Porthdinllaen where a ferry port for the Irish trade was planned. (It did not materialise).
|This road passed half a mile to the north of the seashore and it gradually shifted the centre of the town away from beneath the castle. That area became known as yr Hen Dref (the Old Town). Properties, including the George Hotel and Wernddu, (which became our family home) and Union Row etc. were built at this time followed by Corporation Terrace then other houses which became the High Street. Click here for my Family History|
y pryd yma fe oedd gynllun i gyrru ffordd dyrpeg drwy'r ardal i
Borthinlaen hefo'r gobaith i ddatblygu'r llê fel prîf
porthladd î'r Iwerddon ond methodd godi'r ddiddordeb. Adeiladwyd
y ddarn ô Dremadog a drwy Gricieth. Symudoedd ganol y drêf
ô gwaelod y gastell i fynny î'r ffordd newydd a gelwir hwn
y Stryd Fawr. Adeiladwyd llawer ô dai ar ochr y ffordd, Y "George",
"Wernddu" Corporation Terrace, Prince of Wales a mwy.
Adeiladodd fy hên hên Taid, David
Cadwalader "Wernddu", llawer ô'r dai a siopau.
"Maes" looking towards High Street. Memorial Hall and
Corporation Terrace to the right. Photo 1920s
In 1867 the Cambrian Coast railway came to Criccieth and the town expanded (though still less than 2,000 pop.today) to become a Victorian seaside resort. This is how it still appears. The seafront houses on the west side of the castle, at Marine Crescent were built around this time quickly followed by the main Marine Terrace in the 1870s and 80s
flwyddyn 1867 gyrraeddodd y rheilfordd i Gricieth a newidodd wyneb y
drê' i safle lanmôr a wyliau a dyna syt mae y llê
In October 1927 a period of tremendous gales and a storm surge caused considerable damage. The old houses on Abermarchned (just past the lifeboat station) and cottages at Merllyn (where the cafe at the end of the prom is today) were so badly damaged that they had to be demolished.
A famous "son" of Criccieth was Dafydd Lloyd George, Prime Minister of Britain during the Great War. His childhood was spent in nearby Llanystumdwy then he moved to Criccieth to set up his law practice. Though he spent most of his time in London he loved to come home. His wife, Lady Margaret, was from an old Criccieth family (Mynydd Ednyfed) and she prefered her home town to London so she remained at "Brynawelon". Many of his staff at 10 Downing street were from Criccieth.
Un ô "feibion" enwog ô Gricieth oedd Dafydd Lloyd George, Prif Wenidog yn y Rhyfel Fawr. Magwyd ef yn Llanystumdwy ag ar ôl pasio fel gyfreithiwr agorodd ei swyddfa gyntaf yng Nghricieth (wedyn Porthmadog). Er i fô'n Llundain rhan mwyaf ô'i amser oedd ganddo hiraeth am "Brynawelon" lle trigodd ei wraig, yr Arglwyddes Margaret. Felly i fô clywed yr hen iaith 'roedd rhan mwyaf ô'r morwynion ag cogyddion yn Stryd Downing ô Gricieth.
has visited Criccieth will have sampled "Cadwalader's
Ice Cream". This was first made by my nain (grandmother) in
the 1920's and sold in my taid's (grandfather) shop which originally
also sold fish! (he was a fisherman). My Uncle Dafydd was in charge
from 1945 to 1986 when he died. He was a bit of a character. The
business was then sold out of the family. My father Robert (Robin
Cadwalader) 1904 - 1972, was also a well known figure on the beach by
the lifeboat station where he carried out his boat hire business until
Mae'n siwr bôd ynrhyw ymwelwyr i Gricieth wedi cael Hyfen Iâ Cadwalader. Fy nain dechreuodd y busnes a bu fy ewythr Dafydd yn rhedeg y siop am llawer mlynedd. Y mae'r siop wedi gwerthu allan ô'r tuelu 'rwan. Adnabwyd pawb fy nhâd, Robin Cadiw, a heiriodd allan gychod a canws ar lan y môr ger y gorsaf bâd achub.
|More photos of Criccieth - Past and Present / Mwy o llyniau|
Other Pages on this Site/ Tudalenau eraill ar y Safle yma
Robert Dafydd Cadwalader. Cricieth. 2007 ©