Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to right sidebar Skip to footer


Dolgellau Chronology

Roman – 1249

[Roman Times] Signs of Roman “Traffic” at Ffynnon Mair (Mary’s Spring). Roman road passes near Dolgelley, and on the site of the town, coins bearing the inscription “Imp. Caesar Trajan” have been found
[480] Death of Illtyd Farchog (Iltulus), born in Brittany. Gave Llanelltyd its name
[7th Century] Christian missionaries founded a settlement in Dolgellau
[11th Century] Invading Normans under William Rufus, leave the area – ‘returned empty-handed having gained nothing’.
[11th or 12th Century] Dolgellau First Inhabited as a “Serf” Village
[1100] Nannau sited at 700ft, it is reputed to be the highest mansion seat in the country. The site was the home of the descendants of Cadwgan, son of Bleddyn, Prince of Powys, since 1100. It was the residence of Howel Sele, a cousin & enemy of Owain Glyndwr
[12th Century] Original St. Mary’s Church Built
[1111] Cadwgan (of Nannau), the founder of Dolgellau Died in Welshpool
[1116] Cymer Castle (Castell Cymer), Llanelltyd a native Welsh castle was built in 1116. The mound or motte was built by Uchdryd ab Edwin. The tree covered motte can still be seen, but contains a stone ‘folly’ on top. The wooden castle is also ‘famous’ for being built and destroyed in the same year (1116).
[1198/9] Cymer Abbey Founded Under the Patronage of Maredudd ap Cynan (Lord of Meirionydd)
[c.1200] Dolgellau first connected to the wool trade.
[1209] Cymer Abbey was Granted a Charter by Llywelyn the Great
[1212] Maredudd ap Cynan (Lord of Meirionydd and Founder of Cymer Abbey) Died
[1240] Llywelyn ab Iorwerth “The Great” Died

1250 – 1499

[1253] First Document Mentioning St. Mary’s Church “Dolkelew” (in the Norwich Taxatio). This is the Earliest Recorded Spelling of the Town
[1282] Llywelyn ap Gruffudd “The Last” Died
[1284] The Monks of Cymer Abbey Were Awarded £80 Compensation for the Damages Caused by the English Wars
[1285] Another Recorded Spelling of the Town: “Dolgethley”
[1285-1310] Edward 1st makes survey of Merioneth (similar to Domesday Book). Residents of Dolgellau were tenants of the Crown – primarily Welshmen (cattle breeders) and foreigners (Englishmen and Irishmen – agricultural workers).
[1291] St. Mary’s Church Mentioned again in the Taxatio Ecclesiastica
[1291] St. Illtyd Church Built in Llanelltyd
[1295] Edward 1st visited the town and received homage of local tribal chieftains.
[14th Century] St. Mary’s contains a 14th Century effigy of Meurig ap Ynyr Fychan, an ancestor of the Vaughan family of Nannau
[14th Century] Poet Gruffydd ap Adda murdered in the streets of Dolgelley
[c.1340] Walter de Manny established fairs and markets (Vicecombe of the Shire of Merioneth). Tolls were 3.5% of the selling prices of goods
[1349] Owain Glyndwr born
[1388] Cymer Abbey Only Housed Five Monks
[1400] Owain Glyndwr’s Revolt Begins
[1402] Owain Glyndwr Attacked Nannau and Captured Hywel Sele
[1402] Owain Glyndwr Battled Griffith ap Gwyn (Who was Trying to Rescue His Father-in-Law Hywel Sele). Gwyn Lost 60 of His 200 Men on Llanelltyd Bridge
[1402] Hywel Sele Tried to Kill Owain Glyndwr. But Glyndwr Killed Sele and Stuffed His Body Into The Hollow Tree of the Ghost (Ceubren yr Ellyll). When it Lay Hidden for 40 Years
[1404] Owain Glyndwr held the last Welsh Parliament in Dolgellau. It was from here that Owain Glyndwr sent letters to the Kings of Scotland and France, asking for help and pleading the justice of his fight against English usurpation, signing himself ‘Owinus, Dei gratia princeps Walliae datum apud Dolgeuelli 10 mie mensis Maii, MCCCC quatro’
[c.1416] Death of Owain Glyndwr in hiding
[1445] Fresh survey of Merioneth – ‘land now lying derelict for want of men’

1500 – 1699

[1514] William ap Jenkin ap Iorwerth charged with having terrorised Dolgelley
[1536] Henry VIII Dissolved All Monasteries Earning less than £200 per Annum (Cymer Abbey was Earning £51 and was Dissolved)
[1555] Lewis Owen, vice-chamberlain of North Wales, and baron of the exchequer of North Wales cruelly murdered by The Red Bandits of Dinas Mawddwy. The Red Bandits were known as “Y Gwylliad Cochion” as they had red hair
[1576] Dolgellau was leased out by the Crown and surveyed in the Rolls
[17th Century] Plas Newydd Built at the top (Did Not Have the Bays Originally)
[1606] Y Sosban (The Old Town Hall) Built
[1638] Y Bont Fawr (The Big Bridge) Built. Originally it contained 10 arches but 3 were lost when the railway was built
[1640] St. Mary’s Started to Keep Regular Church Registers
[1650] George III Built in Penmaenpool
[1651] St. Mary’s font has the date 1651. West windows contain 18th Century stained glass
[1657] George Fox Leader of the Quakers Visited the Town and The Quakers were Established in Dolgellau
[1662] A Print of the Old St. Mary’s Church Published (with the church-bell is suspended in a yew-tree)
[1662] Thomas Fuller wrote of Dolgellau in The History of the Worthies of England – ‘There are more alehouses than houses. Tenements are divided into two or more tippling houses and chimneyless barns used to that purpose’
[1665] One of the Earliest Grammar Schools in Wales was Built
[1666] Robert Vaughan of Hengwrt Died
[1675] George Fox visited the area saying he had found an earthly Paradise and that ‘here is a valley of peace and beauty’.
[1678] Register of Dolgellau Parish Church (1678 – 1708). Entries of burials confirmed that woollen shrouds were being used. A law was passed in 1678 to encourage the wool trade, making it obligatory to use these shrouds
[1686] Rowland Elis, a prominent local Quaker, emigrated to Pennsylvania
[1694] Robert Norden’s map of North Wales links the mail route from the West Midlands with Caernarfon via Dolgellau for the first time, among a few other Welsh towns. In those days, the Inns doubled up as post offices, to serve the travellers

1700 – 1799

[1700] Wtra Plas Coch Built
[18th Century] The town had 6 Skinners Yards, 3 Tanneries. About 100,000 local lambskins, as well as many kid skins were sent to Worcester and Chester every year and some to London. There were two kinds of tanneries ; heavy leather that tanned hides, and light leather dealing with sheepskins
[1715] Death of Dr. Daniel Williams. A trust was established from his will to eventually set up Dr. Williams School
[1716] Old St. Mary’s Church Demolished
[1716] Town Jail Built (The Clifton House Hotel now stands on the site).
[1721] Reverend Ellis Lewis left a sum of money for a peal of eight bells at the Parish Church. 1st, 2nd and 3rd chimed for Divine Service, 4th for curfew, 5th for a fire, 6th for a funeral, 7th (Y gloch goll) for someone missing on Cader Idris, and the 8th was for Communion
[1725] Baron Richards born at Coed, Brithdir in Dolgelley Parish. Well educated, he became Chief Justice of Chester, Baron of the Exchequer and Lord Chief Baron
[1750] John Wesley visited Dolgelley, making non-conformity a force
[c.1755] The road to Bala was built, replacing the old track
[1765] Richard Wilson painted “Cader Idris – Llyn-y-cau”. Now hanging in the Tate Gallery in London. One of the masterpieces of 18th century art
[c.1770] Bakery established in The Lawnt – Popty’r Lawnt
[1780] Fulling Mills Established
[1791] Universal British Directory. Dolgelly – Situated at the bottom of that romantic high hill called Kader Iris. Here is a modern-built parish church. The buildings in general, are low and irregular. The markets are on Tuesdays and Saturdays, and there are 7 fairs in the year. The tide flows within a mile of the town. The principal occupations of the town are, Physicians 2, Lawyers 3, Merchants 7, Grocers 4, Web-manufacturers 11, Web-merchants 1 Tanners 3, Skinners 5, Mercer 1 Currier 1, Carrier 1, Corn factorer 1, Timber merchant 1, Woolstapler 1, Plumber/glazier 2 and Sadler 2
[1794] Thirty six people die of smallpox in Dolgelley
[1796-98] Intolerable Poor Law pressed on Dolgelley.The 1796 poor rate was 8 shillings (40p) in the pound
[1798] The Earliest Printing Press Opens
[1798] Fifteen shillings (75p) paid to a Mary Jones for washing Parish linen
[1798] The Baptists were established in the town
[1799] Hen Dafarn Drws-y-nant (The Old Tavern at the Gateway of the Stream) was rebuilt by Sir Robert Hywel Vaughan. It stands up the steep pass of Garneddwen, between Dolgellau and Bala, a wild and unhinabited region. Was once described by a traveller as ‘a poor hovel’

1800 – 1829

[19th Century] A drover from the Dolgellau area could received three shillings (15p) a day, and a six shilling (30p) bonus on reaching his destination.
[c.19th Century] People used to ride up Cader and at one time as many as forty to fifty sturdy Welsh ponies were kept at one hotel for this purpose, and another hotel advertised ‘ponies and guides, fixed, moderate prices’. One of the most famous guides was Robert Edwards, who at the age of eighty-four used to hand out printed circulars to visitors, describing himself as ‘being by chance made a glover, by genius a fly dresser and angler, and now, by the all-divine assistance, conductor to and over the most tremendous mountain, Cader Idris’
[1800] Rev J. Evans in A Tour Through Part of North Wales in the year 1798 and at other times, claimed that Dolgellau ‘is improving in building and population from the increasing trade in coarse cloth, it promises to become no inconsiderable place’
[1800] Judah Baptist Chapel built on Cader Road
[1800] Siop y Seren Built
[1800] Tan y Gader Built
[1800] Plas Newydd Bays Added (Overlooking Eldon Square)
[1800] The Town’s Woollen Industry Reached its Peak
[1801] 1801 census records 2,949 residents
[1801] A petition was sent by the parishioners to the Bishop of Bangor, praying that as the Rector lived 2 miles away “the six o’clock service on Sunday be abolished”. Two other service were held on Sundays
[1801] Eldon Square named after the Chancellor of England in1801, Lord Eldon, a friend of the Vaughn’s at Nannau
[1802] Another outbreak of smallpox hits the town, but not as bad as in 1794
[1803] The Town’s First Bank Opens at Y Lawnt
[1803] The Parish bought a hearse, hiring it out at increasing charges each year
[1803] Cader Idris Volunteers established as England declared war on France. The group consisted of six companies and was raised by Sir R. W. Vaughan Bart MP, with its H.Q. at Dolgelley
[1805] John Morris was paid 26 shillings (£1.30) to clean Dolgelley’s streets once a week, for 9 months
[1806] St. Mary’s Opened a New Burial Ground on The Marian
[1808] Richard Fenton wrote ‘The Masonry of Dolgelley merits particular notice. ‘From time immemorial they have been built with very large stones… lifting them with an immense machine which takes above a day to erect, and worked by two men requiring a Lever of vast power’.
[1809] The Clock and Bell was Added to St. Mary’s Church
[c.1810] Cambrian News 1881 – Shop Fach Tan Drain (Eldon-square) occupied by ‘Shon and Shan Jones – grandparents of local bard Ieuan Ionawr. They raised 21 children who were born in the shop, and all grew up to be strong men and women. There were only two beds and a cot in the house, and all had their allotted five and a half hours sleep every twenty four hours. The shop never closed for nearly twenty years, day and night…. some portion of the family was always astir.
[1811] The Marian Given in Trust to the Town
[1811] New County Jail Built
[1813] Town Jail Demolished (To Make Wat for the Clifton House Hotel)
[1813] The Hollow Tree of the Ghost (Ceubren yr Ellyll) Blown Down in a Terrible Storm at Nannau on 13th July
[May 1813] John Greenwood hanged for carrying quantities of forged notes. Had presented a forged £5 to Catherine Evans for a ‘negus’ (a glass of warm spiced wine) at The Golden Lion
[1813] Cambrian Travelling Guide – ‘The principal Inn is the Golden Lion, or Plas Isa ; The Ship Tavern is a very large newly built inn. At the Angel Inn there is very comfortable accommodation for travellers without a carriage’
[1817] (see 1799 entry) William Jones of Drws-y-Nant, Innkeeper, on the 17th October was empowered ‘to keep a Common Inn, Ale House or Victualling-house, for ONE YEAR from the TWENTYNINTH of this present MONTH of SEPTEMBER, in the House where he now dwelleth at Drws-y-nant aforesaid’
[1817] An order was made to reduce the number of foxes in the area. Ten shillings and sixpence (52.5p) for every fox and five shillings (25p) for every cub
[1817] The Poor Law rates reached a maximum of 17/3 (78p) in the Pound
[1820] An arch was completed near Maes y Brynner on route to The Torrent Walk, which coincided with the death of King George III
[1821] The township of Dolgelley contained 2093 residents
[July 1822] English landowner and diarist Anne Lister (1791–1840) visited Dolgellau.
[1822] Poor Law – Dolgelley’s pauper relief was reduced to try to stop the ever-increasing roll of pauperism. In general, house rents were paid for people on the pauper list, on which everyone was trying to get. Their cottages were repaired for them, weekly cash allowances and lump sums were handed over, children of paupers were apprenticed with heavy premia, many gifts in kind were distributed. Money was even given to enable people to go to America. (Poor Law details from ‘The Story of Two Parishes Dolgelley and Llanelltyd’ – T.P. Lewis)
[1823] A golden torque was discovered near Llyn Gwernan, belonging to the late part of the Bronze Age
[1824] It was ordered that no one who kept a dog should receive pauper relief
[1825] County Hall (Courthouse) Built (for £3000)
[1825] Church Registers Adopted the Spelling “Dolgellau”
[1825] No pauper owning ‘a clock or any useless furniture in the house’ would receive pauper relief
[1827] Dafydd Ionawr Died (Local Bard and Schoolmaster) born 1750
[1827] The National School was founded
[1828] A drastic revision of Dolgelley’s pauper list ended in its reduction by nearly half
[1829] Sunday School at Salem Chapel Now Contains 400 Children and 71 Teachers

1830 – 1849

[1830] Eldon Row Built
[1830] The Stagecoach Journey from The Golden Lion Hotel to London Takes 24 Hours
[1831] Bodlondeb prison about 1/4 mile up Cader Road, built. It was to replace the Clifton goal which was built in 1751 & closed 1831. The Clifton housed the last two men to be publicly hanged in Merioneth.
[1833] A writer said that 1,400 people employed in flannel. 30,000 pieces made annually, averaging 110 yards each.
[1835] Leigh’s Guide to Wales and Monmouthshire. ‘The tourist will do well to make this (Dolgellau) his central station while he examines the various beauties of the neighbourhood, as there is perhaps no place in the principality from which excursions may be made with so much advantage’
[1835] J Hemingway – Panorama of the Beauty, Curiosities and Antiquities of North Wales. ‘There are many well built houses in various parts of the town (Dolgellau), including a good range, fronted by shops, called Eldon Row, the property of Sir Robert Vaughan; but in general the houses are erected with such extreme irregularity in regard to each other, as to convey but a mean idea of the projector’s good taste’
[1835] J. Hemingway – ‘Part of the building in which a parliament was held by Owen Glyndwr is still standing among a group of old houses, having a post-office in front, near the Ship Inn, and is called Cwrt Plas yn y Dref, ‘the town hall court’
[1835] The Postmistress was Jane Owen, based at Queen’s Square
[1836] Sir Robert Vaughan, in his account books, adopted the spelling “Dolgellau”
[1836] Thomas Roscoe in Wanderings and Excursions in North Wales. ‘ A pleasant walk of about a mile and a half beyond Llanelltyd brings the traveller to Dolgelley, which is encircled by mountains, and seated on the river Wnion, here a broad, shallow stream, over which is a handsome bridge of seven arches. It has a neat church, containing some old monuments; and a commodious county-hall’
[1836] The last Poor Law rate in Dolgellau was 12/4 (62p) in the Pound
[1837] The Poor Law passed into administration of a Board of Guardians.The assessments undertaken by the Board were increased dramatically
[1839] Judah Chapel was Rebuilt
[1839] Sir Robert Vaughan rebuilt The Golden Lion. The King of Sardinia, Grand Duke Constantine of Russia and Prince Louis Lucian Bonaparte have stayed there
[1839] The Dolgelley Board of Guardians decreed that apprenticing to trades be abandoned, if employment could be obtained anywhere as a farm labourer
[1842] Parliament was petitioned by Dolgellau locals to return to the old system of Poor Laws, but the petition failed. Corruption was rampant with the overseers allegedly embezzling much of the proceeds
[1842] Some of the estimates for the parish church expenses included; winding the clock £2.2 shillings (£2.10p) and new bell ropes £8.00
[1843] Sir Robert Vaughan (Local County MP) Died
[1845] The Board School was founded
[1846] August 25th – To be sold at auction… by Mr William Ellis at The Golden Lion… That Capital and Genteel residence, called BRYNHYFRYD. The house consists of an excellent Dining Room, Breakfast Rooms, Man’s Pantry, Housemaid’s Closet, excellent cellars, one of which contains good Spring Water, and many other conveniences…. The house has been chosen and occupied by her Majesty’s Judges while on circuit. For further particulars apply to Messers. OWEN and GRIFFITHS, Solicitors, Dolgelley.
[1846] Edward Parry – Cambrian Mirror or a New Tourist Companion through North Wales. A traveller sitting over his wine was asked to describe Dolgelley, when taking a handful of nutshells, and placing the cork on its end, he threw the shells carelessly around it, saying the same time, ‘there is the plan of Dolgelley: the cork represents the church and the shells the small Houses’
[1847] Mormon preacher Edward Roberts visited the Dolgellau and Llanelltyd areas

1850 – 1899

[1850] The Town Now Had 11 Mills
[1850] An Old Rhyme of Dolgelley (by Thackeray). When you go to the town of Dolgelly, don’t stay at the Lion Hotel, There’s nothing to put in your belly, and no one to answer the bell.
[1851] Shop Fach Eldon-square was pulled down (see c 1810 entry). Owned by Sir Robert Vaughan, it was occupied for several years by David Jones, bookbinder, a zealous and active temperance advocate
[1855] The Grammar School Headmaster earned between £35 to £40 per annum
[1855] A committee selected to arrange for lighting and watching the town at a cost of £80 per year
[1855] Ship Hotel, with some land, was rented at £20.13 shillings (£20.65p) and The Golden Lion at £19.15 shillings (£19.75p) per year
[1862] £70,000 worth of gold sold by Clogau Gold Mine to England
[1862] The last Brigantine (Ship) was built in Penmaenpool and was the “Charlotte”, Capt. Black in charge. Boats were launched broadside in Penmaenpool. Locals were employed to help launch by rocking the boat. Vast quantities of free beer were taken prior to assist in this dangerous job
[1864] St. Mary’s Chancel Added
[1864] A Mr Smith, a keen walker, left Machynlleth in September to climb Cader Idris. He refused to pay a guide the 15 shillings (75p) fee to take him up and down the mountain. Night was approaching and bad weather forecasted. Against the guides’ advice, Mr Smith went on alone. Six weeks passed and nothing more was ever heard of Smith. His brother came to make enquiries, but to no avail. The following May, a man’s dog started barking whilst on Cader, and its owner, looking over a precipice, saw a dead body – a skeleton in clothes, having been ravaged by foxes and ravens. A knapsack found nearby confirmed the body’s identity as that of Smith. He had fallen some 1300 feet
[1864] As a market town, Dolgellau paid £255 18s 6d Excise Duties for the year ended 24th June
[1865] As a market town, Dolgellau paid £256 19s 3d Excise Duties for the year ended 24th June
[1866] As a market town, Dolgellau paid £279 5s 1d Excise Duties for the year ended 24th June
[1867] As a market town, Dolgellau paid £307 9s 1d Excise Duties for the year ended 24th June.
[1868] Tabernacl Chapel Built
[1868] The Railway Arrives
[1868] Y Dydd (The Day) Newspaper First Published
[1868] The navvies working on the extension of the railway line from Bala to Dolgellau used to pour into The Old Tavern (Drws-y-nant, see entry 1817) for drinks. Attached to the the inn was a lean-to, since demolished, called Cegin-y-Gwyddelod, (The Irishmen’s kitchen). This was set aside for the Irish navvies, for the Welsh refused to drink with them
[1868] The “Hen and Chickens” hotel was demolished because of the arrival of the railway. The hotel stood on the site of the old Toll House on the north side of Y Bont Fawr (also later demolished)
[1869] Charles Darwin wrote to Sir J.D. Hooker “We have a beautiful house, with a terraced garden, and a really magnificent view of Cader right opposite. Old Cader is a grand fellow, and shows himself off perfectly with every changing light”. He was living at Caerdeon near Bontddu and writing his Descent of Man at the time
[1869] Dolgellau Court. Mary Thomas was found guilty of leaving her pigs to stray in Lombard Street on the 1st May. John Thomas a postman was found guilty of allowing his donkey to stray on the 5 May on the turnpike road from Dolgelley to Towyn. Both were fined 2/6 with costs, or if in default, 7 days imprisonment. They were charged with the offences by Police Constable Evans
[1870] Neuadd Idris Built
[19th Century] The Welsh Gold Rush
[c. 1870] Robert Meredith founded a light leather tannery, dealing with sheepskins (see 18th Century entry).
[1870] (March 15th) Miss Mary Owen, landlady of the Golden Goat Inn, was found not guilty of causing drunkenness at her Inn, when it could not be proved that she had knowingly supplied the accused with drink
[1870] Meredith Richards presented 19 handsome and interesting volumes for the use of inmates of the workhouse. These were in English and a number of Welsh volumes would also be supplied. He had also previously presented flower seeds for the decoration of the pasture in front of the workhouse
[1870] (12th June) Prisoner Edmund Williams alias ‘Ned of Grogwyn’, escaped from Dolgellau County Gaol. He was undertaking 18 months imprisonment for burglary. He scaled a wall and made his escape supposedly to Liverpool. He was aged 28, five to five and a half feet tall and had a speech impediment. A handsome reward was offered for his apprehension
[1871] Rev Francis Kilvert drove by omnibus from Barmouth junction to ‘Miss Roberts’ Hotel, The Golden Lion, Dolgelly’, staying for a few days.(Kilverts Diary) (on 12th June)
[1871] Kilvert’s guide on Cader Idris, a Mr Pugh told him that ‘This is the highest point of Cader Idris’, laying his hand on a peak of wet living rock, ‘not that’, pointing at a great conical pile of stones built upon the peak by sappers and miners during the Ordnance Survey ‘The Captain of the surveying company had his tent pitched on the top of Cader Idris for 3 summer months and never left the place. He had 18 men to wait upon him. And how many clear views do you think he got in that time? Nine’
[1872] Mr. John Meyrick Jones, Meyrick House was given Royal Patronage for his Welsh tweeds by Her Royal Highness, The Princess of Wales
[1872] The Caernarvon and Denbigh Herald – ‘CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS… The shops decorated with the greatest taste were Shop Newydd (Mr Richard Jones); Mr D.E. Hughes, draper; Mr Griffith Jones, grocer; Mr Richard Mills do; Mrs Miles & c. Several butchers displayed a fine show of Christmas meat, and that the window of Mr Edward Jones was of a very superior character’.
[1873] A visitor wrote ‘No visitor should visit Dolgellau without seeing the primitive way flannels and tweeds are made’.
[1875] Tolls into Dolgellau abolished. From a slate on one of the old toll houses on the road from Bala. ‘Every Horse or other Beast drawing any Coach, Chariot, Chair with four wheels 6d (2.5p), For every other Horse or Beast drawing any wagon with four or two wheels 4d (2p), For Every Horse or other Beast laden or unladen and not drawing 1.5d (1p); For every drove of Oxen, Cows or Meat Cattle per score and so in proportion for any less number 10d (4p). For every drove of Calves, Hogs, Sheep, Lambs or Goats per score and so in proportion for any less number 5d (2p)
[1875] The town’s fire engine was almost unserviceable when called upon to deal with a small fire at The Red Lion, the last time it was used. Previously used by ‘the waterman and the local board officers’ to water the streets of the town during very dry weather
[1875] Gerard Manley Hopkins (Jesuit Priest & Poet) reputedly wrote the poem Penmaen Pool about 1875 in the visitors book at the George III Hotel
[1877] Cadwalader Jones of Parc Farm was the Last Person to be Hanged in Dolgellau for the Murder of Sarah Hughes (Took Place on 23rd November
[1877] Eglwys Bethel (M.C.) built. (M.C. is Welsh for Calvinistic Methodists)
[1878] Dr. Williams School for Girls Established
[1879] Penmaenpool Tollbridge Built Across the Mawddach which replaced 24 hour (one man power) ferry service across the river. The ferry service was still going in May 1892. The bridge had to have a large centre span (30 foot) should there be a resurgence of the boat building trade at Maes Y Garnedd, Llanelltyd and a seagoing vessel need to pass through
[1880] Ebenezer Chapel Built
[c.1880] Dolgellau woollen export trade creates shipbuilding industry on the Mawddach. Produce taken by packhorse from Dolgellau to Llanelltyd, then on to Barmouth by Sloop for transportation to Liverpool. Exporting to South Carolina, Africa, Germany Holland. British Army fought in Dolgellau woollen clothes
[1881] Cwrt Plas yn Dre (Old Parliament House) Demolished. Cambrian News November: ‘The Old Parliament house was bought by Mr Thomas Roberts, ironmonger, Bank Buildings, for the purpose of erecting new business premises. One of the greatest attractions in Dolgelley is gone , and no business convenience will ever repay the loss’. It was rebuilt at Milford Road, Newtown, where it is currently a Quaker Friends Meeting House
[1881] May – Cambrian News – the house of Mr Evan James, Mason, took fire. The river Arran and mill stream… supplying an abundance of water… the fire was soon put out. Its close proximity to a large block of buildings consisting of Y Dydd Printing Office, The Unicorn and Talbot hotels… (had the fire spread)… a large portion of the town would have been in imminent danger
[1881] January 14th – Cambrian News – ‘TOWN IMPROVEMENT – At last the old houses at the top of Eldon-square, the property of Mr Jones, of Glandwr, are being pulled down…. the thickness of the wall of the gable-end, including the chimney was seven feet’.
[1881] Dr Williams Schools’ Principal Head Teacher was Emily Armstrong, a 35 year old spinster from Middlesex. Ellen Pritchard (29) from Islington and Eliza Cowell (38) of Newcastle were Governesses. Mary Tritton (18) was the only other pupil teacher. The school had 19 boarders, a cook, housemaid, kitchenmaid and laundress
[1881] Richard Willams (37) was the town’s Postmaster. The Post Office was also a draper’s shop. Assistants there were Taliesin F. Williams (19), William Pugh (18) and William Powell (17)
[1881] Dolgelley Union Workhouse had, as its Municipal Workhouse Master, William Williams residing there with his wife Dorothy and sons Griffith and Edward. Evan Williams was the Workhouse Task Master, with Sarah Jones a domestic worker and Anne Evans the Workhouse nurse. It contained 58 pauper inmates, the oldest being 81 year old Lewis Pugh, an Agricultural worker, and 1 month old Hugh Williams, son of Gwen Williams, the youngest. The Workhouse had the following handicaps recorded against some of the paupers; ‘idiots’ 7, ‘imbeciles’ 6, and 1 ‘lunatic’
[1886] T.H. Roberts Built
[1890] The 13th Century Silver Guilt Chalice and Paten from Cymmer Abbey were Found Hidden Under a Stone in Cym-y-mynach
[1891] The Gossiping Guide To Wales was Published
[1893] Salem Chapel Built
[1894] Gill’s Imperial Geography ; WALES; INDUSTRIES: Dolgelley, Welshpool and Newtown make flannels and blankets
[1895] The Provincial Eisteddfod was held at Dolgellau on the 16th and 17th August. These were getting common in Wales since the National Eisteddfod was suspended. Special praise was given to committee secretaries, Rev John Jones of Rhydymain, and Mr Lewis Williams, an auctioneer in Dolgelley

1900 – 1924

[1901] Police Sergeant Richard Owen, of Trefeglwys lived at Dolgelley Police Station, with his wife Martha and son Idris Wyn Owen
[1903] Bont Fawr Damaged by Floods
[1903] Robert Roberts and his newly married wife, moved to live at The Old Tavern (see 1868) and farm but were teetotallers. General Vaughan of Nannau (owner) agreed to take away the licence. The Inn was renamed the Hywel Dda, and mineral waters and tea replaced the beer for which the Inn was famous for years. The inventory drawn up when Robert Roberts took over was as follows: Crops, cattle, farm implements, harness etc. = £143, 7s, 6d. 400 sheep at 22s, 9d per head = £455, 0s, 0d. Barn, fences, etc. = £45, 0s, 0d. Contents of house: = £26, 13s, 0d. Total = £670, 0s, 6d
[1903] September – Football – Dolgelley South Side drew 0-0 with Dolgelley North Side in a game played on The Marian
[1903] September – Football – Dolgelley County School lost at home to Bala County School in a game played on the Cattle Showfield. The Dolgelley team was; G. Ellis, R.J. Davies, J.P. Jones, J.C. Owen, J. Jones, O.L. Evans, T. Hughes, R.R. Jones, R.E. Evans, T. Jones, J.M. Roberts.
[November 1910] A communication from Mr A. Carnegie stated he was willing to give £1,000 towards the proposed new Free Library, having approved the plans. A suitable site has already been procured and paid for by public subscription
[1904] Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show comes to Dolgellau on 6th May 1904. It is held on The Marian.
[1911] 1911 census gives Dolgelley’s population as 2,160
[1912] H.V. Norton ‘In Search of Wales’, visited ‘Dolgelly’ stating he ‘might be in the Austrian Tyrols as the square is crowded with mountaineers’
[1913] Dolgelley Free Library and Institute opened by J. Myles Esq MD in May. The library is on the site of the Blue Lion Inn
[1914] (May) Dolgelley Cricket Club. At the AGM chaired by Arthur Roberts, the audited funds balance stood at £3 17s 6d (£3.78) and was recorded as a good start to the season. Other club officers for 1914 were Captain; Mr D. R. Meredith, Vice Captain; Arthur Roberts, Treasurer; Mr R.R. Jones, Hon Secretary; Einion Evans, Groundsman; Richard Ellis. A complete fixture list is in the course of preparation
[1918] 107 Men from Dolgellau and Llanelltyd Died in the Great War (from a Total Population of Just 2500 Men, Women and Children)
[1920’s] The Prince of Wales (the future King Edward) visited Dolgellau and the Dr. Williams School
[1920] The tenants of the Golden Lion (1920-1925) were Quellyn Roberts & Co., Wine Merchants of Chester (still there in Westgate Street). The Robert’s paid Major General John Vaughan, CB., CMG., DSO., an annual rent of £150 (25/03/1920)
[1920] Mr. E.E. Jones Dolgelley took the title in the Champion Challenge Cup Competition for the Championship of Merionethshire, beating Mr T.J. Roberts
[1920] 1920 Rail distances from Dolgelley Station; Aberdovey 22.5 miles, Aberystwyth 44 miles, Bala 18 miles Barmouth 10miles, London 243 miles, Machynlleth 31.5 miles
[1921] (June) The County Council asked the Urban Council to enter into a fresh contract for the repair of main roads for the year ending March 31st, 1922, at £280. The Urban Council declined and pressed for £400.
[1921] Fire Brigade Competitions. Dolgelley won the Hydrant drill for the ‘Byrne’ Challenge shield in a time of 14 4.5seconds. They also won the Ambulance Competition Challenge Cup in First Aid in the fire service with 16 points
[1921] Quoits. 58 competitors played for the Merioneth Silver Challenge Cup at Bala. The winner was veteran Mr. Johnson of Dolgelley, beating Mr. Evan Williams also of Dolgelley
[1922] The Town Flooded
[1922] Dame Margaret Lloyd George entertained the Old Girls of Dr. Williams School at Number 10 Downing Street, because she was an Old Girl herself as was her daughter, Lady Olwen Carey Evans
[1922] Dolgellau FC were runners up to Barmouth in the Welsh National League, Coast Section, winning 6 and losing 2 of their 8 games. Barmouth 13pts, Dolgellau 12pts, Pwllheli 5pts, Harlech 4pts and Towyn Rovers 4pts
[1923] The Angel Hotel in Eldon Square Demolished
[1923] Dolgelley has a Social Club in Lombard Street, near the Square, with baths, an excellent library, a reading room and billiard tables. Visitors 2s 6d a week or 5s a month (From a tourist handbook “North Wales Complete Edition”, published by Ward Lock & Co – circa 1925)
[1923] 1923 Dolgelley has a good cricket club, with a well-laid cricket ground and pavilion, visitors are welcomed. The tennis club has courts near the Green and issues weekly and fortnightly tickets to visitors
[1924] Mr. Dafydd Ellis Rowlands started as conductor of a mixed choir at the Tabernacle Chapel
[1924] Dolgelley can be accessed by Great Western Railway via Ruabon and the beautiful valley of the Dee or by Cambrian Railways Coast Line via Barmouth (From a tourist handbook “North Wales Complete Edition”, published by Ward Lock & Co – circa 1925)
[1924] 1924 Fishing fees in the area for the Mawddach and Wnion rivers. 1.5 miles of Wnion preserved by local association. For all kinds of fish 1s 6d a week; 2s 6d a month; 5s a season. Licences, trout and char, 1s the season; salmon 1s a day; week 5s; month 10s; season 20s (£1)
[1924] 1924 Fairbourne fishing tickets, 1s a day at Ynysfaig Hall Hotel for fishing in Llyn Cyri. Penmaenpool fishing for trout and salmon in the Mawddach – 2s 6d a day; 10s 6d a month

1925 – 1949

[1925] The Golden Lion Royal Hotel was taken over by George & Nesta Olwen Hall in 1925 from the Nannau Estate.
[1925] The town is well lighted and drained, and has an excellent water supply. The town was formerly celebrated for the manufacture of flannel and tweed, but there is now only one small mill. As Dolgelley is the resort of anglers and others during the greater part of the year, and lodging housekeepers are not dependent on a short season for their livelihood, apartments may be had on moderate terms (From a tourist handbook “North Wales Complete Edition”, published by Ward Lock & Co – circa 1925)
[1925] 1925 Handbook – On the road leading to the Torrent walk is the County Intermediate School, and on the Barmouth Road is Dr Williams’s Endowed School for Girls, one of the most flourishing and successful institutions in Wales
[1926] Golf – Bala defeat Dolgelley by 6 holes to 5 in the Welshpool Challenge Bowl Competition. The winning Dolgelley golfers were H.T. Wilmott, W.R Brunton, W. Lewis, Richard Jones and R. Ellis Jones. The unsuccessful golfers were D.C. Brunton, J. Jones Williams, H.J. Owen, W. Williams, H. Morris and Llew Owen
[1927] (April) Dolgelley Union Workhouse contained an average of 30 lunatics. Total weekly cost per head was ten shilling and tenpence farthing.. The average number of casuals relieved per night was 5
[1928] Dolgellay & Llanelltyd “The Tale of Two Parishes” Published
[1929] The First Catholic Church opened in Dolgelley since the Reformation
[1929] Eight Carmelite nuns arrived from Notting Hill, London to found a new Carmel in the town, on Cader Road – The Order of the Brothers and Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary
[1930] Cymer Abbey Placed in State Care
[1930] 1930 November. Dolgellau FC beat Aberdovey 6-5 in the Cambrian Coast Amateur League. Weather was a strong factor in the result with driving rain and slippery conditions.The return fixture two weeks later saw Dolgellau beaten 10-2, with conditions again wet and slippery. Sandwiched between these games was a 2-1 defeat at Machynlleth. Dolgellau’s team then was (5-3-2); T. Parry; E Evans, H.P. Harris; R.W Parry, Archie Jones, E. Brown; H.P. Evans, I Jones, R.L. Roberts, R.G. Lewis, Joe Roberts
[1933] Dolgellau Tabernacle Chapel became an all-male choir, raising over £7,000 for various charities during the Second World War.
[1936] Dolgelley Urban Rent increased to a rate of 6/9 (37p) in the £1 for the half year ended September, an increase of 9d
[1936] Tarspraying of 5 miles of road decreased the nuisance of dust and gave work to the unemployed
[1937] The Plaza Cinema built (Now the Police Station)
[1938] Dame Margaret Lloyd George opened the footbridge over the Barmouth road in 1938, the same year as her Golden wedding Anniversary. It was constructed by Jack Jones’s father (of the ironmongers). It was started 1936 and finished 1937
[1939] The Meredith firm closed the tanning side of their business (see c1860) but continued first as wool merchants and then as fellmongers.
[1939] George & Nesta Olwen Hall installed electric light in The Golden Lion Royal Hotel
[1939-1944] During the Second World War, the Admiralty retained 12,000 acres of land on Cader Idris for training purposes. This included the summit of Cader and districts overlooking the Mawddach Estuary on the North, and Talyllyn Lake on the South
[1939] Dolgelley Albion Football Club lost 3 v 0 to Machynlleth in the first ever final of the Gresham Cup, held at Dyffryn on Sea
[June 1939] The first baby girl was born at the Dolgelley Maternity Home. Her parents were Mr and Mrs H. Evans, Wesley Court
[1940] Among the many gifts received by the Dolgelley Maternity Home on their Pound Day were; 22 lbs of rice, packet of Vim, 2 dusters, 2 toilet rolls and 8 lbs marmalade. The proceeds of the jumble sale amounted to £3 5s 6d.
[1940] (August) Merioneth Spitfire Committee met at Dolgellau and announced that the funds raised to buy a Spitfire aeroplane stood at £4,607. District totals included Dolgellau Urban £247, Dolgellau Rural £1,235
[1946] (July) After 21 years as Headmaster at Dolgelley Grammar School, Mr John Lloyd MA retired. He succeeded the late Mr John Griffiths. During his time there, the school buildings were enlarged, providing more classroom accommodation. Mr and Mrs Lloyd were responsible for the boarding arrangements at the school
[1946] (November) Councillor Rhys D. Jones, Hafan, Dolgelley was appointed Secretary of the Merioneth Agricultural Society and recently retired from the post of Stationmaster at Dolgelley after 46 years service with the Cambrian and Great Western Railways. He was chairman of Dolgelley U.D.C. in 1942. The Society decided to resume holding their Agricultural Show which was suspended during the War
[1947] County Times 18th January. Mr Justice Sellers arrived at Dolgelley by train on Monday evening for the opening of Merioneth Assizes on Tuesday. His Lordship was greeted with the customary peel on the bells of St Mary’s Parish Church and he proceeded to the Judges Lodgings at Brynderw
[1948] The Gorsedd Circle of Stones were Built on the Marian to Herald the National Eisteddfod for Wales
[1948] A crowd of 10,000 on Marian Mawr, witnessed the proclamation of The National Eisteddfod in Dolgelley by Cynan, the Gorsedd Recorder
[1948] Thomas Matson Roberts of Dolgelley, was awarded a silver medal from the Royal Humane Society, a silver medal and bar from the R.S.P.C.A. and King’s commendation for rescuing a stranded sheepdog on Cader Idris. Mr Roberts was accompanied by Mr T. Brooks in the rescue (see 1949 entry)
[1949] Queen Elizabeth II Visited the Town
[1949] National Eisteddfod for Wales held in Dolgellau
[1949] Thomas Matson Roberts, 39, was awarded the Stanhope Gold Medal from the Royal Humane Society for the bravest deed of the year. Mr Roberts was an Ironmonger at Penmaen, Dolgelley and was awarded the medal for rescuing a soldier, Frank Campion, (stationed at Hazebrook Barracks, Allenfield near Reading) from Cader Idris. He was stranded on an inaccessible ledge, 700feet up at Craig Cae, Pen Cae. The acoustics on the mountain were so bad, he could not be found by following his cries for help. The directions for rescue were given by shouting across the valley. Also helping in the rescue were Mr T. Brooks and Mr J. Fitzgerald. Mr Roberts was a part-time Company Officer of the NFS (see 1948 entry)
[October 6th, 1949] Princess Elizabeth inspected the Boys Cadets of the Royal Welch Fusiliers, who formed part of the Guard of Honour on the Square at Dolgelley, on the occasion of the visit of Princess Elizabeth and Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth, to Merioneth. The Princess also inspected the young members of the Merioneth Girl Guides

1950 – Present Day

[1951] Dolgelley Cricket Club. Messers Morrison and Robinson of Dolgelley, presented the club with 2 silver cups to be awarded to the best batsman and best bowler during the 1951 season
[1951] (June) Dolgelley Cricket team consisting of D.M. James, R. Pugh, J.M.C. Meredith, R.Jones, M. Griffiths, Iorwerth Davies, R.W. Parry, EG Davies, A.W. Hill, A.E.H. Leeds, and R.W. Evans beat Towyn
[1953] Council Offices at Penarlag Opened
[1954] Post Office in Meyrick Street Built
[1956] Photographs Taken of the Dolgellau Spring Fair (See “Historic Dolgellau” Page)
[1960 ] The then ‘New’ Post Office at Meurig Street, was Officially Opened in November. William Owen Davies was the Post Master until 1970
[1960] Urdd Eisteddfod held in Dolgellau
[1960s] Hengwrt, burnt down. It belonged to the Vaughan family. Robert Vaughan collected the priceless “Hengwrt manuscripts” now in National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth
[1962] Ysgol Y Gader Opened.
[1962] (February) Police Superintendent John St. David Jones reported at the Dolgelley Licensing Sessions, that 5 convictions for drunkenness had occurred during the year, an increase of 3 on the previous year. No convictions for being drunk in charge of a motor vehicle when being incapable to drive. The previous year had 2 convictions. The Police were congratulated by Alderman E. J. Evans Chairman, as were the licensees and members of the public on a satisfactory report.
[c.1963] Wilfred Pickles presented the popular radio programme ‘Workers Playtime’ from Dolgellau
[1964] The Railway Closed (after several days of heavy rainfall) on 12th December 1964. Train services were suspended between Bontnewydd and Morfa Mawddach because of floods at Dolgellau. Due to their impending closure, they did not re-open to passenger traffic again
[1965] (County Times April 24th, 1965) – A new youth club has been formed in Dolgellau, called the ‘Top of The Pops Club’ which meets at the Band Hall. It’s aim is to keep teenagers off the streets to enjoy games, pop music, refreshments and entertainments. Chairman Dilwyn Parry, Secretary Kathleen Judkins. Club rules included putting litter in the bin and no shouting or screaming allowed.
[1965] (County Times 15th May 1965) – Glamorgan County Cricket Club will visit Dolgellau to play the local club on the 4th September. It will be captained by Bernard Hedges and all available players from the First XI will be there together, with it is hoped, two or three stars from other sports and clubs.
[1965] (County Times 11th September 1965) – RAIN MARS GLAMORGAN VISIT – The match itself was delayed due to rain. Peter Walker damaged three bats on his way to scoring 80 of Glamorgan’s 137 for 5 declared. The Dolgellau Select XI scored 12 without loss before rain curtailed play. (Autographs of the Glamorgan XI from the day can be found on the ‘Dolgellau Archive’ Collectables page)
[1966] Roman Catholic Church built – dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows. Father Scalpell, the Priest in Charge, wrote more than 25,000 letters to people all over the world to raise money to build the new church, but very much to no avail. Sunday collections varied between only 5 shillings (25p) and 8 shillings (40p). After one mass, hearing his appeal for funds, a stranger remained behind and asked the Father how much he needed to build the church – a five-figure sum was quoted. Not long after, Father Scalpell received a letter from a solicitor saying his client would pay the sum requested on two conditions. His client would always remain anonymous and the church must be a fine building, harmonising with its austere, mountainous surroundings. Work started in 1963, and was finished at a cost of £44,000. Stone was selected from four different quarries in Merionethshire and Caernarfonshire to add a variety of stone colour. There is a stone from Bethlehem and a stone from Jerusalem in the alter
[1966] The “Prince of Wales” ferry boat from Barmouth capsized after hitting the Penmaenpool bridge on 22 July 1966. Fifteen people drowned. The late John Hall rowed out his clinker built dinghy “Daisy May” against the tide and saved approximately twenty lives. His chef, the late David Osmond Jones, and barman Robert Huw Jones assisted (Both of Dolgellau). No recognition of bravery was ever made to those involved. The fare paid was 5/- a head return from Barmouth.
[1968] Popular Welsh comedians Ryan and Ronnie played the Neuadd Idris in Dolgellau on October 5th 1968 – Autographs from the day can be found on the ‘Dolgellau Archive’ Collectables page
[1969] The Plaza Cinema Closed
[1969] One of the Earliest Grammar Schools in Wales was Demolished
[1969] ‘Y Stafell Ddirgel’ by local author Marion Eames, was first published, based on the history of the Quaker Rowland Ellis and his household
[1969] December 31st – Eglwys Bethel closed. It’s last minister was Mr Tom Phillips
[1972] ‘Y Rhandir Mwyn’ a historical novel by Marion Eames published, following the history of Rowland Ellis in Pennsylvania
[1975] Dr. Williams School for Girls Closed
[1981] The By-Pass Opened (Taking the route of the old railway line)
[1991] Quaker Centre Established in Ty Meirion

Thanks to Ken Davies ( and Gail Hall for all their help with this page.

Famous People Associated with Dolgellau:
The Pop Singer Duffy attended Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor in Dolgellau and was elected president of the Students Union.
Dr. John Thomas, 18th Century Bishop of St. Asaph, Lincoln & Salisbury was a native of Dolgellau.
Gryffydd Owen, the first physician of the newly formed state of Pennsylvania in the 17th Century originated from Dolgellau.
Robert Owen the Quaker lived at Dolserau Hall
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Frederick Temple, founded the Dolgellau cricket team-one of the oldest in Wales
Beryl Williams – Her parents ran the dry cleaners on the corner of Plas Y Dre. She was educated at Dr Williams and later taught there before making acting her full-time work. See the BBC Website for more details. She died at Ysbyty Dolgellau aged 67 in 2004.

Courtesy of John Atkinson and info supplied courtesy of Wikipedia:

Marion Eames (5 February 1921 – 3 April 2007) was a Welsh novelist.
Marion was born in Birkenhead, Cheshire, of Welsh parents, but was brought up at Dolgellau from the age of 4, where she attended Dr Williams’s School. A talented musician (she played the harp and piano), she graduated from Guildhall College, London.
Marion worked as a librarian in Dolgellau then at Aberystwyth University before becoming a radio producer with the BBC in Cardiff. She was an early scriptwriter for the long-running Welsh soap Pobol Y Cwm and was also for a time a regional organizer for Plaid Cymru.
Her best-known work is Y Stafell Ddirgel (also translated in to English as (The Secret Room), published in 1969. This was later made into a BBC television drama series.
A follow on novel was Rhiandir Mwyn (“The Fair Wilderness”). Her autobiography was published in 1995.

Courtesy of John Atkinson:
Joe “LLwyn” Jones also became an actor in the early days of Welsh television at roughly the same time as Beryl Williams. The LLwyn was a farm near the mart which was sold and converted into a residential home in the 1970s.

Courtesy of Hugh Griffith Roberts:
During WW2 the following friends, all ex-pupils of Dolgellau Grammar School, were awarded Military Crosses:

  • Dafydd Wyn Jones-Williams
  • Desmond Owen
  • William Hall