Welsh Icons - Towns & Villages






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Dolwyddelan is a village and community in Conwy county borough, north Wales, on the main A470 road between Blaenau Ffestiniog and Betws-y-Coed. The name of the village translates as "Gwyddelan's meadow", referring to the 5th or 6th century Saint Gwyddelan, after whom the parish church is named.

It is particularly noted for Dolwyddelan Castle, the reputed birthplace of Prince Llywelyn ap Iorwerth (Llywelyn the Great). It has a railway station on the Conwy Valley Line.

Nearby mountains include Moel Siabod to the north, Moel Penamnen and Rowen to the south and, further afield, Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa) lies approximately 10 miles to the west. Carreg Alltrem, a crag used by many rock climbers, can be found about a mile south of the village.

In 1980 Walt Disney took over Dolwyddelan Castle and surrounding grounds to film all the external castle scenes in the film Dragonslayer. During the making of Dragonslayer many other scenes were shot in North Wales.

 Pubs/Bars in Dolwyddelan:
 Y Gwydyr Hotel
       LL25 0EJ
 01690 750209

 Hotels in Dolwyddelan:
 Elens Castle
       LL25 0EJ
 01690 750207

 Plas Hall Hotel
       LL25 0PQ
 01690 750206

 B&B's/Guesthouses in Dolwyddelan:
 Fferm Bryn Tirion
       LL25 0JD
 01690 750366

 Lledr House
       LL25 0DQ
 01690 750202

Dolwyddelan Castle

Dôlwyddelan (Dôl-Weddelan) - From 'A Topographical Dictionary of Wales' (1849)
DÔLWYDDELAN (DÔL-WEDDELAN), a parish, in the poor-law union of Llanrwst, hundred of Nantconway, county of Carnarvon, North Wales, 9 miles (S. S. W.) from Llanrwst; containing 754 inhabitants. This parish, which derives its name from the patron saint of the church, contains the remains of the ancient castle of the same appellation, which was probably built by some of the Princes of North Wales, though the original founder, and the time of its erection, are unknown. Iorwerth, or Edward, surnamed Broken-nose, son of Owen Gwynedd by the lady Gwladus, was lord of Dôlwyddelan Castle, and made it his residence about 1169; and here Llewelyn ap Iorwerth, his son, better known to the historian as Llewelyn the Great, was born: his father's claim to the throne of Wales being disallowed, in consequence of the deformity of his countenance, Llewelyn was acknowledged sovereign prince in 1184, and had a brilliant, glorious, and eventful reign of fifty-six years. In the time of Henry VII., Meredydd ab Ivan, ancestor of the Wynnes of Gwydir, purchased the castle and its dependencies from the executors of Sir Ralph Berkenet, and made it his principal residence while employed in reducing to order this part of the principality, at that time infested with banditti. For this purpose he kept an armed force here, which attended him on all occasions, and by his courage and perseverance he succeeded in restoring order and tranquillity. The castle occupied the summit of a precipitous rock, and consisted of two square towers, between which was the castle yard; it was built of the stone of the country, and was a place of considerable strength. It has been repaired by Lord Willoughby de Eresby, the owner. About a mile distant from the castle was the strong house called Penamnaen, built by Meredydd ab Ivan, of which some vestiges are still discernible.

The parish is situated near the south-eastern extremity of the county, bordering upon Merionethshire, by which it is bounded on the south, and stretching on the west to the mountains of Snowdon, which are partly within its limits. It extends four miles in length and three in breadth, and is intersected by the small river Ledar, which receives several streams from the neighbouring hills, and, taking an eastern course through the parish, falls into the Conway near Capel Garmon. The surface is abruptly broken, rising in many places into lofty eminences; and with the exception of the valleys, which are fertile and well cultivated, the lands are for the greater part mountainous and barren: barley and oats are the chief produce, and oak and ash the prevailing timber. The surrounding scenery is distinguished rather for striking boldness of character than for beauty. Lord Willoughby de Eresby is proprietor of the whole parish, with the exception of three small freehold tenements. A few slate-quarries employ about fifty hands. Fairs, principally for the sale of cattle, are held annually on April 16th, August 15th, and September 20th.

The living is a perpetual curacy, endowed with royal bounty and parliamentary grant, consisting of £1873. 16. in the three per cent. reduced annuities; net income £64. 4.; patron and impropriator, Lord Willoughby de Eresby, whose tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £130. The church, dedicated to St. Gwyddelan, is forty-eight feet long and twenty-four broad, having been built by Meredydd in such a substantial manner that it will probably prove the most lasting as well as pious monument of his deeds. He died in peace and honour on the 18th of March, 1525, and his remains were deposited in the church; to the south side of which, a little chapel or transept was subsequently added by Robert Wynne, uncle of Sir John Wynne, author of the Memoirs. An engraved monumental brass has recently been brought to light. There are places of worship for Calvinistic Methodists and Independents, a Church school, and four Sunday schools belonging to the dissenters. Elinor Thomas, in 1735, bequeathed £60 for the benefit of the poor, the interest of which is annually distributed among them; and Maurice Pritchard made a bequest of £12 in 1796.


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