PORTMEIRION HISTORY

- The Place and its Past -

A look at more than a century of the resort's past and its early years, using old pictures and maps, together with a thousand year historical account.

MAIN PAGE

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This main history page and the following maps page (see link at the foot of this column) present the evidence still remaining today of Portmeirion's past. As the pages continue, a more pictorial approach is used, with images of the old site, before Portmeirion was created, with others showing the gradual development of the resort. The copyright in pictures from old postcards and also books published by Portmeirion remains with the original owners.

The use of such images on this website is not intended to infringe any subsisting rights and due acknowledgement plus grateful thanks are given to: Robin Llywelyn and Portmeirion, Judges Ltd., W. Harwood, Photo Precision Ltd., Harvey Barton and Son Ltd., The Photographic Co. Ltd., F. Frith and Co. Ltd., Valentine and Sons Ltd., J. Salmon Ltd. and Phil Kendrick (also for his extensive knowledge and input) and Multimaps (see link below). Additional thanks are expressed to the National Library of Wales for provision of maps. The photos below were taken by this website's author and are © 2002. No reproduction of this site's material is authorised.


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The first above map shows the location of the ancient Castell Deudraeth c.1185. According to available data, observations taken on the ground on the Portmeirion peninsula, topographical records and place name indications, the original location of the mediaeval structure was as shown above. Its location was mentioned by Giraldus Cambrensis ('Gerald of Wales'), who was born in Pembrokeshire c. 1145. He wrote in 1188 (as translated) "We crossed the Traeth Mawr and the Traeth Bychan. These are two arms of the sea, one large and one small. Two stone castles have been built there recently. The one called Deudraeth belongs to the sons of Cynan and is situated in the Eifionydd area".

He referred to the second castle as being on the Lleyn peninsula "on the other side of the river". Above the red circle where the ancient castle site is marked, the other site, marked 'motte', shows the closer location, which Clough Williams-Ellis described on his bell tower plaque as being "150 yards to the west". At the top of both maps the name Castell Deudraeth refers to the present day, modern castellated mansion, which was built mid 19th century. When comparing several other early maps on the History 1 page, it will be seen where the cottage White Horses is situated, hence the earlier name for it,   "Tan-y-Castell", meaning 'below the castle'.


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Portmeirion's peninsula, with bottom tip pointing south. The village can be seen mid-right edge. The area behind Portmeirion has no Exotic tree planting.


Same view, closer in, the upper white dot is the 'motte' position,  while the lower one is the ancient castle spot. These overhead shots are © www.multimaps.com


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Hilltop site of the ancient Castell Deudraeth (see Home Page commentary). This and the structure pictured opposite is unconnected with the present day Castell Deudraeth, situated a kilometre away.  The point in the above photo is reached from Portmeirion's woods, being the highest position on a hill behind the largest lake. At the opposite end to the Chinese bridge is a path to the top elevation.

A claim was made once that a tower enabled a view across the bay to nearby Harlech castle. This appears insupportable, owing to the presence of a large land mass on the opposite side of the River Dwyryd, between the hilltop point and Harlech. Below the point, on the coast, is the White Horses cottage, previously known as 'Tan-y-Castell' ('below the castle').


Three-sided walled erection referred to as 'motte' or drawn on some charts. This curious three-sided structure has a cannon barrel lying beside one wall. The location is adjacent to the 1983 Gazebo (created to celebrate the centenary of the birth of Sir Clough Williams-Ellis). A recent survey concluded that the building work was pre-1930s, but not thought to be of significance. Possibly this was assembled in Sir Clough Williams-Ellis' time, after removal of what had previously stood there.

There is an inscription on the bell tower describing 'ruins' located '150 yards to the west' of it. The story is more fully told on this site's Home Page, but inclusion of this structure is to allow consideration of it in relation to all other known past records and events.


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Remains not of Mrs. Adelaide Haigh, but of two of her beloved pet dogs. She had them buried in the woods, 'The Gwyllt', behind her Aber Iā home. Their gravestones remain  there to this day, now with others, in Portmeirion's 'Dogs' Cemetery'. Mrs Haigh lived in her mansion from 1870 until her death in 1917. See also this site's Home Page as to the further development of the site by her son Caton Haigh.


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Early depiction of Portmeirion, with open bay view.


Painting with tennis court in village centre.


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1950s watercolours of Portmeirion.


CLICK HERE TO GO TO HISTORY PAGE 1 WEBLINKS

HOMEPAGE

1861 ESSAY