llanfaes of beautiful Wales UK


5 miles NE of Menai Bridge off the B5109 A Parish Church of St Catherine Now a quiet and sedate place, Llanfaes was a busy commercial village long before the establishment of Beaumaris as one of the island’s major centres, and travellers from the mainland arrived here after crossing the Menai Strait from Aber and the Lavan Sands. In 1237,

 Llywelyn the Great founded a monastery in the village over the tomb of Joan, his wife and the illegitimate daughter of King John. The tomb can now be seen in St Mary’s Church, Beaumaris, where it was moved at the time of the Dissolution. In 1295, Edward I moved the inhabitants of Llanfaes to Newborough so that he could use the stone in the town to built Beaumaris Castle. During World War II, flying boats were built at a factory near the village. The Parish Church of St Catherine dates from 1845, and replaces an earlier church. It is an imposing, steepled building that seems much too large for the village. LLANGOED 6 miles NE of Menai Bridge on the B5109 A Castell Aberlleiniog B Haulfre Stables In Edwardian times, this historic village was a popular resort with the lower middle classes who came here to relax in boarding houses by the sea.

 Llangoed’s seaside charm is enhanced by its pastoral setting where a walk downstream, alongside the river, leads to Castell Aberlleiniog, found in the midst of some trees. This was originally a timber castle, built in around 1090 by Hugh Lupus, Earl of Chester, who, along with Hugh the Proud, Earl of Shrewsbury, exacted great cruelty on the Welsh. Lupus was later killed during an attack on the castle by Magnus, King of Norway, when he was struck in the eye by an arrow. The ruins of the bailey, which was constructed later, are still visible. 

Close by is the site of a battle where, in AD809, the Saxons were, albeit briefly, victorious over the defending Welsh. Haulfre Stables is a small equestrian museum housed in a historic stable block and containing a collection of Victorian harnesses and saddlery, carts and carriages.

PENMON 7 miles NE of Menai Bridge off the B5109 A Penmon Priory A Parish Church of St Seiriol A Dovecote C Puffin Island C St Seiriol’s Well On the eastern tip of Anglesey, this is a beauty spot whose lovely views across the Menai Strait go some way to explaining why it was chosen, centuries earlier, as a religious site. Penmon Priory was established by St Seiriol in the 6th century, and in 1237, Llywelyn the Great gave the monastery and its estates to the prior of Puffin Island. St Seiriol was nicknamed Seiriol the Pale, as he used to meet and talk to St Cybi of Holyhead at a point halfway between their monasteries. Seiriol travelled westwards in the morning and eastwards in the evening, so the sun never tanned his face. St Cyri,

 on the other hand, travelled in the opposite direction, and was known as St Cyri the Tanned. Seirol was eventually buried on nearby Puffin Island, where he had also founded a monastery. Once known as Priestholm and now often called Ynys Seiriol, this island is thought to have been connected to the mainland at one time, as St Seiriol was said to have a chapel across the bay in Penmaenmawr and ancient records tell of journeys between the two places. The remains of monastic buildings that date back to the 6th century can still be seen here. 

The island was so named because of the large puffin colonies that nested here. However, the numbers of the nesting birds declined in the 19th century partly due to rats on the island and also because the young birds were considered a delicacy when pickled. The Parish Church of St Seiriol, originally the priory church, was rebuilt in the 12th century and contains wonderful examples of Norman architecture and a carved cross, recently moved to the church from the fields nearby, that shows influences from both Scandinavia and Ireland. 

The ruins of the priory’s domestic buildings include a 13th-century wing with a refectory on the ground floor where traces of the seat used by the monk who read aloud during meals can still be seen. A nearby Dovecote, built in around 1600 by Sir Richard Bulkeley, contains nearly 1,000 nesting places. A path, beginning across the road, leads up to St Seiriol’s Well, which was probably the site of the original 6th-century priory. Although the upper part of the building covering the well appears to date from the 18th century, the lower portion is much older and could indeed incorporate something from the priory’s original chapel. An abandoned quarry close to the village once provided stone for Beaumaris Castle, as well as the Telford and Stephenson bridges, which link the island and the Welsh mainland.

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