Sunday 24th. May and it’s a glorious morning so I’ve decided to head out for my first visit to the Llyn Peninsular. My first stop being Criccieth castle.
The first view of the castle is seeing it stood on a headland, the sea around most of it with the village huddled around the bottom.
It is thought that the castle gave it’s name to the village rather than the other way round. The origins of the name thought to be “crug” (hill) and “caith” (captives). The castle was also a jail.
It was originally built in the 1230’s by Llewelyn the Great. It was a Welsh castle with a very English style twin-towered gatehouse.
The castle was taken by the English in 1283, extended and more fortifications added. The Welsh never gave up though, and it was taken and burned by them in 1404.
The views from the castle are not to be missed. Both east and west offer wonderful vista’s.
In truth there is not very much left of the castle, but the entertainment provided by the Ardudwy Knights added to the visit.
After spending time at the castle and looking around the village I headed a few miles west, to the village of Llanystumdwy. This is the childhood home of the great Liberal Prime Minister, David Lloyd George.
Lloyd George was born in Manchester (of Welsh parents) in 1863, but on the death of his father (in 1864) the family returned here, to be cared for by his uncle Richard.
The workshop to the left is where Richard had his shoemakers workshop, with the small cottage to the right where the family lived.
The museum was officially opened in 1960 by Lloyd George’s brother William, when he was 97.
The splendid entrance gates were provided by the Royal Borough of Caernarfon.
Unfortunately photography is not allowed in the museum or the cottage, but they are well worth a visit. The cottage and workshop have been restored to their original condition.
David Lloyd George had chosen his burial site before his death, a spot overlooking Afon Dwyfor where he used to sit.
He died in 1945, and his grave is marked only by the boulder on which he used to sit. It can be seen behind the gates.
After the funeral his wife Frances commisioned an architect to build the enclosure around the grave.
There is much more to see around Llanystumdwy, it is well worth a visit.
“As a man of action, resource and creative energy he stood when at his zenith, without a rival. His name is a household word throughout our Commonwealth of Nations. He was the greatest Welshman which that unconquerable race has produced since the age of the Tudors. Much of his work abides, some of it will grow greatly in the future, and those who come after us will find the pillars of his life’s toil upstanding, massive and indestructable”. Winston Churchill’s tribute in Parliament in 1945.
Another short drive west took me to Penarth Fawr, a wonderful Medieval stone built hall house.
The house is thought to have been built by Madoc of Penarth in 1416. Few such houses still remain in Wales, and most of the ones which do remain are half-timbered rather than stone built.
It was a day of Medieval splendour and a Victorian childhood leading to great things. A full day, but what a heritage we have to explore. Visit Wales, visit your heritage.