Historic Landscape Characterisation

Amlwch – Area 4 Amlwch Conservation Area PRN 28644

St Elaeth' s Church, Amlwch



Historical background

The core of the historic settlement at Amlwch, and now a Conservation Area. Amlwch is Medieval in origin in that it was based around the parish church and the court of the Bishop of Bangor but expanded rapidly from the 1760s onwards. Even then, initial growth seems to have been confined to a very tightly-defined area, centered on the north-south axis now known as Stryd y Frenhines and the east-west axis Mona Street-Wesley Street . Early industrial houses are said to have been mainly thatched cabins.

Thereafter maps show that the settlement remained more or less static during the early years of the nineteenth century, until it experienced a mild revival with the coming of the railway. The establishment of the Octel works (area 02) in 1951 led to the expansion of the settlement, and the building particularly of new social housing.


Key historic landscape characteristics

Historic settlement

Amlwch preserves many of the characteristics of an early industrial settlement. Some of the surviving housing stock dates from the early nineteenth century though no above-ground evidence remains within the Conservation Area of identifiable eighteenth century ‘first phase' housing. There is some limited evidence for the use of copper slag blocks as a building material as at Swansea . The buildings are typical of those found elsewhere in Anglesey , characterised by rubble walls, often rendered or pebble dashed, slate roofs with flush eaves, and sash windows - the earlier of small (usually 12) pane, the later Victorian examples with four panes. The majority of the windows have been modernised. Barclay's Bank building on Queen Street (SH 4426 9276) suggest that vernacular strictures survived even on the main axes of the town.

The settlement is dominated by the parish church of St Elaeth , consecrated in 1800 and designed by Wyatt (probably James), though remodelled by Henry Kennedy, the diocesan architect, in 1867. This neo-Classical building of decidedly Protestant form replaced a medieval building; its tower continues to dominate the town. Other places of worship and civic infrastructure are built on a substantial scale, including the former Welsh Wesleyan chapel which occupies a commanding position at the eastern end of Wesley Street (SH 4444 9306), now owned by Mona Safety Products; a sliding workshop door has been inserted in the front (west-facing) gable. The Memorial Hall, with its classical façade and hipped roof, is also situated on Wesley Street (SH 4427 9298). Smaller, and still in use, is the side-entry English Methodist Wesleyan chapel on the north side of Wesley street, built in 1831, with pointed gothick windows but otherwise unornamented, a design for which there are Cornish parallels (SH 4436 9305). The Dinorben Arms, near the cross-roads which form the fulcrum of the Conservation Area, is known to have been in existence in 1817, at the time of the Amlwch riots. It is an attractive double pile building, with a classical touch in the portico porch. However the historic ambience of this part of the town has been diminished by the demolition of the buildings immediately to the north of the hotel and their replacement by late twentieth-century structures of brown brick.

Despite the decline of Amlwch in the 19th century, there are many attractive buildings from the Victorian period and the early 20th century, including the HSBC bank and the Post-Office, reflecting a half-hearted attempt to develop it as a holiday resort. Later 19th century buildings are distinguishable from buildings constructed during Amlwch's heyday (1760-1830) by their proportions, which conform more to standard industrial housing found elsewhere in the United Kingdom, and by the use of imported material such as brick, though many are now pebble- dashed.

It is noted here as it is noted of 03, that the town of Amlwch lies in a comparatively low-lying area, and that the roads in to it offer interesting and attractive vistas. In this connection, the taller buildings add considerably to the visual appeal of the town as a whole – these include the ‘engine-house' tower of the school (03) and the church tower, as well as the Octel water-tower (06) and the upstanding features associated with the mine – the Morris shaft (outside the Historic Landscape area), the Pearl engine house and the windmill (09).



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