Historic Landscape Characterisation

Arfon - Area 1 Bethel and Saron


© Crown copyright. All rights reserved, Gwynedd Archaeological Trust, 100017916, 2005

Historic background

A coalescence of two nineteenth-century hamlets, initially constructed on pockets of non-Vaynol land to house quarrymen and their families at the Vaynol estate’s Dinorwic slate quarries four miles to the south. The hamlet of Bethel grew up around the Independent chapel and the hamlet of Saron around the Wesleyan chapel of 1856, and were served by a platform on the private quarry railway which passed over the main road through the village immediately to the east.

The post-1960s housing constructed on what was previously open moorland between Bethel and Saron reflects the sale of the remaining portions of the Vaynol estate.

Key historic landscape characteristics

Industrial settlement (slate quarry)

The evolution of quarry dwellings from entirely vernacular cottages, often of crog-lofft pattern, through to the typically short unconnected terrace of the later nineteenth century is apparent here. There are some examples of architecture that has been influenced by the polite, such as the mansard roofed dwellings. The chapels and their associated manses are impressive buildings, most notably Cysegr (Calvinistic Methodist, 1864).

There is some use of a non-local coursed stone, possibly Aberdeen granite, on some buildings, most notably Bethel chapel and the adjacent Llys Myfyr.

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