Historic Landscape Characterisation

Arfon - Area 42 Gwaen Gynfi enclosed area

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

Historic background

An area which remained unenclosed, apart from some squatter encroachment, until 1806, when it was granted to the Vaynol estate and other local landowners, and which from 1834 onwards was used to establish Dinorwic quarrymen and their families on small-holdings in an attempt to encourage them in habits of frugality and sobriety.

Key historic landscape characteristics

Industrial settlement (slate quarry)

The area is distinguished by small parciau (enclosures) each supporting a cottage, and some larger sheepfolds, though the pattern of settlement is much less regular than in the similar landlord-settled community at Mynydd Llandygái, suggesting that the enclosures themselves were carried out by the quarrymen under the agent’s eye, rather being directly controlled by Vaynol. sources. A number of the settlements, such as Garnedd, represent unsanctioned squatter encroachment from the eighteenth century. The dwellings for the most part show typical estate influence, with some polite features, and are sufficiently large to suggest that they may be later nineteenth century rebuilds of the original dwellings of the 1830s and ‘40s. Some older buildings survive, distinguished by their roofs of large slate.

Most of the buildings remain inhabited, though a considerable number, especially near the quarry, are now deserted.

The public turbary stipulated by the enclosure act is situated here, and the area is traversed by the Assheton Smith slate road of 1811, as well as by other industrial roads connected with the slate quarry and part of the course of the Dinorwic Railway of 1825.


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