Historic Landscape Characterisation

Caernarfon/ Nantlle – Area 7 Tal y Sarn PRN 15706


The 'ribbon' nature of this quarrying settlement is evident in this photograph which looks north, as it stretches from upper left to centre right, mainly following the line of the turnpike and the Nantlle railway. Some of the quarries are shown to the right of the photograph



Historical background

Although there had been some intermittent development probably from the end of the eighteenth-century, associated with the prosperity of the slate workings at Cloddfa'r Coed, the village is largely a development of the period 1850 and 1870, built to house slate quarrymen and their families on the lands of Coedmadog farm, laid out along the course of the turnpike roads and of the Nantlle Railway. The village is associated with the preacher John Jones and with the bard Robert Williams Parry.


Key historic landscape characteristics

Quarry settlement, speculative builder

Tal y Sarn essentially consists of two convergent ribbon patterns of development, one along the turnpike built in the 1840s at the foot of the slope alongside the railway, the other along the hen lôn higher up. These join at the eastern end of the village, in what was an early focus of settlement near Cloddfa'r Coed and the area known as Pen y Bont.

Though there are a number of traditional vernacular buildings, the dominant house-type is the standard two-up two-down design, albeit built out of local stone. Some buildings are constructed from quarry rags, though most are constructed of field stones, at least where the construction material is visible, with possibly some use of rags or poorer quality stone in side-walls and back-walls. Many have been rendered or pebble-dashed. Several impressive chapels survive, though all are now closed or face immediate closure. The Nantlle Vale Hotel, a substantial building erected in the 1860s (SH49045320), vies for prominence with the chapels (e.g. Capel Mawr [CM] – SH 49215319). Tal y Sarn is an excellent example of a speculative builder's village.




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