Historic Landscape Characterisation

Creuddyn and Arllechwedd – Area 10 Penmaenmawr/Dwygyfylchi PRN 15811


SH 720763 looking north. Showing the somewhat faded splendour of the fine cast-iron shop front covers along the former main road in this splendid Victorian coastal resort.



Historical background

Though the fourteenth century Record of Caernarvon records eight free gafaelion (holdings) in the township of Dwygyfylchi , maps of the eighteenth century reveal the paucity of settlement along this coastal strip, though a small nucleated settlement may have existed around St Gwynan's church and at the foot of the road through the Sychnant pass. The local family of consequence in the eighteenth century were a branch of the Coetmors, and lived at Ty Mawr. Their last survivor sold the estate to one George Thomas Smith, who constructed a new house called Pendyffryn nearly two away, thereby earning the praise of Edmund Hyde Hall for having given "a polish and a social look to a tract that was heretofore sufficiently desolate."Pendyffryn was later inhabited by Samuel Dukinfield Darbishire, secretary of the Chester and Holyhead Railway Company, who was responsible for much of the subsequent development of Penmaenmawr as a community.

The existing settlements at Penmaenmawr and Dwygyfylchi both expanded rapidly in the nineteenth century. At Penmaenmawr an initial quarry-workers' settlement of 1838 on the newly-built post road grew into a substantial town, housing both holidaymakers and quarry families.


Key historic landscape characteristics

Quarry workers' settlement, resort development, pre-modern nucleated community, colonnaded walkways, and use of Penmaenmawr granite

The town of Penmaenmawr is characterised by quarry workers' dwellings, which predominate in the western half of the town, and by holiday villas, boarding houses and hotels, which predominate in the eastern half. The east-west axes of the Telford post road, the Chester to Holyhead main line railway, and the modern A55 dominate the settlement, and the courses of the former quarry inclines, one of which is in re-use for a conveyor belt system to a sorting plant at the railway station, pass through the residential areas.

The town includes a wide variety of workers' housing, ranging from the very simple early buildings at New York , the Lancashire-style terraced housing at David Street and Erasmus Street , and the attractive range of buildings for staff employees at St David's Terrace. These, and their associated community infrastructure, reflect the paternalistic regime of the Darbishire family at the quarry.

The resort buildings are for the most part late nineteenth and early twentieth century, and are laid out following the lie of the land. The broad but winding street from the railway station to the main shopping area on the post road is especially prominent, but other streets in this part of the settlement are narrow as well as winding. The main street is noted for its covered walkways, supported by cast-iron pillars, in imitation of Llandudno.

The dominant building material for both the quarry and the resort dwellings is Penmaenmawr granite, though there is considerable use of glazed Rhiwabon brick for decorative work. Slate is the dominant roofing material, but there is some use of tile.

The smaller nucleated community at Dwygyfylchi to the east is made up partly of villa style architecture of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century and a modern housing estate, interspersed with older agricultural buildings and a cluster of nineteenth century dwellings at the foot of the road over the Sychnant pass to Conwy. The substantial Regency dwelling Pendyffryn survives as an office complex and a social centre for the caravan park established on its demesne. A golf-course has been laid out north of the Old Conwy Road .


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