Historic Landscape Characterisation

Dolgellau - Area 7 Llanelltyd (PRN 19186)




Historic background

Llanelltyd is one of only three nucleated settlements in the project area. The principal historic core of Llanelltyd appears to be concentrated around the church towards the southern end of the character area, opposite Cymer Abbey, on land which was once owned and controlled by the monks (Gresham, 1984 and Williams, 1990 - see also areas 08, 09 and 10 which lie above it). The 1843 Llanelltyd tithe map does not show any houses within the village (only one, Muriau, is shown to the north), although the junction of the roads from Barmouth, Dolgellau (via the bridge) and Trawsfynydd are clearly defined. These had been in existence from the late 18th century. The map is not, however, completely reliable.

The 1901 OS 2nd edition map shows Llanelltyd as having developed along the northern side of this junction: on this map, the extant houses are grouped either around the church (which is situated on a slight rise above the floodplain to the south of the road as it heads north), or in terraces on the hillside to the north of the road, again above the flood plain. There is only a handful of houses here at this time.

A separate core to the village was created to the north in the mid 20th-century, with the building of a council estate based on a series of terraced houses above the main road (see photograph).

Key historic landscape characteristics

Nineteenth-century nucleated settlement

Llanelltyd is very much a ribbon development, strung out along both sides (although primarily the northern) of the modern main A470 and A496, but built along the original route of the roads before improvements in the 20th century. The principal historic interest is in the southern part of the settlement. There are two or three early houses in the area immediately around the church (Ty’n-llan, for example, is listed), including one dating possibly to the late 18th-century and a chapel dated 1817.

Elsewhere (i.e. across the road) there are a few 19th-century cottages, all stone-built; alongside these are other stone-built houses, mainly of two storeys and in short terraces. The settlement was built clinging the slopes of a natural south-facing bowl in the mountainside, above the floodplain of the Mawddach where it broadens out into the estuary.


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