TREMADOG (formerly TREMADOC) is a village in the community of
Porthmadog , in
Gwynedd , north west
Wales ; about 1 km north of the
town of Porthmadog. It was a planned settlement , founded by William
Madocks , who bought the land in 1798. The centre of
complete by 1811 and remains substantially unaltered. Map of
Cardigan Bay View of
Tremadog bay, from the vicinity of Harlech
T. E. Lawrence 's birthplace. The house was
originally called Gorphwysfa ("place of rest") before being given the
English name of Woodlands. Later it reverted to the original name,
albeit using modern Welsh orthography, as Gorffwysfa, but this has
more recently been changed to Lawrence House.
William Madocks ,
the designer and builder of most of
Tremadog hosted an unofficial
National Eisteddfod event in 1872.
* 1 Planning
* 2 Church and chapel
* 3 Governance
* 4 Industry
* 5 Houses
* 7 Canal
* 8 Tourism
* 8.1 Culture
* 9 Famous residents
* 10 See also
* 11 Bibliography
* 11.1 References
* 12 External links
By mid-1805, Madocks had already built some houses on the site of
Tremadog, for he wrote to the Post-Master at
Caernarfon informing him
that letters addressed to Pentre-Gwaelod should be delivered to the
new houses he had built on Traeth Mawr, near Tan-yr-Allt.
Pentre-Gwaelod translates as Bottom Village, but Madocks had grander
plans, for aldermen and a mayor had been appointed, and he corrected
the word "village" in a letter written soon afterwards to read
"borough ". He planned it himself, perhaps with some help from
architectural friends and architectural books, but his letters reveal
that a master plan was never produced, as he held the ideas for the
settlement in his mind.
Tremadog is a good example of a planned town , with an array of
Georgian architecture built in the classical tradition of the 18th
century. It is located immediately below the high ground of Snowdonia
and on the edge of the modern
Snowdonia National Park
Snowdonia National Park .
Tremadog was built on flat land reclaimed from
Traeth Mawr , the
estuary of the
Afon Glaslyn , and to enhance its appearance Madocks
placed the Market Square, the centre of his project, just in front of
a great crag of rock , the former edge of the estuary. It towers some
100 feet (30 m) over the
Town Hall , and the coaching inn , giving a
theatrical effect to the area. He hoped to attract more buildings that
fitted his overall plan, but this plan failed and he eventually funded
most of them himself. The main streets were named Dublin Street and
London Street, as Madocks wanted
Tremadog to be a stopping off point
on the main route from London to
Porth Dinllaen on the Llŷn Peninsula
, which was intended to be the chief port for ferries to Dublin.
However this plan failed when
Porth Dinllaen as
the main ferry port. He was keen that everything should enhance the
village's appearance — his main interest. Unlike some contemporary
town planners, he was less interested in the moral reform of the
inhabitants: he felt that people had the right to work, educate their
children, pray, drink, gamble, save or waste money as they saw fit;
and that the town should give its residents opportunities to get on
with their own lives, providing that they were congenial neighbours.
Town Hall or dancing room was a large first-floor room at the
head of the square. Five round arches supported the front of the
building, and the ground floor was used as a market hall. The dancing
room had a fireplace at both ends, a minstrels\' gallery on the back
wall, and five large sash windows at the front, overlooking the
square. It was reached by stairs from the tap room in the adjacent
public house, so that people attending a dance did not have to pass
through the market area. The roof was in a similar style to many of
Madocks' buildings, with a shallow pitch of slates, and wide eaves,
while a flight of steps ran across the front of the building, creating
a plinth on which it stood.
There were six medallions and five keystones on the front of the
building, with representations of theatrical figures. During August,
the market space became a theatre. The house to the east of the town
hall was quite shallow, allowing a stage to be built behind it,
connected to the market space by a proscenium arch. Madocks wrote
several stirring prologues and a play for the theatre, and there are
rumours that the playwright and poet Sheridan acted in a production of
his own play
The Rivals there, although it was probably his son Tom,
who was a contemporary of Madocks.
CHURCH AND CHAPEL
Madocks believed that "in education and religion all ought to have
fair play", and this was reflected in the provision of a Gothic
revival style church for the Anglicans and a classical chapel for the
Methodists . His approach did not find favour with the Bishop of
Bangor, but he defended his decision by telling the Bishop that the
church would be built on rock, while the chapel would be built on
sand. This was true geologically, but was also a reference to the
Biblical parable of the wise and foolish builders.
The church was built on a rocky outcrop, which had once been an
island in the estuary, and was one of the first churches to be built
Gothic revival style in Wales. The tower supported a spire, built
in brick which was rendered with Parkers
Roman Cement . It deceived
the antiquarian Richard Fenton, who described it as yellow freestone
in his book of travels published soon after 1813. The entrance to the
churchyard is spanned by a decorative arch of
Coade stone , a ceramic
material manufactured in
Lambeth , London, which is in Gothic horror
style, with representations of boars, dragons , frogs, grimacing
cherubs , owls, shrouded figures and squirrels, while the tops of the
towers are surrounded by elephants ' heads. Madocks wanted it to
become a parish church, but it was only ever a chapel of ease , as
Tremadog was part of the parish of Ynyscynhaearn. Although he provided
a churchyard, no burials took place, but it was one of the few
buildings in the region where services were regularly conducted in the
The church was fitted with box pews , cast iron windows with coloured
glass, and a blue ceiling with stars painted on it. There was a crypt,
the precise location of which is unknown, in which Madocks hoped to be
buried, but he died in Paris and was buried at Père Lachaise Cemetery
. He is commemorated by a brass plaque , which also commemorates the
wedding of Mary Madocks to Martin Williams there in 1811. John
Williams, originally a gardener from Anglesey, who worked tirelessly
to complete Madocks' plans when he was so often away, was buried in
the vault when he died in 1850, as were his wife and their only son, W
T Massey Williams.
Music was supplied by a small barrel organ, but it was not adequate
and was moved to Ynyscynhaearn, where it is still in the gallery. A
replacement was bought from Bates of Ludgate Hill in 1857. In 1898,
the chancel floor was raised, and the windows were replaced. A new
roof was fitted in the 1950s, and the ceiling was removed, while the
spire was repaired with cement in the 1970s. The building ceased to be
used for worship in 1995, and was eventually bought by Cyfeillion Cadw
Tremadog, a trust dedicated to the repair and refurbishment of the
historic buildings of Tremadog, in 2005. The fabric was repaired, and
modern facilities installed. An upper floor was fitted, and the
building is now used as offices by Cartrefi Cymru ("Homes of Wales"),
a charity which assists disabled people living in the community.
Repair of the coadestone arch, requiring the manufacture of several
replacement parts, was completed in 2007.
Peniel Chapel , which was built by the Methodists, and was one of the
first buildings to be completed in the settlement, was quite unlike
most Welsh chapels . On the outside, it looked like a Greek temple,
while inside the pulpit was on the end wall rather than the more
traditional long side wall. Methodists had begun a Sunday School in a
house in 1805, and in 1808 Madocks gave them the land on a 99-year
lease, subject to a peppercorn rent . It was completed in two and a
half years — 18 months before the church — and the first service
was led by Thomas Charles from Bala. Since Madocks and his family were
there, he conducted the service in English, and the two men became
friends, with Charles often visiting Tan-yr-Allt, where Madocks lived.
The front facade, with a large circular window, was not completed
until 1849, and the work was supervised by John Williams, Madocks'
agent, who continued to serve the community long after Madocks' death
in 1828. As the congregation grew, galleries were built in 1840 and
1880, and extensive plasterwork was added between 1908 and 1910. The
chapel is one of only five grade I listed nonconformist chapels in
Wales, and it was hoped to refurbish it for the bicentenary in 2010.
There is a separate electoral ward called Porthmadog-Tremadog. This
ward includes some of the community of
Porthmadog but also measures
Beddgelert . The total ward population at the 2011 census was 1,257.
In the early 1800s, there was a thriving woollen industry , supplying
garments to South Carolina and other southern states of America, the
West Indies, South America, and Russia, but it was a cottage industry.
One of Madocks' first projects was to build a factory where wool could
be processed on an industrial scale. Although there were a few sites
Wales where the fulling of cloth was powered by water, this was
one of the first woollen mills where water power was used for carding
and spinning . The building was located close to his home at
Tan-yr-Allt, because the high ground behind it provided a good head of
water. It had a characteristic shallow-pitched slate roof, and Madocks
instructed that the walls should be yellow, and the windows painted
dark green. Nearby were a corn mill and a fulling mill. The water was
provided by building a dam across a small valley, to form Llyn Cwm
Bach, with sluices channelling the water to feed the mill and the
Although Madocks initially employed a Mr Fanshawe to manage the
factory, he was not happy with his performance, and soon the project
was being managed by John Williams, Madocks' assistant. The building
was advertised for sale in 1810, and from 1835 was used as a tannery
. It still stands, but has a temporary roof. In the 1990s, the
Tremadog Buildings Preservation Trust obtained permission for its
repair and conversion, but failed to acquire the site.
Most of the houses of
Tremadog were of a similar plan, and in common
with town houses of the period, opened directly onto the square. They
had a central doorway, with a parlour or a shop on each side, and
there were two bedrooms on the upper floor. Shops were not a common
feature of Welsh villages at the time, but the Mayor opened a general
store, which was supplied from London, and Madocks instructed his
assistant to look out for a shoemaker, a tailor, a butcher and a
weaver. At the back of the houses, there was a lean-to scullery ,
running across the full width of the buildings. For the two inns, the
nature of the reclaimed land prevented the digging of a dry cellar,
and in this case, half of the scullery was replaced by a structure
with a stone vaulted roof, which helped to regulate the internal
Ty Pâb was the end of the first phase of the building on the road
leading to the church, originally called London Road, but subsequently
renamed Church Street. Arches on the side of the building mark the
planned location of a cross street, which was never built. The
ordinary houses were supplemented by several gentlemen's villas, of
which Tŷ Nanney is a good example in the village itself, while
Tan-yr-Allt, where Madocks lived, was situated to the east of the
'Ysgol y Gorlan', a primary school , is the only school in Tremadog.
It is a state school which caters for 120 pupils between the ages of 3
and 11. Most of the leavers go to 'Ysgol Eifionydd', the nearest
secondary school , in Porthmadog.
Madocks enlarged a drainage ditch to the river Glaslyn to form a
canal which was opened in about 1815. It was used for 35 years to
carry copper ore from a local mine, before being replaced by a
Tremadog is an increasingly popular tourist destination. The area's
long, quiet roads attract motorcyclists, and
Tremadog also has a good
quality rock climbing "crag" (another has been closed because of rock
instability) which attracts climbers from all over the UK. There have
been issues with access to the crags, with local farmers and the
Nature Conservancy Council
Nature Conservancy Council trying to prevent climbing, but one
section, Craig Bwlch y Moch, has been owned by the British
Mountaineering Council since 1979. Deteriorating conditions led to
annual events to tidy up the climbs between 2007 and 2010, and
negotiations with the
Forestry Commission resulted in invasive
sycamore trees being removed in 2009. A further event was held in
April 2012, but a climber was injured in May 2012 when huge blocks of
rock were dislodged during a climb.
Tremadog also boasts one of the country’s most iconic chapels.
Peniel, a Calvinist Methodist chapel, was finished in 1810 and then
expanded after Construction work , with its eye-catching and unusual
columns, finishing in 1849, its temple front loosely based on St
Paul’s chapel in Covent Garden, London.
The design of the building went on to influence how other chapels in
Wales during the period were built, But the site was forced to close
in 2015 as its dwindling congregation was unable to keep it open, it
is set to be rejuvenated, funds pending.
Below these crags is a cafe, campsite and bunkhouse, which provides a
base for climbers.
Tremadog is a thriving Welsh-speaking village, where the language is
in everyday use.
Tremadog was the birthplace of
T. E. Lawrence , also known as
"Lawrence of Arabia". The house is now Snowdon Lodge hostel.
* Eric Jones , climber and base jumper, lives in Bwlch Moch.
* Gethin Evans,
S4C presenter and member of the band Genod Droog
between 2005 and 2008
* Barri Griffiths , TV Gladiator, professional WWE wrestler Mason
Percy Bysshe Shelley moved into Tan-yr-Allt, Madocks' former
residence, and initially promised to assist in the financing of his
schemes, once he came of age, but after living there rent-free from
November 1813 to March 1814 he left for Dublin, leaving behind debts
which took several years to sort out.
* World-renowned opera star
Rhys Meirion was born and bred at Bryn
Ffynnon, near Ysgol y Gorlan.
* Welsh poet William Jones lived in Stryd y Llan (Church Street).
Tremadocian Age is the first in the
Ordovician Period of
geological time, and is named for Tremadog
* Beazley, Elisabeth (1967). Madocks and the Wonder of Wales.
London: Faber and Faber. ASIN B0013IWZYW .
* CCT (July 2008).
Tremadog - Historic Planned Town. Cyfeillion Cadw
* Paget-Tomlinson, Edward (2006). The Illustrated History of Canal &
River Navigations (3rd edition). Landmark Publishing. ISBN
* ^ Beazley 1967 , p. 82
* ^ A B CCT 2008 , p. 5
* ^ A B Beazley 1967 , p. 83
* ^ Beazley 1967 , p. 85
* ^ Beazley 1967 , pp. 84–85
* ^ Beazley 1967 , p. 92
* ^ Beazley 1967 , p. 94
* ^ A B CCT 2008 , p. 6
* ^ Beazley 1967 , p. 97
* ^ Beazley 1967 , pp. 97–98
* ^ CCT 2008 , pp. 12–13
* ^ Beazley 1967 , pp. 97–99
* ^ CCT 2008 , p. 14
* ^ CCT 2008 , p. 16
* ^ CCT 2008 , pp. 2, 14–15
* ^ CCT 2008 , pp. 17–18
* ^ Beazley 1967 , pp. 99–102
* ^ "Chapel\'s 200th birthday facelift". BBC news. 29 April 2008.
* ^ "Portmadog-
Tremadog ward population 2011". Retrieved 18 May
* ^ Beazley 1967 , p. 102
* ^ A B C D CCT 2008 , p. 7
* ^ Beazley 1967 , pp. 103–104
* ^ Beazley 1967 , p. 105
* ^ Beazley 1967 , p. 107
* ^ CCT 2008 , p. 3
* ^ A B Beazley 1967 , p. 96
* ^ "Ysgol Y Gorlan". Good Schools Guide. Retrieved 30 December
* ^ Paget-Tomlinson 2006 , p. 189
* ^ Kelly, Jim (21 June 2010). "
Tremadog - a star is reborn". BMC.
* ^ Jones, Elfyn (26 April 2012). "Tremfest 2012". BMC.
* ^ Jones, Elfyn (20 May 2012). "Warning: rockfall at Tremadog".
* ^ "Eric Jones cafe and accommodation". Eric Jones. Retrieved
* ^ Beazley 1967 , pp. 193–197