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
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
Tremadog hosted an unofficial
National Eisteddfod event in 1872.
2 Church and chapel
9 Famous residents
10 See also
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.
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
Town Hall or dancing room was a large first-floor room at the
head[clarification needed] 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 in
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 was subsequently 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.
In December 2017,
Ffestiniog Travel will move into the church.
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
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
There is a separate electoral ward called Porthmadog-Tremadog. This
ward includes some of the community of
Porthmadog but also
measures[clarification needed] 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
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 tramline.
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.
S4C presenter and member of the band
Genod Droog between
2005 and 2008
Barri Griffiths, TV Gladiator, professional WWE wrestler Mason Ryan
Percy Bysshe Shelley
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).
Minor television personality Matthew Holden.
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.
^ 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.
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
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tremadog.
A brief history
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Towns and villages
Cwm y Glo
Tal-y-bont (near Bangor)
Tal-y-bont (near Barmouth)
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