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Site Details

© Copyright and database right 2021. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey licence number 0100022206

NPRN 28697

Map Reference SH53NE

Grid Reference SH589371

Unitary (Local) Authority Gwynedd

Old County Merioneth

Community Penrhyndeudraeth

Type of Site VILLAGE

Broad Class CIVIL

Period Post Medieval

Site Description The village of Portmeirion, situated on the Penrhyndeudraeth peninsula is the creation of Clough Williams-Ellis, who in 1925 brought what was then called the Aber Ia Estate from his uncle Sir Arthur Osmond Williams. This was to fulfil his long-held ambition to create a new and different type of settlement, apparently inspired by the soft mediterranean-like setting of the peninsula. In 1926 the Aber Ia mansion opened as the Portmeirion Hotel and from this date onwards work began towards the construction of the village (NPRN 301590).

Some of the earlier history of the peninsula is however preserved within Portmeirion. Situated in the grounds known as the Gwyllt, are the remains of an early welsh castle constructed around 1180 and which was once associated with the Princes of Gwynedd (NPRN 302700). The peninsula at this time would have been an open landscape of rock, heather and gorse, offering extensive views over the surrounding area.

Around the turn of the nineteenth century there appears to have been a small hamlet on the foreshore near to the area of the Portmeirion Hotel. This was developed from 1828 when Captain John James Barton brought land here and established a quay near the hamlet, and from this time the area became known as Aber Ia. The quay was established to transfer slate and ships were also built here, however neither venture was successful and in 1836 Barton established a foundary, which also proved unsuccessful. Following Barton's death in 1851, Aber Ia was in ownership of David Williams who subsequently leased the area to Henry Seymour Westmacott. Under Westmacott the Aber Ia estate was created, with it's mansion and gardens. This subsequently passed to Sir William Fothergill Cooke and then Sir Arthur Osmond Williams (NPRNs 265160, 404419).

Louise Barker, RCAHMW, 17th October 2008

Associated with:
Grounds and gardens : 301590
Castell Aber Ia: 302700
Aber Ia Mansion (Portmeirion Hotel): 404419
Bristol Colonnade: 302094
The Pantheon: 407058
The Campanile: 407059
Town Hall, Portmeirion: 407060

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