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Cell Of Penmon Priory On Priestholm Island, Puffin Island Or Ynys Seiriol, The Monastic Settlement

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Map ReferenceSH68SE
Grid ReferenceSH6515082150
Unitary (Local) AuthorityIsle of Anglesey
Old CountyAnglesey
Type Of SitePRIORY
1. Puffin Island is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), home to at least 10 species of seabird including Puffins, Guillemots, Razorbills, Cormorant, Kittiwakes, Herring Gulls, Great and Lesser black-backed gulls, Fulmars and shags ( There is no public landing allowed on the island without the prior permission of the landowner.

2. The monastery on Priestholm is thought to have been an early medieval foundation. It was associated with Penmon Priory (NPRN 95543), itself an Augustinian house when it was granted to the Prior and Cannons of Priestholm in 1237. Following this the Prior of Priestholm shifted to Penmon. There are remains of a church, notably the twelfth century tower, and other monastic buildings, ranged within and about a walled enclosure.

The enclosure is an elongated oval, roughly 80m north-east to south-west by 36m, with several subdivisions and an inturned entrance at the south-west end. The church had a central tower, nave, chancel and south transept. The tower rises through two stages to a low pyramidal stone roof. It has plain round headed arches. Excavations in 1896 uncovered a small early chancel, possibly pre-dating the tower which appears to bear the scar of its vaulted roof. The later chancel is thirteenth century. The transept was overlain by a cottage, habitable in 1896.

There are traces of a complex range of buildings along the enclosure wall north-west of the church (NPRN 424033). Human bones are said to have been found in the area north-east of the church.

The monastic enclosure connects with various other boundary walls and enclosures.

Sources: Hughes in Archaeologia Cambrensis sixth series I (1901), 85-108
RCAHMW, 1937. An Inventory of the Ancient Monuments in Anglesey, London: HMSO, pp. 141-4, Frontispiece, Plates 185-6.
Carr, A. 'Medieval Anglesey' (1982), 287-8

RCAHMW, February 2011

An initial visit was made to the island on 21st June 2018 by staff from the Royal Commission's CHERISH Project in the company of a Cadw Field Monument Warden (J. Spencer) and Dr Jonathan Green, Liverpool University, the current Licence Holder. A second visit was carried out on 26th November 2018. Both visits involved surveys of the church, reported in NPRN 424033.