Lwyngwril was reputedly named after the lowland giant Gwril. According to legend, he had a cousin named Idris who was the upland giant who lived on the mountain. (Cader Idris means Idris’ Chair) The legend tells how these 2 giants threw stones at each other as they did not get on. This accounts for the standing stones which are visible over the mountain.
The old village of Llwyngwril was situated further up the river valley. From approximately half a mile inland for about one mile, there are various medieval settlement ruins to be seen. From archaeological evidence and research carried out in the surrounding area, it is known that people had settled here by 700BC.
Up until the early 1900’s. There was a quay near the river mouth where sailing boats would unload their cargo of coal and lime rocks. Bales of wool were collected as outward cargo and transported to the merchants. There was also a regular Tuesday delivery, by boat from Pwllheli to the village of Herrings.
Up until the latter part of the 1900’s, the village had 3 grocers, 3 bank branches, a butchers, a hardware store, a hairdressers, a wool shop, newsagents, a café, a DIY shop, post office, petrol station and motor repair shop. In the early to mid 1900’s there was also a blacksmith, a carpenter, electrical shop, photographer, a haberdashery, and a fish and chip shop. Sadly, the improvement of transport systems has totally altered the way of life, hence the decline of the businesses.
The River Gwril
The River Gwril, is an important part of the village history. In years gone by, the river was the heart of the village, working 2 corn mills, leats to Pentre Bach and Henblas and drove water wheels to churn butter. 2 further leats fed water wheels at Hendre Hall and Borthwen for grinding corn, branching again to feed the old Smithy. (now a residential property by the red bridge).
The present dam situated about 1 mile up the valley was built in 1940 to accommodate the extra water requirements for the Marine camp. (now Sunbeach holiday site) It is 525ft above sea level and made of red brick topped with concrete. In 1867, a pipe was laid from above the weir (by Ffordd Coleg) to the railway station to feed the steam engines with water. The river also supplied the village with electricity via a water turbine until 1961.
The village has a rich history and close links with the Quaker community who fled to this area in the 17th Century to avoid religious persecution in England. The Quaker burial ground is near the beach path. Most left the area with William Penn to sail to the New World to seek a home and religious freedom. Penn was a Quaker convert and devoted himself to good works and in 1682, obtained a special grant from King Charles II permitting him to sail to America where he founded Pennsylvania. Of the Quakers who left Wales for Pennsylvania in the 17th Century, about half came from Merionydd.
There have been 3 schools in the village. The first was the Church rooms, (now the Gallery holiday accommodation). It was built in 1831 and continued as the village school until 1873 when the Ganolfan was built and became the home of the second village school. (Now the village community Centre and home to the Yarnbombing project) It closed in 1965 when a new school was built at the southern end of the village. This closed in 2013 and the children now travel to a purpose-built school in Llanegryn.
This information is an excerpt from The New Llwyngwril Guide which is now available. £5.50 including P&P. (extra £3 for overseas postage) Lots of interesting reading about places to visit and the history of Llwyngwril in both Welsh and English. All proceeds go to village projects.