Two Hundred and Fifty Miles through North Wales: Day 6, Part 3

The group arrive at Penmaenmawr at 11.15 on September 20th 1890. Penmaenmawr is described as ‘lovely spot and lies at the base of a fine amphitheatre of hills’. They approach the walled town of Conway and discuss the history of the Castle.

Conway

DD/DM/1113- Plan of Conway from the original diary 'Two hundred and fifty miles through North Wales on a wagonette'

We drive on, the weather having improved, when on our left over the bay we had a sight very seldom seen by towns people, a splendid rainbow with its lovely colours, showing the bow in its full size from water to water.  We go on towards Penmaenmawr with the railway and coast on our left and rocks on our right in the distance we see two jettys extending out into the Bay, and underneath the first we perceive what appears to be man hanging which on our nearer approach we find is a peculiar shaped log of wood.  We have driven past a very fine sandy beach from Llanfairfechan and arrived at Penmaenmawr at 11.15.  We put ‘Tommy’ at the stables of Penmaenmawr Hotel, and then look after our own comforts.  Penmaenmawr is a lovely spot and lies at the base of a fine amphitheatre of hills, it has a poor approach to the beach, namely under a narrow railway arch, this is a great drawback, the beach is very sandy.  There is a pretty fairy glen and waterfall here.  We spend some little time watching the ladies bathe sitting on a log of wood opposite the vans, one of the ladies amused us with some funny stories more especially the one about the woman not being able to swallow on account of getting the sand in her mouth.

At one o’clockwe left here for Conway, we drive on the Pendyffryn and then cross the railway for a short distance until we get to Penmaenbach Point, where we get another fine view of the bay.  At this point the men are repairing the wall of the road, a great depth down is the water almost under us, whilst above us is portion of the rock which had to be cut away to form the road.  We again re cross the railway with Conway mountains on our right and proceed towards Conway.  On leaving the shore we come in sight of Conway Castle, we soon enter the arch, of this fine old place. Conway is a rare old walled town, the walls being in the form of a Welsh harp, it is one of the few remaining places where the curfew bell is still rung.  There is an old Church supposed to have been erected about the year 1066, immediately beyond the screen in the Church is the tomb of one Nicholas Hookes, whose epitaph states “was the forty first child of his father and himself the father of twenty seven children”  good old Hookes. 

Queen Elizabeths palace is also here, it was built in the year 1577, the fine old ruin Conway Castle, was completed by Edward the first in 1284, on the site of a Welsh fort, it is one of the most unique and picturesque of our ancient fortresses.  It’s form is on an oblong square standing on the edge of a steep rock, washed on two sides by an arm of the river.  The walls which are partly covered with ivy are all embattled towers 40 feet in diameter.  The chief entrance used to be form the town by a drawbridge, Richard the second rested here when on his way toIreland.  James the first granted the Castle to the Earl of Conway who dismantled it, the ruin is now in the possession of the Erskine family.  We proceed towards the Suspension Bridge, where we are stopped and pay a toll of 6d for the horse to cross.  This chain bridge is an elegant structure and designed by Telford, it was commenced in 1822 and finished in four years.

More photographs of Penmaenmawr are available to view on The Peoples Collection website at http://www.peoplescollectionwales.co.uk/Discover/Results/p_1/?keywords=penmaenmawr&tags=penmaenmawr&types=items

Records relating to Conwy are held by Conwy Archive Service. More information about their holdings is available at http://www.conwy.gov.uk/archives

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