Y Meirionnydd, Smithfield Square, Dolgellau

Y Meirionnydd, Smithfield Square, Dolgellau

This building, now Y Meirionnydd townhouse and restaurant, mostly dates from c.1820. The basement and rear wall are relics of the town jail, which was here from 1716 to 1813. Inside the building there’s an 18th-century staircase.

From 1865 the building was the Talbot Hotel. In the early 1870s the licensee was Lewis Evans, a manufacturer of ginger beer.

In May 1897 the hotel made headlines after a nationwide police hunt ended with a fraudster being apprehended in his bed at the Talbot Hotel. Former soldier Henry Jones, aged 29, was wanted by police in Leamington, Warwickshire, where he’d bought a gold ring worth £7 by presenting a cheque which later bounced. He pawned the ring in Reading, then went to London. He was also wanted for fraud in Rhyl, Coventry and Brighton.

He met his match after arriving in Barmouth, where a boot seller, a jeweller and a draper all refused to accept the cheque he offered. He turned his attentions to Dolgellau, but Sergeant Breeze apprehended him at the Talbot Hotel at 10pm on a Thursday night.

The Talbot Hotel lost its licence in 1899 as the authorities and temperance movement clamped down on drunkenness. The building was later the Clifton House Hotel.

As you stand in front of the building, notice the thin stone ledges protruding from the chimneys. Common in Dolgellau, they were designed to divert rainwater away from the joint between chimney and roof.

Postcode: LL40 1ES     View Location Map

Website of Y Meirionnydd