Former Vaynol Arms, Caernarfon

Link to French translationFormer Vaynol Arms

This building, from the early 16th century, survives because campaigners went to the High Court in the 1990s to prevent its demolition.

Dating of timber samples from inside has established that the trees were felled in winter 1506-1507, indicating that the building was erected soon after then. Timber was used green at that time, rather being left to dry first.  

The house was originally a town house for a prosperous owner whose identity isn’t recorded. The gable wall facing the street was rebuilt with stone in the 18th century. Inside the building you can glimpse some of the original wattle and daub – a patch of it has been left on view.

The building was the Vaynol Arms pub in the 19th century, after the Vaynol estate acquired it. From the late 1930s or early 1940s, part of it was an upholsterer’s shop. The other part was used at times as a hairdresser’s. The building was neglected for decades, and in 1989 one of the front windows fell into the street.

Arfon Borough Council planned to demolish the eyesore building on 2 January 1995. On 31 December 1994 a campaign group called Save Britain’s Heritage (SAVE) obtained a High Court injunction preventing demolition. SAVE set up the Caernarfon Heritage Trust to buy and restore the building. Among those who contributed funding were Cadw, the Lottery Fund, the Architectural Heritage Fund and Prince Charles, who reopened the building in 1996.

Today it’s home to Panorama, the gallery of photographer Geraint Thomas.

Where is this HiPoint?

Postcode: LL55 1RR

Website of Panorama

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