Porth Llanlleiana

Porth Llanlleiana

This quiet inlet was once a hive of industry, as you can guess from the ruins of the Victorian china clay works. This may seem a remote spot for production of bulky materials, but it was close to a source of kaolin, also known as china clay. Kaolin is still used in many products, including porcelain, glossy paper, cosmetics and toothpaste.

Notice how the factory chimney was built on the hillside, reducing the amount of stonework which had to be constructed for the top to be high enough. Chimneys were important to induce a draft (air current) through factory boilers and furnaces to ensure that the fire burned well. They also dispersed the smoke well away from workers.

Kaolin was dug out of the hillside on your right as you face the sea here. The activity destroyed part of a prehistoric hill fort, known as Dinas Gynfor, but extensive remains of the fort survive. This is the most northerly land in Wales.

The name Llanlleiana appears to denote a connection with nuns (lleian is Welsh for nun). It was written as Llanliane in 1535 and Llanlliana c.1840. However, there is no record of a nunnery or convent here, and we should keep an open mind about the origin of the place-name. To hear how to pronounce Porth Llanlleiana, press play: (audio coming soon)

With thanks to Prof Hywel Wyn Owen, of the Welsh Place-Name Society, for place-name information

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