Tŷ Isaf, Beddgelert

Tŷ Isaf, Beddgelert

This building, now a National Trust shop, was once a farmhouse. It’s thought to date from c.1580 and may have replaced an earlier building here. Records reveal that a church farm existed in Beddgelert by 1573, and Tŷ Isaf is close to the former priory church.

Priory land south of the river Glaslyn was privately owned after the dissolution of Welsh monasteries from 1536 to 1541. Although the house here was rebuilt c.1580, one of the trusses you can see inside probably comes from a priory building which stood here or nearby.

The house was extensively refurbished c.1700 and given a new roof (on the original trusses). This was around the time the property began to be let to tenant farmers. There were only two farmhouses in Beddgelert itself, Tŷ Isaf (“Lower House”) and Tŷ Uchaf (“Upper House”) – which later became the Saracen’s Head Hotel.

On 15 August 1799 Robert Jones, aged 21, drowned inside Tŷ Isaf when Beddgelert suffered severe flooding. The machinery of the clock inside Tŷ Isaf was clogged with gravel. The flood demolished the southernmost arch of the road bridge just outside Tŷ Isaf.

Around this time, Tŷ Isaf was an inn. A giant pewter beer pot kept at the bar was known as Hen Beint Mawr Beddgelert (“Beddgelert’s old big pint”) or the Chwart mawr (“big quart”). When filled, it held two quarts of beer – about 2.27 litres (four pints). The beer was free for anyone who could drink the entire contents without a pause! The pot was later kept at the Royal Goat Hotel.

William Dafydd, of Tŷ’n yr Onnen, routinely drank his fill from the giant pot without having to pay. He sawed logs and made coffins for a living. He won two guineas from entrepreneur William Maddocks in 1811 by walking along a plank between two sections of the incomplete Cob at Porthmadog during a storm.

Tŷ Isaf has been owned by the National Trust since 1985. The trust also owns the nearby monument to the legendary dog Gelert.

Postcode: LL55 4YA    View Location Map

Tŷ Isaf page on the National Trust website