Bala Green

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Today a car park occupies part of the Green, which was once an extensive piece of common land. Its English name dates from the origins of the town in the early 14th century.

The Green extended along the old course of the river Tryweryn, before the river was straightened in the 1950s. It was used to keep farm animals and for military exercises, under the control of the 50 or so English burgesses of the town.

Later the Green was managed by the local board, which let it to a farmer; rent for 1875-76 was £25 15s. Sales of horses, pigs and cattle were held at the Green.

Open-air preaching festivals, sometimes known as “religious eisteddfodau”, were held on the Green, sometimes attracting audiences of 15,000 to 20,000 people. In July 1905 the renowned Rev Evan Roberts – who sparked a huge revival of Christian worship across Wales and further afield – preached late into the night from a temporary stage on the Green.

Inspections of the Royal Merioneth Militia were held on the Green. During the June 1871 inspection, the men were ordered to remove their knapsacks on account of the warm weather, before giving a general salute and performing a march past and various exercises and drills.

In 1909 two suffragists (less militant than the suffragettes) addressed a crowd at the Green in Welsh and English. The idea of women voting in general elections was still controversial, and soon the crowd shouted down the speakers and pushed forward. Police stepped in and took the suffragists away unharmed, but “not without some trouble”.

Aerial photo of Bala Green and railway station in 1946Bala Green tenant Jacob Thomas was granted £6 10s compensation in 1878 because the Bala & Festiniog Railway Company had bought about half of the Green from the board. The Bala Junction to Blaenau Ffestiniog line bisected the Green, where Bala railway station and goods yard were built. The station closed in the 1960s and the site is now a small industrial estate.

The 1946 aerial photo, courtesy of the Welsh Government, shows how the river looped around the Green. The station is near the top left corner, and below it are the goods sidings and goods shed (where cargo was transferred under cover between road and rail vehicles). On the left are Tomen y Bala (the remains of a motte and bailey defence) and the town’s second workhouse.

With thanks to the Welsh Government for the aerial photo

Postcode: LL23 7NG    View Location Map

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