Bangor almshouses


The Bangor almshouses were established with a legacy from Henry Rowlands, who was bishop of Bangor from 1598 until his death in 1616.

Income from farms he bequeathed maintained six poor, impotent and honest almsmen, who must attend worship on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Each man was given two shillings (2s) a week for living costs, and two tons of coal per year. Each also received six yards of white frieze (woollen cloth) per year, for their winter gowns to be made.

Initially the almsmen lived at the house and garden occupied until 1616 by the registrar. A matron was employed from 1774.

Old photo of Bangor almshousesIn 1805 the house and a neighbouring one were demolished and replaced with the larger almshouses building we see today. The building cost c.£650 and featured eight ground-floor rooms and six bedrooms above. The photo, courtesy of the National Library of Wales, shows the building c.1910.

The almshouses were occupied by six men, one each from the parishes of Aberdaron, Mellteyrn and Bangor (mainland) and Penmynydd, Llangristiolus and Amlwch (Anglesey). The matron lived in two of the rooms. The almshouses’ running cost in 1831 was just over £156, plus £2 for repairs. By then the almsmen received 7s a week.

In May 1889 a large fire in the almshouses killed resident David Hughes, 77, formerly of Penmynydd. The blaze had started in his bedroom. Milkman John Morris, one of the first to arrive, fought his way upstairs to rescue “feeble” resident Griffith Roberts, who was overcome by the smoke. The other residents escaped: almsman David Evans, and matron Elizabeth Williams and her daughter Phoebe. Elizabeth was the widow of Owen Williams, a painter and Bangor cathedral lay clerk. She died in 1893 aged 73.

The fire destroyed the furniture and clothes which Edward Simon and his wife were storing in a spare room here. Four months earlier, the couple had been forced to resign as master and matron of Bangor workhouse following his “excessive drinking” but they were well regarded, and townspeople quickly donated money to replace their possessions.

The building is still a charity almshouses for people on low income from anywhere in Bangor diocese.

Postcode: LL57 1LH    View Location Map