Llŷn Maritime Museum, Nefyn

Llŷn Maritime Museum, Nefyn

This museum occupies a former church on a site connected with early Christianity. See below for more about the museum.

A church was founded locally by Nyfain (Nefyn), reputedly one of the 24 daughters of 5th-century ruler Brychan Brycheiniog. It was dedicated to St Mary by the 12th century. During that century Cadwaladr, brother of Owain Gwynedd (King of Gwynedd), gave the church to the Augustinian order, who developed a priory on land south east of the church. Pilgrims called here on their way to Bardsey.

Baldwin, Archbishop of Canterbury, stayed a night here in April 1188 while touring Wales to recruit for the third crusade. He was accompanied by Gerald of Wales, whose journal records that the group reached Nefyn after a long day’s travelling from Llanfair, near Harlech. Gerald was delighted to find here a copy of the writings of Merlin Silvester (including notes on British history), which he had long sought. Baldwin gave a sermon here in the morning, after which many people signed up to the crusade.

The current church building was erected in the 1820s, obliterating its predecessor. In August 1904 the new Eglwys Dewi Sant was opened in Nefyn, after which St Mary’s saw only occasional use until it closed as a church in the 1950s.

The maritime museum opened in 1977. Structural problems forced its closure in 2000. Refurbishment began in 2012, including fitting a new roof, and the museum reopened in 2014. It houses c.400 items relating to the area’s shipping and fishing heritage. These include a figurehead from a 19th-century American ship, and an African logboat which may have been carried to Liverpool by a ship carrying palm oil. The museum is also home to the Llŷn Study Centre, relating to the area’s general history.

Postcode: LL53 6LB    View Location Map

Museum website – for opening times, history and more

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