Old courthouse, Bala

button-theme-crimeThe building now occupied by Cwrt restaurant is thought to date from the late 18th or early 19th century. It was originally the town’s courthouse, town hall and toll house. Its central location, beside Y Groes Fawr (the large crossroads), is probably where Bala’s medieval English burgesses would have held local government meetings and court hearings. Market tolls were collected at the site.

The earliest courthouse would have been on the first floor. The space below it was used for markets and, in the 18th century, for theatrical performances known as anterliwtiau (interludes). The ground floor was later enclosed as a courthouse, with the town hall above.

In 1808 the Bala Assizes sentenced Thomas Thomas and Rowland Lloyd to death for producing forged notes. A third man was sentenced to transportation (exile) for possessing forged notes. Rowland later escaped from Dolgellau jail, and a £50 reward was offered for his apprehension.

In 1888 Elizabeth Evans, 51, was convicted of the manslaughter of her neighbour Ann Jones. Elizabeth’s husband Thomas was a gamekeeper at the Rhiwlas estate, Bala. Ann’s husband Evan was the estate’s carpenter, and they had nine children. During an argument, Ann threw a broomstick at Elizabeth, who had thrown it back, causing a fatal skull fracture. The jury found that Elizabeth had been provoked. She had spent four months in jail awaiting trial, so the judge gave her a one-day prison sentence and warned her to control her temper.

In 1963 three young men were tried in Bala court following two explosions at Liverpool Corporation’s reservoir construction site at Tryweryn, near Bala. The decision to depopulate the valley and create a new reservoir was opposed by most Welsh MPs and fuelled the campaign for devolution in Wales. The explosions damaged a transformer and pylon. Two of the men were given jail sentences of one year, the other three years on probation.

Postcode: LL23 7AB    View Location Map