Penrhos Battery, near Holyhead

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It’s thought that this structure, on the former Penrhos estate, was built as a defence during the Napoleonic wars. The battery structure was probably pressed into use again during the First and Second World Wars as an observation post.

In March 1802 Britain and France signed the Treaty of Amiens following a decade of hostilities. The peace was only temporary. Just over a year later the two nations were once again at war, after Britain became increasingly angered by the ambitions of the French Emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte.

As a result, coastal fortifications were strengthened across North Wales, and this structure is believed to be a gun battery dating from that period. Looking out to Penrhos Bay, the semi-circular wall has eight embrasures (openings) through which naval guns would have been trained on the advancing French fleet, had it appeared over the horizon.

At the time, the Penrhos estate belonged to explorer Sir John Thomas Stanley (1735-1807), who had married Margaret Owen of Penrhos. She was from an established and influential Anglesey family. John was MP for a Wiltshire constituency in the 1790s, and went on an expedition to Iceland in 1798.

The inter-tidal area of the coast south east of Penrhos became known as the Stanley Sands. It is crossed by the Stanley embankment, completed in 1823 for Thomas Telford’s London to Holyhead coach road.

Conservation work on the battery was undertaken in 2023 by the Ynys Cybi Landscape Partnership.

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