Postern gate and spur wall, Conwy

Link to French translationPostern gate and spur wall, Conwy

Here Lower Gate Street and the Wales Coast Path pass through a former postern gate in the medieval town walls. The walls were built in the 13th century, at the same time as Conwy Castle, to protect the new town.

There were three heavily defended main entrances to the town, including the one at the far end of Lower Gate Street (by the Liverpool Arms). There was a subsidiary postern gate near the south end of the quay, and another here. This one provided access through the spur or wing wall which crosses the beach. The wall terminated in a tower, which has long since succumbed to erosion by the estuary. It defended the foreshore, where supplies could be landed by boat even if the town were under siege.

This postern gate is known as Porth yr Aden (“Wing Gate”). The gap was originally closed with a hinged wooden door and a portcullis – a wooden grid which could be raised into a void within the wall. Look up as you stand in the opening to see the void and the groove for the portcullis. On each side you can see how the stonework has been carefully chamfered to enable vehicles to pass through the opening obliquely.

If youconwy_john_and_gracie_polin’ve just scanned the QR codes, take a closer look at the wall to the right of the door. This was the front of a cottage tucked into the gap between the spur wall and row of houses to the left. Notice the sill of the bricked-up window.

This cottage was once the home of fisherman John Polin and his wife Jane, who had six children. Jane died in May 1916, two months before their son Edward Arthur Polin, a Lance Corporal in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, was killed in the Battle of the Somme in 1916, aged 21.

Then, in February 1917, their son John David Polin, a Private in the RWF, died aged 19 and was buried in the family plot at St Agnes Cemetery, Conwy, where an inscription records that he had “passed unscathed through shot and shell and unafraid – and yet he died”. You can find more information and photos on our page about the grave.

Eldest daughter Gracie left her job in domestic service in Liverpool to manage the Polin household, which included her sister Jessie (aged about 15) and brother Tom (about 12). Gracie is pictured on the right with John.

The former cottage is now part of the garden of Harbour Cottage (next door), a holiday let.

Postcode: LL32 8BE    View Location Map

Website for booking a stay at Harbour Cottage

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