Shipwreckers’ hanging site, near Llanbedrog

Shipwreckers’ hanging site, near Llanbedrog

Somewhere in the vicinity of Traeth Crugan, two men were hanged in 1629 or 1630 for their part in a murderous attack on a French ship, according to the poet Ieuan Llŷn (1769-1832). Their bodies were left to rot as a warning to all Welsh people.

There were many instances of people in remote coastal communities using fires to lure passing ships onto rocks, usually with the aim of stealing valuable cargo. In this case, however, the vessel was a “pleasure ship” carrying gentlemen and young women from France. The poet also explained that the ship was lured into Porth Neigwl (or Hell’s Mouth) using burning straw and bracken, and the looters cut off fingers and ears to steal gold rings and threw the innocent girls into the waves.

Photo of tramway beside Traeth CruganTwo men were convicted, Sion y Sarn and Huw Treheli, and hanged on two large poles at “Morfa Crugan” (the salt marsh at Crugan). According to a different source, there was further punishment when crops across the Llŷn Peninsula failed in the following year.

The Wales Coast Path follows the route of a passenger tramway as it parallels Traeth Crugan (Crugan beach). The Pwllheli and Llanbedrog Tramway was created in 1894 by Cardiff entrepreneur Solomon Andrews. Initially it ran from Pwllheli to Carreg y Defaid, the small headland west of the beach.

It was extended to Llanbedrog after he bought Plas Glyn-y-Weddw, now Wales’ oldest art gallery. The sole surviving tramcar is now displayed there. Most of the tramway closed after storm damage in 1927. The old photo shows open and enclosed tramcars on the sand-strewn tracks alongside Traeth Crugan.

View Location Map

Wales Coastal Path Label Navigation anticlockwise buttonNavigation clockwise button