Site of Victorian vicarage, Pwllheli

button-theme-crimebutton_lang_welshLink to French translationSite of Victorian vicarage, Pwllheli

Pwllheli’s vicarage stood here in Victorian times. In the 1880s the vicar was the subject of protests against tithes.

A parish church, St Peter’s, was erected in the 1830s for the town’s growing population. Successive vicars lived in various places until the house on this site was bought in 1855 as a vicarage. The house was built c.1828 for local solicitor David Williams. He later owned Castell Deudraeth (now part of Portmeirion Italianate village) and became Liberal MP for Merioneth in 1868.

The house was known by various names, including Tŷ Gwyrdd (“green house”), Tŷ Glas (“blue/green house”) and Tŷ Brith (“speckled house”). The first vicar to live here was Cambridge graduate Rev Thomas Jones. His Welsh Tune and Chant Book of 1858 was reprinted seven times.

In the 1880s people who worshipped in Nonconformist chapels began to rebel against paying tithes – ancient taxes which funded the Church of England. Some Nonconformist ministers argued in the Pwllheli area that the Church was foreign, and not the “old Welsh Church”.

In 1887 many farmers in the area refused to pay tithes, having agreed to stand united in their defiance. However, some did pay up. They were described as “traitors” by one press commentator, who claimed that one farmer had tried to pay in secret. In July a defence fund was established in Pwllheli as legal action loomed.

This civil disobedience, which occurred in many areas of Wales, was known as Rhyfel y Degwm (the “tithe war”). In 1888 the vicar of Pwllheli, Rev John Jones, sent bailiffs to seize property from the farms. It was reported in 1890 that some of the 1888 tithe debts in the Pwllheli area had still not been settled.

The vicarage was replaced in the 20th century by the present building, which many townspeople remember as the Woolworths store. It is now home to The Original Factory Shop.

With thanks to Rev Ioan W Gruffydd

Postcode: LL53 5RR    View Location Map

Website of The Original Factory Shop

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