The Crossroads or Y Groes Fawr, Bala

button-theme-bala-700This was the focal point of the medieval town. A market cross stood in the centre of the crossroads. The base of the cross is visible in a 1771 drawing of the High Street. It’s thought the base was removed c.1860.

The photo, courtesy of Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru – the National Library of Wales, shows the bustle at the crossroads c.1920.

Photo of Bala crossroads c.1920The crossroads was known as Y Groes Fawr (the large cross), to distinguish it from Y Groes Fach (the small cross) a little to the south east, where Tegid Street crosses Mount Street.

In 1876 an anonymous contributor to a conservative newspaper wrote that Bala used to be famous for its “sassiwn y seiat” (large chapel meeting) but was now known for its Groes Fawr “sassiwn” and Groes Fach “seiat” – because crowds of young men gathered at both crossroads from seven to nine every evening. He was equally unimpressed with the town’s women, whose work seemed to consist of staring at the men through windows! He observed that Bala had more preachers than any other town in Wales, yet sin was rife.

The building now occupied by Cwrt restaurant, at the corner of High Street and Tegid Street, was built as the town’s courthouse, town hall and toll house, probably on the site where Bala’s medieval English burgesses held meetings and court hearings. The building is visible on the right in the old photo. You can read more about the building on this web page.

At one time there was probably a small chapel-of-ease near the crossroads, as the parish church was some distance away in Llanycil.

Postcode: LL23 7AB    View Location Map

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