Tŷ Gwyn, Barmouth

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This building, now home to a maritime museum and the Davy Jones’ Locker restaurant, probably dates back to the 15th century, when a property called Tŷ Gwyn aided preparations for Henry Tudor to take the throne in 1485.

The 15th-century bard Tudur Penllyn wrote that Tŷ Gwyn (meaning "White House") half stood in the waves. His patron, local landowner Gruffudd Fychan, is said to have built Tŷ Gwyn as a safe house where, during the Wars of the Roses, exiled Lancastrians could land by boat or depart safely.

Many key Lancastrians were wiped out by the Yorkist King Edward IV, who was keen to capture Jasper, half-brother of King Henry VI. After the Yorkists took control of Wales, Jasper lived in various parts of the British Isles and Brittany but returned to Wales to harass Yorkists and keep alive the Lancastrian flame. Jasper’s diplomacy helped to ensure that North Wales nobles strongly supported Henry Tudor, Jasper’s nephew, at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485.

The bard Sion Phylip (c.1543-1620) wrote about the house which Gruffudd Fychan built at Barmouth standing empty and surrounded by water. It has not yet been possible to verify that the old building we see here today is that same Tŷ Gwyn. In 2014 the Dating Old Welsh Houses group arranged radio-carbon dating of timber samples from the first floor which revealed that the timber was felled in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Tŷ Gwyn is shown on a map from this period.

The roof’s design is consistent with medieval roof structures but cannot be dated because its oldest parts are made of a fast-growing wood, unsuitable for dating technology. The first floor may have been inserted when the building was restored or adapted. It had various uses, including as a storeroom and school, before becoming apartments in the 19th century. It may have been a Customs house in the early 17th century.

With thanks to Peter Thompson of the Discovering Old Welsh Houses Group

Postcode: LL42 1ET    View Location Map

Website of Davy Jones’ Locker restaurant and bar


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