Uxbridge Square, Caernarfon

Uxbridge Square, Caernarfon

The slate trade brought prosperity to Caernarfon and with it a need for more houses for professional people. Uxbridge Square, built 1834 to 1852, provided detached or semi-detached houses in a town where almost all other residences were in terraces.

The houses looked onto an elongated square with narrow central gardens. Although their sizes varied, they had a common architectural style (which continued around the corner to the first two houses in Tithebarn Street).

The square’s name comes from local landowner Henry William Paget (1768-1854), 2nd Earl of Uxbridge and Marquess of Anglesey. He lost a leg at the Battle of Waterloo. He lived beside the Menai Strait at Plas Newydd.

There were wrought-iron gates across the square’s vehicular entrance. You can see the accompanying pedestrian gate, railings and stone pillars today. The square was an early gated community, and perhaps it’s no surprise that in 1861 two Inland Revenue officers lived behind the gates! They weren’t the most popular people in Caernarfon, as the Inland Revenue collected taxes and duties and punished evaders. A retired “revenue officer” also lived at Uxbridge Square in 1861.

The Uxbridge Square Grammar School was in one of the houses. Teacher TC Revis lived there in 1861 with his wife Emma, his sister and nephew (a pupil), a servant and eight other boarding pupils. The boys were aged 11 to 16. Some were from Caernarfonshire, others from as far away as Middlesex, Hampshire and Pembrokeshire. In 1869, under principal HH Davies, the school had vacancies for “young gentlemen intended for Mercantile life”.

County surveyor John Thomas also lived at Uxbridge Square in 1861, as did George Titterton, a compositor (making up lines of metal type) in Caernarfon’s large printing industry. Another resident was clerk and surveyor John Jackson of Carnarvon Harbour Trust. Other residents included a slate-quarry agent, a commercial clerk in the slate trade and two master mariners (ships’ captains).

Ellin Williams kept a lodging house here. In April 1861 her lodgers were Caernarfon curate Rev Enoch Richards (Church of England) and Rev Benjamin Jones, a Calvinistic Methodist minister.

All of the houses belonged to Lord Penrhyn by 1906, when they were placed for sale. Most were bought by their tenants, who included Gwenlyn Evans. His house remained in the family’s ownership and occupation in 2021.

Postcode: LL55 2RE    View Location Map