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Home | Pen y Bryn, an historic house and palace of Llywelyn Prince of Wales in Abergwyngregyn, Gwynedd North Wales. Information and pictures of Pen-y-Bryn, (Garth Celyn) Abergwyngregyn (Aber) North Wales
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Pen y Bryn

The village of Abergwyngregyn in North Wales has long been a pleasant place to visit, being the gateway to the Aber Valley with the magnificent Aber Falls, the Coedydd Aber Nature Reserve, and the many trails leading through the foothills of the Carneddau range of mountains. History buffs have long known of the many ancient sites including iron age settlements and hill top cairns that are to be found in the valley and the Pen-y-Bryn, Garth Celynsurrounding hills. Historians have long recognised Pen-y-Mwd the earthen motte found in the centre of the village. But Pen-y-Bryn ?

Visit Abergwyngregyn when the trees are bare of leaves and a glance to the east will reveal a dark tower on the ridge that overlooks the village. But check your map and all you will find are the words Pen y Bryn, nothing denoting anything of historic importance.

So what is this dark tower?

Ask a local and he'll tell you it's Llywelyn's Tower. Part of the legendary manor house that was occupied by the Welsh Princes, Llywelyn ap Iorwerth, and Llywelyn ap Gruffydd during those turbulent years in the 13th century when Wales was fighting for it's independence from the English.

If this is true then why was such an important building overlooked? Well if truth be told the historians got it wrong.

When Edward 1 conquered Wales in 1282 the English King had a cunning plan. Medieval spin doctors (nothing's new) set about the rewriting of the history books and Garth Celyn, in the settlement of Aber Garth Celyn, the home of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, Prince of Wales and Lord of Snowdon was to be expunged from the records. Garth Celyn was never used in any document of the English administration. The settlement of Aber Garth Celyn became simply Aber (later Aber-Gwyn-Gregyn, 'Estuary of the White Shells').

Garth Celyn became Pen-y-Bryn.

Over the years the house changed hands many times and the spin doctoring had effectively been a success. By the 20th century historians did not recognise the present house of Pen y Bryn as the legendary Garth Celyn and indeed in 1992 the property was advertised for sale as a "chicken farm with 36 acres of land"

Fortunately for Wales the "language is mightier than the pen" and where the written word had failed the old folk had kept the truth alive with story-times. And when an English woman and her family bought the "chicken farm" the locals told her the old stories of Princes and Kings that had been passed down from generation to generation by word of mouth.

What if Twr Llywelyn was indeed Prince Llywelyn's Tower. Pen y  Bryn was indeed the legendary home of the Welsh "royal family"?

The established historians pooh-poohed the concept and the story might have ended there. Fortunately luck struck again in as much as the English woman believed the old tales and set about researching the true story of Pen y Bryn both from the archives and within the old buildings themselves. The rest as they say is history.......

Visit the web site of Pen y Bryn >

Visit our updated page of Pen y Bryn/ Garth Celyn >

And if you should see the gentleman who lives in the house that backs on to Pen-y-Mwd ask him about the secret chamber below the tower of Llywelyn's home. He might tell you of the hidden tunnel that runs from Garth Celyn under the Menai Strait to Anglesey, and of the legend that Prince Llywelyn's horse was hitched to a post in the cellar in readiness for an attack from the English King. And that he saw the post still in the cellar to this day................


Please -- click on the pictures below -- for enlarged pictures of Abergwyngregyn, Gwynedd, North Wales UK.
Aber Falls Pen y Mwd , an earthen motte in the village of Aber
Aber Falls  
Pen y Mwd , an earthen motte in the village of Aber
Iron age round house in Aber Valley  
Iron age round house and standing stone in the Aber Valley  

© All pictures and text copyright Bernard Wellings

return to tourist attractions Map of WalesRelated tourist information links :

Aber Falls Walk >

Abergwyngregyn > Bangor > Conwy > Beaumaris > Caernarfon > Menai Bridge >

Penmon Priory >

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