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Bardsey

Bardsey is an island lying off the western promontory of Carnarvonshire, and separated from it by Bardsey Sound, which is from 1½ to 2 miles wide. The island is about 2 miles in length from north to south, and nearly a mile wide, diminishing to a point at the south end. From Aberdaron, the nearest town on the mainland, the distance is between 5 and 6 miles, and from thence to Pwllheli, the nearest railway station, is about 14 miles. The island is in the registration district of Pwllheli and sub-district of Aberdaron, but has not yet been brought under the operation of the poor law as required by the Act relating to places extra parochial. There is a Calvinistic Methodist chapel and a mission house. The island is traversed by a road, on or near which are a few farmsteads, and at the southern point is a lighthouse, erected in 1821, and 108 feet in height, the light being at a height of 129 feet. To the north-east rises a hill, 500 feet high, and commanding a wide sea view. The island in prehistoric days was a favourite retreat of the Celtic bards, and subsequently became a refuge for persecuted Christians. The abbey of St. Mary here was founded before A.D. 516 for a company of the ascetic monks known as Culdees, and after the massacre of monks and students at Bangor Iscoed, so many of the survivors and other pious refugees flocked hither, that Bardsey acquired the name of the "Isle of Saints." Of the monastery only a fragment, called "the abbot's house," and a tower now remain. In the cemetery of the abbey stands a monument about 9 feet high, erected by the late Lord Newborough, in memory of the "saints" there interred; and on the island there also stands a Celtic cross of Welsh marble, erected by the Hon. Frederick G. Wynn to his father, Lord Newborough, who died 1st November 1888. The inhabitants are chiefly occupied in agriculture and fishing. The force of the current in the Sound is such as often to prevent any communication with the mainland; but the islanders usually visit it weekly, and in suitable weather and on a favourable tide a boat may be hired to make the passage.

The area comprises 444 acres; the population in 1891 was 77.

Calvinistic Methodist Chapel, Rev. William Jones, minister

Transcribed from Slater's Directory of North & Mid Wales, 1895