Merionethshire, Wales


Merioneth or Merionethshire, a maritime county of North Wales, bounded on the NW by Carnarvonshire, on the N by Carnarvonshire and Denbighshire, on the NE by Denbighshire, on the SE by Montgomeryshire, on the S by Cardiganshire, and on the W by Cardigan Bay or the Irish Sea. It is separated from part of Carnarvonshire by the ravine of the Glaslyn river, from parts of Denbighshire and Montgomeryshire by the watershed of the Berwyn Mountains, and from part of Montgomeryshire and from Cadiganshire by the river Dovey. Its outline is somewhat triangular, with the sides facing the N, the SE, and the W. Its greatest length, south-westward, from the NE angle 2 3/4 miles beyond Gwyddelwern to the SW angle at Aberdovey, is 46 miles; its greatest breadth in the opposite direction is 29 miles; its mean breadth is about 15 1/2 miles; its circuit is about 140 miles, 30 of which are coast; and its area is 427,810 acres. The surface is very mountainous. The county, proportionately to its extent, contains a larger aggregate of lofty upland than any other county of Wales. One irregular group in the NW connects with the great Snowdonian range in Carnarvonshire, and culminates in the summits of Moelwyn and Cynecht at altitudes of 2529 and 2370 feet. A vast triangular group, with much tableland, commences immediately E of the preceding group, is separated from it partly by a narrow glen, partly by a wild peat morass, extends eastward to the vicinity of Bala, and culminates in Arenig at an altitude of 2800 feet. A lofty oblong range is separated from the first group by the vale of Festiniog, lies W of the second group, extends southward to the estuary of the Mawddach, measures nearly 15 miles in length and about 7 in breadth, and culminates in Craig-dwrg and Rhinog-fawr at altitudes of 2100 and 2390 feet. A comparatively small but very magnificent group rises immediately S of the estuary of the Mawddach, consists chiefly of Cader-Idris with its spurs and offshoots, and culminates in Pen-y-Gader and Mynydd-Moel at altitudes of 2949 and 2835 feet. A great chain commences near the SW extremity, in the vicinity of Aberdovey, extends in a well-defined wavy line north-eastward to the vicinity of Corwen, forms a grand barrier along the SE frontier of nearly the entire length of the county; commences in Arran-y-Gessel, with a culminating altitude of 2224 feet, splits near Dinas Mawddwy into two lines slightly diverging from each other, the one going north-north-eastward, the other continuing north-eastward; rises in the north-north-easterly line to a culminating altitude of 2972 feet in the summit of Aran Mawddwy, forms throughout the north-easterly line the Berwyn Mountains, whose watershed divides the county from Montgomeryshire and Denbighshire, and culminates in these mountains on the summit of Cader Ferwyn or Berwyn at an altitude of 2716 feet.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England and Wales, 1894-5
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Archives and Libraries

Meirionnydd Archives,
Ffordd y Bala,
LL40 2YF
Tel: 01341 424682
Fax: 01341 424683

Civil Registration

For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.

List of Registration Districts in Merionethshire from 1837 to 1974.

Land and Property

The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Merionethshire is available to browse.


Old map of Merionethshire circa 1895 (Gazetteer of England and Wales)

Old map of Merionethshire circa 1848 (Samuel Lewis)

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following newspapers online:

Parishes and places

The towns and parishes have now been moved to a separate page.