Dolgellau / Dolgelley


"DOLGELLAU, (or Dolgelly) a parish, market town, locally situated in the hundred of Talybout, in the county of Merioneth, North Wales. It is the county town of Merionethshire, in conjunction with Bala. 16½ miles from Machynlleth, the terminus of the Newtown and Machynlleth railway, from whence access is by coach. A railway is now in course of construction. Dolgelly is situated in a beautiful valley, as its name implies, "the Dale of the Hazel Groves," between the rivers Arran and Wnion, under Cader-Idris, the summit of which is about 6 miles distant. The parish contains Brithdir, Isaf and Uwchaf, Cefnyr-Owen, Dolgledr, Dyffrydan, and Garthgynfawr, North and South, in all, eight townships." [From The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868) - Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003]



Alwyn Humphreys' Dolgellau  site   - this specialised Dolgellau site contains a collection of Books, Articles, Essays and Pictures of the Town

Alwyn ap Huw. Senedd-dy Dolgellau. Llafar Gwlad. No. 70 (2000), p. 9

Brown, Roger L. A matter of principle : the great row of Dolgellau church, 1933-34. Journal of the Merioneth Historical and Record Society 11 (1993), p. 459-69

Brown, Roger L. From riches to rags : the parish of Dolgellau in the nineteenth century. Journal of the Merioneth Historical and Record Society 12 (1995), p. 146-54

Cylchgrawn y plwyf Dolgellau = parish magazine : plwyf rheithorol Dolgellau, Llanfachreth, Bryncoedifor, Brithdir a Llanelltyd. Oct 1994 - monthly

Ellis, T P. The story of two parishes Dolgelly & Llanelltyd. Newtown : The Welsh Outlook Press, 1928. 170p

Evans, Evan D. The Rev. George Lewis, Rector of Dolgellau, 1715-23. Journal of the Merioneth Historical and Record Society 11/1 (1990), p. 19-35

Evans, W Gareth. 'An oasis in the wilderness' : the establishment of Dr Williams' School, Dolgellau. Journal of the Merioneth Historical and Record Society 12 (1995), p. 155-76

Griffiths, Rhidian. John Hughes (1896-1968), Dolgellau : trem ar ei fywyd a'i waith. Cylchgrawn Cymdeithas Hanes a Chofnodion Sir Feirionnydd 12 (1996), p. 289-94

Hartley, E Mary. 'Baron' Lewis Owen of Dolgellau and his descendants. Second stages in researching Welsh ancestry, p. 328-340

Hen luniau Dolgellau. Caernarfon : Cyngor Gwlad Gwynedd, 1991.  40p

James, Robert T. Dolgellau yn hanesyddol : gydag amryw ddarluniau. Dolgellau : Argraffwyd gan W. Hughes a'i Fab, 1907. 100p

Jones, John. Hanes Dolgellau a'r cymydogaethau : ynghyda hynafiaethau gorllewin Meirionydd. Treffynnon [Holywell] : P. M. Evans, argraffydd, 1872. 132p

Main, Laurence. Welsh walks : Dolgellau and the Cambrian coast.Wilmslow : Sigma Leisure, 1992. 80p

Newsletter, Dr Williams' School Dolgellau, Old Girls' Association. Dolgellau : Dr. Williams School, 1897-1987. Annual

Parry, Edward. Cofiant y Parch. Henry Morgan, Dolgellau. Bleanau Ffestiniog : Argraffwyd gan Jones a Roberts, [1885?]. 94p

Roberts, Gordon. Dolgellau marriages, 1754-1812. Gwreiddiau Gwynedd/Gwynedd Roots 26 (1994), p. 19-21

Roberts, Merfyn H. The chapels of Dolgellau. Capel 15 (1991/92), p. [1-6]

Slyfield, Donald W. Dolgellau and its electricity supply, 1935. Journal of the Merioneth Historical and Record Society 12 (1995), p. 197-200


Business & Commerce Records

Details of extant records on Archives Network Wales for the following;

  • Clifton Hotel, Dolgellau, Deeds 1830-1978  
  • J. Charles Hughes & Co., solicitors, Dolgellau Papers "John Charles Hughes, of Bryndedwydd, Dolgellau, was a solicitor........" "Including ;........... conveyancing, mortgages, leasing and tenancy agreements of ........Dolgellau (parish and town), 1702-1945........ "
  • Meredith's Tannery, Dolgellau, records 1878-1900   " ...... owned by David Meredith in the late 19th century. The tanning business finished in 1939, but the Meredith firm continued as wool merchants"
  • New Shop, Dolgellau, Deeds 1733-1840   "Houses were built at Wtra Domlyd, Dolgellau, in about 1779..."


Alwyn Humphreys' Dolgellau  site - various census transcriptions, BTs, trade directories, book extracts and much more

1871 census of Dolgellau  A transcription and street index by Alwyn Humphreys

1891 census of Dolgellau  A transcription and street index by Alwyn Humphreys

1901 census of Dolgellau  A transcription, street index and surname index by Alwyn Humphreys



There are more than 30 churches identified in this place. Please click here for a complete list.

Church History

Church and chapel data from The Religious census of 1851 : A Calendar of the returns relating to Wales, Vol 11, North Wales. Ed. by Ieuan Gwynedd Jones, UWP,   1981. The names given towards the end of each entry are those of the informants.

Parish & Borough statistics; Area 72147 acres; Population 3625 males, 4293 females, total 7918

  • Dolgellau Parish Church       Attendance - morning (Welsh) 200 + 28 scholars, afternoon (English) 166, evening (Welsh) 130                 "There is another Church erected in the parish by "Private Benefaction" and which is to be consecrated next summer"                Henry Weir White, Rector
  • Zoar, Wesleyan Association Methodist          An old house used exclusively for religious worship                 Attendance - morning 30, afternoon 35, evening 35      Evan Jones, Minister, Resident at Dolgelley or Towyn
  • Hen Gapel, Independent           Erected before 1810              Attendance - morning 201, afternoon school, evening 271            "Temperance meeting etc are now & then held in the chapel"       Cadwaladr Jones, Independent Minister, Dolgelley
  • Chapel Juda, Baptist             Erected 1800; rebuilt 1839                  Attendance - morning 128 scholars, afternoon 210, evening 258              Henry Morgan, Baptist Minister
  • Ebenezer Chapel, Wesleyan Methodists                Erected 1805     Attendance - morning no service except Sunday school, afternoon 285, evening 306    "The Sunday Schools in Wales consist generally of as many adults as children, sometimes more ........"           William Davies, Wesleyan Minister
  • Saron Chapel, Abergynolwyn, Wesleyan Methodist                Erected 1835            Attendance - morning 53, afternoon school, evening 63                 Daniel Jones, Wesleyan Minister, Towyn
  • Seion, Celynin, Calvinistic Methodist                   Erected c1806             Attendance - morning 99 + 30 scholars, afternoon 80 + 29 scholars, evening 58 + 27 scholars                 John Lewis, Deacon, Tailor
  • Salem Chapel, Penbryn Close, Welsh Calvinistic Methodist                  Erected before 1800               Attendance - morning 340, evening 500                William Williams, Secretary, Ivy House
  • Peniwel, Independant                Erected between 1815 and 1825              Attendance - morning 15 (?) scholars, afternoon 60                       Cadwaladr Jones, Minister
  • Rehoboth, Cefnyr-Owen Islawrdre, Welsh Calvinistic Methodists            Erected 1834      Attendance - afternoon 32, evening 21         Richard Jones, A Local Preacher, Hafoddywyll, nr Dolgelley
  • Rhiwspardyn, Calvinistic Methodists              Erected 1828              Attendance - morning 80 + 38 scholars, afternoon 90 + 50 scholars, evening 78          William Jones, Deacon
  • Ty Cyfarfod, Independents           Erected before 1800     Not used exclusively as a place of worship             Attendance - morning 44 scholars, afternoon 67, evening 46    "Built by the Society of Friends before 1800 -  taken by the Independents in 1847"                Robert Ellis, Minister, Brithdir
  • Penygroes Chapel, Independents            Erected before 1800             Not used exclusively as a place of worship        Attendance -  morning 1348, afternoon 89 scholars, evening 127          Robert Ellis, Minister, Brithdir
  • Siloh Chapel, Calvinistic Methodists               Erected 1841           Not used exclusively as a place of worship               Attendance - morning 66, afternoon 45 scholars, evening 33          Richard Edwards, Superintendent, Dolgarnedd

See Welsh Chapels and Churches for a photograph of Dolgellau Ebenezer Chapel

Salem Chapel (Presb.), Dolgellau

Correspondence between Judah and Salem Chapels, Dolgellau 1903 March 7 - 1903 April 13  - details of extant records on Archives Network Wales   "A bundle of correspondence and transcripts of deeds from 1800, 1802 and 1843 relating to the debate between two Dolgellau chapels, Judah and Salem, regarding the Baptist Chapel cemetery wall and land, 1903."

Rees, Thomas & John Thomas. Hanes Eglwysi Annibynnol Cymru (History of the Welsh Independent Churches), 4 volumes (published 1871+). Here is the entry from this book for Dolgellau chapel (in Welsh ) - with translation by Eleri Rowlands               Also Brithdir chapel - with translation by Maureen Saycell (June 2011)        And Islaw'rdref  - with translation by Maureen Saycell (June 2011)        And Tabor  - with translation by Maureen Saycell (June 2011)

Various items  - on the People's Collection Wales  site

  • St Mary's Church, Dolgellau
  • English Presbyterian church, Dolgellau

Church Records

Joyce Hinde has supplied a list of Parish Registers held at Merioneth Record Office.

Bishop's Transcripts for 1813-1819. Contributed by Alwyn Humphreys

Capel Salem, Dolgellau, cofnodion (records) 1811-1960   - details of extant records on Archives Network Wales

Capel Soar, Llanelltyd, Merionethshire, records 1860-1976, including financial records, annual reports and Sunday School records; items relating to the Dolgellau area, 1862-1979 - details of extant records on Archives Network Wales

Capel Ebenezer, Dolgellau - see under Genealogy Eglwys Penmaen, Dolgellau, cofysgrifau (records) 1953-1967 - details of extant records on Archives Network Wales


Description & Travel

Ian King's Dolgellau site - history, photographs, and more

Dolgellau - on Wikipedia

Dolgellau - on the Anglesey.info site

Various landscapes  - on the People's Collection Wales  site

You can see pictures of Dolgellau / Dolgelley which are provided by:



The Universal British Directory 1791.  Contributed by Alwyn Humphreys

Pigot's National Commercial Directory 1835  Contributed by Alwyn Humphreys





Details of extant records on Archives Network Wales for the following;

  • Myfanwy Edwards Papers    "Papers of Myfanwy Edwards and family, relating mainly to Dolgellau, 1802-1942, including ............ account books of Capel Ebenezer, Dolgellau, 1913-1929; ..........."
  • Hughes, Gwilym, Dolgellau, casgliad (collection) 1938-1974    "Papers of Gwilym Hughes, 1938-1974, comprising ........... Merioneth Agricultural Show catalogue, 1972; ....... financial reports of Ebeneser, Dolgellau, 1970-1972;......"
  • Hughes of Dolgellau Archives 1831-1933  "William J. Hughes (d 1921) was a printer and publisher in Dolgellau, printing the newspaper 'Y Dydd' "
  • Price, Emyr W., Dolgellau, papurau (papers)  [1796]-1931 (mainly 1865-1931)

The journal of Elizabeth Baker, Dolgellau, 1779-1782, folio 1r  - on the People's Collection Wales  site



Dolgellau War Memorial - on the Roll-of-honour site

Dolgellau History - on Alwyn's site

Dolgellau Railway Station Records and Correspondence  1864-1964 - details of extant records on Archives Network Wales   " ........... opened on 4th August 1868. Prior to the absorption of the Cambrian Railway, Dolgelley was the last station on the Great Western line............ The Railway ran through Dolgelley from 1868 to 1964."

Various items - on the People's Collection Wales site

  • Dolgellau Fair, 1956
  • Dolgellau Folk Festival, 1952 
  • Recollections in Welsh by Margaret Jones (neé Richards), mother in law of Iola Wyn Jones, of life at Ganllwyd, near Dolgellau circa 1900
  • 'Parliament House, Dolgellau' by S. Maurice Jones, c. 1891 (watercolour)
  • Edward, Prince of Wales during a brief halt at Dr Williams' School, Dolgellau in 1923

Land & Property

Details of extant records on Archives Network Wales for the following;

  • Brynygwin (Merionethshire) Estate deeds and papers 1653-1879 
    "The Brynygwin estate, mainly in Dolgellau and Llangelynnin, Merionethshire, was owned by the Owen family....."
  • Deeds relating to Fro Heulog and allied properties, Dolgellau  "Thomas Jones Stevens of Cyfannedd and his wife, Anne (nee Owen) leased Fro Heulog, Dolgellau, in 1838."
  • Fronarran collection of Dolgellau deeds 1809-1924  "Deeds, 1809-1892, relating to properties in Dolgellau, in particular the Henfelin estate; plans of Henfelin, [1892]; and copy of Dolgellau Urban District Council byelaws, 1924"
  • Parliament House (Dolgellau) Papers 1851-1936  "Business papers of the Miles and Miles Williams families, 1851-1936, including deeds and agreements relating to Dolgellau, Ffestiniog and Llanelltyd, 1851-1931 .........."
  • Penmaen Ucha Papers 1691-1975   "Thomas Taylor (1799-1876) is described as residing at Penmaenucha and Arthog Hall, Merionethshire. Penmaenucha Hall was built in 1860 by the Taylor family, the Bolton cotton magnates....."
  • Dol'rhyd Papers 1539-1909  "The Owen family seemed to have possessed Garthangharad ([Dolgellau] since 1722 ... "
  • John Griffith Collection of Callestra Deeds [Dolgellau] 1701-1891
  • Owen and Portsmouth Collection of Dolgellau Deeds   "Deeds, 1632-1798, relating to properties in the townships of Dyffrydan and Dolgledr, Dolgellau, and the Cefn yr Owen estate in the parish of Dolgellau..."
  • Fronwnion Papers    "Lewis Williams was a businessman and owner of the Fronwnion estate, Dolgellau. .... He successfully developed the banking business of Thomas Jones of Ynysfaig....... "

Law & Legislation

Examination of Robert Thomas, alehouse keeper of Pwllheli, concerning John Evans, a young boy otherwise known as Francis, who was left at his house by Robert Edwards of the parish of Dolgellau, and was later found wandering as a 'rogue and vagabond and begging' in the parish of Deneio, Caernarfonshire.dd 26 June 1795  - on the People's Collection Wales  site



Gwynedd Family History Society  have a diagram of the ecclesiastical parishes of Merionethshire (under Parishes)  - with some links to photographs of parish churches

Sketch map of the parish of Dolgelley in the County of Merioneth  - on the People's Collection Wales  site

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SH752183 (Lat/Lon: 52.747797, -3.849979), Dolgellau / Dolgelley which are provided by:



Newspaper extracts

Cambrian News

 Front page of the first issue of 'Y Cymro' newspaper, 3 December 1932. The Welsh weekly newspaper 'Y Cymro' (The Welshman) was first launched in Dolgellau in 1920 by William Evans. The last issue was published in September 1931  - on the People's Collection Wales  site



Various items -  on the People's Collection Wales  site

  • The Dolgellau Laundry, 1 April 1952  
  • Members of Merionethshire Constabulary, Dolgellau, 1 April 1957
  • Sale of farm machinery and implements, Dolgellau, 1 April 1953

Politics & Government

 Presenting a petition calling for a Parliament for Wales, Neuadd Idris, Dolgellau, Dolgellau, 12 April 1956  - on the People's Collection Wales  site


Poor Houses, Poor Law

Dolgelley Workhouse - on Peter Higginbotham's site


Public Records

Details of extant records on Archives Network Wales for the following;

  • Merioneth County Gaol, Dolgellau, Records 1824-1878 (mainly 1858-1878)   "In 1811 it was decided in Quarter Sessions for Merionethshire that a new county gaol was needed in Dolgellau, the county town. The old gaol in Smithfield Square was sold. A new gaol and house of correction was built at Bodlondeb, to the south west of the town, opening in 1813....."
  • Old Shire Hall, Dolgellau, Records 1774-1950  "Y Sosban, the Old Shire Hall, Dolgellau, was built in 1606, and included the local house of correction......."

Religion & Religious Life

Various items - on the People's Collection Wales  site

  • The Quakers in Dolgellau  
  • Meirionethshire Calvinistic Methodists


Dr Williams School, Dolgellau, Records 1875-1975 - details of extant records on Archives Network Wales  
"Dr Williams' School for Girls was established in Dolgellau, in 1875. It was named after Dr Daniel Williams of Wrexham ......"

Dolgellau School Orchestra Papers 1922-1925 - details of extant records on Archives Network Wales  

Various items  - on the People's Collection Wales  site

  • Dolgellau County School Band 
  • Dolgellau Grammar School Cricket Club
  • School photograph of Ysgol Rhydygorlan, Abergeirw, Dolgellau in 1953
  • School note book with a page of Algebra and Latin exercises from a Dr Williams' School, Dolgellau. Note book belonging to Winifred Gwen Evans, Gwanas, Brithdir, Dolgellau (28.10.1880 - 15.08. 1972). She later used it to record recipes she was given by neighbours and friends.
  • Full school photograph, Dr Williams' School, Dolgellau March 1939
  • Dr Williams's School, Dolgellau
  • A game of croquet being played at Dr Williams's School, Dolgellau in 1903
  • Endowed schools, Dolgellau (1876)
  • Dr. Williams’s School Examination, December, 1879
  • Dr Williams School Photo 1910-11
  • Merionethshire School Sports, 1 July 1952. This photograph shows the winners from Dolgellau with their awards

Social Life & Customs

Details of extant records on Archives Network Wales for the following;

  • Dolgellau Cricket Club Records and Correspondence 1869-1923
  • Dolgellau Golf Club Books 1911-1964
  • Dolgellau Rural Area Savings Conference, minute books 1946-1967

Various items - on the People's Collection Wales  site

  • Postcard of Welsh lady in Eldon Square, Dolgellau 
  • Picture of Welsh lady by Pandy Rodyn, Dolgellau 1913
  • Women ironing gorseddogion robes, Dolgellau, 1949.
  • Seindorf Arian Deudraeth yn Prifwyl Dolgellau 1949 - arweinydd Mr Albert Humphreys
  • Some examples out of a collection of several hundred postcards: 'Welsh figures, Natives of Dolgellau 100 years ago' c1904
  • Photographs and items relating to the rich and diverse culture and heritage of gypsies and their lives in Wales. Many come from a collection by Geoff Charles from the Dolgellau Folk Festival in 1952
  • A gypsy wedding at Dolgellau folk festival, 25 July 1952
  • Dolgellau Fair, 26 April 1956
  • Dolgellau folk festival, 25 July 1952
  • Winners of the Crosville bus company shield, Dolgellau, 1 March 1957