Brief history of Nebo & Nasareth before 1821
is clear that the old road through Nasareth pre-dates
the arrival of the Romans. Between Nasareth and Cwm
Brân there are at least 10 prehistoric or Roman
sites - a busy place in its time. There are also
a number of interesting prehistoric sites to the
north of Rhos Las in the direction of Cwm Silyn.
turnpike which leads from the Caernarfon - Pwllheli
post road near Dolydd through Nasareth to Llidiart
Ysbyty was opened in 1810. The construction of the
Cob at Porthmadog was completed in 1811. Between
1769 and 1882, the road was owned by the old Caernarvonshire
Turnpike Company. With the development of the slate
industry at the beginning of this period, the turnpike
was very profitable but it lost some importance after
the coming of the railway between Nantlle and Caernarfon
Harbour in 1828.
Nebo, the majority of ancient sites belong to the
Post-Mediaeval period. There is an obvious connection
between them and agriculture particularly the practice
of driving the animals to the uplands after May Day
and residing there in a hafod (summer dwelling).
They would return to the lowland farmhouse (hendre)
before All Saints Day (1st November).
land here is not so fertile as the lowland, and when
the population began to increase they would build
cottages on the wasteland. Small crofts like these
are still to be seen, but hardly anyone could earn
a good living from such land alone. For example,
the children of the area would never wear shoes in
the summer, even at Sunday school. Usually, the men
and boys would work in the quarries and cultivate
the land (even digging by lantern light). The women
would look after the animals, the crops and just
about everything else on the holding.
of Llanllyfni Common were enclosed by Act of Parliament
such as the land to the west of Cwm Dulyn, especially
Rhos Las. The parishioners had the right to cut peat
for fuel, and to graze their animals on the common.
Were the common to be made smaller, everyone would
lose. But to the poor who lived on the common, having
no title deeds, this was disastrous. So great was
the opposition to the plan and so frequently were
the surveyors threatened, that in 1817 soldiers were
sent to restore order and a number of residents were
arrested. The Act of Enclosure of Common Land (Nefyn,
Pistyll, Carnguwch, Llanaelhaearn, Clynnog and Llanllyfni)
passed through Parliament on 8 March 1821.
of this act confirmed those holdings which existed
under the Law of England, and also those crofts which
had come into existence without anyone's permission.
It is likely that some of these were built according
to the old Welsh Laws of Hywel Dda - that is to say
that a group of local people would assist a relative
or friend to build a turf cottage during the night
and claim it, together with a plot of land, as an
ancient right. (Needless to say, the Laws of King
George dismissed such claims, but those who had occupied
their 'Hafod Unnos' for more than 20 years were frequently
allowed to stay.) Usually, those who farmed close
to the common would 'encroach' by creating additional
fields, as did a certain Henry Parry, who was given
the opportunity to buy them.
public paths and roads were appointed which are still
to be seen today. These include the 'Public Turbary
Road' (from its junction with the old road through
Talgarnedd, passing Talymaes and heading towards
Cors y Brithdir and Cors y Llyn) which would guarantee
access to the 'Llanllyfni Fuel Grounds' where the
parishioners had the right to cut peat. Firewood
was also carried along the road between Lôn
Dŵr and Pont Lloc. Sometimes peat cutting would
be the cause of serious disputes, and the Reverend
Robert Jones mentioned his role as referee especially
the County Councils Act 1888, road maintenance work
became part of the duties of the first elected Caernarfonshire
County Council, and the new water supply for all
of Dyffryn Nantlle also became part of their responsibilities.
last remaining part of our common land on Cors y
Llyn has been declared a Site of Special Scientific
Interest, and is now the responsibility of Llanllyfni