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Tai Penamnen

An archaeological dig has been going on at this site for the past seven years. It has all been done voluntary by dedicated amateurs. Forty thousand shards of pottery are in the process of being catalogued along with over one and a half thousand pieces of clay tobacco pipes.

Clay Pipes found at the Tai Penamnen Site

The oldest artefact found on site was a 3,000,000 year old lepidodendron fossil.


The first house built was a one roomed cottage with an ingle-nook fireplace and a lateral chimney. This was up during the War of the Roses and probably earlier.

Artist's impression of the house


Circa 1500 Maredudd ab Ieuan the founder of the Wynn's of Gwydir, built an extension either side to the cottage It was built not only for protection against the elements, but also against the outlaws that terrorised the area at that time.

Ariel View of the Tai Penamnen site


Angharad James rented the house and the whole valley from the Wynn family at the beginning of the 18c. She was widely known for her knowledge of the law, and as a poet and musician. She was a twenty year old when she married William Pritchard who was forty years her senior. She used to play the harp, while her maids danced to the music, at a spot called clwt y ddawns (A patch of land for dancing.)


Volunteers digging at Tai Penamnen


By the 19th century two other houses had been built, and a thriving community with in excess of thirty people living here.  But at the beginning of the 20th c it was down to one family and soon after the First World War it was abandoned completely.

Tai Penamnen 1060's

Click on a thumbnail below to see an image.

For information on the archaeological dig contact Bill Jones on 01766 831 509 or send an email to Bill at

A request was made by Mel Ap Thomas of Blaenau Ffestiniog who is currently researching in to the Cwmorthin Valley above Tan y Grisiau, to excavate and interperet the old house of Cwmorthin Uchaf. The archaeological side of the Dolwyddelan Hirtorical Society has promised to help in any way they can as knowledge of this old house could throw a light on the old houses in and around Dolwyddelan. If you have any information or enquiries regarding the site in Cwmorthin please contact Bill Jones on 01766 831 509 or send an email to Bill at