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Llys Rhosyr

'Llys Rhosyr - a Royal Court of the Princes of Gwynedd - becomes Cadw's 131st monument

Llys Rhosyr – Llys Brenhinol Tywysogion Gwynedd yn dod yn heneb rhif 131 Cadw

An important court of the medieval Princes of Gwynedd - Llys Rhosyr, Anglesey - has been acquired for the nation by Cadw, so that the story of this significant site in Wales’ history is preserved and protected for present and future generations, Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, Dawn Bowden has announced today.

Situated near Newborough, Llys Rhosyr is the only Court of the Welsh Princes in Wales  with visible remains that can be visited by the public. The cultural significance of the site is reflected in its designation by Cadw as a scheduled monument. It now becomes the 131st monument to be directly looked after by Cadw.

The royal llysoedd or palaces of the Princes of Gwynedd are amongst the most important secular settlement complexes in the Welsh Medieval landscape. Although other llys sites are known from documents or have been suggested from partial excavation, Llys Rhosyr is the only undefended Court or Llys of the Welsh Princes that has been confirmed through archaeological excavation.

Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, Dawn Bowden made the announcement during a visit to Llys Llywelyn at Amgueddfa Cymru’s St Fagans.

Two of the court buildings from Llys Rhosyr have been recreated at St Fagans as Llys Llewelyn. These are interesting illustrations of experimental archaeology in action and help to introduce people to the world of medieval Wales.

Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, Dawn Bowden, said:

“I’m delighted that we’ve been able to purchase this significant site in Welsh history.  Cadw will now start work to ensure the site is properly conserved and accessible for all to appreciate.

“Visiting Llys Llywelyn in St Fagans has provided a fascinating insight into what the original site in Anglesey could have looked and felt like - and how important it was to the history of Wales.

“And of course, the actual site of Llys Rhosyr retains great archaeological potential and also has an important sense of place - with views outwards across the Menai Strait to the mountains of Eryri (Snowdonia) which the Princes of Gwynedd used to their advantage during times of attack.”

Nia Williams, Director of Learning and Public Programmes, said:

“Llys Llywelyn was built as part of the redevelopment of St Fagans National Museum of History. It brings the experience of a Royal Court of the Princes of Gwynedd to life for our visitors. It is a popular building and is used for many events such as music gigs, medieval feasts and sleepovers. We look forward to collaborating with Cadw and continuing the relationship between the local Llys Rhosyr community on Anglesey and the recreation of the Llys here at St Fagans.”

Notes to editors

Cadw purchased Llys Rhosyr for £17,000.

Llys Rhosyr history

  • Llys Rhosyr is thought to have been in use between 1237 and 1314. It was occupied at a time when the Princes of Gwynedd were in the ascendancy and saw its abandonment in the aftermath of the conquest by Edward I. The reference in the Brut y Tywysogion that Llywelyn ap Iorwerth (the Great) witnessed a charter for the grant of land to the Augustinian Community of Ynys Lannog (Puffin Island) here places buildings to the beginning of the 13th
  • Later, following the death of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd in 1282 and the subsequent conquest of north Wales by Edward I - Llys Rhosyr fell into English hands and ceased performing its previous administrative role. Edward I visited the site in 1283 and gifted the estate to his wife, Eleanor of Castile. The Llysoedd of north Wales continued to be maintained and serviced until the first half of the 14th century, but their role had changed irrevocably. The last coin from Llys Rhosyr dates to 1314.
  • The excavations uncovered the outlines of the walls, including a surrounding enclosure wall and foundations and lower walls of three large buildings, possibly the hall, a chamber and storage barns. Artifacts recovered included pottery and silver objects indicating use by people of a high social status, as well as lead fishing weights.
  • The site is currently open to the public and is free to visit.

Picture Captions

 - Main Picture: Picture of Llys Rhosyr,  Newborough, Anglesey which has recently been acquired by Cadw 

 - Group picture outside Llys Llywelyn a reconstruction at St Fagan : left  - right. Nia Elias, Director of Business Development, Amgueddfa Cymru, Dafydd Wiliam, Principal Curator of Historic Buildings, Deputy Minister Dawn Bowden, Gwilym Hughes, Cadw, Nia Williams Director of Learning and Public Programmes, Amgueddfa Cymru.

 - Deputy Minister, Dawn Bowden at Llys Llywelyn, St Fagans