Houses on the quay
Aberaeron shown within Ceredigion
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Aberaeron (formerly anglicised Aberayron) is a seaside resort town in Ceredigion, Wales. Situated between Aberystwyth and Cardigan, it is home to the headquarters of Ceredigion County Council. The population was 1,520 in 2001. The name is from Welsh Aberaeron, meaning "mouth of the River Aeron", derived from the Middle Welsh aer - 'slaughter', which gave its name to Aeron, a Welsh god of war.
History and design
In 1800, there was no significant coastal settlement. The present town was planned and developed from 1805 by the Rev. Alban Thomas Jones Gwynne. The harbour he built operated as a port and supported a shipbuilding industry in the 19th century. A group of workmen's houses and a school were built on the harbour's north side, but these were reclaimed by the sea. Steam ships continued to visit the harbour until the 1920s but, in later years, it evolved into a small half-tide harbour for recreational craft. The estuary is also crossed by a wooden pedestrian bridge.
Crafts were an important part of village life. Information recorded in trade directories shows that in 1830, although it was not yet fully developed as a port, there were in Aberaeron one woollen manufacturer, one bootmaker, one baker, one corn miller, one blacksmith, one blacksmith and shovel maker, two shipwrights, one carpenter and one hat maker.
In the late 1890s, a hand-powered cable car, the 'Aeron Express', was built to ferry workers across the harbour when the bridge was demolished by floods. The structure was recreated in 1988 as a tourist attraction that ran until the end of summer 1994, when it was closed under health and safety regulations.
The architecture of Aberaeron is unusual in this part of rural Wales, being constructed around a principal square of elegant Regency style buildings grouped around the harbour. This was the work of Edward Haycock, an architect from Shrewsbury. Some of the architecture was of sufficient interest to feature on British postage stamps.
Aberaeron Golf Club (now defunct) was founded in 1923. It continued until WW2 when the course was turned over to agriculture to aid the war effort. Attempts to reinstate the club following the war failed.
Castell Cadwgan, a 12th-century ringwork fortification around a probable wooden structure, was located by the shore at Aberaeron, but has long since been claimed by the sea. Few traces remain today apart from some mounds of earth, the remains of the enclosure bank, most of the site having been eroded.
In Wales Illustrated in a Series of Views by Henry Gastineau, published in 1810, it states: "Near the town are some remains of an ancient fortress called Castell Cadwgan, thought to have been erected by king Cadwgan, about the year 1148." In A Topographical Dictionary of Wales, published in 1833, Samuel Lewis similarly wrote : "On the sea-shore, near the village, is a circular encampment, designated Castell Cadwgan, and supposed to have been constructed by Cadwgan ab Bleddyn, about 1148."  However, Cadwgan is recorded as having been killed in 1111.
Welsh Minstrelsy: Containing the Land beneath the Sea, published in 1824, states: "Just where [Sarn Ddewi] juts out from the shore is an old fort, called Castell Cadwgan."
Aberaeron is a relatively new settlement and lacked borough status like other towns in the county. In 1894, however, the town achieved the status of an urban district, which it retained until local government reorganisation in 1974.
The first representative on the Cardiganshire County Council from 1889 was John Morgan Howell, who became a prominent figure in the political life of the county. Following his election in January 1889, bonfires were lit to celebrate his victory.
Location and features
The shoreline consists of generally steep storm beaches of pebbles, although fine sand is visible at low tide levels. Aberaeron south beach was awarded the Blue Flag rural beach award in 2005. It contains the Harbourmaster Hotel.
The climate is mild and temperate, largely conditioned by the proximity of the relatively shallow sea. However, Aberaeron can suffer from occasional winter frosts when cold air descends the Aeron valley from the upland parts of Ceredigion.
70% of Aberaeron's inhabitants are able to speak Welsh according to the 2001 census.
A life-sized statue of a Welsh cob stallion was donated to the town in 2005 by the Aberaeron Festival of Welsh Ponies and Cobs to denote the area as Welsh Cob country. It was created by sculptor David Mayer.
Dylan Thomas's links with Aberaeron, New Quay and Talsarn have been documented by local author David N Thomas. The Dylan Thomas Trail runs through Ceredigion, passing through Aberaeron and ending in New Quay
A regular bus service links the town with Aberystwyth, Lampeter and Carmarthen, with several daily through services to Swansea, Bridgend and Cardiff. Another service connects with New Quay, Aberporth and Cardigan on Monday through Saturday. Railway service from the former Aberayron railway station was closed to passengers in 1951 and freight in 1965.
- Ron Davies, photographer
- Sir Geraint Evans, opera singer, had a home in Aberaeron for more than 30 years
- Office for National Statistics : Census 2001 : Parish Headcounts : Ceredigion
- Llewellyn's Complete Book of Names p.36
- Aberaeron at Ceredigion County Council website
- Aberaeron 1807–2007: Aberaeron Town Trail, celebrating our heritage Heritage Treftadaeth, 2007 (under building 1 - General Storehouse)
- Jenkins, J. Geraint. Ceredigion: Interpreting an Ancient County. Gwasg Careg Gwalch (2005) pg. 83.
- Price M. R. C. "The Lampeter, Aberayron and New Quay Light Railway", Oakwood Press 2011, p.104
- “Aberaeron Golf Club”, “Golf’s Missing Links”.
- Castell Cadwgan Aberaeron at 'Gatehouse' medieval castles site
- BBC Website - Cymru Hanes - Aberaeron (in Welsh)
- Aberaeron West Wales tourism site
- "Cardiganshire County Council". Cambrian News. 25 January 1889. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
- Blue Flag website
- Dylan Thomas: A Farm, Two Mansions and a Bungalow, Seren 2000. Also see http://undermilkwood.webs.com
- The Dylan Thomas Trail, by D N Thomas, Y Lolfa, 2002
- Aberaeron Carnival at aberaeron.info website
- Aberaeron Carnival 2009 pictures at BBC West Wales
- Arriva Cymru timetable
- Aberystwyth to Cardiff four days weekly by coach by Coach Travel Wales
- Arriva Cymru (ARR) - Brodyr Richards/Richards Bros (RB) at ceredigion.gov.uk
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Aberaeron.|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Aberaeron.|
- Aberaeron Town Council website
- Cymdeithas Aberaeron Society with historical timeline and bibliography
- Official tourism website
- Website of the local Cambrian News
- Aerial photograph of Aberaeron
- www.geograph.co.uk : photos of Aberaeron and surrounding area
- The History of Aberaeron At Aberaeron West Wales
- Castell Cadwgan, Aberaeron site