Coordinates: 53°11′17″N 4°27′47″W / 53.188°N 4.463°W / 53.188; -4.463
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The village from the east
Map of the community in Isle of Anglesey.
Aberffraw is located in Anglesey
Location within Anglesey
Population597 (2021)
OS grid referenceSH3568
  • Aberffraw
Principal area
Preserved county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townTŶ CROES
Postcode districtLL63
Dialling code01407
PoliceNorth Wales
FireNorth Wales
UK Parliament
Senedd Cymru – Welsh Parliament
List of places
53°11′17″N 4°27′47″W / 53.188°N 4.463°W / 53.188; -4.463

Aberffraw[a] is a village and community on the south west coast of the Isle of Anglesey in Wales. The village is 9 miles from the island's county town, Llangefni, and is located on the west bank of the Afon Ffraw (Ffraw River). The community includes Soar and Dothan. Located near the A4080 and the nearest rail station is Bodorgan.

The village has a long history as a settlement from the Mesolithic Age. In modern times, during the medieval age, the site became the capital of the Kingdom of Gwynedd and acted as a royal residence for the family of the House of Aberffraw.

The name of the village is often truncated to "Berffro" in the local dialect of Welsh.[2] Local attractions include a part of the Anglesey Coastal Path, the beach and dunes at Aberffraw bay, a lake for recreational fishing, historic churches and prehistoric burial chambers.

Coast near Aberffraw


Aberffraw is one of the oldest Mesolithic sites from prehistoric Wales, dating c. 9,000 years ago. At Aberffraw Bay is the Trwyn Du (Welsh: Black nose) excavated site. The site was discovered whilst excavating a Bronze Age kerb cairn (bowl barrow) from 2000 BC, which was excavated because of the threat of coastal erosion. The 1977 excavation revealed that the cairn was built on top of a deposit of 7,000 flint tools and two axes from 7000 BC, a few millennia after the last Ice Age.[3][4][5]

An intact monument near Aberffraw is Din Dryfol, a Neolithic chambered tomb from 3000 BC. Around the River Gwna are the remains of a stone hut circle and roundhouses, which were lived in during the Welsh Iron Age, c. 500 BC, until the British Roman period, before the 4th century.[6][7][8]

In Welsh mythology Aberffraw features as the site of Branwen and Matholwch's wedding festival, where Efnysien maimed Matholwch's horses.[9]

Medieval Royal House of Aberffraw[edit]

In the early Middle Ages Aberffraw was settled by Cadwallon Lawhir ap Einion who built a palace in the 5th century.[10] Rhodri the Great, King of Gwynedd rebuilt the residence in 873. Rhodri had returned the capital of the Kingdom of Gwynedd to the Aberffraw cantref after Cadwallon ap Cadfan (c. 620) moved the royal court to Caernarfon on mainland Wales in 7th century. Rhodri built a palace as a royal court and his son started a cadet branch as the Royal House of Aberffraw.[11][12][10] The court was dismantled in 1317 to provide building materials for Caernarfon castle over the Menai Strait.[13][14]

The royal court was destroyed on Saint Nicholas Day, the 6th of December, 1331 when a sandstorm buried 186 acres from Aberffraw north to Rhosneigr on the west of Anglesey in the Aberffraw cantref. The families living in this area were driven from their homes because of the natural disaster and had to migrate south to the villages of Llanddwyn and Newborough, Anglesey.[15]

Aberffraw cantref (hundred)[edit]

The Meyrick (Welsh: Meurig) family of Bodorgan, Anglesey, were given the Crown lease for the manor lands of the Aberffraw cantref during the Tudor period (c. 1500). Llewelyn Ap Heilyn fought at the Battle of Bosworth alongside Henry VII of England. Afterward, Heilyn's son Meurig ap Llewelyn became captain of the bodyguard to Henry VIII and was rewarded with the lease. Today, the same family at Bodorgan Hall (near Aberffraw) is represented by the Tapps-Gervis-Meyrick baronets.[10][16][17] After the Meyrick family ownership, it was the Owen family of Penrhos locally on Anglesey who owned the lands of Aberffraw until 1808. Subsequently the Hughes family of Baron Dinorben, the Williams and Wynn families of Baron Newborough, then the Marquess of Anglesey Paget family, and finally Lord Bulkeley (Viscount) all briefly owned the lands surrounding Aberffraw. Today the current town was developed in the mid to late 20th century. By 1949, the village was called the poorest in Anglesey.[18]

Aberffraw village[edit]

Wales costal path, Aberffraw on the river Ffraw.


Attractions near Aberffraw village include Barclodiad y Gawres, a neolithic burial chamber.[19][20] Also Llyn Coron is used for fly fishing.[21] The village has a sandy beach, which was awarded the Blue flag rural beach award in 2005.[22][23] Aberffraw bay is a part of the Anglesey Coastal Path.[24]


Near the village on the tidal island of Cribinau is where St Cwyfan's Church is situated in Bro Aberffraw. Perched on top of a rock, the "church in the sea" was constructed in the 12th century and renovated in 1893-94.[25][26] The church still holds services in the summer and is sometimes used for weddings.

St Beuno's Church, Aberffraw is a double-naved church of the later medieval style. The building dates from the 12th century and is a Grade II* listed building. Additions to the church were made in the 14th and 16th centuries and a repair that involved reroofing the building in about 1840. There were extensive alterations made in 1868.[27]

Llys Llywelyn[edit]

Llys Llywelyn sculpture by Jonah Jones
The former heritage centre entrance and information board

There is a holiday home accommodation in the village named Llys Llywelyn, it was once a heritage centre dedicated to the history of the medieval Kingdom of Gwynedd and its royal court (llys) at Aberffraw. There is a sculpted piece of artwork by Jonah Jones dedicated to the Princes of Gwynedd. After more than a decade of negotiations, the heritage centre was moved to Llangefni and the centre was turned into holiday cottages in 2020. There is a cafe on site for visitors.[28][29][30][31]


The village has a Welsh football league system team named C.P.D Aberffraw, they play in the village of Bryn Du.[32] There was a school at Aberffraw since before 1860 but the village school, Welsh: Ysgol closed in 2011.[33]


There was a change in the Anglesey UK electoral wards in 2013, reducing the number of councilors from 40 to 33. Aberffraw remained in the Bro Aberffraw area with 2 council members representing the Isle of Anglesey.[34][35] As of the 2022 election, the ward is represented by Plaid Cymru councillors Arfon Wyn and John Ifan Jones.[36]


A historical census showed that the population in Aberffraw (Aberffro) grew from 936 in 1801 to 1,042 in 1971. In 1831, there were a total of 332 males in the village, and of those that were over the age of 20, 106 were farmworkers.[37]

For the 2011 census, Aberffraw had a population of 620, with 334 fully fluent Welsh-speaking individuals, 146 who could not speak the Welsh language at all, and the rest of the population as partially fluent. The findings also showed 67.5% of the population could speak the Welsh language, a fall from 80.8% in 2001.[38][39]

The 2021 census shows Aberffraw to have 597 residents, in an area of 29.55 km sq, and a reduction in population of 0.38% since the previous census from 2011.[40]

Aberffraw village and surrounding grasslands

Former airfield[edit]

RAF Bodorgan near the village was once known as the RAF Aberffraw (Royal Air Force). Constructed in September 1940, the airfield was used in World War 2 as a testing site for military aircraft, Queen Bee, a pilotless airplane. In 1941, the airfield changed its name to Bodorgan, and by 1944 it was only used as a storage airfield. The grass runway airfield was closed in 1945.[41] After the opening of the airfield in Aberffraw, another was opened during the same period, the airfield is based at Rhosneigr, Anglesey. RAF Valley is still in use today.[42]

Aberffraw dune system[edit]

The Aberffraw dunes cover an area of 883 acres (357 ha) in west Anglesey, and are one of the biggest dune habitats in the UK. The dunes are preserved as a site of special scientific interest (SSSI) and are part of a Special Area of Conservation which spans from Abermenai Point in the southeast of Anglesey, then across the island westward, and they are 5km north-west of Newborough Warren. The most common species of plants are marram grass, which supports the sand and creates dunes, as well as early sand-grass, red fescue, and lady's bedstraw. The dunes are supported by the local lake, Coron, as well as the river Ffraw and are a popular walking destination.[43][44]


  1. ^ "Aberffraw, Anglesey, Wales". aberffraw.wales. Retrieved 31 October 2023.
  2. ^ Rhys, Guto (2022). Amrywiaith 2 - Blas ar dafodieithoedd Cymru (in Welsh) (1 ed.). Llanrwst: Carreg Gwalch. p. 40. ISBN 9781845278526.
  3. ^ "Trwyn du Scheduled Monuments- Full Report". cadwpublilc-api.azurewebsites.net. Retrieved 29 August 2023.
  4. ^ "Trwyn Du Cairn near Aberffraw, Overlying A Mesolithic Site (302323)". Coflein. RCAHMW.
  5. ^ "Aberffraw to port Cwyfan, Anglesey" (PDF). walescostalpath.gov.uk.
  6. ^ RCAHMW, An Inventory of the Ancient Monuments in Anglesey, p. LXXIV,LVXXX,2, at Google Books
  7. ^ "Din Dryfol Chambered Tomb, Aberffraw (93831)". Coflein. RCAHMW.
  8. ^ "Din Dryfol - Burial chamber". medievalheritage.eu. Retrieved 31 October 2023.
  9. ^ The Mabinogion: Branwen the Daughter of Llyr, translated by Lady Charlotte Guest. Online at www.sacred-texts.com.
  10. ^ a b c "Abbey- Aberffraw". british-history.ac.uk. Retrieved 31 October 2023.
  11. ^ "RHODRI MAWR ('the Great') (died 877), king of Gwynedd, Powys, and Deheubarth". Dictionary of Welsh Biography. National Library of Wales.
  12. ^ Llwyd, Angharad (1832). A history of the island of Anglesey. p. 55, 61.
  13. ^ "Aberffraw, Excavated Features, Rejected Roman Fort And Suggested Llys Site (401126)". Coflein. RCAHMW.
  14. ^ RCAHMW, An Inventory of the Ancient Monuments in Anglesey, p. XXXVIII, at Google Books
  15. ^ Ranwell, Derek (October 1958). "Newborough Warren, Anglesey: I. The Dune System and Dune Slack Habitat". Journal of Ecology. 47: 573. doi:10.2307/2257291.
  16. ^ "Meyrick family, Bodorgan, Anglesey.". Dictionary of Welsh Biography. National Library of Wales.
  17. ^ Kidd, Charles, ed. (1903). Debrett's peerage, baronetage, knightage, and companionage. London: Dean & Son. p. 414.
  18. ^ "Aberffraw (32986)". Coflein. RCAHMW. Retrieved 15 September 2023.
  19. ^ "Barclodiad y Gawres Burial Chamber; 'The Giantess's Apronful', Aberffraw (95545)". Coflein. RCAHMW.
  20. ^ "Barclodiad y Gawres Burial Chamber". cadw.gov.wales. Retrieved 31 October 2023.
  21. ^ "Llyn Coron". llyncoronfishery.co.uk. Retrieved 31 October 2023.
  22. ^ "These 14 gorgeous villages in North Wales will make you yearn for the quiet life". dailypost.co.uk. 26 October 2017.
  23. ^ "Aberffraw Bay". thebeachguide.co.uk. Retrieved 31 October 2023.
  24. ^ "ISLE OF ANGLESEY COASTAL PATH - ABERFFRAW TO FOUR MILE BRIDGE". visitanglesey.co.uk. Retrieved 31 October 2023.
  25. ^ Cadw. "St. Cwyfan's Church (5273)". National Historic Assets of Wales. Retrieved 31 October 2023.
  26. ^ "Princes of Gwynedd". visitwales.com. Retrieved 31 October 2023.
  27. ^ Cadw. "Church of St. Beuno (5270)". National Historic Assets of Wales. Retrieved 11 April 2019.
  28. ^ "Interpretation plan for the Princes of Gwynedd" (PDF). cadw.gov.wales. pp. 38, 41, 49, 118, 130, 185. Retrieved 31 October 2023.
  29. ^ "Huge sell-off for Anglesey council". dailypost.co.uk. Retrieved 31 October 2023.
  30. ^ "Llys Llywelyn". wales-tourist-information.co.uk. Retrieved 31 October 2023.
  31. ^ "Llys Llewelyn Cegin Bar, Aberffraw (formerly Llys Llewelyn Heritage Centre tea rooms), Anglesey". seearoundbritain.com. Retrieved 31 October 2023.
  32. ^ "CPD Aberffraw". pitchero.com. Retrieved 31 October 2023.
  33. ^ "Last day at three primary schools in Anglesey and Conwy". Retrieved 31 October 2023.
  34. ^ "Anglesey's multi-member wards to gain additional five councilors in boundary shake-up". nation.cymru. 18 September 2021.
  35. ^ "The County of the Isle of Anglesey (Electoral Arrangements) Order 2021". legislation.gov.uk. The National Archives. Retrieved 31 October 2023.
  36. ^ "Election results for Bro Aberffraw, 5 May 2022". democracy.anglesey.gov.uk. 5 May 2022. Retrieved 31 October 2023.
  37. ^ "Aberffro CP/AP through time". visionofbritain.org.uk. Retrieved 31 October 2023.
  38. ^ "2011 Census results by Community". Welsh Language Commissioner. 26 October 2012. Archived from the original on 14 September 2017. Retrieved 25 June 2017.
  39. ^ "Welsh language skills in Wales". pop-stat.mashke.org. Retrieved 31 October 2023.
  40. ^ "Aberffraw (Community, United Kingdom)". citypopulation.de.
  41. ^ "Bodorgan Airfield, Aberffraw (270848)". Coflein. RCAHMW.
  42. ^ "RAF Valley". raf.mod.uk. Retrieved 31 October 2023.
  43. ^ "A Quantitative Description of the Distribution of Annuals in the Dune System at Aberffraw, Anglesey". Journal of Ecology. 62 (2): 379–402. July 1974. doi:10.2307/2258986.
  44. ^ "Wildlife - Aberffraw dunes and Traeth Mawr beach". visitanglesey.co.uk. Retrieved 31 October 2023.


  1. ^ Pronounced as Aberffro.[1] Spelled variously in period sources, including Aberfrau.

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