Sunday, 20 October 2013

Y Pengwern – perfect for a Snowdonian AGM

CymdeithasEryri the Snowdonia Society held its AGM in Y Pengwern, the community pub that used to be called the Pengwern Arms. A perfect venue: central, spacious and welcoming. 

Local guide Catrin Roberts led an interesting walk around the village taking in the history of various buildings such as Plas Blaenddol, the posh house of slate magnates the Cassons, which is now a great self-catering option. Some sampled the local ales including Ysgawen, the elderflower brew from Purple Moose and at 1pm we enjoyed a seated lunch in the dining room with sunshine flooding through the windows. Food was excellent, everything home cooked under the watchful eye of Karen, the manager. Her family owned the pub many years ago and she certainly looks at home today, proud and efficient in her work.

The scene was set, the mood and ambience just right as forty of us took our seats in the function room. Reports were presented and well received. The annual report and accounts were approved without debate. Elections and re-elections of officers went smoothly. The motion to adopt a new constitution was approved with but a minor question as to whether there would be any associated cost. Business was concluded forty five minutes ahead of schedule. Perfect!

Tea was brought forward and we were spellbound by Dei Tomos talking under the title of ‘Storm Clouds Gathering’ and excellently translated by Bryn Jones.

Why did everything go so well? I blame the Pengwern, it’s a perfect venue. As one of the 160 shareholders I’m biased but with good cause.

It’s great to see this community pub maturing and evolving, in recent months they have refurbished five of the bedrooms and the guest book has many favourable comments. Keep it up everyone. Daliwch ati pawb!

Huw Jenkins

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Pengwern Cask Marque - top beers from a top pub

It’s one thing to have a top class brewery but there’s a lot that can go wrong between the brewer and the pint you drink, especially with cask beer. It needs to be properly looked after all the way through to the final act of consumption.  This is why it makes sense to drink at Y Pengwern because they’ve been awarded the Cask Marque, an independent indicator of quality that looks into the temperature, aroma, taste and appearance of the beer. 
In case you want other reasons to drink at Y Pengwern, well .....

  1. Good selection of beers, many of which are very local and are switched on a regular basis
  2. Food is now served at weekends
  3. It’s a community pub with all profits reinvested into the venture
  4. The views are fantastic
  5. There’s a great programme of events

 You know it makes sense to drink at Y Pengwern.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Roll up! Roll up to the Pengwern.

Since March 2011 the community has owned the Pengwern Hotel and it is run democratically through a management board and board of directors elected annually by shareholders. The building was improved by means of voluntary work enabling the bar and function room to be reopened in May 2011. By July 2012 the kitchen was brought up to standard and the restaurant was opened for business.

Watercolour of the Pengwern by David Cox about 1830
by kind permission of the Martin Gregory Gallery, London
The vision is to restore and develop the Pengwern over time to create a first class resource; a pub, restaurant, hotel and eco-accommodation of high standard which will also be a social and educational centre. The aim is to provide local employment and a prosperous business with all the benefit coming to the community. This is part of a wider vision for the Ffestiniog area whereby local resources are developed by social enterprises, owned and run for the benefit of the area and the entire community. This way forward is becoming an example and an inspiration to communities throughout Wales.


The management board and directors of the Pengwern wish to express their gratitude to the residents of Llan Ffestiniog and to supporters everywhere for their ready and continuing support. There are several ways of helping the Pengwern:

1. Some 180 people have bought shares in the company, to the value of £33,000. The more shareholdings there are the greater the chances of succeeding with grant applications to develop the building. In order to finance the next phase of the development programme a target of an extra £5,000 in shares has been set. This will enable the detailed plans for the improvements to the buildings to go ahead. Thus, those who have already purchased shares are asked to consider adding to their investment in a business which has now proved its success. New shareholders, locally and nationally, are also invited to become part of this pioneering venture. The minimum shareholding is £100 and, as we are a co-operative company, each shareholder has one vote irrespective of the number of shares held.

2. One of the main aims of the Pengwern is to provide local employment opportunities. By July 2012 seven people were employed part time. Until such time that the business is fully developed the venture depends upon volunteers to do much of the work. More than 60 people have already contributed their labour freely in various ways; work on the building and garden as well as bar, cleaning and admin work and raising money, planning and organising. There are also opportunities to volunteer in several other ways such as marketing, with entertainment and with environmental, social, educational and cultural aspects of the venture.

3. Supporting the pub and restaurant and the hotel once the bedrooms have been done up. The success of the growing programme of entertainment and environmental, social and cultural events depends upon widespread support.

4. Becoming a Friend of the Pengwern at a membership cost of £1. The greater the membership the stronger are our applications for grants. Becoming a Friend enables us also to keep in touch about events and developments at the Pengwern.

If you want to get more information, buy shares or volunteer please contact: Y Pengwer, Sqwar yr Eglwys, Llan Ffestiniog, Gwynedd LL41 4PB. Tel: 01766 762200 email:

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Pengwern and Dduallt

Dduallt is one of several houses in the Vale of Ffestiniog that has been tree ring dated. At least eight houses in the area began construction within 30 years of 1530, presumably on the back of increased farming prosperity.

At Dduallt there were Lloyds or Llwyds in residence all the way through from the 1560s to 1903 but one of the unanswered questions is whether the Lloyds of the 1700s were the same family as the Lloyds of the 1800s.

The last reference to the early Lloyds was the baptism in Maentwrog of William Lloyd of Dduallt in 1793 who was the third son. The next reference was the 1832 Ffestiniog Railway Act which lists in the appendix the landowners against whom compulsory purchase orders could be served. The section of railway around Dduallt was owned by the trustees of the late William Lloyd. By 1842 Dduallt was owned by Lord Robert Ponsonby Tottenham, Bishop of Clogher, and rented out to a Richard Lloyd.

We recently found a new piece of the jigsaw from The Cambrian, the English language newspaper published from 1804 to 1930. 

It mentions that on 5th May 1814 William Lloyd, Esq. of Dduallt in the County of Merioneth attained his 21st year and that his friends and tenantry were sumptuously entertained at the Pengwern Arms in Ffestiniog.

Another connection is of course that Mel’s grandfather lived at Dduallt in the 1930s.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

This house belongs to you and I

The song on the opening night (8th July 2011) was written and sung by Iwan Morgan. It was performed in the style of ‘cerdd dant’ which is the presentation of poetry, usually to the accompaniment of the harp, where the harpist plays an air and the singer presents the words on a counter melody. The harpist plays before the singer strikes in, and the object is for both singer and harpist to end each verse together. This tradition is unique to Wales and has been part of our rich culture for centuries, possibly dating back to the Middle Ages.  

On this occasion the tune was 'Llwyn Onn' or 'The Ash Grove' and the harp was played by Dylan Rowlands known by many as Dylan Delyn (Dylan the harp).

The title of the song is 'This house belongs to you and I' and roughly translates as follows:

'Before the slate mines of Blaenau Ffestiniog were ever heard of,
and before quarrymen from north or south made for the place;
indeed, before its houses and streets were built
and before its climate was connected with mists and rain,
cattle drovers and their stock came over peat bog and moor
to spend the night in the shelter and warmth of Ffestiniog.'

'On fair and market days, 
many teemed to the 'Smithy' inn beside the 'llan' (church),
and Martha (Owens), the innkeeper, 
poured pints of her best ale for the merry drinkers.
She also provided relish and accommodation for all
who called at the inn to shorten their journey at the village.’

'Over the course of the years, 
the 'Smithy' became the 'Pengwern Arms.' 
That is how it was before its doors closed (in February 2009). 
But by today, the 'community' of the village 
have persevered to re-open the place,
hence 'this house belongs to you & I.' 


Cyn sôn am geudyllau y Blaenau, na thre
Lle cyrchai chwarelwyr o’r gogledd a’r de;
Cyn codi ei strydoedd a’i thai di-ben-draw
Na chysylltu ei hinsawdd â niwloedd a glaw,
Dôi porthmyn a gwartheg dros fawnog a rhos
I glydwch Ffestiniog i orffwyso’r nos.

I dafarn ‘Yr Efail’ oedd gerllaw’r llan
Ar ddydd ffair a marchnad - bu heidio i’r fan,
A Martha’r perchennog, tywalltai hi
Ei chwrw gorau i’r drachtwyr ffri;
Rhoes enllyn a llety dros gyfnod maith
I bobun a alwai i fyrhau’r daith.
Dros gwrs y blynyddoedd, daeth newid i’w rhan,
Daeth ‘Yr Efail’ yn ‘Bengwern’ yma’n y Llan,
Ac felly y bu, nes i’w drysau gau ...
Ond wele’r ‘gymuned’ fu’n dyfalbarhau
I’w hagor eto .... a dyma eu cri:
‘Mae’r tŷ hwn yn eiddo i ti ac i mi!’

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Official Opening - Agoriad Swyddogol

Friday 8th July was the official opening of The Pengwern with S4C broadcasting live on the programme Wedi 7 and a slate plaque unveiled by Lord Dafydd Elis Thomas. Earlier in the day the pub was featured on Radio Wales (Jamie and Louise) with customers and volunteers talking about what it felt like to have the pub open once more. Here’s what it was like on the night:

Friday, 1 July 2011

Agoriad Swyddogol

Ar nos Wener, Gorffennaf yr 8ed, cynhelir agoriad swyddogol Y Pengwern yn Llan Ffestiniog.

Ar ôl i’r Pengwern Arms Hotel gau ym mis Chwefror 2009 sefydlwyd Pengwern Cymunedol fel menter gymunedol i brynu, ail agor a datblygu Tafarn a Gwesty’r Pengwern ac ers diwedd mis Mawrth 2011 y gymuned sy’n berchen ac yn rheoli Y Pengwern. Trwy ymdrechion gwirfoddol llwyddwyd i gymoni a gwella rhannau o adeilad Y Pengwern a bellach ail agorwyd y dafarn a’r ystafell gweithgareddau.

Mae gwahoddiad cynnes i gynrychiolwyr y wasg a’r cyfryngau i fynychu’r agoriad swyddogol. Eisoes mae rhaglen Wedi 7 S4C wedi trefnu i ddarlledu’n fyw o’r Pengwern ar y noson.

Bydd rhaglen noson yr agoriad yn rhedeg o 6.00 p.m. ymlaen. Perfformir yr agoriad swyddogol gan yr Aelod Cynulliad lleol, Dafydd Elis Thomas.Bydd cynrychiolwyr Cyngor Gwynedd, Cyngor Tref Ffestiniog a nifer o’r cyrff fu’n gefnogol i’r Pengwern yn bresennol yn ogystal ag aelodau a chefnogwyr lleol Pengwern Cymunedol.

Hefyd bydd nifer o artistiaid a doniau lleol yn cyfrannu mewn gair a chân i’r noson.

Am fanylion ynglyn â’r Pengwern gweler Taflen Wybodaeth Pengwern Cymunedol.

CYSWLLT  Sel Williams   Ffôn:  0776 049 0081

Y Pengwern, Sgwar yr Eglwys, Llan Ffestiniog, Gwynedd. LL41 4PB
E bost:           
Gwefan y Tafarn:
Ffôn y Pengwern:    01766 762200