Menai Bridge Town Timeline

N.B. The settlement was originally called Porthaethwy and still is in Welsh. It was not until many years after the completion of the suspension bridge that the town became known as Menai Bridge.


3000-2000 BC – Neolithic Age – stone axes have been found from this era

2000-1000 BC – Bronze Age – Burial Urns found. The Porthaethwy hoard of 8 bronze axes dates to this period.


Romans – 37 coins have been found dating from 218-268 AD, these were found on the site that is now Coed Cyrnol (formerly a rocky path possibly leading to an early crossing point).

61 AD – Romans first cross Menai Strait. This was probably close to what is now Beaumaris. There is a recorded account of this by Tacitus, a Roman writer.

4th to 9th century – During this time Irish and Viking settlers would have all occupied parts of Anglesey at various times, as well as some of the Welsh Princes.

1188 – Archbishop of Canterbury Baldwin, accompanied by Gerald of Wales, crossed to Anglesey as part of the recruitment for the Crusades through Wales. He probably landed at Cadnant Creek.

1194 – Battle of Porthaethwy – this is the first known written documentation of Porthaethwy. In this battle Llewelyn Ap Iorweth (later known as Llewelyn The Great) defeated his uncle Rhodri, son of Owain Gwynedd.

Early 1400s – The small church on Church Island was built, it is the oldest building in Porthaethwy. It is likely that there was a church of sorts of the Island before this.

1589 – first record of the fish weirs on Ynys Gorad Goch. Many other fish weirs were constructed during this period.

1590s – Tidal mill was built close to Church Island. This no longer exists, but the remains can still be seen.

1594 – Queen Elizabeth first leased ferry to John Williams.

1630 – Ferry across the Strait was in the Thomas Williams family from 1630 until 1826.

1681 – First record of Porthaethwy Fair.

1688 – Porthaethwy Ferry House (sometimes called Bangor Ferry House) was founded. The name has changed many times but in mid 19th century it became known as Cambria Inn. The building still stands and is the oldest building in the town.

1805 – Lord Bulkeley commissioned the building of a road linking Porthaethwy to Beaumaris.

1814 – Enclosure Act which was to distribute common ground into enclosures was passed.

1822 – First packet service between Liverpool and Porthaethwy established.

1826 – Opening of Telford’s suspension bridge

1827 – Enclosures Act of 1814 implemented. Most of the enclosures in Porthaethwy went to Earl of Uxbridge (the first Marquis of Anglesey)

1828 – Richard Davies first opens wholesale grocers on Menai Bridge Waterfront. Later the family would ship timber around the World and many people emigrated to North America from Menai Bridge on their ships.

1850 – Davies family’s fleet of ships begins shipping emigrants to America and Canada

1853 – Opening of National School next to St Mary’s Church

1891 – Liverpool & North Wales Steamship Co. established.

1904 – Menai Bridge Promenade officially opened by David Lloyd George. Menai Bridge was visited by tourists who came to see the bridge. Carreg-Yr-Halen was turned into a bathing beach every year by bringing in sand to the beach.

1905 – Last Davies family ship is sold off.

1914-1918 – First World War, during which Belgian refuges fled to Menai Bridge. During this time they constructed Belgian Promenade.

1953 – Wrecking of the HMS Conway underneath the Menai Suspension Bridge

1962 – Liverpool & North Wales Steamship Company enters voluntary liquidation.

2008 – Following a period of high-street closures in the 70s the town is now a busy shopping and commercial centre service a wide area. It is good to see some of the high-street shops being restored to their original designs.

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