Conwy Castle and the bridges
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Postcode district||LL31, LL32|
|Senedd Cymru - Welsh Parliament|
Conwy (Welsh: ['k?nw?] ), traditionally known in English as Conway, is a walled market town and community in Conwy County Borough on the north coast of Wales. The town, which faces Deganwy across the River Conwy, formerly lay in Gwynedd and prior to that in Caernarfonshire. The community, which includes Deganwy and Llandudno Junction, had a population of 14,208 at the 2001 census, and is a popular tourist destination. The population rose to 14,753 at the 2011 census. In the 2015 census "The size of the resident population in Conwy County Borough on the 30th June 2015 was estimated to be 116,200 people." The town itself has a population of 4,065.
Conwy Castle and the town walls were built, on the instruction of Edward I of England, between 1283 and 1289, as part of his conquest of the principality of Wales. The church standing in Conwy has been marked as the oldest building in Conwy and has stood in the walls of Conwy since the 14th century. However, the oldest structure is part of the town walls, at the southern end of the east side. Here one wall and the tower of a Llys [palace/court house] belonging to Llywelyn the Great and his grandson Llywelyn ap Gruffydd have been incorporated into the wall. Built on a rocky outcrop, with an apsidal tower, it is a classic, native, Welsh build and stands out from the rest of the town walls, due to the presence of four window openings. It dates from the early 13th century and is the most complete remnant of any of his Llys.
The population of the town in 1841 was 1,358.
Conwy was the original site of Aberconwy Abbey, founded by Llywelyn the Great. Edward and his troops took over the abbey site and moved the monks down the Conwy valley to a new site at Maenan, establishing Maenan Abbey. The parish church still retains some parts of the original abbey church in the east and west walls. English settlers were given incentives to move to the walled garrison town, which for decades the Welsh were forbidden from entering.
Conwy has other tourist attractions that help draw visitors to the town. Conwy Suspension Bridge, designed by Thomas Telford to replace the ferry, was completed in 1826 and spans the River Conwy next to the castle. Telford designed the bridge's supporting towers to match the castle's turrets. The bridge is now open to pedestrians only and, together with the toll-keeper's house, is in the care of the National Trust.
The Conwy Railway Bridge, a Tubular bridge, was built for the Chester and Holyhead Railway by Robert Stephenson. The first tube was completed in 1848, the second in 1849. The bridge is still in use on the North Wales Coast Line, along with the station, which is located within the town walls. In addition to a modern bridge serving the town, the A55 road passes under the river by a tunnel, Britain's first immersed tube tunnel, which was built between 1986 and 1991. The old mountain road to Dwygyfylchi and Penmaenmawr runs through the Sychnant Pass, at the foot of Conwy Mountain.
The house named in the Guinness Book of Records as the Smallest House in Great Britain, with dimensions of 3.05 metres x 1.8 metres, can be found on the quay. It was in continuous occupation from the 16th century (and was even inhabited by a family at one point) until 1900 when the owner (a 6-foot (1.8 m) fisherman - Robert Jones) was forced to move out on the grounds of hygiene. The rooms were too small for him to stand up in fully. The house is still owned by his descendants today, and visitors can look around it for a small charge.
Vardre Hall is a 19th Century Grade II listed building set directly opposite to Conwy Castle. It was erected by Conservative Buckinghamshire MP William Edward FitzMaurice in the mid 1850s. In 1869 the building was sold to solicitor William Jones. The building was used as a solicitor's office until 1972, when it was bought out and became The Towers Restaurant. The Towers Coffee house remains next door. After laying empty for a number of years Vardre Hall changed hands again and, in 1999, was refurbished into a shop.
Conwy Morfa, a marshy spit of land on the west side of the estuary, was probably the location where golf was first played on Welsh soil. It was also the place where Hugh Iorys Hughes developed, and later built, the floating Mulberry Harbour, used in Operation Overlord in World War II.
Conwy railway station bus stop has services to Llandudno and a hop-on, hop-off tour bus, The Llandudno and Conwy Tour.
A Conwy electoral ward exists for elections to Conwy County Borough Council. The ward extends west of the River Conwy only with a total population of 4,065. The other county wards within the Conwy community are Deganwy, Marl and Pensarn.
Images showing changes over time