Nefyn with its sheltered bay and sandy beach, is an old town rich in heritage. To the west towards the village of Morfa Nefyn, the remnants of the old medieval fields, to the north Cors Geirch and to the east the hills of Garn Boduan, Mynnydd Nefyn and Gwylwyr.
Nefyn for a long time was a small fishing village. By the 11th century a motte and bailey castle had been built here and it had become one of the administrative centres of the Princes of Gwynedd. From the 13th century it was a Royal Borough for the English Crown. By 1293 there were 93 taxpayers in Nefyn including a number of merchants, innkeepers, a goldsmith and a blacksmith named Madog. Around half the population owned a fishing net or boat, reinforcing the importance of fishing.
The town was burnt to the ground by Owain Glyndwr in 1400 because of its Royal Borough status and relationship to the English crown. It took Nefyn a long time to recover. It was a small agricultural town with three fairs each year and a weekly market, but gradually became the primary centre for Northern Llŷn. When Edmund Hyde Hall the author of A History of Caernarvonshire, visited the town in 1810 he provided a vivid description. There were Slate roofs on the more modern houses, however the majority remained straw. Hyde Hall believed the reason that slate was used, was as a sign of improvement. The slates would have come by sea from Caernarfon or Porthmadog. Between 1770 and 1860, 150 ships were built on Nefyn beach.
This town has a long and honourable maritime tradition. Many still refer to the inhabitants of Nefyn as 'Penwaig Nefyn' (Nefyn herring), which refers to the period over 100 years ago, when Nefyn was famous for its herring industry. On the website, Rhiw.com, it registers no less than 154 Captains who are buried or have a memorial in just the new graveyard!
The population of Nefyn today is around 1400, with 73.72% of the population born in Wales and 77.94% Welsh speakers.
The museum has produced a Nefyn Town Trail leaflet, which will allow you to explore this heritage for yourself.
Nefyn Town Trail brochure - click here