The History of
Maenan Abbey

Abbey.jpg

A Painting of Maenan Abbey circa 1750

The History

The history of Maenan Abbey starts in 1277. In that year Edward I, having defeated Llewellyn ap Gruffydd (Lleyellyn the last) in order to strengthen his hold on North Wales, built a chain of castles along the Coast commencing at Conwy in 1283. Unfortunately, at the very spot he intended to build his new castle and walled town there was a monastery. Edward therefore decided to move the monks  of Aberconwy elsewhere and compensation of £40 was paid for the land lost at Conwy and a new site was chosen here at Maenan. The king brought the land and gave the monks money and building materials to construct their new Abbey.


The Abbey was extremely powerful and at one point reputed to own over 38,000 acres. It was also once a burial place of the princes of Gwynedd with Llewellyn the great himself being buried here.  


The Abbey stood on this site until it was dissolved by Henry VIII in March 1537 when the materials from the abbey were used to make repairs to the castle walls at Caernarfon and the remaining stone, timber, lead, slates and glass were sold to the gentry who were building mansions along Conwy valley. At this time the remains of Llewellyn disappeared with only the bottom half of his stone sarcophagus being recovered from the river in Llanrwst. This is now to be found in the local church of St Crwst. In 1599, the land passed to the Wynne family who constructed a house below the north wing of the current house.


The present structure built of local granite was constructed between 1851 and 1854 by the Elias Family who lived here for much of the 19th Century.