Bala and Penllyn Historical Timeline


800 million yrs ago

Bala-Talyllyn Fault formed - Bala Lake and River Dee lie in the fault.

Ice Age, circa 10,000 yrs ago

The Gwyniad, a member of the whitefish family, isolated in Llyn Tegid, making the species unique to Bala (picture thanks to the Lake Warden).

Bronze and Iron Ages

Wales occupied by Celtic tribes in the pre-Roman period. Sites of Celtic forts are still visible locally and many place names derive from that era, eg Caer Euni.

75-150 AD

Roman fort of Caer Gai near Llanuwchllyn occupied, an outpost of the 20th Legion based in Castra Deva (Chester).


The Romans leave Britain.

6th C

Churches established at Llanycil (Saint Beuno) and Llanfor (Saint Deiniol).


William of Normandy (the Conqueror) invades England. Attacks on Wales from Chester, Shrewsbury and Hereford.

circa 1100

A motte and bailey castle - The Mount (Tomen y Bala) – constructed by the Normans.


Llywelyn the Great drives out Elise ap Madog Lord of Penllyn, making Penllyn a part of Gwynedd.


Llywelyn ein Llyw Olaf killed at Cilmeri.


Administrative town established at Bala by Roger Mortimer to bring order to a lawless region. A Charter was granted in February 1311. The first Town Hall built soon after.


Second Charter granted making Bala a free borough, allowing it to have an elected mayor, bailiffs and a prison, and to hold weekly markets and two annual fairs which are held to this day, in May and October.


Owain Glyndwr fights for Welsh Independence. In 1414 local gentry submit to the King’s commissioners at Bala.


Henry Tudor defeats Richard III at Bosworth.  Rhys ap Maredudd led a force from this area to join Henry, who was crowned Henry VII.


Sir Robert ap Rhys granted lands for services rendered by him to Henry VIII. The Rhiwlas Estate established.

18th and 19th centuries

Bala’s wool trade of prime importance. A cottage industry with substantial turnover, it supplied stockings for George III to ease his rheumatism and, later, to Prince Albert. By 1830s  32,000 dozen pairs of stockings and 5,500 dozen pairs of woollen mittens sold annually.


Plas yn Dre the largest town house. Home to influential family descending from the Lloyds of Rhiwaedog and Rhirid Flaidd.


The Grammar School founded through bequest of Edward Meyrick.


Non-conformism comes to Bala. The Cross Keys Inn, Llanycil, used as meeting place for religious meetings.


First Methodist chapel built in Bala on site adjacent to present Capel Tegid.


Eisteddfod held in Bala at the Bull’s Head Inn.


Elizabeth Davies (Betsi Cadwaladr) born at Penrhiw. She travelled widely and in her later years became a nurse at Balaclava in the Crimean War.


Mary Jones walked 25 miles barefoot to Bala in order to buy a Bible from Rev Thomas Charles, a Methodist leader. The British and Foreign Bible Society established in London in 1804 by Charles and others.


Bala Union build a workhouse for the poor of the five Penllyn parishes in the face of substantial opposition. Replaced by a larger building 1878 on site of today’s medical centre.


Building of Christ Church in Bala to supplement the original parish church at Llanycil.


Sir O M Edwards, Welsh education reformer, historian and man of letters.


Michael D Jones, a nonconformist minister and teacher, arranged the first group to emigrate from Wales to Patagonia on the ship Mimosa. Patagonia retains its Welsh culture, connections and language to this day.


The Calvinistic Methodist College built. Methodist ministers were trained here until 1953. Today it is a Youth Centre for the Presbyterian Church of Wales.


A standard gauge railway opened to link Ruabon and Barmouth, constructed by the Bala and Dolgelley Railway Company.


Bala–Ffestiniog Railway opened with a new station built on the site of today’s Green.


Thomas Edward Ellis, son of a tenant farmer, elected Liberal MP for Merioneth. His memorial statue on High Street unveiled in October 1903.


Queen Victoria arrived by Royal Train at Palé Hall, Llandderfel, and was enchanted by the house and the area. A walk she took along the river bank is known today as the Queen’s Walk. The original bath and antique half tester bed which she used are still in use to this day. Neuadd Buddug, Bala (cinema) is named in her honour.


A camp for German prisoners of war established at the old whisky distillery, Frongoch.


Irish prisoners held at the Frongoch camp for eight months following the Easter Rising in Dublin. During that time it is said that the IRA was formed.


First reported sighting of “Teggie” in Bala Lake - the Welsh equivalent of the Loch Ness Monster.


Sir Ifan ap Owen Edwards, born in Llanuwchllyn, founded the Welsh Youth Movement, Urdd Gobaith Cymru.


B17 Flying Fortress American plane crashed on Arenig Fawr. Until recently wreckage was still scattered on the hillside 300m from memorial on the summit.


Llyn Tegid frozen over in severe winter weather.


Bala Catholic Church opened in June and dedicated to St Mary Fatima.


Liverpool City Council decide to create a reservoir at Cwm Tryweryn.


Llyn Tegid frozen over again.


Closure of Ruabon–Barmouth railway.


The Women’s Institute branch in Parc separated from the movement to establish Merched y Wawr, an all-Wales women’s  movement.


The National Eisteddfod of Wales held in Bala for the first time. Gorsedd Stone Circle erected on The Green in 1966 for proclamation ceremony.


The narrow gauge railway opened. Rheilffordd Llyn Tegid Cyf (Bala Lake Railway Ltd) was the first company to be officially registered in the Welsh language.


Local residents report seeing strange lights streaking across the sky. Did an UFO crash on the Berwyn Mountains? According to experts, this was a bolide meteor shower coinciding with a minor earthquake, which was officially registered 4-5 on the Richter scale.


Canoe Slalom & Wild Water World Championships held on the River Tryweryn – the first time in the UK.


Japanese mini submarine conducted a survey beneath the waters.


Wild Water Racing World Championships held on the River Tryweryn.


Rare glutinous snail is rediscovered in the lake.


The first Open World Sheepdog Trial Championship held at Bala.


Junior Wild Water Racing World Championships held on the River Tryweryn.


Elin Haf Davies from Parc was a member of the first ladies’ team to row across the Indian Ocean, having been the first Welsh female to row the Atlantic Ocean in 2005.

2014 Bala makes the largest Welsh Cake in the World - Guiness World Record


Information: compliled and checked by Penri Jones, Peris Jones-Evans & Ray Hind