4) Old Town

Old Barmouth 1889Many people who visit Barmouth never discover Old Barmouth, or The Rock as it is commonly called by locals, and yet is probably the most notable feature of the town and quite unique in its character and setting.  Here are the remnants of the earliest settlement in Barmouth, when the small port served a coastal trade in goods and the fishing of herring.  Much of the town was rebuilt as the 19th century progressed but the character of this area retains its special nature. The winding alleys that climb up and around the largely  18th and  19th century cottages give wonderful views over the town, sea and estuary and the steepness means you often look down the chimneys of the houses below you. It is well worth wandering these paths and you won’t get lost!

Ruskin’s CottagesRuskin's Cottages

Among these cottages were several presented by Mrs Fanny Talbot to the Guild of St. George. The Guild had been founded in 1871 by John Ruskin, the famous artist and polemicist/philanthropist.  He wished to establish a community to promote the well being and happiness of working men and to prevent them from slipping into beggary/poverty. Of the 13 cottages originally taken on by Ruskin 9 remain. Ruskin kept the existing tenants at the set rents. In one of these, 2 Rock Cottage, lived the Frenchman Auguste Guyard and his daughter, (see 3). He was certainly a kindred spirit of Ruskin for he was exiled after he had fallen out with the authorities in his homeland for promoting similar ideas. 

Gibraltar CottageGibraltar Cottage 1889

Gibraltar Cottage probably dates from the late seventeenth century and is therefore one of the oldest cottages on 'The Rock'. The origin of the name is not certain but in the book by Rev. J Evans, ‘A Tour Through Part of North Wales in 1798’, this steeply sloping site is ‘said to resemble the town of Gibraltar’. 

Barmouth Old Town