Amgueddfa Treftadaeth Swtan


Records show that this area was called “SWTTAN” during the reign of Henry VIII and probably for centuries before.

Because of its position it is likely that people have lived here since Neolithic times. Certainly a building has been on this site since 1678 when it was mentioned in an indenture.

The building as we know it today was originally built as a single cottage, probably in the mid to late 18th century with additions and alterations in the 19th and 20th centuries. Swtan is typical of other vernacular buildings throughout the Celtic zones of the British Isles. These cottages were homes to the poor labouring classes. On Anglesey these crogloft cottages were abundant on Anglesey and throughout rural Wales.

The amount of land going with Swtan would originally have been eight ‘erw’. An ‘erw’ was approximately three quarters of an acre. Over three hundred years the acreage of Swtan has varied between 3 and 7 acres. Beginning life as a simple homestead, Swtan has been upgraded over the years to its present size which is unusually long for this type of house.

The outbuildings were added as the fortunes of the family improved. Stones running up the main chimney have been dressed by a stone-mason and indicate that this was a substantial structure from around the mid 18th century.

The first named resident of Swtan recorded in the indenture of 1678 is Hugh Lewis who was living there with his wife. Since that time the cottage has been in the ownership of several well-known families including the Meyrick family of Bodorgan, the Thomas family and later the Tregarnedd Estate, which had several properties in the Porth Swtan area. The last person born in the cottage, Mr Gwilym Jones, was Cyfeillion Swtan’s treasurer for many years. The family can be traced back to 1771.

Gwilym’s father Owen farmed approximately 3 acres of land around Swtan. He had livestock including a cow and calf, a pig and some chickens, he also grew an assortment of vegetables. Owen always had a boat, his last one was named Blanche, after his wife. He supplemented the family income fishing for lobsters which he then sent to the markets of Liverpool and Manchester by train from Valley station. However, in 1946 the “Lobster Pot Restaurant” opened, and bought the lobsters for half a crown per pound, and later for three shillings and three pence per pound.

Many older local residents remember Owen and his boat well. He was particularly remembered for his unusual rowing technique, Owen would row in the standing position and always faced forward.

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