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Title: Merioneth  
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Subject: Shire, Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester, Beaumaris Castle, Bryn Mawr College, Ivor the Engine, James Atkin, Baron Atkin, Hendregadredd Manuscript, Michael D. Jones, Ellis, Traeth Mawr
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Welsh: Meirionnydd

Ancient extent of Merionethshire
 - 1831 385,291 acres (1,559.22 km2)
 - 1911/1961 422,372 acres (1,709.28 km2)
 - 1831 35,315[1]
 - 1911 45,565
 - 1961 38,310
 - 1831 0.1/acre
 - 1911 0.1/acre
 - 1961 0.1/acre
 - Created 1284
 - Succeeded by Meirionnydd
Chapman code MER
Government Merionethshire County Council (1889-1974)
 - HQ Dolgellau
 - Motto Tra môr, tra Meirion
(While the sea lasts, so shall Meirionnydd)
File:Merioneth arms.png
Coat of arms of Merionethshire County Council

Merionethshire (Welsh: Meirionnydd, Sir Feirionnydd) is one of thirteen historic counties of Wales, a vice county and a former administrative county.

The spelling of the Welsh name in standard modern orthography is Meirionnydd (for the geographical area) or Sir Feirionnydd (for the county), with a double , but the variant with a single is sometimes found in older works.[2][3]


Merionethshire is a maritime county, bounded to the north by Caernarfonshire, to the east by Denbighshire, to the south by Montgomeryshire and Cardiganshire, and to the west by Cardigan Bay. With a total area of 1,731 km², it is one of the more sparsely populated counties in Great Britain.

The Merioneth area remains one of the strongest Welsh-speaking parts of Wales. The coastline consists alternately of cliffs and stretches of sand and the area generally is the most mountainous in Wales; a large part of the Snowdonia National Park lies within it. The greatest heights are Aran Fawddwy 905 m (2,970 ft) and Cadair Idris 893 m (2,929 ft). The chief rivers are the Dwyryd, the Mawddach and the Dyfi. Waterfalls and small lakes are numerous, the largest being Bala Lake (4 miles long and 1-mile (1.6 km) broad).


The county was formed in 1284 under the terms of the Statute of Rhuddlan from the Cantrefi of:

Merioneth was an important part of the Welsh slate industry in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with major quarrying centres at Blaenau Ffestiniog in the north of the county and Corris in the south.


An administrative county of Merioneth was created under the Local Government Act 1888 on 1 April 1889 and abolished under the Local Government Act 1972 on 1 April 1974. The bulk formed the Meirionnydd district of Gwynedd, with a small area in the north east, Edeirnion Rural District, becoming part of the Glyndŵr district of Clwyd.

As a result of the Local Government (Wales) Act 1994, which came into force on 1 April 1996, the Glyndŵr area was made a part of the new Denbighshire principal area, with the rest forming a new Caernarfonshire and Merionethshire principal area. The latter area was, however, renamed Gwynedd almost immediately.[4]

Main towns

The main towns are

The main industries today are agriculture, forestry and tourism.

Places of special interest (with grid reference)

  • SH711130)
  • SH667085)
  • SH721195)
  • SH5731)
  • SH589372)
  • SJ063439)
  • SH7038)
  • SH6946)
  • SH7507)
  • SH5800)
  • SH6112)

See also


Coordinates: 52°50′N 3°50′W / 52.833°N 3.833°W / 52.833; -3.833

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