Gogarth Abbey, Great Orme

Has been described as a Certain Palace (Bishop)

There are masonry footings remains

NameGogarth Abbey, Great Orme
Alternative NamesGogarth Grange
Historic CountryCaernarfonshire
Modern AuthorityConwy
1974 AuthorityGwynedd

Often called Gogarth Abbey but in reality a palace of the Bishops of Bangor, stands on the edge of a cliff overlooking the sea on the SW side of Gt. Orme's head. The remains suggest a date c.1300, probably erected by Bishop Anian towards end of C13. Evidence of extensive conflagration suggest that the building was burnt by Glyndwr beginning of 15th century, no evidence of rebuilding. It was probably not reoccupied after the fire. Erosion has destroyed much of the building. (RCAHMW) Waste stones have been piled up around the SW and SE walls of the hall, obscuring the original masonry. The stone at the SW end of the hall marking the screens passage has gone, so has the cross wall outside the SE entrance to the hall. The walls of the hall are 1.9m high at the N corner, and the window sills are 1.1m above floor level on the NW side. The interior of the site is generally clear, and used as a part of the garden of the convalescent home. The room described as the latrine is, however, very overgrown, and could not be entered. Two pieces of upstanding masonry form part of the remains of a hall 11m long, and thought to be just over 7m wide, its longer axis orientated WNW-ESE. The southern half of the building has been eroded into the sea. The two upstanding wall fragments are the north end of the west gable, and the east end of the north wall; they stand some 6.5m above the original floor levels, and a beam hole in the north fragment suggests the former existence of an upper storey. The remains of another wall 6m west of the standing gable end can be seen in the eroding cliff face, and is thought to represent a western extension to the hall. The results of excavations in 1955 and 56 suggested the building had been built by Bishop Anion I circa 1280, and that it had been destroyed by fire, possibly as a part of the Glyndwr revolt around 1400

A comparison of the photograph of the west wall which accompanies the excavation report with the wall today shows that a substantial amount of stonework has fallen. The erosion is most active around the west wall, and along the west extension. Large areas of burning are visible in the eroding floor levels of this extension. (Gwynedd Archaeological Trust HER)

Ruins of Bishop's Palace. In use for short while. Plain masonry. Large hall 40' x 28', small other buildings. (Coflein)

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

Not Listed

The National Monument Record (Coflein) number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSH760829
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Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved

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  • Remfry, Paul, 2012, A Brief Report on Pen y Bryn and Aber, Gwynedd (Castle Studies Research and Publishing) p. 99
  • Emery, Anthony, 2000, Greater Medieval Houses Vol. 2 (Cambridge) p. 642-3
  • Thompson, M.W., 1998, Medieval bishops' houses in England and Wales (Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing) p. 169
  • Smith, P., 1988, Houses of the Welsh Countryside
  • RCAHMW, 1960, A Survey and Inventory of the Ancient Monuments of Caernarvonshire Vol. 3: West (HMSO) p. 112-3 no. A 361 online copy


  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1906, Leland's Itinerary in Wales  (Bell and Sons; London) p. 13, 53 online copy


  • Davidson A., 2001, 'Bishop's Palace, Gogarth' Caernarfonshire Historical Society Transactions Vol. 62 p. 59-80
  • Hague, D.B., 1956, Transaction of the Caernarvonshire Historical Society Vol. 17 p. 9-22


  • Payne, Naomi, 2003, The medieval residences of the bishops of Bath and Wells, and Salisbury (PhD Thesis University of Bristol) Appendix B: List of Medieval Bishop's Palaces in England and Wales (available via [http://ethos.bl.uk])