Portrait of George Borrow


Small Welsh village with castle visited by George Borrow during his family’s stay at Bangor.

On Monday 28th August 1854 George Borrow arrived at Bangor, and joined Mary Borrow and Henrietta Clark (his wife and step-daughter), who were staying at the Albion Hotel.

The following day, Tuesday 29th August 1854, in the afternoon, George Borrow took the ferry from north-east Bangor to Anglesey, and then walked to Beaumaris.  Dismissing the village with “Beaumaris is at present a watering-place” (i.e. a place of gentility filled with English tourists) he moved on to the ruins of the castle, which he much preferred as “a favourite residence of the celebrated Owain Gwynedd, the father of the yet more celebrated Madoc, the original discoverer of America”.

Beaumaris Castle

George Borrow climbed one of the turrets which overlooked Beaumaris Bay, which he says is superior to that of Naples.  With no real description of “an immense castle, once a Norman stronghold” (he’d said earlier in Wild Wales: “I have no Norman enthusiasm, and hate and abominate the name of Norman”) Borrow became inspired with the association with Madoc and recites “all the Bardic lines I could remember connected with Madoc’s expedition, and likewise many from the Madoc of Southey”.

Beaumaris Bay

George Borrow then returned to Bangor walking across Telford’s suspension bridge.

Later in Wild Wales, George Borrow notes that Gronwy Owen went to school at Beaumaris.

source: Wild Wales, introduction by Theodore Watts-Dunton, pp. 164, 179.