Remarkable legacy of Liberalism and Methodism
Bala is a medieval market town founded by Royal Charter in the early 14th century by Roger de Mortimer of Chirk Castle. It is notable, among other things, for being one of the centres of Methodism in Wales, thanks largely to the Reverend Thomas Charles (1755–1814) who taught the children of Bala. A memorial chapel, dating to 1867 and now a Grade II listed building, was dedicated to Thomas Charles. A life-size statue of the clergyman, erected in 1875, stands guard by the entrance. Inspired by the story of Mary Jones, who in 1800 walked barefoot some 50 miles to Bala and back to purchase a Bible from him, Charles founded the British and Foreign Bible Society. Its aim was to produce affordable Bibles for all.
The nearby village of Llanuwchllyn was the birthplace of another illustrious man, Sir Owen Morgan Edwards (1858–1920). He was a noted historian, writer, Liberal MP and promoter of Welsh culture. In his autobiography Clych Adgof (Bells of Remembrance), Sir Owen recalls being punished at school for speaking Welsh as a child. The experience fostered in him a strong desire to promote the Welsh language and culture. He founded a number of periodicals, including Cymru in 1891, and in 1907 he was appointed as the first Chief Inspector of Schools for Wales – a position he used to encourage the use of Welsh in schools and the teaching of Welsh culture. A statue of Sir Owen stands in Llanuwchllyn.
Sir Ifan ab Owen Edwards continued his father’s legacy by founding Urdd Gobaith Cymru, the Welsh language youth movement, in 1922.
- Accessible by Public Transport
- Buggy Access
- Good Walks Nearby
- Children's Facilities
- Family Walk
- Picnic Area
- Wheelchair Access
Bala and Llanuwchllyn are just off the A494 at opposite ends of Bala Lake (Llyn Tegid)
Barmouth - 22 miles
Bus stops at Bala or Llanuwchllyn
Llyn Tegid Cycle Route
Full Figure Grid Reference: Bala SH 927360, Llanuwchlyn SH 879299
OS Landranger map sheet: 125
- Bala / Llanuwchllyn – Reverend Thomas Charles and Sir Owen M. Edwards, Bala