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Borth History

History of Borth

Borth War Memorial Monument Cliff-top Craig-Yr-Wylfa 

Brief History of Borth

When was Borth? No-one knows for sure but there is some evidence that a small settlement might have existed here in the 16th century where an Elizabethan coastal survey records: 'item there is also too a smale landinge places in Borthe and Divi, beinge in the manner of Generglin'. What is clear is that it was to the sea and herring that the earliest inhabitants turned in order to survive.

Borth was part of the parish of Genau'r Glyn and a document of 1728 states that the 'customary tythe of herrings and other fish were forthcoming from boats belonging to and moored in Borth'. But it was a treacherous and unforgiving way of life. Census returns show there were many widows whose husbands were drowned or lost at sea.

As the years went by Borth mariners sailed the world over and returned with weatherbeaten skin and sometimes enough money to buy or build a house which would be named after some exotic far away place, e.g Arequipa, Bel-Air or name of the ship sailed, e.g Dovey Belle, Gleanor, Amity, Sabrina. Many such names survive to this day.

The first cartographical references to a place called Borth appeared in the second half of the 18th century, and since the arrival of the railway in 1863, Borth grew rapidly along the shingle bank and up towards the headland known as Craig-Yr-Wylfa on which stands the war memorial. A walk to this point is rewarded with breathtaking views of the Dyfi estuary, Cors Fochno (Borth Bog) and the village itself running as a hair's-breadth, vulnerable to the sea, wind and sky.

Some say Borth was the most easterly point of Cantre'r Gwaelod - a fertile lowland stretching as far as the eye could see. But tragedy befell the inhabitants of this walled kingdom when the drunkard Seithenin failed in his duty to keep the sluice gates closed during a fierce storm. Evidence of this domain often appears at low water when stumps of the trees and the occasional skeletal remains of long extinct animals are revealed.

Over the last century, Borth has become a well known tourist destination and it has developed the reputation of a tolerant and vibrant community. Take care though, not to stir the spirit of the old witch of Borth Bog. It is said she finally disappeared in the 1950's but you can never be entirely sure... 

Click Here for: Borth Maritime History.com

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