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Up to 1834

No information.

After 1834

Anglesey Poor Law Union was formed on 1st June, 1837. Its operation was overseen by an elected Board of Guardians, 63 in number, representing its 53 constituent parishes as listed below (figures in brackets indicate numbers of Guardians if more than one):

Anglesey: Aberffraw (2), Amlwch (4), Bodedern (2), Bodwrog, Ceirchiog, Cerrigceinwen, Coedana, Heneglwys, Holyhead (3), Llanallgo, Llanbabo, Llanbadrig (2), Llanbedr-Gôch, Llanbeulan, Llanddeusaint (Llanddeusant), Llanddyfnan, Llandrygarn, Llandyfrydog, Llaneilian (2), Llanerchymedd, Llaneugrad, Llanfachreth, Llanfaelog, Llanfaethly, Llanfair-yn-Neubwll (or Llafir-yn-Eeubwll), Llanfair-Mathafarn-Eithaf, Llanfairynghornwy, Llanfechell, Llanfflewyn, Llanfigael, Llanfihangel-yn-Nhowyn (or -Nhywyn, -Howyn), Llanfihangel-Tre'r-Beirdd, Llanfwrog, Llangadwaladr, Llangefni (2), Llangristiolus, Llangwyfan, Llangwyllog, Llanllibio, Llanrhwydrus, Llanrhyddlad (or Llanrhuddlad), Llantrisaint (or Llantrisant), Llanwenllwyfo, Llanynghenedl (or Llanynghenedle), Llechcynfarwydd, Llechylched, Penrhos-Lligwy, Pentraeth, Rhod-y-geidio (or Rhodogeidio or Rhodwydd Geidio), Rhoscolyn, Trefdraeth, Tregayan (or Tregaen), Trewalchmai.

The population falling within the union at the 1831 census had been 37,231 with parishes ranging in size from Llanerchymedd (population 57) to Amlwch (6,285). The average poor-rate expenditure for the period 1834-36 had been £12,202 or 6s.7d. per head of the population.

The Guardians met on alternate Wednesdays at 10.30am.

In 1852, the new poor law union of Holyhead was created to cover the western part of the Anglesey.

The Anglesey union resisted the erection of a union workhouse for many years. A 1854 parliamentary return of workhouse accommodation recorded Anglesey as being one on the eighteen remaining unions without a workhouse in operation. However, the Guardians eventually capitulated and, in 1868-69, a workhouse for 70 inmates was erected on Amlwch Road to the north of Llanerchymedd at a cost of around £2,200. Its location and layout are shown on the 1926 map below.

Anglesey site, 1926.

The workhouse had a two-storey cruciform-plan main building with its entrance at the west.

Anglesey workhouse entrance block from the north-west, 2000.
© Peter Higginbotham.

Anglesey workhouse entrance block from the south-west, 2000.
© Peter Higginbotham.

Anglesey workhouse entrance block from the east, 2000.
© Peter Higginbotham.

Anglesey workhouse internal staircase, 2000.
© Peter Higginbotham.

Anglesey workhouse upper floor interior, 2000.
© Peter Higginbotham.

Several single-storey outbuildings stood around the workhouse including a vagrants' ward with stone-breaking cells at the north, and what was possibly an isolation block at the south.

Anglesey workhouse casuals' stone-breaking block, 2000.
© Peter Higginbotham.

Anglesey workhouse fever hospital(?) from the west, 2000.
© Peter Higginbotham.

In 1869, Meshach Thomas, formerly schoolmaster at the Bangor workhouse, and his wife, Grace Thomas, were appointed as the first master and matron at the new Llanerchymedd workhouse. They were in post until around 1900. The picture of the Thomases in front of the workhouse was kindly contributed by their descendant Hugo Vanneck.

Meshach Thomas and family at Anglesey workhouse, 1880s.
© Peter Higginbotham.

The workhouse had closed by 1921. The premises, renamed Bryn Hafod, were later used as council offices. The buildings were left empty in the 1980s and became derelict. In around 2000, the buildings were renovated to form residential and gallery accommodation.


  • 1881 Census
  • 1869-1900: Master - Meshach Thomas; Matron - Grace Pryse Thomas.



Note: many repositories impose a closure period of up to 100 years for records identifying individuals. Before travelling a long distance, always check that the records you want to consult will be available.

  • Anglesey Archives, Industrial Estate Road, Bryn Cefni Industrial Estate, Llangefni, Anglesey LL77 7JA. Holdings include Guardians' minute books (1837-1930); Admissions/discharges (1887-1918); Out-relief records (1848-1919); etc.


  • None.


  • None.

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