Last updated

Coordinates: 52°45′29″N3°50′06″W / 52.758°N 3.835°W / 52.758; -3.835


County of Merioneth WalesMerionethTrad.png
County of Merioneth
Flag of Merionethshire Flag of Merionethshire.svg
Flag of Merionethshire

Meirionnydd is a coastal and mountainous region of Wales. It has been a kingdom, a cantref, a district and, as Merionethshire, a county.


Meirionnydd (Meirion, with -ydd as a Welsh suffix of land, literally Land adjoined to Meirion) was a sub-kingdom of Gwynedd, founded according to legend by Meirion (derived from the Latin name Mariānus), a grandson of Cunedda, [1] a warrior-prince who brought his family to Wales from the 'Old North' (northern England and southern Scotland today), probably in the early 5th century. His dynasty seems to have ruled there for the next four hundred years. The kingdom lay between the River Mawddach and the River Dovey, spreading in a north-easterly direction.

Map of Welsh cantrefs Cantrefi.Medieval.Wales.jpg
Map of Welsh cantrefs


The ancient name of the cantref was Cantref Orddwy (or "the cantref of the Ordovices"). The familiar name coming from Meiron's kingdom. [1]

The cantref of Meirionnydd held the presumed boundaries of the previous kingdom but now as a fief of the Kingdom of Gwynedd where it continued to enjoy long spells of relative independence. It was divided into the commotes of Ystumanner (administered from Castell y Bere at Llanfihangel-y-Pennant) and Talybont (possibly centred on Llanegryn where there is a mound). [2] It was abolished in 1284 following the Statute of Rhuddlan and reorganised with the addition of some neighbouring cantrefi to form the county of Merionethshire.


The borders of Meirionnydd were expanded as a county (both historic and administrative) to include the old cantrefi of Penllyn and Ardudwy (shown as Dunoding in the map of medieval cantrefi). It took the name Merionethshire under English Law. In 1974 the administrative county was merged with those of Caernarfon and Anglesey to create a new Gwynedd.


  197129,531[ citation needed ]
  1992 (estimate)32,900[ citation needed ]
  Succeeded by Gwynedd
Status District
   HQ Dolgellau

Meirionnydd was one of five districts of Gwynedd from 1974 to 1996. The district comprised the majority of the administrative county of Merionethshire and reverted to the Welsh spelling of the county's name.

The district was created by the Local Government Act 1972, and replaced the following local government areas of Merionethshire:

Meirionnydd District was abolished in 1996 by the Local Government (Wales) Act 1994, becoming part of the unitary authority of 'Caernarfonshire and Merionethshire', which was immediately renamed Gwynedd as the first act of the new council. An area committee of Gwynedd Council now covers the area.

Related Research Articles

Gwynedd A county in Wales, adjacent to Powys, Conwy, Anglesey, and Ceredigion

Gwynedd is a county in Wales, sharing borders with Powys, Conwy, Denbighshire, Anglesey over the Menai Strait, and Ceredigion over the River Dyfi. The scenic Llŷn Peninsula and most of Snowdonia National Park are in Gwynedd. Bangor is the home of Bangor University.


Merionethshire or Merioneth is one of thirteen historic counties of Wales, a vice county and a former administrative county.

Meirionnydd Nant Conwy (UK Parliament constituency)

Meirionnydd Nant Conwy was a constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It elected one Member of Parliament (MP) by the first past the post system of election.

Kingdom of Gwynedd Kingdom in north Wales

The Kingdom of Gwynedd was a Roman Empire successor state that emerged in sub-Roman Britain in the 5th century during the Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain.

Ffestiniog Community in Gwynedd, Wales

Ffestiniog is a community in Gwynedd in Wales, containing several villages, in particular the settlements of Llan Ffestiniog and Blaenau Ffestiniog. It has a population of 4,875.

Dolgellau Human settlement in Wales

Dolgellau is a town and community in Gwynedd, north-west Wales, lying on the River Wnion, a tributary of the River Mawddach. It is traditionally the county town of the historic county of Merionethshire, which lost its administrative status when Gwynedd was created in 1974. Dolgellau is the main base for climbers of Cadair Idris. Although very small, it is the second largest settlement in Southern Gwynedd after Tywyn. The community includes Penmaenpool.

Ardudwy is an area of Gwynedd in north-west Wales, lying between Tremadog Bay and the Rhinogydd. Administratively, under the old Kingdom of Gwynedd, it was first a division of the sub kingdom (cantref) of Dunoding and later a commote in its own right. The fertile swathe of land stretching from Barmouth to Harlech was historically used as pasture.


A commote was a secular division of land in Medieval Wales. The word derives from the prefix cym- and the noun bod. The English word "commote" is derived from the Middle Welsh cymwt.

Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor

Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor, also known as CMD, is a college in Gwynedd, Wales with its main campus in Dolgellau. It serves the areas of Meirionydd and Dwyfor. It has a bilingual language policy and offers the opportunity to study most subjects through the medium of Welsh. Since 1 April 2012, it has been a constituent college of Grŵp Llandrillo Menai.


A cantref was a medieval Welsh land division, particularly important in the administration of Welsh law.

Rhos means 'moor' or 'moorland' in Welsh. It is a region to the east of the River Conwy in north Wales. It started as a minor kingdom then became a medieval cantref, and was usually part of the Kingdom of Gwynedd.

Perfeddwlad or Y Berfeddwlad was an historic name for the territories in Wales lying between the River Conwy and the River Dee. comprising the cantrefi of Rhos, Rhufoniog, Dyffryn Clwyd and Tegeingl


Eifionydd is an area in north-west Wales covering the south-eastern part of the Llŷn Peninsula from Porthmadog to just east of Pwllheli. The Afon Erch forms its western border. It now lies in Gwynedd.

Rhwng Gwy a Hafren

Rhwng Gwy a Hafren was a region of medieval Wales, located in the Welsh Marches between Powys to the north and Brycheiniog to the south. It was bounded by the rivers Wye and Severn. It covered about the same territory as Radnorshire, now part of the county of Powys. The region first came into its own in the 9th or 10th centuries, when it was ruled by leaders who operated independently of the surrounding kingdoms. After the Norman invasion, it comprised the central part of the Welsh Marches and was the site of frequent struggles between Welsh and Norman forces.

Culture and Society in Gwynedd during the High Middle Ages refers to a period in the History of Wales spanning the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries. The High Middle Ages were preceded by the Early Middle Ages and followed by the Late Middle Ages. Gwynedd is located in the north of Wales.


Edeirnion or Edeyrnion is an area of the county of Denbighshire and an ancient commote of medieval Wales in the cantref of Penllyn. According to tradition, it was named after its eponymous founder Edern or Edeyrn. It was included as a Welsh territory of Shropshire in the Domesday Book.

Arwystli medieval Welsh cantref

Arwystli was a cantref in mid Wales in the Middle Ages, located in the headland of the River Severn. It was chiefly associated with the Kingdom of Powys, but was heavily disputed between Powys, Gwynedd, and the Norman Marcher Lords for hundreds of years, and was the scene of many skirmishes between those groups. Like many other cantrefs and subdivisions, it was divided up by the Laws in Wales Acts in the 16th century.


Mochnant, a name translating as "the rapid stream", was a medieval cantref in the Kingdom of Powys.

Penllyn (cantref)

Penllyn was a medieval cantref originally in the Kingdom of Powys but annexed to the Kingdom of Gwynedd. It consisted of the commotes of Edeyrnion, Dinmael, Penllyn is Treweryn and Penllyn uwch Treweryn.

Merionethshire County Council was a local authority in Wales from 1889 until its abolition in 1974.


  1. 1 2 Lloyd, John Edward (1912). A History of Wales from the Earliest Times to the Edwardian Conquest. Longmans, Green, and Co. p. 250. Retrieved 16 April 2015.
  2. Lloyd, John Edward (1912). A History of Wales from the Earliest Times to the Edwardian Conquest. Longmans, Green, and Co. p. 252. Retrieved 16 April 2015.