Merionethshire, Wales Genealogy

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Historic Merionethshire

Merionethshire, or sometimes Merioneth, (Welsh: Sir Feirionnydd or Meirionnydd or Meirion) was one of the thirteen historic counties of Wales.

The county was formed in 1284 under the terms of the Statute of Rhuddlan from the cantrefi (hundreds) of Meirionnydd; the Ardudwy commote of Dunoding; Penllyn and the Lordship of Dinmael.

It was a maritime county, bounded to the north by Caernarfonshire, to the east by Denbighshire, to the south by Montgomeryshire and Cardiganshire, and to the west by Cardigan Bay. It was one of the more sparsely populated counties of the the country. The administrative county of Merionethshire, with an elected county council, was created under the Local Government Act 1888. The county town was Dolgellau.

Motto: Tra môr, tra Meirion (English: While the sea lasts, so shall Merioneth)

Chapman Code: MER

Gwynedd 1974-1996


The county of Merionethshire was abolished, for both local government and ceremonial purposes, on April 1, 1974. Most of the former county became part of the newly formed county of Gwynedd, which covered the whole of north-west Wales. However, the Edeirnion district in the east became part of the newly formed county of Clwyd.

Modern Gwynedd


The situation remained unchanged following further local government reorganisation in 1994. However, the former Merionethshire district of Edeirnion became part of the newly created county of Denbighshire.


Research tools

  • The North Wales BMD. A searchable index of births marriages and deaths within the county of Merionethshire from 1837 to around 1950.


  • Hamlet
  • Parish: an area of varying size under the responsibility of a clergyman of the Church of England/Church in Wales
  • Hundred: an administrative subdivision of a county, usually a group of two or more parishes
  • Sub-district: comprised of more than one civil parish
  • Registration District
  • Poor Law Union
  • Archdeaconry
  • Diocese
  • County

Did you know?

  • Portmeirion the Italianate resort village created by Clough Williams-Ellis on the coastal headland between Porthmadog and Penrhyndeudraeth, was the setting for the 1960s cult television series The Prisoner.
  • Merionethshire played an important role in the history of the Welsh slate industry, with major quarrying centres at Blaenau Ffestiniog and Corris.

Useful websites

more Merionethshire websites ...