Penmon Priory, Historic Anglesey Site

Penmon is an Anglesey village with a rich history stretching back to the end of the Roman occupation of Britain.

Situated on the eastern tip of Anglesey, Penmon is home to a former Augustinian monastery and an early 17th century dovecote.

We took the A55 road from Holyhead, heading east and eager to discover more about this fascinating village on the quiet Anglesey coast, with Puffin Island just a stone's through away.

It has links to Viking invaders, ancient Kings of Wales and the early Christian Church.

Penmon Priory, Anglesey


Click here to tell us your story about this place

Just before reaching the Britannia Bridge we took the junction for Menai Bridge and Beaumaris. At this moment we thought about St seiriol, the Celtic saint who founded the monastery at Penmon in the 6th century.

Well, he was a good friend of St Cybi, who founded a monastery in the fort of Holyhead, then a sleepy little fishing settlement, in about 540 AD.

You see, unlike us, they had no car, no e-mail and no telephone. So instead they arranged to walk across the island,meeting about halfway.

As St Seiriol left his monastery heading westward, the morning sun was on his back hence Seiriol Wyn (Pale Seiriol). While St Cybi or Cybi Felyn (Golden Cybi) walked eastward, he had the sun in his face.

They met in the middle of the island and did what monks do when they meet, and then set off back home again. So St Seiriol now still had the sun, setting in the west, on his back for his homeward trek.

 Penmon Anglesey

How fortunate we are today, to have tarmac, oil and the internal combustion engine!

We know that St Seiriol was buried on the nearby Puffin Island , just off the strong tidal waters of at Trwyn Du (or Puffin Sound)

Penmon Priory Church

The church at Penmon is dedicated to St Seiriol, founder of the original monastery, and an old 6th century cell in the rock can be found nearby, where a well exists to this day.

Any visitor to this spot will notice how peaceful it is, and with magnificent coastal and mountain views to enhance the earthy experience.

We first entered an imposing stone built building, probably dating back to the 13th century. It is believed that this structure was the Dining Hall used by Augustinian monks.

Below the 1st floor Dining Hall (Refectory) was the cellar below. There is another smaller unit next door which was probably used as a kitchen and added later in the 16th century.

While on the subject of food I wasn't aware that Augustinians were not allowed to eat red meat. Theirs was a simple diet which did however include fish.

Inside the church we saw how the natural light enhanced the beautiful stained glass east window. Shades of blue and red changed in tone as the light fluctuated in intensity, a passing cloud blotting out the sun momentarily.

At the back of the church is a mini-museum where you will find two carved 10th century Celtic crosses originally for outside worship.

And the Penmon cross (from about 1000 AD) which stood about 400 m to the north west of the church, is now also housed in the Nave. You will see that weathering has dissolved the sharp resolution of the figures on the cross.

Penmon Dovecote, Anglesey

Dovecote Anglesey

Dissolution of the Monasteries

In 1536 King Henry 8th of England ordered the dissolution of the monasteries throughout England and Wales.

As a result Penmon priory and the surrounding land was transferred to the Bulkeley family.

It was the Bulkeley's who were responsible for building the impressive Penmon dovecote next to the priory. Records suggest it was built around 1600 by Sir Richard Bulkeley of Beaumaris.

The dovecote is a solid, square stone structure with an enormous domed roof, and at its apex is an open cupola.

When you walk throught the narrow side entrance you'll see a 12 feet high stone pillar. This would have given access to over a thousand nests which line the surrounding walls.

What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

A good friend asked me if I’d been to Penmon Point on Anglesey. I said “never heard of it.” He said “You don’t know what you are missing.” So on Sunday …

Penmon last June 
Having visited Anglesey for many years in childhood we returned last year to find this hidden gem. A beautiful June day and what a find. The Priory …

A Wonderful Day at Penmon Priory 
On December 13th, 2009, I married my beautiful partner, Jackie, at Penmon Priory on Anglesey. Our families traveled from Mold and Mid Wales to witness …

Holy Well Healing Powers  
I visited the Holy Well of St. Seiriol's at Penmon on Anglesey and put water from the well on my sore fingers and asked St Seiriol to heal them. Amazingly, …

Discover St Seiriols Well, Penmon 
St Seiriol’s Well is a spring emerging from a cliff behind the church at Penmon. It is reached by a path on the left, just beyond the car park, opposite …

The following article covering various aspects of Penmon was researched and written by Max Pemberton whilst living in Priory House (formerly his mother’s …

Peaceful Penmon Priory Inspires a Deepening Faith Not rated yet
I first visited Penmon Priory on Anglesey during a period of stress and uncertainty in 2006, and now as I look back in 2012 that visit was to lead to …

Beautiful Penmon revisited June 2011 Not rated yet
Told you we'd be back at Penmon! The weather wasn't as good as last June but once again this corner of Anglesey didn't disappoint. I know that …

Yacht Sinks off Puffin Island Not rated yet
In rough seas yesterday a yacht sank off Puffin Island, near Penmon on Anglesey in what is a notorious stretch of tidal waters. At about 1415 on Friday …

Penmon Priory Extortionate Car Parking Not rated yet
We visited beautiful Penmon Priory on Anglesey last summer. Be very careful where you park your car though. The guide we had said parking for Penmon …

Penmon Limestone Not rated yet
The peninsular surrounding Penmon Priory is composed of limestone which has been quaried extensively over the years. Because of its fine quality the …

St Seiriol's Priestholm on Puffin Island Not rated yet
When St. Seiriol founded the Penmon Monastery he also set up a community on a small island just off the coast, half a mile from the shore. Today this …

Dovecote At Penmon Not rated yet
The Dovecote: the third in a series on Penmon researched and written by Max Pemberton. When the monastery was dissolved in 1537, the buildings were …

The Prior's House, Penmon, Anglesey  Not rated yet
The second in a series on Penmon researched and written by Max Pemberton whilst living in Priory House (formerly his mother's home) The private dwelling …

Return to Historic Coast

Return to Anglesey Today rom Penmon

Share this page:

Enjoy this page? Please share with friends. Here's how....

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.