Merionethshire ( ) is one of
counties of Wales, and a
former administrative county.
The administrative county of Merioneth, created under the Local Government Act 1888
abolished under the Local
Government Act 1972
on April 1
. The bulk formed the Meirionnydd district in the new county of Gwynedd, with a
small area in the north-east (the Edeyrnion Rural
District) becoming part of the Glyndŵr district of
As a result of the Local Government Act 1994
which came into force in 1996, the Glyndŵr area lies within the
county of Denbighshire
, with the rest
of the old county remaining in Gwynedd.
The spelling of the Welsh name in standard modern orthography is
(for the geographical area) or Sir
(for the former county), with a double , but the
variant with a single is sometimes found in older works.
Merionethshire 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. With a total area of 1,731 km², it was one of
the more sparsely populated counties in Great Britain. The Merioneth area is also one of the
strongest Welsh-speaking parts of
The coastline consists alternately of
cliffs and stretches of sand and the area generally is the most
mountainous in Wales; a large part of the Snowdonia National Park
greatest heights are Aran
Fawddwy 905 m (2,970 ft) and Cadair Idris 893 m (2,929 ft). The chief rivers are
the Dwyryd, the
Mawddach and the Dyfi.
and small lakes are numerous, the largest being Bala Lake (4 miles long and broad).
The county was formed in 1284 under the terms of the Statute of Rhuddlan
was an important part of the Welsh slate
industry in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with major
quarrying centres at Blaenau Ffestiniog in the north of the county and Corris in the
The main towns are
The main industries today are agriculture, forestry and
Places of special interest
- Double 'nn' is found in the title of a number of Welsh-language
books published in the period of the county's existence, e.g.
Crwydro Meirionnydd, a companion to the area by
T. I. Ellis
(Llandybie, 1954), and the county atlas published by the old county
council (Atlas Merionnydd, Y Bala, 1972).
- For the single 'n' variant see, for example, Melville Richards,
Welsh Administrative and Territorial Units. University of
Wales Press, Cardiff 1969.