Menai  Anglesey


In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Menai like this:

MENAI STRAIT, a belt of sea separating Carnarvonshire from Anglesey. It was known to the Romans as Meneviacum Fretum, to the Saxons as Maenige and Maunie; and its name signifies narrow waters. It extends from the head of the Lavan sands in the neighbourhood of Beaumaris, 14 miles sonth-westward, to Carnarvon bay at Abermenai; and it varies in width from 200 yards to 2 miles. ...

It is supposed to have been once two bays or inlets, separated by an isthmus around the spot now overhung by Menai-bridge. It is swept by two tides, entering from its two ends, running sometimes from 4 to 8 miles per hour, and rising about 20 feet; and it has a light at Trwyn-du Point. The navigation of it is comparatively dangerous, both from the clashing of the opposite tides, and from the existence of varions rocks; yet it possesses importance from the fact that vessels can float quietly through at periods when the wind entirely prevents them from sailing round by Holybead; and it is further important on account of comprising all the local commerce of Carnarvon harbour, together with that of some small sub-ports. Ferries were the only means of crossing the strait, prior to the erection of the Menai and the Britannia bridges; and they were so dangerous in stormy weather that no fewer than 180 passengers by them were drowned between the year's 1664 and 1842. Five ferries are still in use; and, in ordinary weather, are safe; while, in stormy weather, they can be avoided by a circuit to the bridges. Wellkept roads run along the greater part of both banks; and villas, mansions, and villages are so numerous as, together with the town of Carnarvon, to give a large proportion of the banks a highly peopled aspect. The scenery also is softly and richly beautiful; and much of it is embellished with wood, feathering down to the water's edge. The strait is notable for thee passage across it of Agricola, when the reign of the Druids in Anglesey was brought to an end; and for a defeat sustained by the English in 1282.

Menai through time

Menai is now part of the Isle of Anglesey district. Click here for graphs and data of how the Isle of Anglesey has changed over two centuries. For statistics about Menai itself, go to Units and Statistics.

How to reference this page:

GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Menai in The the Isle of Anglesey | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.


Date accessed: 23rd October 2019

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