GROWING UP AT CHURCH BAY

Church Bay Beach - Anglesey

Church Bay Beach - Anglesey

Church Bay Beach - Anglesey
The Lobster Pot Restaurant - Chucrh Bay

Hi Wil


As a child I have a lot of happy memories of growing up at Church Bay. Many Summers spent on the beach.

When older I used to walk the donkeys along the beach giving young children rides. The owner was a lovely lady called Rosa.

I spent several summers working at the Lobster Pot Restaurant, which I use to enjoy.

Many years later I got married and moved from the area.




Hello there,

Glad you called by and shared a unique memory.

I didn't know that there were ever any donkey rides at Church Bay. I rode on those at Benllech but never knew about the same happening here.

I wonder if anyone else remembers those same donkeys.

Not being nosy, but why don't you leave your first name. Someone may wish to leave a memory for you.

Warmest regards

Wil

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Nov 29, 2016
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Merddyn
by: David

I was brought up in Church Bay on a smallholding called Merddyn which was owned by my grandparents and then by my father and his sister. My father’s name was Tom and my auntie’s name was Cassie. I see them both mentioned here on this page and remembered with fondness.

It was fascinating and touching to read other people’s memories about ‘Uncle Tom’ and ‘Auntie Cassie’ as these memories occurred before I was born. I remember my father and auntie talking about Bella the farm horse and Rover the spaniel who one day never came home. They both spoke about Rover disappearing decades later, wondering what happened to him.

Long friendships were made by the visitors who came to Merddyn on holiday as they always came back. Merddyn was our home until I was nearly 6 when my father, mother and myself moved to Holyhead.

I still spent most of the summer holidays and weekends at Church Bay as my auntie still lived in Merddyn and worked in the Lobsterpot.

I would spend hours down the beach, exploring the fields with ‘Sweep’ my sheepdog and helping (hindering) Dick the farmer in Penygraig. I remember Rosa and her ponies and donkeys and sometimes helped take them down the beach and back – I especially remember being bitten by Sparky who ironically was my favourite. Seeing Sparky in Sea Field years later, alone and old with a grey muzzle was saddening.

My auntie was best friends with Rosina from Ty Newydd and Minnie. Also Mr and Mrs William Jones of Gadlys and Mrs Jones ‘Seaview’ who helped look after me at times.

When I come home I still see Wally from the Lobsterpot around on his bike carrying his shopping, still using a Nivea tub as a wallet. Why does this man not seem to age?

I still go back there as it still feels a bit like home. It was a great growing up in Church Bay.

Warmest regards

David

Nov 19, 2016
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Penfor - Its history
by: Anonymous

Having just stumbled across this thread I am intrigued to know more about Penfor, in particular its history.I feel very fortunate to now own the property with the mill/granary and consider it to be a very special place.

Noting one of the author's previous connections I would love to let you see it again - I think you'll be surprised to see how little it has changed.

There are huge gaps in my knowledge - in fact I know that the mill burnt down in 1912 but that's about it. if you have any more information and would like a trip down memory lane please let me know.

Any history from anyone reading this would be hugely appreciated as I think it important to understand its past!

Oct 28, 2016
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Tom and Cassie Williams, Mrs Jones Seaview.
by: Anonymous

My family had been going to Church Bay for decades from the 1930s or 1940s, staying either at the cottage owned by 'Mrs Jones' Sea View', who was next door. My grandfather died there, while on holiday, in 1949, and is buried at the right hand top corner of St Rhuddlan Church, with no gravestone. My parents were living at the time at Penfor, by the old mill, as my father had MS and was no longer able to work. The sea air and country life was hoped to be good for him.

After his death at 36, in 1950, my mother and I stayed there for another few months, but the colonel who owned Penvor wouldn't take any rent for it, as he had been friends with my father. They may well have had shared experiences during the war - my father had been a commando.

I've always had a fondness for pigs, and my mother used to tell me that after my father died, when I could walk, I used to sometimes escape from Penfor's garden and push my toy pram down the lane to the farm (now several houses), where there was a pig sty just over the low wall of the lane. I would be found leaning over the wall to watch the pigs, who were a few feet lower, so it was just good luck that I didn't fall into the sty, for who knows how the pigs would have reacted? My mother felt she couldn't live at Penfor too long, though, rent free, and anyway, needed to go back to work to support us both. I was only 2 when we left.

But in the years before, our family had got to be good friends with most of the families who lived there. There was Auntie Minnie, an unmarried lady who lived with her father at the big house near Penfor, a very silent house, except for the ticking of the long case clock. There was the warm and kindly lady whose name I can't recall, who lived at the cottage at the top of the track leading down to the beach. And the Williams' family - Tom, his sister Cassie, and their parents, though I don't remember them, I don't think.

After we left Church Bay, we returned at least twice a year to stay at the farm. I remember Belle, their farm horse, Betswn, their black cocker spaniel, the hayrick in the yard, with holes made for the hens to lay their eggs, and Auntie Cassie lifting me up to reach the eggs. Also going down the garden to the outdoor loo - very exciting for a town child with an indoor loo.

Mrs Jones Sea view used to call me Alisobach, and was always delighted to see me. Several years passed when we didn't go, as my mother had discovered Spain and Portugal package holidays. By then I had reached my early teens, and on arriving to stay one October half term at the Wilson's Lobster Pot flat, Mrs Jones was so pleased when we called on her, reminiscing about when I was a small child. Cassie and Tom were the same as ever, when we went there for supper.

Mr ? at the first farm on the left as one walks down the road to the beach, sold us fresh eggs, and when I looked into the shippon at the young beasts within, told me they were bullocks. He then explained that bullocks weren't young bulls, because they'd been castrated...and at 14, I knew what that meant, and tucked the information away, where it was useful later on. I think my love of the land and livestock farming was fostered by my exposure to kindly farmers and their relatives in Church Bay. And to me, the best beaches are those with rock pools and cliffs, and little coves with very few people.

Some years later, in 1968, freshly married, my newly qualified RAF pilot husband was stationed at RAF Valley, and we had our first house at Rhosneigr. Of course we used to drive to Church Bay at weekends, and we found that Tom had married (very late in life - his 50s) and had a young son, David. An extension had been built to accommodate the larger family. It was wonderful to see our old friends. It seemed nothing had really changed all that much. Now, it is rather different, but still lovely. More residents, and updated cottages for holidays, where once they'd been passed down through families. But Porth Swtan is still a favourite place, and a happy collection of memories.

Aug 09, 2016
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Hidden Gem book
by: Anonymous

Hello Wil It's Karen here

I posted a long time ago about Gadlys and Rhos Y Pant and I wanted to put a copy of your Anglesey Hidden Gem book in each of them for my visitors to read. Many of the people who come to stay with us have been to Church Bay as children and love it as well as exploring lots of other areas of Anglesey.

However, when I click through it only shows me the Kindle edition - can you still buy printed editions.

I've still been meaning to post photos which I'll do - have some lovely ones of Church Bay.

Thanks
Karen.

Jul 05, 2016
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Something Special - Church Bay
by: Anonymous

Crikey! Never imagined I'd find such comments.

Church Bay was special, lovely peopleand my first chance to be with horses, donkeys and was one a jennet?

Huge thanks to Rosa for starting a life with horses - three now - and dogs. Wish I was there now, definitely not as nice here.

Sophia

Apr 11, 2016
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Tom & Cassius Farm
by: Peter Bell

Hi more about Toms farm.

The hen house was and old coach on bricks. He took the wheels and axles of it and used them for trailer wheels. Tom was a rugged looking guy dressed in an army battle dress blouse ( BD ) national service pattern.

When I went back there years latter when my farther had a car Tom had left and there was just Cassie. There she was getting an extension done at the back of the cottage. Bits of the farm remained, including the old trailer rotting away. Some of the land had been sold off.

Cassie rembember us but this was in about 1967/68

Feb 16, 2016
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Good Reads / Planning to return
by: Anonymous

In the 1970s my grandad kept a caravan at Tdn-U-Chaff (!) , Church Bay and I have many very happy memories of the area and also of helping Rosa with Trigger, Punch, Tikki, Noddy and Sparky the mule. Rosa seemed quite hardy and she often used to swim in the sea at the end of the day.

The earliest memory I can recall is at around age two years with Tikki and I have a photo of me on Tikki on the beach and also with Trigger on the lane going up to the bungalow. At the time my sister was friendly with Rosa's daughter and I think she is one of my photos.

My love for the area and of horses has never left me and my partner Paul (from Rhuddlan) has come to love it up there too.
We are living in Merseyside with 2 lurchers Frankie and Jacob and 3 horses kept locally Spirit, Honey and Bettie Boo and we are planning a move to Anglesey, preferably to this location and hopefully in the near future so watch the this space.

Happy Days
Emma and Paul

Aug 24, 2015
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Ah where do I start!
by: Fiona Nuttall

Dear Wil,

I cannot describe the feelings that well up inside of me when I think of Church Bay or sit at the top of the slope up from the beach. I spent every summer holiday there from the age of 3 until about 3 yrs ago. I am now 58!

My Two weeks at Church Bay were more exciting than going to bed on Christmas Eve. Rosa and Pat, Trigger and Tikki, Wally, the Lobster Pot and the Wavecrest. All the lovely locals who I mixed with every summer,having my first crush and salty kiss!

Staying at Gadlys with farmer Jones and his lovely wife.The Jones family in Llanrhyddlad who gave up their bank house to let us stay.Gray Rocks where we stayed latterly until my parents,to my awe and wonder, retired and went to live in Rhos-y-Pant.

So the dream continued as I brought my children to this wonderful place and who were lucky enough not to have to wait for their two weeks every July!

My Father had five wonderful yrs before he sadly died. My Mother stayed but sadly had to sell up when she became too old to be there alone. They made wonderful friends in the locals and it broke my heart the day we cleared the cottage and I said goodbye to Dior and Carys down the road.

I will always return as this place is deep in my psyche and will never change.

Fiona

May 09, 2015
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Tom and Cassie Williams
by: Sheila Taylor

I've only just seen Peter Bell's comment about staying at the farm Merddyn - I think that's the right spelling! That's the farm we went to for water from the outside tap, from Plas Madyn just next door.

I remember 'Uncle' Tom and 'Auntie' Cassie very well. Uncle Tom had the usual brown weather beaten face of the local men. He used to let my brother and I 'drive' his tractor! We sat in front of him and steered while he had his feet on the pedals - so exciting! We also sometimes helped making hay, and loading the wagon with pitch forks.

Mum and Auntie Cassie got on very well. I can remember her soft Welsh voice, and the way she said some of her words on an in breath. She always had a pinnie on! There was what we called the Rocky Field between Merddyn and Pen Graig that we used to like walking across.

I must look out some old photos!

Sheila

Mar 15, 2015
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Gadlys
by: Wil from Anglesey Hidden Gem

Dear Pam

Thank you for sharing your memories. It makes my website a warm place to visit because of your stories.

Feel free to post your images. They would be most welcome and if it's a holiday let please put a weblink.

Others have just placed their links cynically and I either delete or ban them completely. I would be happy to host your link because it offers the opportunity for friends not yet met to visit Church Bay and this most fabulous West Anglesey coastline.

Hello Karen as well. it's curious isn't it that we don't really need to reach too far back into our history to learn of ladies doing their washing in streams, They would obviously be part of the pre-war generation who lived the rural poverty for most of their lives without losing their kindness and welcome.

So nice to host your conversation with Pam.

Best wishes to you both.

Wil


Mar 15, 2015
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Staying at Gadlys
by: Pam Kirwan

Hi Karen
How exciting to actually own Gadlys! We had several happy summers staying there in the early 60s and to me it was always perfection - fabulous beach in one direction and lovely country in the other.

That was the days of Mr and Mrs Jones who, as you said, spent their summer daytimes in the little building at the front, next to the pig styes. How I loved those pigs! There was no indoor bathroom in those days, not that I was bothered, it was all part of the adventure.

Years later I saw Gadlys was up for sale and fantasised about owning it. Maybe that was when you bought it. You're living my dream!

Have fun in amazing Church Bay.
Pam

Mar 15, 2015
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Lovely to read this about Church Bay
by: Karen

It's fascinating to read this, we moved to Church Bay in 1991, we knew Rosa briefly and now own Gadlys which is mentioned (people camped there) and Rhos Y Pant (which is a holiday cottage - not sure if I'm allowed put on photos so show people what they're like now?

I wonder if anyone remembers, as my friend Lindy tells me, must have been quite early on, local ladies coming to the stream which runs underneath Gadlys to do their washing? It was owned then by Mr and Mrs Jones - they used to live in a tiny cottage at the side and rent out the big house. When Mr and Mrs Williams owned it they had caravans on the field so again if you've stayed there love to hear about you memories so we can show them to visitors.

I also used to holiday here and it was just wonderful - still is!!

Nov 19, 2014
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Summers in church bay
by: Fiona

I spent every summer in Church bay from 1974 to 1978.

We worked at the Lobster Pot every summer and with a group of friends lived in the caravan at the Pot. My father ran the resturant for a number of years and they were some of the best days of my life.

The girls I met then became life long friends . We used to go to the Wavecrest for a breakfast of Mrs Williams cherry pie. I remember the donkeys , highlight of my summers when little.

Church bay still remains a very special place and worth a visit.
Fiona 😀

Aug 05, 2014
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Rosa
by: Lynsey

Hi Pat,

I loved seeing your post about your mum, I spent many a years going to church bay as a child with my family and helping with the donkeys. We use to get them from the field at the top and walk them down and put there saddles on. My favourite was Tikki . Your mum use to let me walk her up and down the beach giving rides :-) I can remember only being about 6 and I was writing all of there names of the donkeys on the sand and when I got to sparkly I looked up at him to see his name on his head to write it and he wondered over to me and bite me on my arm :-( your mum then sat me on him and made me ride him up and down the beach.

I have now got kids of my own and are taking them to church bay at the end of the mouth to show them were there mummy had the best holidays and that was all because of your mum Rosa.

Great times

Apr 08, 2014
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Pat and Barbara
by: Wil from Anglesey Hidden Gem

Dear Pat and Barbara

I am so delighted that my little website Anglesey Hidden Gem has played the magical role of bringing you both together.

I do not write so as to magnify my role in any way. I merely write to express my most sincere delight at the outcome.

If you should wish to share your contact details then there is a simple and confidential way to do thus. Just send a message to me on the Contact Me page.

The Contact Me remains private until I choose to publish it.

I do not publish all messages - occasionally I lose them in the size of the site. I recently lost a wonderful message from a lady from Australia who used to live in the Railway Inn in Llangefni in the early 1960s and would love to hear from her again.

What I'm saying is that I can be a confidential conduit for passing on messages and details to you.

My very best wishes to you and I thank you so much for reading my simple website about Anglesey.

Wil

Apr 06, 2014
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Rosa
by: Barbara

Hi Pat

Thank you for posting about your mother Rosa, and what a fantastic story of your parents life!

I have just phoned my mum (84) to tell her your comments. She remembers your mum fondly and has happy memories of her and my father on the beach all day whilst I was always with the ponies.

Thanks again, Barbara

p.s. the sun always seemed to shine at Church Bay?

Apr 06, 2014
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Rosa and the donkeys
by: pat

Rosa was my mother.

Having spent a lifetime touring the world with my father as a unicycle and juggling act called Red Fred and Rosa she returned and retired to Anglesey where she acquired a welsh mountain pony called Trigger.

Whilst riding him on Church Bay beach she was approached by a family who asked if she did pony rides.

She put their child on Trigger and walked him on the beach for half an hour. They gave her one cigarette for my father. This started a new interest for her.

Before long she had Trigger, Punch, Bambi, Noddy, Tikki and Sparkey and loads of new friends. Thank you all for your comments.

My lovely unique mother would be so happy she is remembered.

Pat

Oct 31, 2013
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Happy days
by: Pam Kirwan

I've just chanced upon this page. How lovely to share memories of Church Bay holidays. Those ponies were my first ride too and began my lifelong obsession with horses. 55 years later and I still have two. I used to spend summers staying with Rosa and Fred and sometimes with their daughter Pat. Years later Pat's daughter Michelle used to come and stay with us on the Wirral. Did Fred teach anyone else to ride the unicyle? I was spectacularly untalented at it. I remember Tiki and Noddy, and Noddy's son Sparky. My first ride was on Flicky, then Trigger and then Bambi in later years. There was another little bay pony too in later years, but I've forgotten his name. And Sparky's dad too, but I didn't really know him. We used to have to pump water for the ponies from the village pump in Rhydwyn and stagger up the track to the field. It was easier when they were in Sea Field. Happy, happy days.

Mar 11, 2013
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Church bay 1957
by: Peter bell

Hi I spent two weeks in Aug 1957 in Church Bay I stayed at a farm house with my mum and dad and a friends of my parents. The farmer Tom Williams ran the farm with his sister. There was two cows. Hens and few wheat fields he had an old Fordson tractor . I've been back there a couple of times sadly Tom and his sister are now deceased and the farm and the land have all been sold off. Peter from Liverpool

Feb 23, 2013
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Church Bay Donkeys!!!!
by: pat

Dear Wil

I randomly googled 'Church Bay donkeys' in a moment of memories and couldn't believe it when up came Tiki, Trigger and Punch!!

I spent idyllic holds in the 1960s staying in a cottage just up the road from the beach and leading the ponies....

I learned to ride on Tiki and felt so privileged when Rosa let us ride them up the road. I have good memorioes memories of Mr Williams' 'sausage & chips' and playing drums on the milk churns.

The man who was at the lobster pot often in dive gear I thought was just so handsome !!!aahhh what adorable memories!!

Pat


Thanks Pat,

I am wondering whether I have created a monster page on Church Bay, as it seems to have generated both fond memories and longing among visitors to Anglesey Hidden Gem.

Bitter sweetly yours

Wil


May 04, 2012
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Ponies and Donkeys on Church bay
by:

Hi Wil

I remember the ponies, Trigger and Punch, and the donkeys, Tiki, Noddy and Sparky very well.

Every Easter and summer was spent walking up and down Church Bay leading these wonderful four-legged friends for Rosa. If we were really lucky we got to ride them back up to Sea Field where we were staying.

Rosa first put me on Trigger's back when I was about 18 months old. Little did she know she was instigating a life long love of horses that eventually led to me emigrating to America.

The Wavecrest was run by Mr. and Mrs. Williams and we ate in the restaurant behind the shop. Mrs. Williams made the best chips!

We made friends with the local girls and two years ago reconnected with them and have spent some wonderful days on the beach reminiscing while our children play on the same rocks we built so many memories on.

Church Bay has a special place in my heart!!




Thank you very much indeed for adding to our knowledge.

Lives are either reinforced or destroyed by memories. I am so glad that memories of Anglesey and Church Bay have been so good for you.

Wil

P.S. That you, Barbara?

Mar 22, 2012
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Wally Needham
by: Wil from Anglesey Hidden gem

Hello Barbara

Thanks for adding to our appreciation of this wonderful part of the rugged end of Anglesey.

You mentioned Wally Needham. I saw him last week. Tanned and very healthy and fit looking. He has been a regular sight around Holyhead for many, many years.

He seems to have been cycling into town from Rhydwyn forever. His hair is fashionably long and a distinguished gray.

Wally is one of those individuals who really challenges any attempt to apply an age because the reality is undermined by the person.

In his 80s! I can barely believe it. He looks astonishingly well. He continues to be a communitarian and a lovely gentleman.

I wish to be like him at my age.

Thanks

Wil

Mar 21, 2012
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Happy Days
by: Barbara

We had holidays from 1960 until the early 70's at Church Bay. I have continued to holiday there or sometimes we just come for the day with our picnic.

I remember the horses that Rosa brought down, my favourite was Trigger and I have photographs of me riding him (it wasn't cheap I remember).

I think in those days there was more sand on the beach.

We used to stay at Rhos Y Pant, a cottage between the monument and Llanfairynghornwy. I used to collect the milk from the farm in a jug and sit in the grass drinking it. I believe water was collected from a well in the village when we first used to go but I can't remember that.

We got our food from Rhydwyn, I can remember the butchers there and the post office.

The Wavecrest Cafeused to do delicious sausage, egg and chips and banana split which was our tea once a week.

The Lobster Pot used to have a shop at the front selling some food, beach items and ornaments. My love of lobster thermador came from the occasional meal at the restaurant.

Wally Needham used to catch the Lobsters and I did see him walking near Valley a couple of years ago, and he hadn't changed, he must be in his 80's now.

Church Bay is a very special place for a lot of people like myself who came as children and have returned with their children & grandchildren. Most came from Liverpool way or South Manchester.

They were happy days, all of us children would just be in and out of the sea and rockpools, returning to our parents when hungry for sandwiches that had been wrapped up in greaseproof paper.

I was in Corwen a while back when I spotted a birthday card and instantly recognised the printed watercolour front as Church Bay. I contacted the artist who kindly sold me the original painting and it now hangs in my lounge.

I watched BBC TV's programme Coast with interest when they showed an episode about the 'Bone Setters' and it was filmed at the top of the bay.

I never wanted to go home after our holiday and still to this day I cry when I cross the Menai Bridge becuase I don't want to go back!

Warmest regards

Barbara

Feb 14, 2012
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The travelling canoeist
by: Bob Hughes aka Robin

Does anyone remember or know the young canoeist that used to travel around the island in the summer months, 1960 and 1961?

He used to have the canoe on a cradle, with wheels and used to travel around the island by road. We would come across him canoeing in various bays.

Presumably he had a tent etc in his canoe. I remember he was quite tall and very tanned, with dark hair. Mum assumed he was a student.

In the 21st century he would touring the world.

Regards

Bob

Feb 13, 2012
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Church Bay
by: Laura

Church Bay: Didn't discover Church Bay until we were almost ready to leave Anglesey.....what a lovely area! And YUM for the Lobster Pot!

Great Anglesey mussels on a cool day were the perfect menu item!

As always when exploring Anglesey, there was a hidden gem just around a corner!

Laura




Hi again, Laura,

Wavecrest Cafe and the Lobster Pot Restaurant. Sounds like heaven doesn't it?

However, I think like me you won't remember donkeys on the beach. Too long ago.

Kamikaze cliff nesting bunnies maybe. Six O'Clock waves, maybe. You won't have seen the donkeys.

Who can I ask about the donkeys?

Be well and I hope your plans for Santiago di Compostella are coming on well.

Wil

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