Ye Olde Bulls Head Inn in the 1950's
History - Ye Olde Bulls Head Inn
The original Ye Olde Bulls Head Inn was built in 1472 although some of the cellar walls are thought to date from medieval times. It soon became an important gathering place, used for both socialising and trading.
Tradition has it that General Thomas Mytton (1608-1665) made The Bull his headquarters at the siege of Beaumaris and its castle during the second English Civil War in 1648.
In June 1733 John Kelsall (1683-1743) of Dolgellau, a prominent North Wales Quaker, made a missionary journey to Anglesey seeking to have houses and other buildings legally recorded as Quaker meeting houses. On 13 June 1733 he rode from Holyhead to Llangefni and then on to Beaumaris. He lodged at The Bull, and met Lord Bulkeley, owner of the Baron Hill estate, who agreed that The Bull, amongst other estate properties, could be noted on his register. The Bull was recorded at the next Quaker session and thus, Ye Olde Bulls Head Inn, became one of the first Quaker Meeting Houses to be legally recorded on Anglesey.
One of the social highlights of the year at Beaumaris was the hunt week organised by the Anglesey Hunt. Established in 1757, and usually regarded as the oldest hunt in Britain, it was formally dissolved in the second half of the 20th century. In the 1780’s events during the hunt week included a procession on horseback through the Borough led by two mounted French horn players. In celebration of the activities, balls and dinners were almost always held at The Bull, with Hunt members hunting by day and socialising by night.
Another visitor was the Rev. John Elias (1774–1841). It is said that he took refuge in The Bull during the 1812 riots. John Elias was one of the first ordained ministers of the Welsh Calvinistic Methodist denomination and became one of its leading preachers. He was regarded as an arch Tory and would have been despised by the rioters! Some upheaval must have occurred in Beaumaris in 1812 for the following year the Mayor and Bailiffs issued a proclamation threatening further rioters in Beaumaris with dire punishment.
During the late 18th and early 19th centuries Beaumaris had a new kind of visitor. British gentry who would normally have travelled through Europe, were remaining at home because of the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars. This was good for British tourism, and many discovered the delights of their homeland.
Such travellers visited Beaumaris, a number of them staying at Ye Olde Bulls Head Inn. One of them was Edward Pugh originally of Ruthin, but who lived mostly in London (1761–1813). Pugh was the author of one of the finest early travel books to have been written and illustrated by a Welshman – Cambria Depicta: A Tour Through North Wales.
A Potted History
The ancient borough and now the modern town of Beaumaris owe its existence to an English monarch, Edward 1, and his 13th century castle. Built on previously unoccupied land, the garrison town’s sole purpose was to supply the needs of the castle’s military force in a seemingly hostile country. Beaumaris’s original English citizens supplied one of the strongest garrisons in Europe yet the colony was unprotected from attack until a wall was built around it in 1410.
In time the garrison town became Anglesey’s county town and Welshmen, although at first unwelcome in the borough, soon became settled here. The main law courts were here. From the mid 16th century national elections were held here. Important county social events such as those associated with the Anglesey Hunt were centred here. All these activities attracted Anglesey’s gentry to Beaumaris and they required a convivial meeting place for their gatherings. From the very early 18th century that meeting place was The Bull.
We would like to thank Tomos Roberts (former Archivist, University of Wales, Bangor) for his detailed study of the history of The Bull. His work has given us a greater insight into historical significance of the building and its place in the history of Beaumaris.