In The Beginning
The Llanfairpwll Bowling Club is situated in ” Y Gors”, The Gors was at one time a seven and a quarter acre of wet wasteland, situated in the middle of the village, sometimes animals used to graze on it, the locals got their water from the springs, children played there, and in season collected tadpole spawn. Before 1864, it was part of “Rhos y Gath” common land but a commissioner was sent by the Government to close it down and the 7.1/4 acres was given to the Plas Newydd estate.
In 1932 the local Parish Council made a bid to purchase the land which they felt would be of benefit to the community, the asking price of £490 was however beyond their means. It later went up for sale and in 1933, the Council bought the area, for the good of the villagers, The purchasing price was the princely sum of £200, The money was lent by the Anglesey County Council, following Ministerial approval, It would be repaid with interest by one hundred and twenty equally half yearly instalments of £4,
The main road through the village had become much busier with traffic travelling to the Port of Holyhead. It was decided to drain about an acre of the Gors and turn it into a play area for youngsters; this was the first phase in the development of the onetime common land
The second stage in the development of the Gors was the construction of two hard tennis courts, near to Penmynydd Road, opposite Rhos y Gad Chapel. These became a village asset but they are no longer in existence. The Parish Council (owners of the Gors), reached an agreement with the Tennis club Committee on May 6th 1936.
Also in 1936 a bowling club committee had been formed, to look into the possibility of creating and establishing a “Crown Green” in the village, there was already a suitable area – part of the Gors next to the new tennis courts. Work commenced, with locals carrying out the preparatory work creating a base of railway clinkers.
By the spring of 1938, the green was well established and ready to be used. The agreement between the Parish Council and the Bowling Club was signed on the 30th May, 1938, The signatories on behalf of the Bowling Club, were Mr J.O. Jones – Chairman, the local Headmaster and John Lloyd, Auctioneer, the Secretary.
The wording of the agreement was exactly the same as the one drawn up with the Tennis Club. The agreement was worded thus:-
“We the Llanfair pwll Parish Council acting for and on behalf of the ratepayers and Parishioners (owners of the Recreation Ground) situate in the said Parish Hereby agree to grant full power to the Committee of the Llanfair pwll Bowling Club (duly appointed at a meeting convened) to utilize part of the said Recreation Ground (i.e. The Gors). as shown on the plan approved by the Parish Council for the purpose of laying out a bowling Green for the use of its members subject to the following terms and conditions, namely:
1. That the control and management of the Bowling Green be entirely delegated to a committee appointed by members of the said Bowling Club.
2. The representation on the committee equal to one fourth of the whole shall consist of members nominated by the Parish Council as representatives of the Parishioners
3 That the cost of laying out and maintaining the Bowling Green shall be borne by the Bowling Club out of funds collected or held by the Bowling Club aforesaid.
4 That the rules of the Bowling Club shall include a stipulation prohibiting playing bowls on the green on Sundays.
5 Provided that the Terms and conditions here in before stipulated and carried out it is understood that the Parish Council shall not interfere in any way with the tenure and management of the Bowling Green.
6 That an acknowledgement rent of 1/- per annum be paid to the Parish Council payable on the 1st day of May Dated this 30th day of May, one thousand nine hundred and thirty eight.
It was therefore, decided by its Committee that the Bowling Green be officially opened on Whitsun 1938 the opening ceremony to be conducted by the Marchioness of Anglesey, She had been a huge supporter of erecting a bowling green in the Village. Mr J.O. Jones, Chairman of the Club introduced the Marchioness and very much regretted the absence of the Marquis. In attendance with the Marchioness was Lady Mary Paget.
Members of the Bowling Club Committee were presented to the Marchioness and Mr John Lloyd, Secretary, in a speech, told some of the history behind the establishing of the green and the Club, Mr Owen Williams thanked the Marchioness and this was seconded by Mr Jones, Bryn Salem. A bouquet of flowers was presented to the Marchioness, by Rhiannon Jones, the Headmaster’s Daughter.
In reply the marchioness thanked the members and congratulated them on their achievement “I can hardly believe my eyes”, She said “I hope you do not expect too much from me because I have never played a game of Bowls, However, I do intend to become a member of your club”
So started bowling in the village of the long name.
In 1939, the Llanfair. pwll Bowling Club formed a competitive team and joined the Bangor and District league, alongside Bangor City, Bangor Conservatives, Beaumaris, Bethesda, Llandegfan, Llangefni, Llanfairfechan and Upper Bangor. There were three Teams in Bangor at this time, two more eventually joined the league later. There were Bangor Athletic, who eventually became Hirael and the Glanadda based Heol Dewi. Two other Teams joined in 1939, namely Caernarfon and Menai Bridge.
The Star Performer throughout the season for the best Club, was local Headmaster W.G. Owen. He was however, the leading man in a poor side. The Team played 20 League matches and won only three.
The end of July, witnessed the historic event, the Clubs first ever win in a League match. They defeated Llandegfan on the Gors by gaining the better aggregate. Their third success was more resounding, they gained seven individual winners at home to Beaumaris.
In 1940 the Gors outfit yet again finished at the bottom of the league, though they gained the distinction of defeating the mighty Bangor City by 2 points. They also got the satisfaction of defeating derby rivals Menai Bridge.
In 1941 bowling in Llanfair pwll came to an abrupt end.
Cornel y Bomb
Large Cities and Ports were the main objective of German bombing during World War Two, but rural areas also suffered and bombs were dropped on the countryside and in the village of Llanfair pwll. I have gained information of such occurrences from the local School Log Book, The Headmaster wrote:-
March 13th 1941
“An air raid occurred last night from 9.45pm to 1.20am, High explosives were dropped on the village” (Llanfair pwll)
Due to this alarming and highly dangerous attack the attendance at the school the following day suffered.
March 14th 1941
“An air raid warning received at 1.15pm. Some children were dismissed, others took shelter in the School”.
On the 13th March 1941, Anglesey encountered a spate of bombings: The mainland was also troubled by the incidents. Thankfully the damage was minimal, most of the bombs landing in fields or nearby mountains. Bombs actually fell on Llanfair pwll, one in a field on the outskirts of the village another crashed through a house in Maenafon Terrace (opposite the present Spar Shop), luckily there was no one at home.
One also fell on the bowling Green, on the left hand corner, furthest from the road. This no doubt the heaviest delivery ever witnessed on the green.
Locals were of the opinion that the Bowling Green was not actually targeted, a few however, were of the opinion that Herr Hitler had a grudge against Crown Green Bowlers, Ever since, this part of the green has been known to the locals as “Cornel y Bom”, Earlier generation of bowlers remember playing, with this part of the green cordoned off.
Most at the time, were of the opinion that German Bombers were offloading in order to make a quicker return journey to the “Fatherland”.
However, local historian Gerwyn James, maintains that this was not so. He believes the bombings were deliberate and planned. The objective being to bomb the two bridges and so cause havoc to the road and rail infrastructure and the route to Ireland.
Many a bowler ever since has cursed Adolf, as this corner became one of the trickiest marks to bowl on in the area, with constant renovation, however, this is not the case any longer.
The Bomb most certainly caused severe damage however it seems that the green was damaged by another source during this time. A letter of complaint was sent to the local headmaster, inciting that the evacuees residing in the village had caused damage to walls, to the swings and certain other properties in the area including the bowling green.
It is quite probable that the children from the cities had been given a bad reputation that was undeserved.
So began the process of seeking compensation and payment to right the hole left by the Germans. A claim was made by the Bowling Club Committee for £22-10s-0d, This being the total cost of closing the crater and making good Cornel y Bom. The claim was eventually sent to the War Damages Commission! This was sent in the early summer of 1944.
By the end of the year, no payment had been received, so the Bowling Club Committee sought the help of Anglesey’s Member of Parliament, Miss Megan Lloyd George, the daughter of the famous Liberal Prime minister, David Lloyd George, This obviously did the trick as payment was received in the Spring of 1945. Bowling could now re-commence in it’s proper form.
Has another Bowling Green ever been bombed? If you know of one please let us know
The Management Committee is very grateful to Gwynfor Parry for his research, which will probably be included in a future book.