Bardsey Isle - From 'A Topographical Dictionary of Wales' (1849)
BARDSEY ISLE, a small extra-parochial island in St. George's Channel, near Cardigan bay, locally in the parish of Aberdaron, in the hundred of Dinllaen, union of Pwllheli, county of Carnarvon, North Wales; lying off the promontory of Lleyn, from which it is separated by Bardsey Race, three miles in breadth; and containing 90 inhabitants. This island, from the remotest known period of antiquity, seems to have been the resort of devotees, who, retiring from the cares of the world, sought an asylum here, in which they passed the remainder of their lives and were buried. St. Dubricius, Archbishop of Caerlleon, resigning his see, retired to this solitary spot, where, dying about the year 522, he was interred; but his remains were removed in the twelfth century to Llandaf. Prior to the time of St. Dubricius, this may have been a retreat of the Culdees, the first religious recluses in Britain, for whose secret worship of the Almighty its remote situation was peculiarly auspicious. Before his death, perhaps before his arrival, a monastery was founded; it was afterwards dedicated to St. Mary, and became very eminent for its sanctity. In the reign of Edward II., according to the Sebright manuscripts, a petition was presented to that monarch by the abbot, complaining of exaction on the part of the sheriff of Carnarvon, which procured redress. The monastery continued to flourish till the Dissolution, when its revenues amounted to £58. 6. 2. There are only some small portions of the abbey remaining: the site was granted by Edward VI. to Sir Thomas Seymour, and afterwards to the Earl of Warwick.
The island, now the property of Lord Newborough, is two miles and a half in length, and one and a half in breadth. From the violence of the current which runs through the sound, it obtained the British name Ynys Enlli, or "the island in the current;" and the Saxons, from its being a favourite retreat of the bards, named it Bardsey, or "the island of the bards." The inhabitants are partly occupied in agriculture, and partly in fishing; the soil is fertile, and large quantities of lobsters and oysters are sent to Liverpool in sailing-vessels every week. The scenery is grand, the sea coming in with the full Atlantic swell. The shores and sand-banks in this part of St. George's Channel render the navigation exceedingly dangerous, and numerous vessels have been lost: to prevent the recurrence of similar disasters, a lighthouse, with a flashing light, was erected on the island in 1821, and lighted for the first time on the 24th of December in that year. The tower is a substantial and handsome square structure, seventy-four feet high, surmounted by a lantern ten feet high; and, being built on an elevation sixty-two feet above the level of the sea, the light is 146 feet above highwater mark at spring tides. The erection of this lighthouse has been attended with the utmost benefit to the vessels connected with the port of Liverpool.