Early History

Bardsey has been noted as a place of pilgrimage since the early years of Christianity, but there are signs of settlements on the island that date from earlier periods. 

The Earliest Signs

The earliest signs of people on Bardsey Island are pieces of flint shaped by humans and found here and there on the western coast and the western slopes of the mountain, probably from the second millennium (2,000 – 1,000) B.C. This is proof the island has been populated for at least four thousand years.

Signs of the Iron Age

There are signs of people’s homes that can be dated with certainty to the Iron Age (700B.C. ­ 43 A.D.) on the Mainland (which is what Bardsey people called the Llŷn Peninsula).


There is evidence people lived on Bardsey Island during the Iron Age (700B.C. ­ 43A.D.) because there are sites with remains of round and rectangular buildings on the side of the mountain (above Cristin) similar to the ones to be seen on the Mainland.


There are a number of banks that would have been the bases of the hut walls, and it is believed the huts would have had peaked roofs. The huts were built in sheltered places, with their entrances facing the south east. There was some excavation work in 1982 on the remains of a group of rectangular buildings in the north of the island, but no definite dates were suggested for them. These could be from the same time as the flints found on Bardsey. There are signs in the same place of buildings from the middle ages and later.

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© 2016 Ymddiriedolaeth Ynys Enlli


© 2016 Bardsey Island Trust


Gyda diolch i Ben Porter a BESIDE am yr hawl i ddefnyddio ei luniau.

Llun tudalen flaen gan Myles Jenks

With thanks to Ben Porter Wildlife Photography  and BESIDE for kind use of images.


Home page image by Myles Jenks