Arvon Calvinistic Methodists' Home, Bontnewydd, Carnarvonshire, Wales

The Arvon Calvinistic Methodists' Orphanage at Bontnewydd, near Carnarvon, was opened in 1902. The institution owed its origin to Mr R.B. Ellis, of Bronant, who gave a piece of freehold land and £1000 to the Arvon Calvinistic Methodist Presbytery for the purpose. Other members of the denomination subscribed, and this, together with house-to-house collections, enabled the orphanage to be opened free of debt. The buildings, which cost £2500, were designed by Mr Taliesin Rees of Birkenhead and comprised a pair of semi-detached houses at the corner of Digbeth Terrace and the A487.

On 20 February 1902, the establishment was accredited for operation as a Certified School, allowing it to receive children boarded out by the workhouse authorities. The premises could accommodate up to 31 'orphan children of respectable nonconformist parents'.

In 1903, Mr Robert Davies of Menai Bridge made a donation of £10,000 to the home, after which no charge was made for the maintenance of those admitted to the establishment. A payment of 30s. was required for each child's outfit on admission, however.

Bontnewydd Methodist Children's Home, near Carnarvon, c.1906. © Peter Higginbotham

In July 1908, an additional house, adjacent to the first and similar in design, was opened for the accommodation of 30 boys. The original building was then used to house the girls.

Bontnewydd Methodist Children's Home, near Carnarvon, c.1910. © Peter Higginbotham

Bontnewydd Methodist Children's Home, near Carnarvon, c.1910. © Peter Higginbotham

The home ceased operation in the 1980s and the buildings were then used as offices. One of the buildings is now occupied by Age Cymru, while the other is in private residential use.

Records

Note: many repositories impose a closure period of up to 100 years for records identifying individuals. Before travelling a long distance, always check that the records you want to consult will be available.

  • Caernarfon Record Office, Swyddfa'r Cyngor, Caernarfon LL55 1SH. Has Bontnewydd orphanage annual reports (1910-1977).
  • Certified Schools were run by a wide range of groups and individuals and have no central records. However, relevant information may survive in the records of the Poor Law Union that placed each child at a particular establishment. The best place to start is the union covering the area where the child previously resided, although children were sometimes sent further afield.

Bibliography

  • None identified at present.