Trust Regional Historic Environment Record
Gorad Friars Bach Fish Weir, Beaumaris
Primary Reference Number (PRN) : 892 Trust : Gwynedd Community : Beaumaris Unitary authority : Ynys Mon NGR : SH61507770 Site Type (preferred type first) : POST MEDIEVAL FISH WEIR Status : Scheduled Ancient Monument
Description : Gored Bach - a well preserved fish trap with a row of stakes still surviving to 1.5m in height on the NE side. The occupant of Gored Bach reports that it was still in use in the 1960's. <1>
Gored Bach fish-trap on Anglesey coastline of Menai Strait NE of Beumaris. Situated on mud and shingle between mean high and mean low water immediately S of lifeboat station jetty. 'L'-shaped with distinctive hooked trap pointing SW. No further details Dec'92. (Sharp, 1992)
A small weir with an unusually elongated outer arm. The inner arm runs from the shore at 90 degrees for 75m. The outer arm then runs at 90 degrees from this (to the SW) and is 88m long. A spur turns back towards the shore at an angle of 45 degrees for 20m. An unusual further spur then turns back into the interior of the trap. This can be traced for about 15m. The stonework is well preserved, much of the trap is defined by a 4m wide bank standing to a height of about 0.5m. The outside of the outer arm is defined by large facing stones standing up to a height of 0.8m in places. The remains of a row of posts runs along the centre of the wall. Two lines of possible facing stones stand to either side of the posts making a 'wall' 1.6m wide and 0.2m high. The core of this structure presumably formed part of the post holes but this has now been eroded away. The posts have an average diameter of between 0.1 and 0.15m and some of them can be positively identified as oak. A few posts stand to a height of 2.0m close to the shore but elsewhere the posts have been eroded down to stumps. A bass trap can be seen 37m from the outer end of the outside arm. This is now poorly defined and can only be seen as a thickening of the outside of the wall forming a small platform at the edge of the low tide mark. A few metal stakes can be seen here but these may not be contemporary. The remains of what appears to be a navigation beacon lies in the channel close to the end of the outer apex. The last inturning spur is low but well defined by a row of facing stones. A row of stumps can be seen on the inside of the outer wall perhaps representing part of an earlier phase of construction. The weir was used until the mid 1960s by the Girling family who still live in Gorad Bach cottage. Brigid Girling kindly passed on the following information about the weir. The lease to the weir was taken by John Girling in the mid 19th century after he moved from Essex and rented oyster beds below the present Beaumaris Green. A photograph of John Girling remains, probably dating from the end of the 19th century, showing him taking whitebait from the weir with a small net. The photograph was taken from the inside of the weir and shows several details of its construction. Inner facing of the stone work was standing to a height of at least 0.5m. The stake and wattle component was very substantial with oak stakes standing to a height of about 3m and wattle to a height of about 2.2m. The lower 0.7m of wattle was very tightly woven from thin wands and the upper part was more coarsely woven from thicker wood. Several photographs of the weir exist, some apparently dating from between the 1920s and 1940s, showing a wattle fence extending as far as the end of the first spur. The final spur was visible only as a stone feature suggesting that, at least in latter days, that it was used as a causeway to the bass trap. The exact method of the functioning of the bass trap remains unclear but it appears that whiebait and small fish were allowed into the trap, perhaps through a smaller wattle mesh, thus attracting the carnivorous bass which were in turn caught in the bass trap by the falling tide. (Hopewell, 2000).