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Does Richley exist?

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Date: [unknown] [unknown]
Location: [unknown]
Surname/tag: Griffiths, Gruffydd
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There are at least 5 profiles in Wikitree that have the birthplace as Richley, on the Isle of Anglesey in North Wales Eleanor (Griffith) Bowen, Grace (Griffith) Stanley, William Griffith , Edward Griffith , and Margaret Griffith. Another Rhys Gruffydd M.P has Richley as both birth and death place.
The problem is that no such place exists! So how could this have happened?
The ultimate sources for each of these profiles is FamilySearch which gives this place without any source reference.

The parish of Llanfaes (also Llanmaes in some earlier references) is in south-east Anglesey. [1]. Within this Wikipedia page it says that when the wife of Llewelyn the Great, Joan, died she was buried in Llanfaes and Llewelyn had a Franciscan monastery was built there as a dedication. This is incorrect, she died at her home on the other side of the Straits.

The seat (some say palace) of Llewelyn was at Abergwyngryn, also known in earlier times as Aber Garth Celyn [[1]], and now known simply as Aber. This faces Anglesey across the north-eastern end of the Menai Straits.

After Joan died, there are many references to how distraught Llewelyn was and he determined to build a monastery on the opposite shore. This was within the parish of Llanfaes. Llanfaes was largely superseded when King Edward 1 built his castle at Beaumaris and the port there took over from the little harbour in the creek at Llanfaes. At some point the memorial coffin and lid to Joan arrived in Beaumaris parish church.[2]

So where did Richley come into it? This is very difficult to divine in retrospect but with enormous help from the Library of Wales, Anglesey records, and individuals, the following is postulated.

  • The parish church of Llanfaes is at a hamlet called Cichle. The current church of St Catherine's dates from 1811 but is on the site of an earlier building and there is supposed to have been a chapel there since the 9th century. The current church has earlier memorial stones in it, the earliest being 1601.[3]
  • There is a nearby a large house, Plas Cichle[4],dating from the early 19th century. This was built on the site if a former manor, and this is shown on early Ordnance Survey maps. [5]. There do not appear to be any references to any dates nor ownership of this earlier building, but one might conjecture that as Llywelyn was master of these lands he would have needed a dwelling there as tides might have prevented him returning back home.
  • Cichle has also been spelled Cichley on some parish records and there is one reference to Kichley. This last one has been linked to someone who came from Keithley in Yorkshire so might or might not be a complete red herring.
  • Again to conjecture - some well meaning transcriber for the IGI mistakenly transcribed one or more of these as Richley, thus creating a place which was never there.[6], [7]


  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Llanfaes
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joan,_Lady_of_Wales
  3. https://britishlistedbuildings.co.uk/300005705-church-of-st-catherine-beaumaris/maps#.XpL-cqv7RZI
  4. http://maps.google.com/maps?q=53.284337,-4.1009591
  5. OS grid SH600784
  6. unsourced guesswork by the profile manager Steve Bartlett has been put in italics
  7. correspondence with the Library of Wales and other is available on request from Steve Bartlett

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Comments: 2

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I think this is an excellent page - and completely agree about the 'well-meaning transcriber'! as Kichley may have looked like Richley...
posted by Ros Haywood
This is in the process of development.
posted by Steve Bartlett