Full Report for Listed Buildings

Summary Description of a Listed Buildings

Reference Number
Building Number
Date of Designation
Date of Amendment
Name of Property
Royal Welsh Yacht Club (also known as Porth yr Aur)  


Unitary Authority
Walled town  
Street Side
At the W end of High Street and facing The Promenade.  


Broad Class

Originally known as the West Gate, Porth y Aur was the main seaward entrance to the medieval borough and was an integral component of Caernarfon Town Wall. The borough of Caernarfon was established by Edward I of England under the Statute of Wales in 1284. It was the centre of government for N Wales and was protected by the erection of the Town Wall, with Caernarfon Castle at its S end. Construction of the Town Wall had begun in 1283 in conjunction with the building of the castle, probably under the direction of James of St George who was architect of the castle. Masonry work on the first phase of the Town Wall was completed by 1285, re-using some stone from Segontium Roman fort. The Town Wall was badly damaged in the native uprising of 1294 and were restored and improved in 1295 at a cost of £1195. The West Gate was repaired c1326 when it became home to William of Shaldeford. By the C16 it was known as the Golden Gate, or Porth yr Aur. It was restored and remodelled on the inner side in the C19 when it became home to the Royal Welsh Yacht Club. The club was founded in 1847 and has occupied the building since 1854.  

A 2-storey gateway with single-storey barbican projecting on the W side facing the Promenade, flanked by 2-stage round towers that contrast with the polygonal towers of the castle. Constructed mainly of coursed limestone. The barbican has low battlements and projecting square corner turrets. It has pointed arches to the front and side walls leading to a rendered tunnel vault and the main gateway. The main gateway also has a pointed tunnel vault, covered with cement render, with lower arches at each end, and with a portcullis slot to the inner E side. The N tower has C19 3-light mullioned and transomed windows with shouldered heads in each storey, the dressings of red sandstone. In the angle with the Town Wall is a narrow light in the lower stage. Against the side of the upper stage, and above the Town Wall, is a corbelled former garderobe with lean-to stone roof. The S tower has similar red sandstone dressings and shouldered heads to the N tower, and has a 3-light window in the lower stage and cross window above. The towers and gateway have a continuous embattled parapet. Above the main gateway is a doorway to the R with pointed arch with boarded door and strap hinges, giving access to the parapet over the barbican, and 3 narrow slits to its L. The E side, facing High Street, is in C19 Gothic style and is extended outwards from the original rear wall to create a 2-storey 3-window front, with red sandstone dressings. It has a segmental arch to the passage. On the R side of the gateway is a 3-light window with shouldered heads in the lower storey, while L of the gateway is an added single-storey lean-to. A moulded band is between storeys. In the upper storey are a cross window R and L with shouldered heads, and a 2-light mullioned and transomed window with Decorated tracery to the centre. A moulded band is at the base of the parapet, which has a saddleback coping and added iron hand rail. A short 2-storey toilet extension is on the L (S) side. Immediately inside the passage are pointed doorways L and R with studded doors in front of the original gateway arch.  

A dog-leg stair with turned balusters and square newels in the S tower leads to the main club rooms in the upper storey. In the upper stage of the N tower is a brick ogee-headed fireplace, with a stone overmantel on corbels and raked hood. The fireplace in the room over the gateway has a similar overmantel. A doorway with shouldered lintel leads to the garderobe. A similar doorway leads to the toilet block added on the S side. In the N tower are stone steps incorporating a late C13 newel stair, leading to the parapet.  

Reason for designation
Listed grade I as an integral component of the Town Wall, a medieval defensive structure of national importance, and retaining medieval detail with C19 remodelling.  

Cadw : Full Report for Listed Buildings [ Records 1 of 1 ]