Published Information on the History of Bardsey, its peoples and wildlife


Bardsey Bird and Field Observatory has, since its foundation in 1953, enabled thousands of people to stay on the island.   Its aims are to promote visitors’ interests in ornithology and all other aspects of natural history and to ensure that its visitors, either experts or beginners, have an enjoyable stay.

History of the People of Bardsey - 1885 - Poetry on Bardsey - Old Photos

Few records exist of the birds on Bardsey until the beginning of the 20th century, although ornithological notes were made by Ray in 1662, Pennant in 1810 and Forrest in 1907.

The first serious records were collated by Eagle Clarke from the lighthouse keepers’ notes of 1879-1887.
Visits were made by O.V. Aplin in 1901 and T.A. Coward in 1905.   Ogilvie Grant used data from the lighthouse keepers in a similar way to Eagle Clarke, and he inspired visits from N.F. Ticehurst in 1913 and 1954.



Other documentors from this early period include C. Oldham, F.W. Headley, W. Wlison, G.H. Emerson, Sir G.A. Haworth,C.A. Norris, Lloyd, R.M. Lockley, D. Payne and A. Walker.

In 1954, A. Till, a resident lighthouse keeper, was enrolled as an honorary warden.  Since 1954 the Observatory has had salaried Wardens, beginning with R. Thearle in 1954.  The current Warden is Steve Stansfield

Observatory Publications

The Bardsey Bird and Field Observatory is responsible for two main publications: the Bardsey Beacon and the Annual Report

The Bardsey Beacon is the newsletter of the Friends of Bardsey. It is published three times a year. Its main aim is to keep the Friends of Bardsey in touch with the latest events on and off the island. All Friends of Bardsey automatically receive their copies of the Beacon as part of their membership package.

If you would like to receive any past copies, please contact the Beacon Editor.

The Observatory’s Annual Report is a well-respected scientific publication in which articles on the wildlife of the island are to be found along with the details of the previous season's observations on the island.

 Past copies of the Report are also available from the Hon. Secretary for the following years:

List of the Main publications

*Bardsey Bird Observatory Annual Reports (Adroddiad Gwylfa Ynys Enlli) - Nos. 1 to 46 (1953-2002)

*The Birds of Bardsey by Peter Roberts - 
The Natural History of Bardsey by Peter Hope Jones - 
*Atlas of Recoveries of Birds Ringed by Bardsey Observatory 1953-1996 by Dick Loxton, Tom Kittle and  Peter Hope Jones - 1999
Bardsey - its history and wildlife. 1985 - 14pp.  A booklet - edited by Peter Hope Jones.
Contribution to the Flora of Bardsey - Flowering Plants and Ferns 1956-2000, by Ian Bonner and Peter Hope Jones - 2003 - published by the Countryside Council for Wales.  (Not for Sale - unfortunately!)

bardsey - Essays by Christine Evans and Photographs by Wolf Marloh - published by Gomer 2008.

Bardsey Past & Present (DDOE A HEDDIW) - Edited by Peter Hope Jones 1987
Bardsey Island (Enlli) - A Spiritual Retreat (Encil Ysbrydol) - 1993.   A leaflet.
Bardsey Island (Enlli) - Under Bardsey: The Island's Geology (O Dan Enlli: Daeareg yr Ynys) - 1993. A leaflet
Bardsey Island (Enlli) - Bardsey Buildings (Adeiladau Enlli) - 1993.   A leaflet
Bardsey by R Gerallt Jones - 1976
Twenty-six Years on Bardsey by Bessie Williams (Translated by Rosemary Gaches) - 1992 (translated 1996)
Across the Bardsey Sound by H D Williams - 1982
The Monks on Ynys Enlli - Part One c500 A.D. to 1252 A.D. by Mary Chitty - 1992.
Harlech and Lleyn - The history of south-west Gwynedd by Michael Senior - 1988
Journey to Avalon - The Final Discovery of King Arthur by Chris Barber & David Pykitt - 1993

Copies of the items marked with a 
* are obtainable from the Secretary who you should contact regarding availability and price.   Many of the reports and the other publications above are probably now out of print but all are available in the Library at Cristin for students and visitors to read when they are staying there.