The path leading up from the shore  at centre lies on the line of  today's Boston Street. A wall running  on its left is the boundary
   of the property of  the descendants  of Major Thomas Swift, who ran the Welsh Inn next to the walls of the Roman fort, in what is
   now Swift Square. The large building between the wall and the Inn is an ancient Tithe Barn associated with the Clas Monastery
   of St. Cybi. According  to a slightly  later account by Defoe, many of  the houses were thatched. Lucy Williams thought Place had
   exaggerated the size of the house at the top of the path, at the centre of the picture with three dormer windows. But why ?


Francis Place 1699 Holyhead view

Within the first volume of Thomas Pennant’s extra-illustrated Tour in Wales are two drawings by the English artist Francis Place (1647-1728). Place was a member of the York Virtuosi, a collection of largely independently wealthy gentlemen, active in York and the north of England during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, with a shared enthusiasm for travel, antiquarianism, natural philosophy and the visual arts. Place is known to have visited Wales twice. In 1678, he and William Lodge, a fellow artist and member of the Virtuosi, journeyed around South Wales, reportedly covering an impressive 700 miles on foot over a period of seven weeks. Pen-and-ink sketches of this tour, which was combined with leisurely episodes of fishing, are preserved in the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the National Museum of Wales. Yet it was not all art and angling: Place and Lodge were, quite literally, ‘strangers’ as they travelled from Yorkshire as far west as Pembroke Castle, and were reportedly arrested at Chester on suspicion of being Jesuit spies, with friends having to vouch for their innocence before they were released. Despite this experience, Place found himself back in Chester, reluctantly or otherwise, in 1699. He was returning to his home in York from a further sketching tour, this time having travelled in Ireland between Drogheda and Waterford. From Holyhead to Chester, he continued to draw vistas and landmarks including St Winefrid’s Well, just outside Flint. He also reproduced his sketch of this pilgrimage site as a detailed etching which was then published in London by Pierce Tempest, a fellow native of Yorkshire. This image was an enduring, and apparently commercially-successful one, since it was republished several times during the 1750s by two further London print sellers, John Bowles and Robert Sayer. Thomas Pennant acquired one of Sayer’s prints of St Winefrid’s Well (with its original imprint, mentioning both Place and Tempest, firmly erased and replaced with Sayer’s details) which was pasted into his extra illustrated copy of A Tour in Wales, now held in the National Library of Wales. (Helen Pierce, University of Aberdeen). The present print was published by MIss Lucy Williams in her paper 'The development of Holyhead' in Transactions of the Anglesey Antiquarian Society 1950 pp.51-70

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