The Ship Inn is an olde worlde pub set in a perfect location, overlooking the beautiful Red Wharf Bay on the northwest coast of Anglesey. Facing east on the lee side of a hill, it is protected from the prevailing winds and catches the morning and afternoon sun perfectly. It is difficult to imagine a better place to enjoy gourmet food and real ale, whether it is taken outside at the picnic tables or inside in the cosy bars or restaurant areas. The whole place exudes charm and warmth and the friendly, helpful staff reinforce the feeling of calm and relaxation.
Red Wharf Bay itself is a quiet spot with superb views and is an excellent base for walking or discovering the delights of Anglesey by car. It’s just a short drive from the main road, yet feels like it’s miles away. All this makes it the perfect year-round retreat.
We look forward to welcoming you soon.
The Ship Inn was originally a row of cottages built in 1740, with a small pub within the cottage on the left. The tenants at the time served ale to the many sailors who passed through the then busy port of Red Wharf Bay.
While the original structure is largely unchanged, the pub now accounts for the whole building and there are no living areas.
Historians suggest that the pub has been known by different names including Cei Bach (Little Quay), Arwydd y Llong (“The Sign of the Ship”) and Quay Inn until the early 20th century when it became the Ship Inn.
Traeth Coch/Red Wharf Bay
The location that the Ship Inn is set is known as Traeth Coch in Welsh, and Red Wharf Bay in English, the names have two different meanings and origins.
The Welsh name of Traeth Coch, means red beach. It is the older of the two names for the area and, according to accounts, dates back to a bloody Viking battle that took place here in 1170 which left the beach soaked in blood.
The English name Red Wharf Bay dates back to the 18th century. Red is a reference to the Welsh name, whilst Wharf is due to the bay being an important port at that time. Records show evidence of Red Wharf Bay as a port as far back as the early 15th century.
Although the port was small, it was busy and attracted ships with cargo from all over the world to it. Skilled sailors were required to navigate the shallow waters and rapid tide changes, and guide large vessels to the end of the bay which provided natural shelter. From the large boats, small sailing vessels would deploy to bring the cargo further up into the bay.
While the main commodity imported was coal and the main commodity exported was limestone, all kinds of cargo passed through Red Wharf Bay. Anglesey/Ynys Mon was a great producer of wheat and grains and is also known as Anglesey The Mother Of Wales/Mon Mam Cymru because it was thought to be fertile enough to provide food for the whole of Wales.
As a busy exporter and importer, Anglesey became home for many sailors from different countries who fell for local girls and married them.
The end of Red Wharf Bay as a commercial port
The invention of the steam train was at first of benefit to Red Wharf Bay, when a station was built in 1909, for a line which carried both passenger and cargo trains to help shift the commodities imported from the port. However, the new technology made it easier to utilise larger ports with greater efficiencies and reduced the importance and viability of smaller ports around the country.
The Red Wharf Bay line of the Anglesey Central Railway was short lived and closed to passengers in 1930 and several years later completely closed off.
Now, as you sit looking out at the quiet bay dotted with sailing boats, it’s hard to imagine the rich and bustling history of the area.
The history of the Ship Inn’s proprietors
While we don’t know all of the previous proprietors of the pub during its 280 year history, here’s who we do know about.
One of the inn’s earliest tenants was mariner Richard Roberts. He and his wife Elizabeth are named in records from 1754.
Some sources say that the pub was the birthplace and childhood home of Thomas Jones, known as Twm Sion Twm. Thomas Jones is recorded as a man who had the ‘strength of Samson’. There are stories of Twm bending a new handle for the pub from a large iron poker with his bare hands. It was also said that he once pulled a stuck cart from the mudflats at Red Wharf Bay after three horses had failed to do so.
By the early 20th century, the pub was kept by Emma Capon, who lived with her brother John and his wife Ellen.
The current proprietors, the Kenneally family have run the pub since 1971.