It was the site of a small Roman fort, known as Cefn Caer in the Welsh language, probably guarding a ford or ferry crossing of the Dovey on the Sarn Helen Roman road. The remains of the fort lie under the 14th century house of Cefn Caer, overlooking the village.
Price Family of Esgair Weddan
Just outside Pennal is the farmstead of 'Esgair Weddan' which from the 14th century until the mid 18th was the home of the Price (ap Rhys) family of Esgair Weddan, patrilineal descendants of Dafydd ap Llywelyn, son of Llywelyn Fawr (the great) Prince of Wales (1240-1246). Their home was called Plas yn y Rofft in Elizabethan times and was located in a field behind the present farmhouse above the village of Cwrt,(originally Pont y Cwrt, meaning "court") near to Mynydd Esgairweddan.
Pennal is known for its historical association with Owain Glyndŵr. In Pennal Owain composed the famous Pennal Letter of 1406, a letter to the King of France setting out his plans for an independent Wales - the only document which stands as a policy document for an independent Wales in the Middle Ages. The letter was briefly returned to Wales from France for an exhibition at the National Library of Wales in 2000.
Anwyl Family of Llugwy
Just outside Pennal, on the banks of the Dovey opposite the hamlet of Morben, is "Llugwy Hall", the home of the Anwyl family since 1682. This family have patrilinear descent from Rhodri Mawr through Anarawd, his eldest son, and Owain Gwynedd (king of Gwynedd c.1137 - 1170) to the present day.
In the early 19th century there were quays on the Dovey where slate from the quarries around Corris, Aberllefenni and Abergynolwyn was brought by packhorse for loading onto seagoing vessels. This trade died out when the Corris Railway to Machynlleth and the Talyllyn Railway to Tywyn were built.
The village also has a place in music history, as it was at nearby Bron-Yr-Aur cottage that Robert Plant was living when he wrote the Led Zeppelin classic, "Stairway to Heaven".
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