CAERNARVONSHIRE Or, CAERNARFONSHIRE
(English v gives the pronunciation of Welsh f); Carnarvonshire is an older English spelling; the Welsh form is SIR GAERNARFON.
County in northwestern Wales until 1975.
After the final destruction of the Welsh Principality of Gwynedd in 1282-3, its lands were taken over by the English King and in 1284 formed a substantial part of the Principality of Wales that was created by the Statute of Rhuddlan. The Principality was divided into shires, Caernarvonshire being formed from the districts of Lleyn (the peninsula), Eifionydd (with coast on Tremadoc Bay), Arfon (the land opposite Mon), and Arllechwedd (which included the east of the Snowdon massif).
The River Conwy generally formed the eastern boundary, but Caernarvonshire extended across its estuary to include Deganwy Castle and the nearby land, where later Llandudno was to grow. In 1536 when the Marcher lands were shired, Caernarvonshire gained a finger of territory across the Conwy north of Llanrwst.
In 1975 the county became part of the new county of Gwynedd and was divided into the districts of Arfon (the north of the old county), Dwyfor (the west and south) and Aberconwy (the east). The last also included lands east of the Conwy that had belonged to Denbighshire.
The cathedral city of Bangor lies to the east of Caernarfon. The diocese was one of the four into which Wales was divided until two more were formed in the 20th century after the Disestablishment of the Church of Wales. It was the diocese of the Principality of Gwynedd. It also included the district of Arwystli in central Wales, detached from the main diocese. Bangor remains the Church of Wales diocese for northwestern Wales.