Trefriw is a modest-sized village near the west bank of the river Conwy, sprawling from the valley floor up towards Cefn Cyfarwydd and the Crafnant Valley. Trefriw Quay was the furthest upriver that the steamer vessels could reach. This boosted local industries (such as the slate quarries further up the valley, the local lead, zinc and sulphur mines and Trefriw Woollen Mill), as well as bringing tourism to the area.
It is said that Llywelyn Fawr (Llywelyn the Great 1172-1240) — Prince of Gwynedd and eventually de facto ruler over most of Wales for 45 years — had a hunting lodge and a court in the area. According to tradition, he also built Trefriw’s original church on the present site to save his wife, Siwan, the arduous and steep walk up to Eglwys Llanrhychwyn. The ancient church of St Rhychwyn, which sits around 700 feet above Trefriw, was originally established in the 6th century and is allegedly the oldest in Wales. It gives its name to the hamlet and agricultural community of Llanrhychwyn in which it sits. The picturesque woodland lakes of Geirionydd and Crafnant lie in the north of the parish.
The names of 19 men appear on the cenotaph in the centre of Trefriw, including a staggering 3 sets of brothers.