A Topographical Dictionary of Wales. Originally published by S Lewis, London, 1849.
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LLANVACHRETH (LLAN-FACH-RETH), a parish, in the hundred of Tàlybolion, union and county of Anglesey, North Wales, 3 miles (N. W. by N.) from Bôdedern; containing 493 inhabitants. This parish is situated in a fertile district, near the eastern shore of Holyhead bay, and is bounded on the south by the little river Alaw; it contains a considerable portion of inclosed and wellcultivated land, and derives some advantages from its proximity to the old Holyhead road. The living is a discharged rectory, with the perpetual curacies of Llanenghenedl and Llanvigael annexed, rated in the king's books at £14.2. 1.; present net income, £557, with a glebe-house; patron, the Bishop of Bangor. The church, dedicated to St. Machraeth, is an ancient structure, in the early style of English architecture; it exhibits some good details of that style, and is ornamented with an east window of elegant design: the interior was considerably improved in 1835, under the superintendence of R. T. Griffith, Esq., and the Rev. J. Jones, rector, by subscription of the different landed proprietors. There are places of worship for Baptists, Independents, and Calvinistic Methodists; a British school, established in the year 1844; and three Sunday schools, belonging to the three denominations of dissenters above mentioned. A rentcharge of £1, payable out of the estate of Tronway; another of 2s. 6d., the gift of Richard David; and the interest of a bequest of £20, by Grace Jones, in 1763; are distributed among the poor on St. Barnabas's day. Two other benefactions, namely, one of £5 by Edward Owen, and another of £2. 2. by Rowland Williams, have been lost.
LLANVACHRETH (LLAN-FACHRETH), a parish, in the union of Dôlgelley, hundred of Tàlybont and Mowddwy, county of Merioneth, North Wales, 3½ miles (N. N. E.) from Dôlgelley; containing 956 inhabitants. This parish, which derives its name from the dedication of its church, occupies a sequestered situation nearly in the centre of the county, and extends about nine miles in length and six in breadth. The surface is boldly varied, rising in some parts into rocky eminences and mountainous elevations; the latter affording pasturage for young cattle, and sheep, for which they are more adapted than for agricultural purposes: in the lower parts of the parish are considerable portions of arable land that yield good crops. An act of parliament was obtained in 1806, under the provisions of which 9896 acres of waste and common were inclosed; and a large part has since been brought into cultivation. The surrounding scenery is strikingly diversified, combining features of rugged grandeur with objects of rural and picturesque beauty, and enriched with some well-wooded hills and extensive plantations. The numerous farmhouses, built of stone in the ancient English style, and scattered through the parish, have a very pleasing effect in the general scenery; and the stream issuing from the waterfall of Pistyll Mawddach, of which a description is given in the article on Dôlgelley, forms one of the natural boundaries of the parish.
Nannau, for many years the venerable seat of the ancient family of Nanney, and now the property and residence of Sir Robert Williames Vaughan, Bart., by inheritance, is a handsome and substantially-built mansion of stone, about fifty or sixty years ago repaired and greatly enlarged. It is finely situated, about two miles and a half from Dôlgelley, on elevated ground, more than 700 feet above the sea; the road leading to it being an uninterrupted ascent. Within the walls of the gardens was formerly a venerable oak, called Derwen Ceubren yr Ellyll, "the goblin's hollow tree;" but this tree, which measured twenty-seven feet and a half in girth, and in which an aperture had been worn by time, in the form of a pointed arch, fell down in July 1813, from natural decay. The park contains some fine old timber, and is remarkable for its small but excellent venison. Within its limits may be seen the remains of the house of Howel Sele, kinsman of Owain Glyndwr, who, while pretending to shoot at a deer in the park, in company with Owain (after a professed reconciliation had taken place between these two chieftains, who had previously been at enmity with each other), turning suddenly round, aimed his arrow at the breast of Glyndwr, whom he must have killed, but for the armour that he wore under his clothes. Owain, enraged at the perfidy of Howel, seized him on the spot, and, having burnt his house, hurried him away from the place; nor was he again heard of, till about forty years afterwards, when a skeleton was discovered in the oak above-mentioned, resembling Howel Sele in stature, and generally reputed to have been his. This tragical event, the recollection of which was afterwards preserved by tradition in the Vaughan family, gave rise to a belief among the peasantry that the spot was haunted by the ghost of the murdered Sele, and the tree was accordingly denominated "the Haunted Oak." Close to the remains of Howel's house, the late Sir R. W. Vaughan erected a handsome Gothic lodge; and behind the mansion is a beautiful mountain lake, called Cynwch, round which a fine carriage-road was made by Sir Robert, who also greatly improved the vicinity, by the construction of many miles of excellent roads through the parish, and the erection of stone walls for inclosures and fences, of which, within a period of thirty years, he raised an extent of more than seventy miles. Some pieces of ancient coin were found near the lodge, in June, 1841; and steps leading to a cellar were also discovered.
The parish abounds with peat, which is dug as the principal fuel of the inhabitants. Copper-ore is supposed to exist to a great extent in the mountainous parts, and considerable quantities have been obtained in a very singular manner. A gentleman residing in Dôlgelley, learning that the ashes of peat procured near Dôlvrwynog, in this parish, could not be applied with advantage as a manure, but had the effect of injuring the land, applied a chemical test to them, by which he discovered that they contained a considerable proportion of copper. He then employed men to cut and pile up in stacks the peat from which these ashes were produced, and shipped it to Swansea, where, upon being smelted, it was found to yield copper of very excellent quality. From this circumstance, the surrounding mountains are thought to be richly impregnated with copperore, which, through the medium of springs or otherwise, has saturated the peat in the hollows with a solution of sulphate of copper. The village is in a very retired situation, remote from any turnpike-road, and chiefly inhabited by families employed in agricultural pursuits. Fairs are held on April 22nd, June 30th, and August 15th; and at Drws-y-Nant, in the neighbourhood, on October 23rd.
The living is a perpetual curacy, endowed with £800 royal bounty, and £800 parliamentary grant; net annual income, £92; patron and impropriator, Sir Robert Williames Vaughan. The church, dedicated to St. Machreath, is a neat stone edifice, with a low square tower surmounted by a spire; the body consists of a nave, chancel, and south transept. Of these portions, the two last were built by the late Sir R. W. Vaughan, in testimony of his respect for the memory of George III., as expressed on two tablets, one inscribed in Welsh, and the other in English. The more ancient portion of the edifice was newly seated, roofed, and otherwise thoroughly repaired, in the year 1800; it contains several handsome monuments. There are places of worship for Calvinistic Methodists, and Independents; a good school-house, near the church, built by the present Sir Robert W. Vaughan; and eight Sunday schools, seven of which belong to the dissenters. Three rent-charges of £2 each have been left by unknown benefactors, in trust, to the minister and churchwardens, for distribution about Christmas among the poor; who also receive £2. 10. in small sums, generally on Good Friday, the proceeds of bequests of £20 each from John David and Thomas Price, and £10 from Mary Jones.
Above the seat of Nannau is a lofty rock, the summit of which is encircled with a rampart of loose stones: it is called Moel Ofrwm, "the hill of sacrifice." There is an old house in the parish, designated Cynmarch, or Cae March, and surrounded by a moat; but little is known concerning it. At Cwmeision is a chalybeate spring, termed Fynnon Gôch; and the parish contains a spring of excellent water styled Fynnon y Capel. Rice Jones, a noted Welsh bard, author of a work entitled "Gorchestion y Beirdd," who was a native of this parish, lived and died at Tŷ Ucha, Blaenau, and was buried in the church of this place.
LLANVAELOG (LLAN-FAELOG), a parish, in the hundred of Llyvon, union and county of Anglesey, North Wales, 7 miles (W.) from Llangevni; containing 786 inhabitants. This parish is pleasantly situated on the shore of Carnarvon bay, and is bounded by it on the west and north-west; by the parish of Llêchylched on the north; by that of Llangwyvan on the south; and by that of Llanbeulan on the east. It comprises by computation 1346 acres, chiefly arable land, inclosed with earthen banks or stone fences, and the soil of which is a sandy light loam, producing barley and oats, with a small quantity of wheat and hay. The Chester and Holyhead railway passes here. The sea views are fine and extensive; and the neighbouring waters, the shore of which is in some parts rocky, abound with soles and turbot, which are taken in considerable quantities during the summer season. The parish contains a large fresh-water lake, called Maelog, supplied by a brook in the vicinity. The living is a perpetual curacy, annexed to the rectory of Llanbeulan: the church, dedicated to St. Maelog, was a very ancient structure, with accommodation for 150 persons; but a new parish church, in the early English style, was built in 1847-48, from the designs of H. Kennedy, Esq., architect, of the city of Bangor. There are places of worship for Wesleyans, Independents, and Calvinistic Methodists; and three Sunday schools, two of them belonging to the Calvinistic body, and the third to the Independents. Some charitable donations and bequests have been made by a few benefactors; but they have been mostly applied to parochial purposes, and the interest, amounting to about 35s., is therefore paid from the rates. Not far from the church, on an elevated spot of ground, is a large cromlech, consisting of several upright stones, supporting a large stone nearly in a horizontal position; the upper stone is about twelve feet long, by nine feet in breadth, and from two to three feet in thickness. By the side of this cromlech lie the fallen remains of a much larger one, the upper stone of which is not less than fifteen feet in length.
LLANVAELRHŶS (LLAN-FAELRHŶS), a parish, in the union of Pwllheli, hundred of Commitmaen, Lleyn division of the county of Carnarvon, North Wales, 12 miles (S. W.) from Pwllheli; containing 236 inhabitants. This parish, which is situated on the shore of St. George's Channel, at the southern extremity of the great promontory of Lleyn, is bounded on the north by the parish of Bryncroes, on the north-east by that of Rhiw, on the west by Aberdaron, and on the south and southeast by Porthniull bay. It comprises by measurement 2000 acres, of which about one-fourth part is arable, and three-fourths are pasture; the soil, generally of good quality, rests on clay. The surface is intersected by the small river Daron, and is tolerably level, being varied only by a few hills, and not distinguished by any peculiarity of feature: the higher grounds embrace an extensive prospect of the adjacent country, which is finely diversified, and of the Channel. There are two manganese quarries. Mullionydd is a gentleman's mansion in the parish.
The living is a perpetual curacy, annexed to the vicarage of Aberdaron: the tithes have been commuted for £58 payable to an impropriator, £47 to the sinecure rector of Aberdaron, £18 to the vicar of Aberdaron, and £5 to the parish-clerk of Llanvaelrhŷs. The church, dedicated to St. Maelrhŷs, is a very small edifice, of plain style, in a dilapidated condition. There are places of worship for Independents and Calvinistic Methodists: in the latter a Sunday school is also held. A "circulating charity school," for the gratuitous instruction of poor children, used to be held in the village every fourth year, in turn with the parishes of Aberdaron, Bryncroes, and Rhiw, for the support of which there was an endowment; but this system of education has been superseded, and the fund, amounting to £9 per annum, is divided between the masters of two permanent schools, one at Aberdaron for that parish and Llanvaelrhŷs, and the other at Bryncroes for that parish and Rhiw. There are some small donations and bequests in land for the repairs of the church, amounting to 17a. 1r. 6p., and paying a rent of £9. 11. 6., which is expended for that purpose.
LLANVAES, a parish, in the union of Bangor and Beaumaris, hundred of Tyndaethwy, county of Anglesey, North Wales, 1 mile (N. N. E.) from Beaumaris; containing 268 inhabitants. It is situated on the shore of the Menai strait, and is supposed to have derived its name, signifying "the church of the field," from a memorable battle said to have taken place in this vicinity, early in the ninth century, between Egbert, King of the West Saxons, who had effected a landing in Anglesey, near the site of the present town of Beaumaris, and a body of Welsh forces. These the king totally defeated in a sanguinary engagement; and although he was shortly after compelled by Mervyn Vrych, sovereign of North Wales, to retreat into England, the victory ensured to him so long possession of the entire island, that its ancient name of Mona was abandoned by the Anglo-Saxons for its present appellation, signifying "the Englishmen's isle."
In 1237 died Joan, wife of Llewelyn ab Iorwerth, Prince of North Wales, and daughter of John, King of England, who was buried, agreeably to her own desire, on the sea-shore at this place. Llewelyn, either to do honour to the English monarch, her father, or as a tender memorial of regard to her memory, erected over the grave of this princess a monastery of Franciscan friars, which was consecrated by Howel, Bishop of Bangor, prior to the year 1240, when the decease both of this prelate and of Llewelyn himself occurred. It was dedicated to St. Francis, and became the place of interment of many chiefs slain in the Welsh wars: the conventual chapel was erected over the tomb of the princess Joan. During the insurrection of the Welsh under Madoc, in the reign of Edward I., this house was burned to the ground by the insurgents, and it lay in ruins until restored by Edward II., who, in consideration of the misfortunes sustained by the friars, remitted to them the annual payment of £12. 10., which they had made to the crown previously to this war. The monks of Llanvaes favoured the insurrection of Owain Glyndwr against Henry IV., who, in revenge for this conduct, in his first march against Owain, plundered the convent, put several of the friars to the sword, and carried away the rest prisoners. He afterwards, however, set them at liberty, and made restitution to the priory of its ancient privileges and possessions; but at the same time placed in it monks of English birth. It appears after this either to have suffered further molestation, or to have fallen into decay, for it was again restored by patent of Henry V., who ordained that the establishment should consist of eight friars, of whom only two were to be natives of Wales. From this period it continued to flourish till the Dissolution, at which time its revenue was estimated at £96. 13. 2.
The site of the priory was granted by Henry VIII., in the 32nd year of his reign, to Nicholas Brownlow, and was afterwards purchased by the family of White, now extinct, who erected an elegant mansion on the spot, which has been greatly enlarged and modernised. This mansion, which is spacious and handsome, is called the Friary, from its occupying part of the ancient priory site. Over an arched gateway in the inner court is a shield charged with the armorial bearings of Collwyn ab Tango, lord of Eivionydd and Ardudwy, founder of one of the fifteen tribes of North Wales, and ancestor of the family of White; the date underneath (1623) probably refers to the erection of the original mansion by that family. The remains of the priory consist only of a portion of the chapel walls, forming part of a building now used as a barn. The stone coffin in which the princess Joan was interred, was placed after the Dissolution near a small brook on the farm, and for more than two centuries and a half was used as a wateringtrough for horses, till the late Lord Bulkeley directed it to be removed and placed under an arch in the grounds of Baron Hill, where it now is.
The fertile vale in which the parish is situated abounds with diversified and beautifully picturesque scenery, and is enlivened with several handsome seats, of which Baron Hill, near the town of Beaumaris, and the Friary above mentioned, now the residence of Lady Williams, are the principal. It contains also the seats of Hênllŷs and Cichle. The parish is of small extent; the soil is fertile, and on the whole well cultivated, consisting of rich meadows and corn-fields, with a few acres of woodland. The greater portion is within the limits of the borough of Beaumaris.
The living is a perpetual curacy, endowed with £400 private benefaction, £800 royal bounty, and £600 parliamentary grant, and having the perpetual curacy of Penmon annexed; net income, £180; patron and impropriator, Sir R. B. Williams Bulkeley. The church, dedicated to St. Catherine, is an ancient and spacious structure, in the early style of English architecture, with a lofty square embattled tower, surmounted with pinnacles, which was built in 1811, at the sole expense of the late Lord Bulkeley: the interior is well arranged, and the chancel, which is spacious and lofty, has a good east window of elegant design. A Church Sunday school is held; and there is an almshouse for poor old men, founded by David Hughes, about the year 1610. Lady Bulkeley, in 1823, bequeathed £1000 in trust to the archdeacon of Bangor and the minister of Llanvaes, to distribute the interest annually among the poor of the parish; this sum was invested in the purchase of stock, and the dividends, amounting to £38, are distributed half-yearly in sums varying from 2s. 6d. to 15s., according to the will of the benefactress. Other benefactions for the poor have been made at different periods, the principal of which were donations of £12 by Mr. White, and £10 by Mary Parry, the whole amounting to £33; but nearly half was laid out on bad security, and lost.—See Beaumaris.
LLANVAETHLU (LLAN-FAETHLU), a parish, in the hundred of Talybolion, union and county of Anglesey, North Wales, 5 miles (N. by W.) from Bôdedern; containing 483 inhabitants. This parish, which is of very considerable extent, is pleasantly situated on a tract of rising ground above Holyhead Roads, and commands an extensive view over the Irish Sea, by which it is bounded on the west. It is supposed to have been known to the Romans, who are thought to have had a smeltingplace here, for the ore of the Parys mountain; and the supposition is confirmed in some degree by the discovery, about the year 1757, of a cake of copperore, weighing fifty-four lbs., and stamped with a mark resembling the Roman letter L, and by the quantities of charcoal and scoria of copper that are frequently turned up by the plough in tilling some of the higher grounds. The surface is inclosed, and, with the exception only of a small proportion, in a good state of cultivation. The immediate neighbourhood is enlivened with some handsome seats. In the parish is Carreg Lwyd, the ancient family mansion of the Griffiths, by whom it has been occupied for centuries; the grounds are extensive, and ornamented with well-grown timber, and within them is a lake of considerable size. Near this spot a signal station was erected, communicating with Holyhead on the west, and Llaneilian on the east, and forming a link in the chain of posts between Holyhead and Liverpool. Limestone of very superior quality abounds in the parish, and the working of it would by attended with much advantage.
The living is a rectory, with the perpetual curacy of Llanvwrog annexed, rated in the king's books at £16. 17. 1.; patron, the Bishop of Bangor: the tithes of the two parishes have been commuted for a rentcharge of £636; and there are an excellent and wellbuilt glebe-house, and a glebe of about twenty-two acres, together valued at £60 per annum. The church, dedicated to St. Maethlu, and situated on a lofty eminence overlooking the Irish Sea, is a small and handsome structure of modern erection; and the interior, which is one of the neatest in Anglesey, is ornamented with a good east window of three ogeeheaded lights, embellished with modern stained glass: on the south side of the church are some ancient monuments to members of the family of Griffith. There are places of worship for dissenters, and two Sunday schools, one of which is in connexion with the Calvinistic Methodists, and the other with the Baptists. A bequest of £38 was made to the poor by an unknown benefactor, besides which there are a few smaller donations, annually distributed among the poor; together with £7, the rent accruing from a cottage and about five acres of land, acquired by the parish about a century and a half since.
Llanvagdalen, or Llanvaglan (Llan-Faglan)
LLANVAGDALEN, or LLANVAGLAN (LLAN-FAGLAN), a parish, in the hundred of Isgorvai, union and county of Carnarvon, North Wales, 2 miles (W. S. W.) from Carnarvon; containing 205 inhabitants. This parish, which derives its name from the dedication of its church to St. Baglan, is situated on the Menai strait, near its southern extremity. It is bounded on the north and east by Llanbeblig, on the south by Llanwnda, on the west by the strait; and comprises between 600 and 700 acres, of which about one-half is arable. The soil and surface of the land are various: in some parts, high, rugged, and sterile rocks strikingly contrast with low and fertile grounds of hazel loam, producing crops of wheat, barley, and oats; and the scenery is enriched by some fine plantations of oak, ash, and alder trees. The parish comprises only a few farms and widely-scattered dwellings. The living is a perpetual curacy, annexed to the vicarage of Llanwnda: the tithes have been commuted for £123, of which £115 are payable to the Principal and Fellows of Jesus' College, Oxford, and £8 to the incumbent, who has also a glebe of six acres, valued at £1. 5. per annum. The church, situated in the centre of a large field, to which there is no public road, is an ancient edifice, consisting of a nave and chancel, with a spacious chapel on the north side: the eastern gable is ornamented with the remains of an old cross, curiously sculptured.