A Topographical Dictionary of Wales. Originally published by S Lewis, London, 1849.
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BRONCASTELLAN (BRON-CASTELLAN), a township, in the parish of LlanbadarnVawr, union of Aberystwith, upper division of the hundred of Geneu'r Glyn, county of Cardigan, South Wales, 4 miles (E.) from Aberystwith; containing 147 inhabitants. This township occupies a rugged and mountainous district near the foot of the Plinlimmon mountain, and the road from Llanidloes to Aberystwith passes through it. It is separately assessed for the support of its poor.
BRONYN (BRYN-YN), a parish, in the union of Newcastle-Emlyn, lower division of the hundred of Troedyraur, county of Cardigan, South Wales, 1½ mile (N. N. W.) from NewcastleEmlyn, and on the road from Llanbedr, through Atpar, to Cardigan; containing 377 inhabitants. This parish, the name of which implies "the White Mount," is pleasantly situated near the Vale of Teivy. Abercery, here, is a neat modern villa, beautifully situated, and commanding one of the finest reaches of the Vale of Teivy, including the straggling town of Newcastle-Emlyn, with the venerable ruins of its ancient castle, and much richly-varied scenery. The parish is inclosed, the land in a good state of cultivation, and tolerably productive. The living is a perpetual curacy, annexed, with that of BettwsEvan, to the vicarage of Penbryn. The church is dedicated to St. Mary. There is a place of worship for Independents; also a Sunday school, belonging to the Independents, in which about 150 persons are gratuitously taught. Near the church is a very strong intrenchment, called the Gaer, a name common to fortifications of this description, of which there are many in this part of the principality.
BRONINGTON, a township, in the parish of Hanmer, union of Ellesmere, hundred of Maelor, county of Flint, North Wales; containing 744 inhabitants. The impropriate tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £284. 3. 7., and the vicarial for one of £76. 2. 6., with a vicarial glebe of thirty-five acres, valued at £40 per annum. A Sunday school is kept here by the Calvinistic Methodists.
Bronllŷs, or Brynllys (Brwynllŷs)
BRONLLŶS, or BRYNLLYS (BRWYNLLŶS), a parish, in the union of Hay, hundred of Talgarth, county of Brecknock, South Wales, 8 miles (N. E.) from Brecknock, on the road to Hay; containing 338 inhabitants. The parish comprises by admeasurement 2109 acres, and contains the two villages of Bronllŷs and Colebrook, the former of which occupies a pleasant situation at no great distance from the river Llyvni, or Llynvi, and, though poor and inconsiderable, derives some historical importance from its ancient castle. This fortress, occupying the summit of an artificial mount on the banks of the Llyvni, appears to have been designed to protect the pass of that river, and to communicate with the strong post at Dinas, about three miles to the south. Its origin is involved in impenetrable obscurity. Mr. King, in his "Munimenta Antiqua," is of opinion that it was built in the period between the landing of Julius Cæsar and the reign of the Emperor Claudius, from a Syrian model introduced by the Phœnicians who traded to Cornwall, in which county a similar tower is still standing at Launceston. But, although its remains bear evidence of great antiquity, so remote an origin as this may reasonably be doubted; and Mr. Jones, the author of the History of Brecknockshire, is decidedly of opinion that it was built by William the Conqueror, at the period of his expedition into Wales about the year 1080, and that if it had been of British construction, and in the possession of the British, it would have shared the fate of the rest of Brecknockshire upon the conquest of that county by Bernard Newmarch, and would have been allotted to one of his knights, in the midst of whose possessions it is erected. Others give it a later date, and suppose that from its close resemblance to some of the early eastern towers, it is not improbable it was built by the Normans from models which they had seen abroad when engaged in the crusades. The first historical notice of it is in the reign of Henry I., by whom it was granted, together with the castle of Llandovery and the manor of Cantuff-Bychan, to Richard Fitz-Pons. It afterwards passed into the noble families of de Clifford, Giffard, de Bohun, and Stafford; and on the attainder of Stafford, the last Duke of Buckingham, in the reign of Henry VIII., escheated to the crown. Towards the latter part of the twelfth century, it was greatly damaged by an accidental fire; and Mahel, the grand-nephew of Bernard Newmarch, and lord of Brecknock, who was noted only for his inhumanity, being at the time on a visit to Walter de Clifford, met his death by the falling of a stone upon his head, whilst the fire was raging. The venerable remains of the castle consist principally of one lofty circular tower, about twenty-five feet in diameter, of great solidity, and built with small hewn stones. Although a breach, level with the ground outside, appears to have been made in the wall of the tower, the original entrance was at some distance from the ground, and was probably approached by a flight of wooden steps. The arches of the doorway, and of most of the windows of this ancient building, are each rudely formed of two inclined stones.
The handsome mansion of Pontywal, in the parish, the property of Mrs. Clarke, formerly belonged to the Havards, a Roman Catholic family of some note in the county; from whom it descended by marriage to a family of the name of Watkins, of whom it was purchased, about the year 1750, by Evan Hughes, Esq., high sheriff of the county in 1754: from this gentleman it passed to his niece, and it is now entailed upon her grand-daughters after the decease of Mrs. Clarke. In the old portion of the house are the remains of what appears to have been a chapel, and under the more modern parts were all the appearances of a place of burial. In the parish is also an old family mansion, called Trêvithel, or "Ithel's House," from Ithel, King of Gwent, as it is said, who was slain by the men of Brycheiniog, about the year 846: it is now occupied as a farmhouse. A substantial bridge, called Pontithel, has been erected over the river Llyvni, which, after flowing through the parish, falls into the romantic river Wye near Glâsbury.
The living is a discharged vicarage, rated in the king's books at £4. 16. 0½.; patrons, the De Winton family. The appropriate tithes, payable to the incumbent of Crickadarn, have been commuted for a rent-charge of £118, and the vicarial tithes for one of £192, with a glebe of six acres, valued at £6 per annum. The church, dedicated to St. Mary, is a small edifice adjoining the village, with a detached tower at its north-eastern angle, in which are five bells. There is a table of benefactions in the church, from which it appears that a moiety of £10 was given by John Havard, of Tregoed, in 1726, to be invested for the benefit of the poor, and that the other moiety was granted to the poor of that part of the parish of Glâsbury within the county of Brecon. An unknown benefactor also gave £10; and £2. 10. per annum were left by Mrs. Sybil Williams, of Trêvithel, in 1761. The table further states that the rectorial tithes of Bronllŷs were charged by the Rev. D. Williams, of Stapleford, in the county of Hertford, with the payment of forty shillings per annum for the poor; this sum being reserved when he gave those tithes to the incumbent of Crickadarn. A Sunday school was commenced in 1837. In a field called Croeslechau, on the farm of Bryn-y-groes, in the parish, is a small cromlech, under part of which grows a white thorn, which, it is said, has gradually raised the covering, or horizontal, stone several inches out of its original position.
BRONYARTH, a township, consisting of the upper and lower divisions, in the parish of Guilsfield, hundred of Pool, county of Montgomery, North Wales, a few miles (N.) from Welshpool; the population is included in the return for the parish. This township comprises 3130 acres, of which 600 are common or waste land. The tithes have been commuted for £334. 10., of which a sum of £247. 10. is payable to the Dean and Chapter of Christ-Church, Oxford, £80 to the vicar of Guilsfield, and £7 to the vicar of Meivod.
BROUGHTON, a township, in the parish and union of Wrexham, hundred of Bromfield, county of Denbigh, North Wales; containing, in 1841, 1449 inhabitants. This township and its vicinity abound with rich and extensive mines of coal, ironore, &c., and various establishments, on a large scale, have for a considerable number of years been employed in working them. The Brymbo branch of the Chester and Shrewsbury railway passes through Broughton, and has greatly stimulated the working of the collieries in the township. There is a separate assessment for the poor, pursuant to an arrangement made in the parish in 1830. A tithe rent-charge of £191 is paid to the vicar of Wrexham, and one of £103. 16. to the impropriators.
BROUGHTON, a township, in the parish of Hawarden, union of Great Boughton, hundred of Mold, county of Flint, North Wales, 2½ miles (S. E.) from the town of Hawarden; containing 405 inhabitants. This place appears to have been occupied prior to the Conquest, by one Levenot, a freeman; and after that period was possessed under the designation of Brochetune, by Robert de Roelent, or Rhuddlan, who held it under Hugh Lupus, Earl of Chester, and who held also a manor here, once owned by a Saxon named Ulmer. Part of the Warren mountain, in the township, was inclosed pursuant to an act of parliament obtained in 1798. The Mold railway, very recently opened, has a station near Broughton. A chapel of ease to the rectory of Hawarden, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, was erected here in 1824: it has a parsonage-house attached for the residence of a curate, appointed by the rector. The township also contains a National school for boys and girls, and a Sunday school, both supported by Sir Stephen R. Glynne, Bart., and the rector, the day scholars, however, paying a small fee per week in aid of the funds.
BRYMBO, a township, in the parish and union of Wrexham, hundred of Bromfield, county of Denbigh, North Wales, 4 miles (N. W. by W.) from the town of Wrexham; containing, in 1841, 1217 inhabitants. Thomas, Earl of Arundel, by charter granted in 1410, gave the people of Holt permission to dig for coal and turf here. There are now considerable collieries and iron-works in the township, the principal of which, established by the late John Wilkinson, Esq., were for some time discontinued, being the subject of a suit in Chancery, but are now carried on upon a still larger scale, consisting of an extensive colliery, and iron-mines, two blast furnaces, foundries, &c. The opening of a branch from the Chester and Shrewsbury railway has been of much advantage to the township, by greatly augmenting the sale of its mineral produce. A church was erected in the year 1841, with the aid, principally, of Her Majesty's Church Commissioners: the living is a perpetual curacy, in the gift of the Vicar of Wrexham, with a net income of £90. The impropriate tithes have been commuted for a rentcharge of £332 and a sum of £1 is paid to the vicar. There are several places of worship for dissenters. A Church school for girls was commenced in 1841, and one for boys in 1843; but these being held in mere cottages, and otherwise not meeting the requirements of the neighbourhood, the Chancery scheme drawn up in 1845 for a new distribution of certain charities in Wrexham, directed that fourtenths of the income should be applied for the maintenance of a school here. Three-tenths were also awarded for the support of a similar school in Minera; and the trustees were empowered to lay out in the purchase of school sites, and the erection of schoolhouses and master's and mistress's residences, any sum not exceeding £800; the same to be built in suitable places in Brymbo and Minera townships. Sunday schools are supported in different parts of the townships. That remarkable monument of Saxon industry, Clawdd Offa, or Offa's Dyke, passes in the vicinity of Brymbo Hall, near which it has been levelled for the formation of roads, tramways, &c., in connexion with the iron-works: in removing a portion of it, a great quantity of the bones of horses, in a state of excellent preservation, and horse-shoes of rude workmanship, were found.
BRYN-CAREDIG, with Maesmaencymro, a hamlet, in that part of the parish of Llanynys which is in the hundred of Ruthin, in the union of Ruthin, county of Denbigh, North Wales, 2 miles (N. W.) from Ruthin: the population is returned with the parish. In the years 1813 and 1814, a portion of land in the vicinity of this place was planted by W. M. Thackeray, Esq., M. D., and the trees are now in a flourishing state.
BRYNCROES (BRYN-CROES), a parish, in the union of Pwllheli, partly in the hundred of Gaflogion, but principally in that of Commitmaen, Lleyn division of the county of Carnarvon, North Wales, 11 miles (W. by S.) from Pwllheli; containing 948 inhabitants. The village is pleasantly situated on the river Sochan: the parish, which is entirely agricultural, contains about 3000 acres of land, the whole of it inclosed. The living is a perpetual curacy, endowed with a rent-charge of £12 private benefaction, with £600 royal bounty, and £1000 parliamentary grant; net income, £107; patron and impropriator, C. G. Wynne, Esq., whose tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £181. 10. 6. The church is a small edifice in good repair, and is appropriately fitted up for the accommodation of the parishioners. There are places of worship for Calvinistic Methodists, Independents, and Wesleyans, with a Sunday school held in each of them. In 1784, Robert Evans bequeathed £80 for teaching a Welsh school for this parish and those of Aberdaron, Llanvaelrhŷs, and Rhiw, which being subsequently augmented by subscriptions in each parish, a small house, premises, and above six acres of land, were purchased in the parish of Llaniestyn, now yielding about £9 per annum. Of this rent, half is now given to a schoolmaster at Aberdaron, for instructing children of that parish and Llanvaelrhŷs, and half to a schoolmaster at Bryncroes, for this parish and Rhiw; the former plan of holding a school in each of the four parishes for a year, in rotation, having been discontinued. The master here also receives £3. 13. 6. per annum, being half the rent of a tenement and fourteen acres of land devised by Griffith Hughes, in 1818, for purposes of education in the parishes of Bryncroes and Llangwnadl. In consideration of these two payments, he teaches all the poor children of Bryncroes and Rhiw who apply for admission, his only other advantages being a house and garden, and about £2 a year arising from a quarterage of 2s. paid by a few of the scholars. One or two small bequests are appropriated to the relief of the poor; and the rent of a piece of land, amounting to 15s. a year, is applied to the repairs of the church. An ancient chapel, called Tŷ-Vair, or "St. Mary's Chapel," formerly stood near the church; in the vicinity of which, also, are Fynnon-Vair, "St. Mary's Well," and Cae-Vair, "St. Mary's Field." A kist-vaen, or stone coffin, in which was an urn containing burnt bones and ashes, was discovered some years since, on the grounds of Tŷ-Mawr, in the parish; and near a house called Monachtŷ was formerly a cromlech.
BRYN-EGLWYS, a parish, in the union of Corwen, hundred of Yale, county of Denbigh, North Wales, 5 miles (N. W.) from Llangollen; containing 449 inhabitants. This parish is situated among mountains of various elevation, and is characterised by boldness of scenery. The living is a perpetual curacy, endowed with £200 private benefaction, and £800 royal bounty; net income £90, with a glebe-house; patron and impropriator, Sir Watkin Williams Wynn, Bart. The church is a small edifice, having no claim to architectural notice. There are places of worship for Calvinistic and Wesleyan Methodists. Here is a day school of thirty or forty children, of whom some are paid for by their parents, but the greater part are taught free in consideration of an endowment of £12. 10. per annum. This endowment includes a rent-charge of £6, bequeathed by Mrs. Margaret Lloyd in 1714, and payable out of the estate of Tŷ-'n-y-Wern; also £3. 10., the rent of an allotment of about three acres from the common attached to the rent-charge. Three Sunday schools are kept in the parish. In 1811, Watkin Thelwall made a gift of £25 for the benefit of the poor, the interest of which, 20s., is added to the sacrament-money at Christmas, and distributed in small sums to the old and infirm poor. An unknown donor left £20, which, in 1784, was applied to parish purposes, but the interest with arrears is paid out of the rates, and also divided. Near Plàs-yn-Iâl, in the mountainous part of the parish, is a copious spring, possessing precisely the same properties as the water of Holywell, and producing the mosses Jungermannia Asplenioides, and Conferva Gelatinosa, the fragrance of which is more powerful than that of the mosses of St. Winifred's well.
BRYN-GWYN, a parish, in the union of Hay, hundred of Painscastle, county of Radnor, South Wales, 5 miles (N. N. W.) from Hay; containing 281 inhabitants. This parish is situated on the small river Garrow, or Arrow, and on the road leading from Painscastle to the town of Kington. It is bounded on the north by the parish of Glascomb, on the south by Painscastle, on the north-east by Newchurch, on the east by Clyro, and on the west by the chapelry of Rulen; and comprises by computation about 4000 acres, consisting chiefly of pasture, with some tracts of fertile and productive land in a state of tillage. The surface is hilly and mountainous, with very little wood, and the soil of a loamy nature, producing several kinds of crops, of which oats is by far the most considerable. There is a large portion of common, part of which is a turbary, called Rhôs Gôch, producing very excellent peat, which is dug to the depth of fifteen feet from the surface. Beneath the peat are strata of blue clay and of clay of a yellow hue, the latter earth abounding with sea-shells, which crumble on the slightest touch: the layer is about two feet in depth, and appears to be incumbent on water, which rises up through the fissures occasionally made with the spade, and soon fills the whole cavity. The living is a rectory, rated in the king's books at £11. 6. 8.; present net income, £294; patron, the Bishop of St. David's. The church, dedicated to St. Michael, consists of a nave and chancel, but is not distinguished by any architectural features deserving of notice. Richard Jones in 1706, and an unknown benefactor, gave each a portion of land, directing the rental, now £9. 2., to be periodically distributed among the poor.
BRYN-Y-BEIRDD, a hamlet, in that part of the parish of Llandilo-Vawr which is in the hundred of Iscennen, in the union of Llandilo-Vawr, county of Carmarthen, South Wales, 4 miles (S. E. by S.) from Llandilo-Vawr; containing 386 inhabitants. A farmhouse in this hamlet, called Cwrt Bryn-y-Beirdd, is supposed to have been the collegiate residence of the bards attached to the royal palace and castle of Carreg-Cennen: it contains some curious ancient masonry, and a few beautiful architectural relics in the pointed style. Within a short distance is the source of the river Loughor, which rises in a full stream out of a rock; and contiguous thereto is a natural cavern of considerable extent, which has not yet been fully explored: in some parts it is so narrow as scarcely to admit the passage of a single person, and in others it expands into capacious recesses, exhibiting a variety of curious and beautiful petrifactions.