A Topographical Dictionary of Wales. Originally published by S Lewis, London, 1849.
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DENIO (DENEIO), a parish, in the union of Pwllheli, hundred of Gaflogion, county of Carnarvon, North Wales, situated on the bay of Cardigan; including the town of Pwllheli, and containing 2367 inhabitants. The living is a perpetual curacy, annexed to the vicarage of Llannor. The church, dedicated to St. Beuno, stands about half a mile to the north of Pwllheli; but being very small and in a state of great dilapidation, a new church has been built at that town, where all ecclesiastical rites, except that of burial, are performed: the present ancient structure is built somewhat in the form of the Roman letter L. A sum of £15 is annually divided among ten poor widows of the parish, arising from a property called Ddwyryd, consisting of six small cottages and nearly five acres of land, the latter the gift of Grace Stoddart, as appears by a table of benefactions in the church, dated 1767; the cottages were built at the expense of the parish, and are principally inhabited by paupers. On the same authority it is stated that Lowry Bodvile left a garden, on which a house has been built, and a piece of land, the whole yielding £4. 10. per annum rent, which is distributed among the poor; and Mary Lewis, in 1811, devised £20, the interest of which is at Christmas divided among eight widows. It also appears that Griffith Humphrey gave £20 for the encouragement of psalm-singing, and Roger Middleton £50, and Evan Hughes £30, for the benefit of the poor; but nothing is now known of these donations.—See Pwllheli.
Derwen, or Derwen-Anial
DERWEN, or DERWEN-ANIAL, a parish, in the union and hundred of Ruthin, county of Denbigh, North Wales, 7 miles (S. W. by S.) from Ruthin; containing 569 inhabitants. The affix to the name of this parish, signifying "a desert uncleared," is supposed to have originated in the circumstance of the ground upon which the present church stands (the northern slope of a deep glen) having been in former times an uncultivated tract abounding in forest-trees. A tradition prevails, that a church still more ancient than the present one existed in the parish, a spot near the summit of a lofty hill being called Yr Hên Eglwys, "the old church;" an oval space there, measuring thirty-five paces by twenty-five, appears to have been the churchyard, and the whole of the land in the vicinity, which is now common, exhibits evident marks of having formerly been cultivated. The parish comprises 3912 acres, whereof 1280 are common or waste land. The village is situated near the source of the river Clwyd, and abounds with springs of excellent water, one of which, called Fynnon Sarah, was in great repute for its efficacy in the cure of cancer. About a mile from the village is a quarry of stone, which is soft and of peculiarly fine grain, and is much esteemed for sharpening the finest instruments, being found no where else in this country; great quantities are sent to London, and also to America. A fair is held on February 11th.
The living is a rectory, rated in the king's books at £10. 15.; patron, the Bishop of Bangor: the tithes have been commuted for £348, of which £8 are paid to the parish-clerk; the glebe comprises fifteen acres, valued at £30 per annum, and there is a glebe-house. The church, dedicated to St. Mary, is a small but interesting edifice, in the decorated English style, containing much beautiful screenwork. In the churchyard is a richly sculptured stone cross, in the same style of architecture, seventeen feet high, ornamented in alto-relievo with a device of the Crucifixion, and with emblematic figures of Justice, Mercy, and Faith, in canopied niches. There are one or two places of worship for Calvinistic Methodists. A day school, containing about fortyfive boys and girls, instructed in the principles of the Church, is supported partly by subscription of the rector and landed proprietors, and partly by payments from the children. Two Sunday schools are conducted by the Calvinistic Methodists. Godfrey Roberts, of Richmond, in 1828 gave a rent-charge on the estate of Tŷ-Cerrig, for the benefit of three aged men and three aged women; it is distributed annually at Christmas, and there is also a rent-charge of £6. 6., distributed among the poor on St. Thomas's day.
DERWLWYN, a hamlet, in the parish of Carno, union of Newtown and Llanidloes, Lower division of the hundred of Llanidloes, county of Montgomery, North Wales, 12 miles (W. N. W.) from Newtown; containing 243 inhabitants. The name of this hamlet denotes that it formerly abounded with wood, though little is observable at the present time, the surface being for the most part rugged and mountainous.
DERWYDD, a hamlet, in the parish of Llandebie, union of Llandilo-Vawr, Upper division of the hundred of Iscennen, county of Carmarthen, South Wales, 3¼ miles (S. S. W.) from LlandiloVawr: the population is returned with the parish. The name of this place signifies that it formerly appertained to a Druid, and several appearances in the neighbourhood indicate that it was anciently the resort of some of that order. It is situated near the south bank of the river Cennen, and is partially wooded.
DEVYNOCK (DEFYNOG), a parish, in the hundred of Devynock, union and county of Brecknock, South Wales, 9 miles (W.) from Brecknock; comprising the townships of Cray, Glyn, Maescar, Senni, and Glyn-Tawe; and containing 1927 inhabitants. The name of this large parish, which anciently formed part of the Great Forest of Devynock, may, according to the historian of Brecknockshire, be traced to the same British root as that of the English county of Devon, both names being descriptive of the face of the country, as varied by deep valleys and extensive hills. By other writers, and perhaps upon equally good authority, the name is derived from the dedication of its church to St. Dyfnog, an eminent British saint, who flourished towards the close of the sixth century. The parish is comprehended within the lordship or manor of Devynock, which was held as a fief under the crown by the lords marcher of Brecknock, and was subject to the arbitrary operation of the forest laws, which were enforced with unrelenting rigour under the lords marcher and their successors. This extensive lordship was designated the "Manor of the Great Forest," or of the "Great Forest of Devynock," within the county of Brecknock; and the whole, or at least a considerable portion of it, having been acquired by the successors of Bernard Newmarch in the lordship of Brecknock, formed no part of the lordship marcher, but was held by them separately under the crown of England. Under the feudal laws all the tenants of the manor were compelled to bring their corn to be ground at the lord's mills, of which, within the last forty years, there were no less than seven remaining, four of them in this parish, situated respectively at Devynock, Cray, Glyn-Tawe, and Senni. The custom, however, is not now observed with the same strictness as formerly.
On the banks of the river Senni was anciently a small castle, from which the farm whereon it stood is still called Castell Dû, or "the Black Castle." This fortress, of Norman origin, is supposed to have been the residence of the constable of the forest, an office held at one time by a descendant of Sir Reginald Aubrey, one of the companions of Bernard Newmarch. It served also as a keep, or prison, for the confinement of mountain robbers, who frequently made predatory incursions into the vale, and also for the punishment of offenders against the forest laws. During the insurrection of Owain Glyndwr against Henry IV., that monarch, on visiting the principality, is said to have stayed for some time at the castle, where he caused a proclamation of pardon to be drawn up, which received the royal signature at Devynock, September 15, 1403, and is still extant. Upon the attainder of the last Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, in the reign of Henry VIII., the lordship was subdivided into the manor of the Great Forest of Devynock, and that of the Little Forest. Both of these, at no remote period, were held by different tenures under the crown; and, with the exception of the lands of the latter division, which, reserving the manor, have been sold to different purchasers within the last forty years, are now the property of Sir Charles Morgan, Bart., of Tredegar. The appearance of this district even of late years formed a striking commentary upon the tenour of an ancient document of the 9th of Elizabeth, reserving "all wild beasts and fallow deer, all woods, underwoods, and timber-trees, &c.;" until lately, the country was so desolate that not a single tree of any kind was to be seen for miles, even the fences were of stone, and the only animals to be found were a few mountain sheep, a number of Welsh ponies, and small hardy cattle.
The parish is bounded on the north by that of Trallong, from which it is separated by the river Usk; on the south by Ystrad-Velltey, on the east by Llanspythid, and on the west by Llywel; and comprehends a large extent of surface, of which 7331 acres of uninclosed land, belonging to the Great Forest of Brecon, form a considerable part. The portion under tillage produces chiefly oats, barley, and wheat; but the great dependence of the farmers is on their almost innumerable flocks of fine sheep, and their numerous herds of native black, Scotch, and Herefordshire cattle, which, with numbers of Welsh ponies, traverse the forest, hills, and mountains, exhibiting fine specimens of their respective breeds, and of the excellence of their pasture. The soil in general is a stiff marl, and requires draining, but the crops are of fair quality, and occasionally heavy. The surface is greatly diversified, and displays every variety of picturesque and romantic scenery, consisting of hill and dale, and wood and water, of much interest and beauty, in addition to the wild and extensive tract of Brecon forest, which runs far beyond the limits of this parish into that of Ystrad-Velltey, and which, interspersed in every direction with groups of sheep and cattle, supplies a striking and imposing feature in the diversified appearance of the district. The river Usk is celebrated for its salmon fishery; and the Cray, Senni, Trewarren, and some smaller streams, for their excellent trout. Glanwyst villa, beautifully situated, is the residence of A. M. R. Storey, Esq., who has numerous plantations of fir, oak, &c., standing thick in the valleys, and to whom the poor of the parish are greatly indebted for the employment afforded in the numerous and expensive improvements so long carried on in his house and grounds.
The village is pleasantly situated at the extremity of the Vale of Senni, and is intersected by the river of that name, which flows through the parish, and empties itself into the river Usk near Rhŷd-y-Briw; it is sheltered by some abrupt eminences, and two of these, being richly clothed with wood, add greatly to the beauty of its appearance. There are two corn-mills on the Senni, and at Senni bridge is a small manufactory for home stuffs, near which also are an iron-foundry and forge, and several good flagstone-quarries. Coal, culm, and limestone are found in abundance in the southern part of the parish, and the adjacent district; and a tramroad from Gwain Clawdd, in the parish of Ystrad-Gunlais, intersecting an extensive limestone district, traverses it from south to north, terminating near Rhŷd-y-Briw, in the Vale of Usk. This road, which was constructed at the expense of John Christie, Esq., of London, connects those parts of this and the adjoining parish which border upon Glyn-Tawe, the chief seat of the mineral works in this part of Brecknockshire, with the centre of the same county. The great road from London to Pembroke passes through the northern part of the parish, running nearly parallel with the course of the Usk: the parish roads in general are not in good condition, owing to the sudden, and frequently violent, overflowing of the streams in the neighbourhood, by which they are torn up and destroyed. Fairs are held five times in the year, on April 16th, May 9th, August 12th, October 6th, and December 5th.
The living is a vicarage, with the perpetual curacy of Ystrad-Velltey annexed, rated in the king's books at £14. 14. 4½.; present net income, £400, with a good house, and two acres of glebe land; patron, the Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol. The same prelate is appropriator of one-third of the great and small tithes, under the charter, as is supposed, of Bernard Newmarch, by whom they were granted to the abbey of St. Peter, Gloucester, the church of which, on the foundation of the bishopric, was made the cathedral church. Another third, which was anciently the property of the priory of St. John, in Brecknock, now belongs to Penry Williams, Esq., and the remaining third is payable to the vicar, who is patron of the three perpetual curacies of Llan Ilid, in Cray, Llan Illtyd, in Glyn, and Callwen, in GlynTawe. The church, dedicated to St. Dyfnog, and situated at the northern extremity of the village, where it forms an interesting and prominent feature in the view, is a spacious and venerable structure, principally in the later style of English architecture, with a well-built tower at the western end, having on its south-western angle an inscription in ancient Saxon characters, which has not been satisfactorily decyphered. The body consists of a nave, chancel, and south aisle, and is twenty-three yards long, and fifteen wide: the nave has been thoroughly repaired, if not entirely rebuilt, and the whole of the interior is appropriately fitted up. A curious custom prevails here, by which the parish-clerk is entitled, on the death of any inhabitant, to certain garments of the deceased: this custom is more fully detailed in the account of the adjoining parish of Llywel, where it is also observed. There are places of worship for different denominations of dissenters, consisting of the Independents, Calvinistic and Wesleyan Methodists, and Particular Baptists.
A free-school for the gratuitous instruction of the children of this parish, and of the hamlet of Isclydach, in the parish of Llywel; and five almshouses in the village of Devynock, were founded by Sir John Davy, of Aldermanbury, in the city of London, who, in 1624, bequeathed for their support £40 per annum, charged upon his advowson of Abernant, and the chapel of Convil, in the county of Carmarthen. The almshouses and schoolroom, with a house for the master, were erected in 1626, and ever since that period have been appropriated to the purposes of the founder's will. Of the £40 per annum left for their endowment, £13. 6. 8., increased to £20 by the trustees from other sources, are paid to the master, who has also a house and garden rent-free; £10 are annually given in equal portions towards apprenticing three of the scholars; £10 are divided in equal shares among the five inmates of the almshouses, and the remainder is employed as a loan fund to tradesmen, and reserved for the necessary repairs of the premises. The concerns of the charity are under the superintendence of twelve trustees, consisting of the vicar and eleven of the most respectable inhabitants of the parish. There is also a school of industry for girls, in which they are taught to knit, sew, &c., in order to make them good servants; it is held over the boys' school, both having been lately built with apartments for master and mistress, the latter of whom has a salary of £20, raised by voluntary subscriptions. The Rev. William Watkins, who died about 1814, bequeathed £400 stock in the three per cents. of 1726, the interest to be distributed among the pensioners of this charity; and also gave the interest of £100 in the three per cent. annuities, of which £1 was to be paid to the minister for a sermon on the 29th of May, and the residue annually expended in a dinner for the feoffees of Sir John Davy's charity. The incomes left by the two benefactors are now blended together, and produce £55 per annum. The master, in addition to the above salary and some school-fees, receives £4 from Watkins's charity, also the £1 to be paid for a sermon and the £2 for the dinner, and £1. 10. the rent of a cottage which, with another for an additional almswoman, was erected in the rear of the old almshouses at an expense of £50. These almshouses, now consisting of six, for as many poor women, generally widows, comprise two rooms each, the inmates respectively receiving £1 additional from Watkins's charity. About five boys upon an average are apprenticed every year from the school, with fees of £3. 6. 8. each; the loans to tradesmen are granted for only one year, and never exceed £3 or £3. 6. 8. to each. The school is in the township of Maescar. There are nine Sunday schools in the parish, one of them in connexion with the Established Church, and the others belonging to the dissenters.
The parish participates in the benefits resulting from the Boughrood charity for apprenticing poor children, four being the general annual number out of this parish; and also from the establishment of Games' Hospital; both in the town of Brecon. The rent of a farm called Pathegau, in the township of Glyn, bequeathed by an unknown benefactor, and now producing about £20 per annum, is distributed among the poor of the parish. Lewis Havard, by will, in 1716, charged two tenements in Glyn-Tawe with the annual payment of ten shillings to the poor of each of the townships of Maescar and Cray, and twenty shillings to the poor of the township of Senni. David Gwalter, of Maesgwalter, in the year 1723, bequeathed £5 per annum, to be paid out of the tenement of Maesgwalter, for apprenticing two children of the township of Senni, or, in default thereof, of the parish at large, not participating in Sir John Davy's charity, and to be nominated by the occupier of Bailiau farm. The same benefactor left five houses (with gardens) adjoining Maesgwalter, one of which was to be divided into two, for six poor persons of the township of Senni, or, in default of such, for persons of the parish at large. Four of these houses having been suffered to fall down from neglect, the ground has been taken possession of, and built upon; and the intention of the testator has thus been frustrated: two of the houses, however, and three of the gardens, are still preserved entire. The only stipulation made by the testator was, that the occupiers should give a day's work in harvest time as an acknowledgment that they held under his will. Morgan Watkins, in 1699, bequeathed to the poor of the parish a farm called Baddege in the hamlet of Modridd, consisting of 130 acres, 40 of which are coppice, the whole yielding a rent of £33. 10. per annum: a new house and farm-buildings have been erected at a cost of £120, for which £12. 10. are annually allowed to the tenant until the sum is liquidated, and the residue of the rent from the farm is regularly distributed among the poor, on St. Thomas's day, in sums varying from two shillings and sixpence to twelve shillings.
Upon the mountain adjoining Llywel, on the western confines of the parish, were formerly two monuments of supposed Druidical origin. One of these, now destroyed, consisted of seven stones, said to have been arranged according to the configuration of the Pleïades, and called Meini 'r pedair Cawres, "the memorial stones of the four heroines;" but to whom the monument was erected is not known, neither has any traditionary account of it been preserved: the stones have been incorporated in the wall of a sheepfold. The other monument, which still remains, near the road from Trêcastle to Tavarn-yGarreg, is called Cerrig duon, or the "Black Stones:" it is arranged in the form of a circle, and is said to resemble the stones called the Hurlers, in the parish of St. Clare, in the county of Cornwall. Two Roman roads traversed the parish: one passed by its northern confines, from the Camlais to the Senni, in its course from the Gaer, near the town of Brecknock, to Maridunum, the modern Carmarthen; the other, called the Sarn Helen, anciently forming the great road from Deva, now Chester, to Nidus at Neath, entered the parish from the Vale of Senni, proceeded in a direction across the forest to a great stone called "Maen Llia," and thence declined into the Vale of Ystrad-Velltey. Maen Llia, which is about eleven feet high, is by some antiquaries supposed to have been a Roman milliary, but by others to have been erected as a guide to travellers through the forest: it is situated at the distance of a few hundred yards from the present turnpike-road leading from Brecknock, over the Great Forest, to Neath, and within fifty yards of the old Roman road. Numerous carneddau, or heaps of sepulchral stones, are scattered over the hilly parts of the parish; and barrows are frequently to be seen in the valleys. A golden angel, of the time of Henry VII., was dug up about forty years ago, in the north-eastern extremity of the parish.
Deythur, or Newchapel
DEYTHUR, or NEWCHAPEL, a chapelry, in the hundred of Deythur, county of Montgomery, North Wales. The manor or lordship of Deythur was formerly of much greater extent than at present, and perhaps stretched over the whole of the hundred of the same name. It includes within its limits the township of Llannucheela, and is the property of William Ormsby Gore, Esq., M.P., of Porkington, near Oswestry, who purchased it some years since from the Duke of Cleveland, then lord of the manor. The chapel, dedicated to the Holy Trinity, is in the early English style of architecture. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the gift of Mr. Gore, endowed with £36 per annum, arising from a rent-charge of £12 on the Collvryn estate, granted by the Vane family; from a charge of £8 on the Llwyn estate, the gift of Hugh Derwas, Esq.; and from the rent of a farm called Craig Nant, in the parish of Llanervul, which was purchased by a grant from Queen Anne's bounty, and comprises about thirty acres. The endowed school of Deythur, situated near the chapel, is a small inconvenient building, surrounded by the lands belonging to the charity. It was founded in 1690 by Andrew Newport, Esq., lord of the manor, who erected it at his own expense, and inclosed the waste lands assigned for its endowment. These lands comprise fifty-five acres, fortysix of which are situated in Deythur, and the remainder, with a cottage and garden, in the vicinity; the whole producing a clear income of £87 per annum, which is paid to the master, who also receives a rent-charge of £2 per annum from a small estate situated in the parish of Meivod. The school is open to all the children of the manor, and is attended by about twenty-five, between the ages of six and fourteen.
DIHEWYD, a parish, in the union of Aberaëron, partly in the hundred of Troedyraur, and partly in that of Moythen, county of Cardigan, South Wales, 8 miles (N. W. by W.) from Lampeter; containing 518 inhabitants. This parish is situated near the pleasant Vale of Aëron, and not far from the river Mydur; its scenery is diversified, and towards the vale becomes highly picturesque. A fair is held at Llanwyddalys, within its limits, annually on the 9th of May. It forms a prebend, originally in the college of Llandewy-Brevi, but now in the collegiate church of Brecknock, rated in the king's books at £6. 13. 4., and in the patronage of the Bishop of St. David's. The living is a perpetual curacy, endowed with £800 royal bounty; net income, £83; patrons and impropriators, the Earl of Lisburne, and Major Lewis. The church, dedicated to St. Vitalis, was rebuilt within the last twenty years, and is a neat edifice consisting of a nave and chancel. There are one or two places of worship for dissenters, who likewise hold two Sunday schools. On the summit of a lofty hill called Moel Dihewyd, are the remains of an ancient encampment, of the origin of which nothing is known.
DINAS, a parish, in the union of Cardigan, hundred of Kemmes, county of Pembroke, South Wales, 5 miles (N. E. by E.) from Fishguard; containing 820 inhabitants. This parish is situated on the coast of St. George's Channel, and intersected by the turnpike-road from Fishguard to Newport. It probably owes its name, signifying "fortress," or "city," to the bold promontory of Dinas Head, which forms one side of Fishguard bay, and was fortified on the land side by an agger, now nearly demolished. The area of the parish is 2000 acres, of which onefifth part is common or waste land. The living is a discharged rectory, rated in the king's books at £8; patron, Thomas Lloyd, Esq.: the tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £140, and there is a glebe-house, with a glebe of forty acres. The church, dedicated to St. Brynach, occupies a remarkable situation on the beach, and at spring tides the walls of the churchyard are washed by the sea: but it is probable that this was not the site of the original structure, as there is a place in the vicinity called Bryn Hênllan, "old church hill." Here are places of worship for Baptists, Independents, and Calvinistic Methodists, with a Sunday school held in each of them.
DINAS-MOWDDWY, an incorporated markettown, in that part of the parish of Mallwyd which is in the hundred of Tàly-Bont and Mowddwy, in the union of Dôlgelley, county of Merioneth, North Wales, 10 miles (E. by S.) from Dôlgelley, and 202 (W. N. W.) from London; containing 289 inhabitants. This place is disreputably distinguished in the Welsh annals as having become, soon after the termination of the war between the houses of York and Lancaster, the resort of numerous felons and outlaws, from whom sprang a race of lawless banditti, principally divided into Gwylliaid y Dugoed, "the banditti of the Black Wood," and Gwylliaid Cochion Mowddwy, "the red-haired banditti of Mowddwy." These banditti for some time set the laws at defiance, and perpetrated the most frightful outrages, filling with terror the minds of the peaceful inhabitants of the district, who, rather than hazard their lives and property by proceeding along the regular roads to Shrewsbury and other places, were accustomed to pass over the mountains. In order, also, to protect themselves from being surprised in the night, they placed scythes in the chimneys of their houses, some of which singular defences were remaining so late as the close of the last century. To put an end to such acts of robbery and bloodshed, a commission was granted to John Wynn ab Meredydd, of Gwydir, Esq., and Lewis Owen, of Llwyn, near Dôlgelley, Esq., Vice-Chamberlain and Baron of the Exchequer of North Wales; who, by virtue of this authority, raised a body of strong men, and on Christmas eve made prisoners of about eighty of the depredators, upon whom they proceeded to hold trial, punishing them according to the extent of their crimes. Among the prisoners were two young men, whose mother urgently entreated Owen to spare one of them, which being denied, she vowed that revenge should be taken upon the baron by her remaining offspring. Accordingly, on his journey to the assizes at Montgomery, in 1555, he was waylaid among the thick woods of Dugoed-Mowddwy, by a band of desperadoes, who blocked up the road with several long trees which they had felled, and, after discharging a shower of arrows, rushed upon their victim, whom they assassinated, leaving his body covered with upwards of thirty wounds. The scene of this tragical event is now called Llidiart y Barwn, "the Baron's Gate." This act of atrocity against one of the king's justiciaries drew down upon the proscribed bandits that punishment which a long series of outrages demanded; vigorous measures were adopted for their extirpation; many of them, being apprehended, were tried and executed, and the rest obliged to abandon their haunts, so that security and tranquillity were at length restored throughout the district.
Bwlch Oerddrws, "the Cold Door Pass," which is gained from this town by ascending a steep hill on the road to Dôlgelley, is noted as having been one of the three places where the most powerful individuals of certain districts met, and entered into a compact for enforcing the strict dispensation of justice for all wrongs done prior and subsequently to the war brought on by the ambitious proceedings of Owain Glyndwr. By this compact, each individual who had been deprived of property was to have it restored to him without lawsuit, and various regulations for restoring the government of the country were resolved upon.
The TOWN is pleasantly situated on the shelf of a rock, called Craig-y-Dinas, near the margin of the small river Cerist, at its conflux with the Dovey, and on the road from Dôlgelley to Mallwyd, at the junction of three vales, each of which is inclosed by lofty mountains. It consists principally of one street of meanly built houses. There are some deserted lead-works on the road to Dôlgelley, in which a kind of blueish ochre is found; this the shepherds wet and pound in a mortar, and then form into balls, which they use in marking their sheep. A great quantity of flannel is made in the neighbourhood, chiefly in the houses of the inhabitants, but partly also in factories. The market is on Saturday, but it has almost fallen into disuse; fairs are held annually on the Friday before Palm-Sunday, on June 2nd, September 10th, October 22nd, and November 13th.
Dinas-Mowddwy was anciently a place of much greater importance than it is at present, and is said to have been a fortified city, and the residence of a chieftain. It still retains its corporate privileges, and is the capital of a lordship including the whole of the parishes of Mallwyd and Llanymowddwy (except the township of Caer Einion Vechan in the former), over which also the jurisdiction of the corporation extends. The corporation consists of a mayor, recorder, serjeant-at-mace, and a number of burgesses. Of these, the mayor is elected annually at a court styled the general sessions of the peace, by a majority of the jury, who must be burgesses, from three persons nominated by the lord of the manor or his steward; he is a justice of the peace, and possesses the power of trying criminals, but seldom exercises it, except in cases for which the punishment of the stocks, or confinement in the veg vawr, or "great fetter," is assigned, or in such cases as the duties of a magistrate ordinarily embrace. The recorder formerly determined all actions regarding property, not exceeding forty shillings; and still holds a court leet twice a year, in May and November. The burgesses, who are elected by a majority of the jury at the "general sessions of the peace," are about twenty in number; they are exempt from tolls at the fairs, and have a right of common or turbary as well as of pasture, though this privilege, which some suppose to be not confined to the burgesses, is really exercised indiscriminately and very freely by all the inhabitants, the mountains being extensive and grassy. The freedom is inherited by birth by the sons of freemen, on the decease of the father. The corporation are entitled to the exclusive right of licensing victuallers within the lordship; and although they have lost much of their ancient authority, they still retain its insignia, consisting principally of a mace, standard, measure, stocks, and the veg vawr, or "great fetter." The county magistrates exercise concurrent jurisdiction within the borough and lordship, and hold pettysessions once a month. There is a place of worship for Independents.
DISCOED, a chapelry, in the parish, union, and borough of Presteign, locally in the hundred of Radnor, county of Radnor, in South Wales, 2½ miles (W. by N.) from Presteign; containing 116 inhabitants. The chapel is dedicated to St. Michael. It is situated in a pleasant valley, a short distance south of the river Lug, on the road between Presteign and Cascob. Offa's Dyke passes within half a mile north-west of the village.
DISSERTH (DISERTH), a parish, in the union of Builth, hundred of Colwyn, county of Radnor, South Wales, 2½ miles (N.) from Builth; comprising the townships of Disserth and Tre 'rcoed, each of which separately supports its own poor; and containing 627 inhabitants, of whom 350 are in the former township. This parish is said to have derived its name from the flatness of its surface, the word Diserth signifying in the Welsh language a tract of country without a rise or elevation. A place called Llêchrhŷd, situated within its limits, has generally been considered the scene of the celebrated victory gained by Rhŷs ab Tewdwr, the rightful prince of South Wales, at the head of his Irish forces, over the usurping princes of Powys, the three sons of Bleddyn ab Cynvyn; but this event may, with greater probability, be referred to Llêchrhŷd, near Cardigan, on the river Teivy. The parish is situated on the banks of the river Wye which is not navigable in this part of its course; and is intersected by the turnpike-roads from Builth, in the county of Brecknock, to Newtown in Montgomeryshire, and to Aberystwith in the county of Cardigan. It is bounded on the north by the parishes of Llandrindod and Kevenlleece, on the south by that of Llanelweth, on the east by the parish of Llansantfraid, and on the west by Llanyre; and comprises, according to a late survey, 6650a. 27p., of which 2030 acres are arable, and 400 woodland consisting chiefly of oak, ash, and larch. The soil is in general wet and clayey, and the produce of the arable land wheat, barley, and oats, but the main dependence of the farmer is on stock reared on pasture land. The general uniformity of the surface is occasionally broken, especially by a range of hills called Carneddau, which rise to a considerable height, and command an extensive and interesting prospect over the northern parts of the county of Brecknock, and a considerable portion of that of Radnor: these hills afford good pasturage to numerous flocks of sheep, of which the wool is of very superior quality, and highly esteemed. Attempts have been made to obtain lead on the side of the Gilwern Hill, towards the eastern boundary, but they have not been attended with success. Besides being bounded by the river Wye, the parish is intersected by the river Ithon, and also watered by the rivulets Howey and Dulas. The principal seats are Howey Hall, Maesgwynne Hall, Newcastle, Bryngroes, Newmead, and Tyncoed; and the parish contains the small villages of Howey, Pentre, and Smithfield. Fairs were annually held on Howey Common, on the Saturdays before the 11th of February, the 11th of May, and the 11th of November, chiefly for the sale of live stock; but they have fallen into disuse.
The living is a rectory, rated in the king's books at £16, with the living of Bettws-Disserth annexed; patron, the Bishop of St. David's. The tithes of the parish have been commuted for a rent-charge of £229. 19. 11., with a glebe of three-quarters of an acre, valued at £1. 1. per annum. The church, dedicated to St. Cewydd, is a spacious and venerable structure, consisting of a nave and chancel, with a tower seventy feet high, containing three bells, and crowned with turrets, and which, from being whitewashed, forms a conspicuous object in the distant view, but loses much of its interest on a nearer inspection; the length of the edifice is sixty-three feet, and the breadth twenty-five. Ezekiel Williams, in 1762, bequeathed £40 to the poor not receiving parochial relief; but the money having been entrusted to a person who afterwards became insolvent, only £28 were received. With a part of this sum, a cottage, garden, and appurtenances were purchased; and out of the rent, £2 are distributed on New Year's day among poor decayed housekeepers, selected by the vestry; the cottage being occupied rent-free by a pauper.
Dogmael's, St. (St. Dogfael)
DOGMAEL'S, ST. (ST. DOGFAEL), a parish, in the union of Cardigan, hundred of Kemmes, county of Pembroke, South Wales, 1 mile (W.) from Cardigan; containing 2478 inhabitants. This place is of considerable antiquity, and is connected with some events of importance during the earlier periods of the history of the principality. In 987, the Danes, who had effected a landing on this part of the coast, after ravaging and laying waste the surrounding country, plundered and burnt the church here. In the reign of William Rufus, Llewelyn and Einon sons of Cadivor ab Collwyn, and Einon ab Collwyn their uncle, formed a conspiracy against Rhŷs ab Tewdwr, Prince of South Wales; and having prevailed upon Grufydd ab Meredydd, another chief of that country, to join them, advanced with their united forces to St. Dogmael's, where Rhŷs at that time resided, hoping to attack him by surprise. But Rhŷs was fully prepared for the encounter, and a severe and well-contested battle took place near the village, in which, after much slaughter on both sides, the confederates were totally defeated. Llewelyn and Einon were both killed in the engagement, and Grufydd was taken prisoner after the battle, and beheaded as a traitor. Einon ad Collwyn, the only leader who escaped, fled for refuge to Iestyn ab Gwrgan, lord of Morganwg, who was at that time at enmity with Rhŷs; and, suggesting to him the fatal expedient of having recourse to Norman auxiliaries, introduced into that part of the country a power which afterwards displayed itself in violent acts of aggression, finally depriving Iestyn of his dominions, which were distributed among the Norman knights.
A monastery of the order of Tirone was begun here by Martin de Tours, who forcibly obtained possession of the district of Kemmes, in the reign of William the Conqueror. It was completed by his son, Robert Fitz-Martin, in the reign of Henry I.; and was dedicated to St. Mary. Its revenue, at the time of the Dissolution, was estimated at £96. 0. 2., and the monastery was granted to John Bradshaw, who lies buried beneath the chancel, under a tombstone bearing the following inscription:—"Hic jacet Johannes Bradshaw, Armiger, qui obiit ultimo die Maii, A.D. 1588." Of this family was Bradshaw who presided at the trial of Charles I. The buildings, which were in the early style of English architecture, appear to have been substantial, and on a considerable scale: the remains consist of part of the choir and transept of the church, and the refectory, which has been converted into a barn.
The village is pleasantly situated on the banks of the river Teivy, and is intersected by a small rivulet, across which, and serving as a foot bridge, was a Roman monumental stone, about five feet and a half in length, bearing the inscription "Acrani Fili: Cvnotami:" it has, however, been removed, and is now placed in the corner of a wall near the church. The parish comprises 5900 acres. The surrounding scenery is pleasant, and in some parts picturesque; the view embracing the course of the river Teivy to its influx into the sea, with the town of Cardigan and its ancient bridge, is exceedingly interesting. The lands are nearly all inclosed and in a good state of cultivation, and the soil is generally fertile and productive. A salmon fishery is advantageously carried on during the summer, and a herring fishery in the autumn and winter, affording employment to such of the inhabitants as are not engaged in agricultural pursuits. A portion of the town of Cardigan extends into the hamlet of Bridge-End, in this parish, and is now, under the provisions of the Boundary Act, included within the enlarged limits of that borough: one of the Cardigan fairs is held here.
The living is a discharged vicarage, rated in the king's books at £4. 13. 4., and endowed with private benefaction and royal bounty; net income, £143; patron, the Lord High Chancellor; impropriator, W. Deedes, Esq. The impropriate tithes of St. Dogmael's have been commuted for a rent-charge of £408. 11., and the vicarial for one of £70. The church is dedicated to St. Thomas. There are places of worship for Baptists, Independents, and Calvinistic Methodists; and six Sunday schools, one of them in connexion with the Established Church. The union workhouse is situated here. The sum of £3 per annum, partly bequeathed by William Rowland in 1738, and partly by his grandson, is distributed in clothes and money among the poor on EasterMonday. There is a strong chalybeate spring in the parish.
Dogwell's, St. (St. Dogfael)
DOGWELL'S, ST. (ST. DOGFAEL), a parish, in the union of Haverfordwest, hundred of Dewisland, county of Pembroke, South Wales, 9 miles (N.) from Haverfordwest, on the road from that town to Fishguard; containing 461 inhabitants. This parish is noted, on traditional authority, as the birthplace and place of burial of Owain Glyndwr, who is said to have been born at Little Trêvgarn, and to have been interred at the small village of Wolf's Castle, both situated within its limits. The manor of St. Dogwell's was granted to the upper chapter of St. David's by Sir Richard Symmond, Knt., in 1328, for the maintenance of two priests in the cathedral church of that place, to say mass for the benefit of his soul and that of his wife: the rectorial tithes of the parish had been given to the same body by Bishop Thomas Wallensis, in the year 1254. Little Trêvgarn was annexed by Bishop Iorwerth to the precentorship in the cathedral of St. David's, on the foundation of that dignity, but was subsequently resumed by Bishop Gower, and an annual stipend of twenty marks allowed in its stead. It does not appear at what time it was re-appropriated, but it is now held on lease of the precentor, or rather of the body to which the income of the precentorship has just passed, by William Edwardes Tucker, Esq., of Sealy-Ham, as representative of the Edwardes family of Little Trêvgarn, in which it has been vested for upwards of 200 years. Sealy-Ham is an elegant modernised mansion on the bank of a small stream, called the Sealy, and has been in the possession of the same family since the reign of Edward III.: it is now the property and residence of W. E. Tucker, Esq., by marriage of John Owen Edwardes, Esq., of Little Trêvgarn, with the heiress of that house. Slate of good quality is worked upon a limited scale.
The living is a discharged vicarage, rated in the king's books at £4. 16. 0½.; patrons, the Bishop and the Dean and Chapter of St. David's. The impropriate tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £84. 8., and the vicarial tithes for one of £43. 10. 8.: the vicar's glebe comprises fifty-two acres and a half, valued at £50 per annum; and there is a glebe-house. The church, dedicated to St. Dogvael, is a plain building of considerable antiquity, without either tower or spire; the nave is separated from the south aisle by low Norman arches. The sum of £6. 10. per annum was left to the poor of the parish, and £1 to the minister for a sermon on EasterMonday, under the will of John Edwardes, Esq., of Trêvgarn, in 1738. The former amount is paid to the master of a British school at Wolf's Castle, erected in 1834, and situate on elevated ground, near the road from Haverfordwest to Fishguard. In the parish are a cromlech, and other remains of antiquity, some of which, supposed to have been Druidical altars, are at present little more than an indiscriminate heap of stones. There are also slight remains of three ancient encampments, probably of Danish origin, and in a more perfect state than the relics above mentioned; of these, one, near which are three tumuli, is situated at Wolf's Castle, and the two others, within one of which is a rocking-stone, are in the demesne of Sealy-Ham.
DÔLBENMAEN (DÔL-BEN-MAEN), a parish, in the union of Festiniog, hundred of Eivionydd, county of Carnarvon, North Wales, 5 miles (N. W. by W.) from Trêmadoc, on the road to Carnarvon; containing 401 inhabitants. There are some considerable veins of copper-ore in this parish, but no spirited efforts have ever been made to work them; and the higher, or mountainous, part of it contains an abundance of manganese. Numerous quartz crystals, in the form of regular prisms of six, eight, and ten sides, terminating at one extremity in an obtuse point, and of considerable magnitude, have been found here, deeply imbedded in a species of black vegetable soil. A fair is held annually on August 26th. The living is rectorial, and is consolidated with the rectory of Penmorva: the tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £90, received by the rector of Penmorva; and the glebe consists of twelve acres, valued with appendages at £27 per annum. The church, dedicated to St. Beuno, is a small structure, in the later style of English architecture, built in 1432, and still in a very good state of repair. Near it the rector has established a school, conducted upon the principles of the Established Church, and the master of which is paid by school-pence, and subscription of the neighbouring gentry. There are places of worship for Baptists and Calvinistic Methodists, and three Sunday schools, one of them in connexion with the Church, and the others with the dissenters. The parish participates with that of Llanvihangel-y-Pennant in the proceeds, amounting to £5 per annum, of a bequest of £100 left by Mrs. Frances Wynne; a moiety is distributed among twelve poor families of this parish on St. Thomas's day. In the neighbourhood of the church is a circular artificial mound of earth, on which was a castle, apparently built to guard the pass of the valley, and probably of British origin; but no remains of the building are now in existence. At Ystum-Cegid, not far from the site of the castle, are three vast cromlechs, situated near each other, and of very rude construction.
Dôlgelley (Dôl-Gellau, or Dôl-Gelleu)
DÔLGELLEY (DÔL-GELLAU, or DÔLGELLEU), a market-town and parish, and the head of a union, in the hundred of Tàl-y-Bont and Mowddwy, county of Merioneth, North Wales, 18 miles (S. W.) from Bala, 20 (S. E.) from Harlech, and 211 (W. N. W.) from London; containing 3695 inhabitants, of whom 2016 are in the town of Dôlgelley. This place derives its name, which is compounded of Dôl, "a dale," and Celli, "a grove of hazel-trees," from being situated in a vale abounding with hazels. During the insurrection headed by Owain Glyndwr, that aspiring chieftain assembled a parliament at this town, whence he despatched his chancellor, Griffith Yonge, LL.D., archdeacon of Merioneth, and his kinsman John Hanmer, ambassadors to the French court, with credentials beginning "Owinus, Dei gratiâ princeps Walli1æ," and dated thus:—"Datum apud Doleguelli 10 die mensis Maii, MCCCC quarto, et principatûs nostri quarto." In the war between Charles I. and the parliament, Dôlgelley was occupied by a small garrison for the latter, and was besieged by about one hundred of the king's troops, who, however, were dispersed by Mr. Edward Vaughan, and their captain made prisoner.
The town is justly regarded as the provincial metropolis of Merionethshire, being by far the most populous and central of any within its limits. It occupies a delightful situation, on the road from Welshpool to Barmouth, in a fertile and picturesque vale, bounded by lofty mountains, adorned with numerous genteel residences, and watered by the river Wnion, or Gwynion, which unites with the Maw, or Mawddach, near Llanelltyd, about two miles lower down, and thence, under the latter name, flows into Cardigan bay at Barmouth. The streets are irregularly formed, and the houses mostly ill-built. A good line of houses, however, was erected by the late Sir R. W. Vaughan, Bart., called, in respect for the venerable nobleman of that name, Eldon Row; and many other parts of the town have experienced, or are now undergoing, considerable improvement. The river Wnion is here crossed by a stone bridge of seven arches, erected in 1638, and some time ago enlarged and repaired. A book society has been formed, which consists of several highly respectable members. The parish is about sixteen miles in length, and from three to four in breadth, nearly the whole of it being rocky mountainous land consisting of sheep-walks and turbaries, in the latter of which a considerable quantity of peat is obtained; the portion of arable and meadow land is little more than onefortieth part of the superficial extent. Upwards of 6000 acres of waste land were inclosed by act of parliament in 1811. A great quantity of peat is brought up the river Maw from an extensive turbary near Barmouth, at which place the coal used by the inhabitants is imported.
Dôlgelley and its vicinity have long been noted for the manufacture of a sort of coarse woollen cloth, or flannel, called "WEBS," or "Welsh plains." This material is likewise manufactured in two other districts, one in Montgomeryshire, and the other in Denbighshire: but the quantity produced in Dôlgelley and its environs is by far the greatest. The manufacture of "webs" in this town is of remote origin, as appears by acts of parliament of the first and third of James I., and by two orders for its regulation from the Privy Council of Charles I., which are further noticed in the article on the county of Merioneth. The warp is now composed of the fleece wool of the country; while the woof is a mixture, containing about one-third, and sometimes one-half, of lambs' wool. The "webs" of Dôlgelley, in common with those of Machynlleth in Montgomeryshire, are called by the drapers " strong cloth," to distinguish them from those of the Glyn district in Denbighshire, which are termed "small cloth," because the pieces are about one-eighth of a yard narrower, though of the same length. Until towards the close of the last century, the only market for them was one held weekly, on Thursday, at Shrewsbury, in the hall belonging to the drapers of that town, where no buyers but of that particular guild were admitted, and an injurious monopoly consequently prevailed; but agents were afterwards employed by the merchants of Liverpool and Shrewsbury, to collect them at the place of their manufacture. In the last century they were chiefly sold directly from the loom; but fulling-mills have since been erected upon the banks of the streams in the neighbourhood, and bleaching-grounds formed along the sides of the hills. Much business is also done at Dôlgelley in the dressing of native lamb-skins and foreign lamb and kid skins, upwards of 100,000 of the former being sent annually to Worcester and Chester, and a few to London. Tanning is carried on to a considerable extent, and in some of the adjacent parishes copper and lead exist.
During the period of about ten years which intervened between the close of the American war and the commencement of the great European struggle, the web-manufacturers of Dôlgelley established a warehouse at the port of Barmouth, and thence conveyed about one-third of their manufactures by sea to London, the small vessels employed taking each about 300 webs, each consisting of two pieces, over a ballast of slate or paving stones. The total number of yards annually thus exported amounted to about 25,000. This maritime trade, however, ceased in 1793, when it became necessary to return to the old method of land-carriage, which was five times more expensive, and, conjointly with other circumstances, caused such a decline in the prosperity of the trade, that many of the weavers were compelled to seek other employment. The town is principally supplied with groceries from Liverpool, the goods being brought to Barmouth, and thence conveyed up the river Maw in boats varying from ten to twenty tons' burthen, to a place near Llanelltyd bridge, within two miles of Dôlgelley. There are two weekly markets, on Tuesday and Saturday; and fairs, chiefly for the sale of horned-cattle, horses, cheese, butter, &c., are held on February 20th, April 21st, May 11th, June 27th, August 13th, September 20th, October 9th, November 22nd, and December 16th.
The summer assizes, and the Easter and Michaelmas quarter-sessions, for the county, are held here; but seldom more than two or three prisoners are tried at the former, and frequently none at all. The powers of the county debt-court of Dôlgelley, established in 1847, extend over the registration-district of Dôlgelley. Petty-sessions are held here for the division. The county-hall, which is situated near the river Wnion, is a neat stone edifice of mixed architecture, erected in 1825, at an expense of £3000: the length of the front is about seventy-three feet. The court-room is handsomely fitted up with the necessary accommodations for the officers of justice, and measures about forty-four feet by thirty feet: on the right of it are, a retiring-room for the judges, an apartment for the petty jury, and the record office; and on the left are a grand-jury room, and an armoury for the county. In the grand-jury room is a portrait by Sir Martin Shee of the late Sir Robert Vaughan, for forty-four years representative of the shire in parliament. The county gaol, situated at the outskirts of the town, is a semicircular edifice of stone, built in 1811, at an expense of nearly £5000; it includes also the house of correction, comprises three day-rooms and four airing-yards, and will admit of a classification of the prisoners into five divisions.
The LIVING is a rectory, rated in the king's books at £13. 1. 8., and in the patronage of the crown; the tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £499. 17. There is no parsonage-house, nor was there any glebe attached to the living prior to the inclosure of waste land in the year 1811, when five acres, lying about three miles from the town, were assigned to the rector out of the allotment due to the crown. The church, dedicated to St. Mary, is a neat structure, principally of Grecian architecture, with a square embattled tower, which contains an excellent peal of eight bells, and was erected with a bequest of £50 left in 1727 by the Rev. Ellis Lewis, of this place. In the church is an old monument to the memory of Meiric Vychan ab Ynyr Vychan, fifth in descent from Prince Cadwgan, son of Bleddyn ab Cynvyn; who resided at the neighbouring house of Nannau, which still continues in the possession of his descendants: he is represented as clad in close mail, wearing a helmet and neck-guard, with a sword in his hand, and a dog at his feet; his shield bears a lion passant gardant, with the inscription "Hic jacet Mauric filius Ynyr Vychan." A handsome monument has also been erected to the memory of the late Lord Chief Baron Richards, who was a native of this parish. An ancient chapel, called Yspytty Gwanas, was formerly situated at about four miles' distance on the road to Dinas-Mowddwy; the site is now marked by a few yew-trees. There are places of worship for Calvinistic Methodists, Independents, Wesleyans, and Baptists.
The Free grammar school was founded in 1665, by John Ellis, D.D., incumbent of the parish, who bequeathed a tenement called Penrhyn, in the parish of Llanaber, in this county, for the instruction of twelve poor boys. It was further endowed by the Rev. Ellis Lewis, by will dated August 21st, 1727, with a tenement called Kîlgwyn, in the parish of Llandrillo-yn-Rhôs, Denbighshire, and with £50 for the erection of a schoolroom; also with £300 in the three per cent. consols., by the Rev. Mr. Tamberlain, a late incumbent. The present income, arising from these and some minor donations, is above £40 per annum: the master, who is appointed by the rector of Dôlgelley, must, according to the will of Ellis Lewis, be a graduate of either Oxford or Cambridge, and without cure of souls. There are also, a National school for boys and girls, with an infants' school in the same large building; a British school, established in 1845; and a small school opened in October 1846, at Islaw'rdre, about three miles distant from Dôlgelley, on the unfrequented mountain-road that leads to Towyn. The number of Sunday schools in the parish is eleven. John Rowlands, Esq., of London, left the sum of £4 per annum for apprenticing boys; and a few other small benefactions have been made for the poor of this place, the principal being a farm called Vaenol, in the parish of Towyn, left by William John Evans in 1651, and producing £21 per annum, which, with about £5 arising from the other bequests, is shared in money, clothing, and bread, at stated periods, among the poor. The poor-law union of which this town is the head, was formed January 12th, 1837, and comprises the thirteen following parishes and townships: namely, Dôlgelley, Is-y-Graig and Uwch-y-Graig, Llanaber, Llanddwywau, Llanegrin, Llanelltyd, Llanenddwyn, Llangelynin, Llanvachreth, Llanvihangel-y-Pennant, Llanymowddwy, Mallwyd, and Tàlyllyn. It is under the superintendence of nineteen guardians, and contains a population of 13,208.
Part of the building in which a parliament was held by Owain Glyndwr is still standing among a group of old houses near the Ship Inn, and is called Cwrt Plâs-yn-Drêv, "the town-hall court." The Roman Via Occidentalis is supposed to have taken its course from Menapia (St. David's) to Segontium (Carnarvon) by this town, between which and Trawsvynydd, at a place called Pen-y-Strŷd, or "the head of the street," part of it may yet be traced. Close to the town, near a well called Fynnon Vair, "St. Mary's Well," the water of which was formerly considered efficacious in the cure of rheumatic diseases, a few Roman coins have been discovered. A golden torques (a baldric worn as a badge of distinction by some of the Roman conquerors of Britain, and by such of the ancient British chieftains as were their allies) was found in a turbary, in 1823, on the margin of Llyn Gwernan, near the northern cliffs of Cader Idris, by James P. Hughes, Esq. He found it whilst shooting, and, ignorant of its value as a very rare relic of antiquity, offered it for sale to a friend for five shillings; the offer being rejected, Mr. Hughes presented it to David Jones, Esq., one of the clerks of the engrossments of the House of Commons, by whom it was discovered to be a torques. It is about forty-two inches in length, weighs eight ounces and eight pennyweights, and the intrinsic value of the metal is about £36. In the grounds of Nannau, in the parish, are the remains of a British fortification, called Moel Orthrwm, "the hill of oppression," or Moel Ofrwm, "the hill of sacrifice:" it is formed by the summit of a high rock, encircled by a rampart of loose stones.
The mansion of Nannau, situated about two miles from Dôlgelley, is a handsome substantial structure, having been rebuilt on a more eligible site by the late Sir R. W. Vaughan, Bart.; it stands on very high ground, and is surrounded by thick woods and plantations, which hold a high rank among the beauties of the Vale of Dôlgelley. In the reign of Henry IV., the estate of Nannau belonged to Howel Sele, a warm partisan of the house of Lancaster, and the bitter enemy of Owain Glyndwr, his first cousin. To reconcile the kinsmen, the abbot of Cymmer contrived a meeting at this place, and apparently succeeded in his design; but whilst walking out, Owain, observing a doe feeding, pointed it out as a fine mark to Howel, who was considered the most skilful archer of that period, and the latter bent his bow, and pretended to take aim, but suddenly turning round, let fly at Owain, who, however, being protected by armour which he wore under his clothes, received no injury. Owain immediately seized his treacherous kinsman, and burnt his mansion of Nannau to the ground. Howel was conveyed to some place of imprisonment, and was never afterwards heard of alive; but, about forty years after this event, the skeleton of a man, supposed to be his, was discovered in the hollow trunk of a huge oak, in which he had probably been confined by Owain.
The Vale of Dôlgelley is remarkable for the number and variety of the prospects which it affords, the scenery being characterized by surpassing grandeur, richness, and diversity of aspect. There is, probably, no place in the principality whence so many interesting excursions may be made, as from Dôlgelley; in consequence of which, tourists usually station themselves here for some days. Among the principal objects claiming notice is the towering Cader Idris, "the seat of Idris," situated in this parish, the summit of which is 2850 feet above the level of Dôlgelley Green, being exceeded in height only by two other mountains in Wales. Its southwestern ascent commences on the sea-shore, close to the estuary of the small river Dysynni, about a mile from Towyn, and proceeds almost uninterruptedly, first northward for three miles, and then for ten miles east-north-eastward, with a branch, nearly three miles long, extending in a south-western direction parallel to the main ridge. The ascent from Dôlgelley, which usually occupies nearly three hours, commences about a mile and a half from the town, on the road to Towyn. This performed, and the highest summit, called Pen-y-Gader, once attained, a scene presents itself, of vast extent, and of almost indescribable grandeur, having a circumference of at least 500 miles. To the north the prospect is terminated by Snowdon, with its dependent mountains; on the west, by the bay of Cardigan, bounded by the Carnarvonshire hills; on the south, by the Radnorshire hills and Plinlimmon mountain, with a partial glimpse between them of the bay of Swansea and the Bristol Channel, together with the conspicuous summits of the Brecknockshire hills; and on the east by the lake of Bala, the two Arenig mountains, the two Arans, and the long chain of the Berwyn mountains, with the Breidden and Wrekin hills, and even Blackstone Edge on the border of Lancashire: occasionally also some of the Irish mountains are visible. Within the limits of these interesting boundaries numberless objects of romantic beauty, including mountains of different forms and elevations, valleys, lakes, harbours, towns, and villages, combine to form a landscape rarely excelled for richness and variety. The mountain is steep and craggy on every side, but especially on the south, to the border of Talyllyn lake, where the descent is almost perpendicular. Its breadth bears only a small proportion to its length; a line passing along its base and intersecting the summit would hardly measure four miles and a half, while in other parts the breadth of the base seldom exceeds one mile. At a place called Rhiwgredydd, within a few yards of the path along which the ascent is generally made, in the side of the mountain, a sort of mineral, much resembling English amber, was discovered in 1831; the vein extends horizontally between two rocks, and is about three-quarters of a yard in breadth.
The cataracts in the vicinity are also of surpassing interest and transcendent beauty. Of these, the nearest is Rhaiadr dû, or "the Black Cascade," more commonly called Dôl-y-MelynllYn Cascade, situated a little beyond the fifth milestone, on the road to Trawsvynydd. It is approached by a path leading from the left of the road up a tolerably steep woody ascent, whence the river Camlan is seen pouring its waters over a rocky precipice full forty feet in perpendicular height, in two principal sheets, and through some lateral gullies into a bed of dark-coloured disjointed rocks, leaving which it is speedily engulfed in the darkness of the adjacent woods. A view of its further progress is obtained by means of a steep and intricate path, leading to the foot of the cascade, where a beautiful prospect opens: an additional waterfall, nearly thirty feet in height, appears immediately in front; to the left, the former cataract tumbles furiously over the rocks, which in many places are covered with a pure white lichen, and to the right rises a perpendicular mass of rocks, crowned with trees. About two miles to the north-east of these falls, in a deep, narrow, and thickly wooded valley, are the cascades of Pistyll Cain and Pistyll Mawddach, situated within a short distance of each other. The former is generally approached over a rude alpine bridge, formed by the trunk of an oak thrown from rock to rock across a dark, narrow chasm, where the river Cain rushes along with noisy and impetuous rage; after which, descending to the bottom of the fall, the river is seen rolling its foaming waters over a rugged ledge of rocks, about 200 feet in height, nearly perpendicular. Falling upon rocks of a light dun colour, the water has worn them into hollows of great depth and grotesque form. Pistyll Mawddach consists of three falls, the first forming a sheet about twenty feet broad, and nearly as many in height, which is received into a kind of natural basin, about thirty feet in diameter. Hence the river glides over the second precipice, by a fall of about thirty feet, into a second basin, larger than the former; and from this, contracting itself, it is precipitated over the third ledge, by a fall of twenty feet, into a capacious pool, from which issuing with boiling fury, it foams among the rocky fragments that interrupt its course, and proceeds onward to its junction with the Cain. The small mountain river Clywedog also, rising on Cader Idris, in its course of about two miles forms numerous waterfalls, some of which are fifty feet in height. This interesting river winds through some pleasure-grounds, and an excellent gravel-walk has been made along each of its banks, with others branching off, so as to afford a better view of the falls. Its waters, after heavy rains, descend with great velocity and noise over the huge rocks; its banks are well wooded, and the whole forms a scene highly picturesque and romantic. The road to Dinas-Mowddwy commands a fine view of the vale, with the town of Dôlgelley, and the lofty Cader Idris; and from Twrglâs, near Garthynghared, are seen the bay of Cardigan, Bardsey Island, the coast of Carnarvon, and the town of Barmouth, at the mouth of the Mawddach, with that river winding westward along the vale, which is bounded by the two Arans: the fore-ground is delightfully varied by the picturesque road from Dôlgelley to Barmouth, and the lofty rugged mountains and well-wooded fertile valleys that intervene. Lewis Owen, Esq., Vice-Chamberlain and Baron of the Exchequer for North Wales, who was barbarously murdered by a gang of lawless banditti, near Dinas-Mowddwy, whilst on his journey to the assizes at Montgomery in 1555, resided at Llwyn, near this town.
DÔLGWDEN (DÔL-GWDEN), a hamlet, in the parish of Trêveglwys, union of Newtown and Llanidloes, Upper division of the hundred of Llanidloes, county of Montgomery, North Wales, 3½ miles (N. W.) from Llanidloes: the population is returned with the parish. It is situated in a vale near the junction of the Bâchau stream with the river Clywedog, on the road from Machynlleth to Llanidloes. There are a few agreeable residences, though the general aspect of the surrounding district is wild and mountainous.
DÔLWYDDELAN (DÔL-WEDDELAN), a parish, in the poor-law union of Llanrwst, hundred of Nantconway, county of Carnarvon, North Wales, 9 miles (S. S. W.) from Llanrwst; containing 754 inhabitants. This parish, which derives its name from the patron saint of the church, contains the remains of the ancient castle of the same appellation, which was probably built by some of the Princes of North Wales, though the original founder, and the time of its erection, are unknown. Iorwerth, or Edward, surnamed Broken-nose, son of Owen Gwynedd by the lady Gwladus, was lord of Dôlwyddelan Castle, and made it his residence about 1169; and here Llewelyn ap Iorwerth, his son, better known to the historian as Llewelyn the Great, was born: his father's claim to the throne of Wales being disallowed, in consequence of the deformity of his countenance, Llewelyn was acknowledged sovereign prince in 1184, and had a brilliant, glorious, and eventful reign of fifty-six years. In the time of Henry VII., Meredydd ab Ivan, ancestor of the Wynnes of Gwydir, purchased the castle and its dependencies from the executors of Sir Ralph Berkenet, and made it his principal residence while employed in reducing to order this part of the principality, at that time infested with banditti. For this purpose he kept an armed force here, which attended him on all occasions, and by his courage and perseverance he succeeded in restoring order and tranquillity. The castle occupied the summit of a precipitous rock, and consisted of two square towers, between which was the castle yard; it was built of the stone of the country, and was a place of considerable strength. It has been repaired by Lord Willoughby de Eresby, the owner. About a mile distant from the castle was the strong house called Penamnaen, built by Meredydd ab Ivan, of which some vestiges are still discernible.
The parish is situated near the south-eastern extremity of the county, bordering upon Merionethshire, by which it is bounded on the south, and stretching on the west to the mountains of Snowdon, which are partly within its limits. It extends four miles in length and three in breadth, and is intersected by the small river Ledar, which receives several streams from the neighbouring hills, and, taking an eastern course through the parish, falls into the Conway near Capel Garmon. The surface is abruptly broken, rising in many places into lofty eminences; and with the exception of the valleys, which are fertile and well cultivated, the lands are for the greater part mountainous and barren: barley and oats are the chief produce, and oak and ash the prevailing timber. The surrounding scenery is distinguished rather for striking boldness of character than for beauty. Lord Willoughby de Eresby is proprietor of the whole parish, with the exception of three small freehold tenements. A few slate-quarries employ about fifty hands. Fairs, principally for the sale of cattle, are held annually on April 16th, August 15th, and September 20th.
The living is a perpetual curacy, endowed with royal bounty and parliamentary grant, consisting of £1873. 16. in the three per cent. reduced annuities; net income £64. 4.; patron and impropriator, Lord Willoughby de Eresby, whose tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £130. The church, dedicated to St. Gwyddelan, is forty-eight feet long and twenty-four broad, having been built by Meredydd in such a substantial manner that it will probably prove the most lasting as well as pious monument of his deeds. He died in peace and honour on the 18th of March, 1525, and his remains were deposited in the church; to the south side of which, a little chapel or transept was subsequently added by Robert Wynne, uncle of Sir John Wynne, author of the Memoirs. An engraved monumental brass has recently been brought to light. There are places of worship for Calvinistic Methodists and Independents, a Church school, and four Sunday schools belonging to the dissenters. Elinor Thomas, in 1735, bequeathed £60 for the benefit of the poor, the interest of which is annually distributed among them; and Maurice Pritchard made a bequest of £12 in 1796.
DÔL-Y-GARROG, a hamlet, in the parish of Llanbedr, union of Conway, hundred of Llêchwedd-Isâv, county of Carnarvon, North Wales, 4 miles (N. N. W.) from Llanrwst; containing, with the township of Arddr, 144 inhabitants. This place is situated on the turnpike-road between Conway and Llanrwst, where the scenery of the beautiful vale of the river Conway assumes its most diversified and picturesque character. A stream from Llyn Cawlwyd, a lake on the lofty mountains to the south, rushes down with great force between steep banks, forming many pleasing cascades in its course; it crosses the road here, and falls into the Conway. Over it is a lofty bridge of one arch, from which the varied scenery of the surrounding district is seen to much advantage.
DONATT'S (ST.), a parish, in the union of Bridgend and Cowbridge, hundred of Ogmore, county of Glamorgan, South Wales, 6½ miles (S. W.) from Cowbridge; containing 151 inhabitants. This place is distinguished as the site of an ancient castle, formerly of great strength and magnificence, which was one of the twelve fortresses erected by the Norman knights who attended Fitz-Hamon in his conquest of this part of the principality. The lordship of St. Donatt's was given by Fitz-Hamon to Sir William le Esterling, or Stradling, in the possession of whose descendants it continued without interruption for more than six hundred years, until the decease of Sir Edward Stradling, Bart, at Montpelier, in 1738. It then passed, with the castle, to Mr. Fontaine Tyrwhitt, and both are now the property of Thomas Tyrwhitt Drake, Esq., grandnephew of that gentleman. The castle is situated on the sea-coast, and is an extensive pile of building, occupying a spacious quadrangle, over the gate leading into which are the arms of the Stradlings: part of it is habitable, and in the later style of English architecture. The park lies to the west of it; the gardens are on the south, between the walls of the castle and the sea, and are formed on terraces descending to the shore of the Bristol Channel, of which they command a fine view. Within the park is a quadrangular watch-tower of lofty elevation and picturesque appearance, which, according to local tradition, was erected for observing vessels in distress, not for the purpose of rendering assistance, but with a view to take immediate possession of the wreck. In the neighbourhood is a cave of considerable extent and grandeur, accessible at low water, which in the summer time is much visited by parties of pleasure, who, after having been gratified with a view of the romantic beauties of the place, usually dine upon the rocks.
The living is a discharged vicarage, rated in the king's books at £3. 14. 4½., and endowed with £200 royal bounty; present net income, £131; patron, Mr. Tyrwhitt Drake. The church is beautifully situated beneath the castle, in a romantic dell abounding with valuable timber, and contains, in a small sepulchral chapel belonging to the owner of the castle, some handsome monuments of the Stradlings, and an elegant sarcophagus of white marble to the memory of the last of that name, who died abroad: there are also several paintings of the fifteenth century, commemorating different members of that family. In the churchyard stands a cross, of elaborate design and execution. A Church Sunday school is held in the parsonage-house; and the interest of £20, partly arising from a bequest by Catherine Hyatt, in 1786, is annually distributed to the poor, generally among four widows.
Donatt's, Welsh St.
DONATT'S, WELSH ST., a parish, in the union of Cardiff, hundred of Cowbridge, county of Glamorgan, South Wales, 2 miles (E. N. E.) from Cowbridge; containing 275 inhabitants. This place was formerly in the parish of Llanblethian, from which it has been separated. It comprises 2175 acres, of which 215 are common or waste. Caercady, the property of John Thomas, Esq., R.N., is a genteel mansion, built by the late Colonel Jenkins, one of the auditors of the public accounts, from whom it came by marriage to its present proprietor. The living is a perpetual curacy, annexed to the vicarage of Llanblethian: the impropriate tithes, payable to the Dean and Chapter of Gloucester, have been commuted for a rent-charge of £116. 9. 11., and the vicarial tithes for one of £50. The church possesses no claim to architectural notice. The benefits of the Cowbridge National school extend to this parish. Miss Leyson, about the year 1774, bequeathed a rent-charge of £5 for distribution among the poor, who also formerly received the benefit of a bequest of £5. 10. by an unknown donor.