A Topographical Dictionary of Wales. Originally published by S Lewis, London, 1849.
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RADYR (RHAIADR), a parish, in the poorlaw union of Cardiff, hundred of Kibbor, county of Glamorgan, in South Wales, 3½ miles (N. W. by W.) from Cardiff; containing 279 inhabitants. This parish probably derives its name, signifying "a cataract," from the rushing waters of the river Tâf, by which it is bounded on the north-east. It was formerly comprehended within the hundred of Miskin, but has been recently separated therefrom. It comprises about eleven hundred acres of arable and pasture land, inclosed and in a profitable state of cultivation: the surface is in some parts elevated, and in others flat, but no where subject to inundation; the soil is a strong brown earth, favourable to the production of good crops of grain of all kinds, potatoes, and hay. The substratum is partly a hard brown stone, and partly limestone of very good quality. Radyr Court, formerly the seat of the family of Matthew, ancestors of the late Lord Llandaf, has been partially taken down, and the remainder has been modernised, and converted into a farmhouse. The turnpike-road leading from Cardiff to Llantrissent passes a little to the south of the parish; and the Tâf-Vale railway runs through it, nearly parallel with the river, which is crossed by the line in this vicinity. Some of the inhabitants are employed at the iron-works in the parish of Pentyrch.
The living is a vicarage, endowed with £200 royal bounty; patron and impropriator, the representative of the late Earl of Plymouth, who is lord of the manor: the tithes have been commuted for £113. 9., of which a sum of £38. 9. is payable to the impropriator, and a sum of £75 to the vicar. The church, dedicated to St. John the Baptist, is a neat plain edifice, with a curious turret at the west end. There is a place of worship for Calvinistic Methodists; a Sunday school for gratuitous instruction is held in it, and another at Radyr Court. In the parish is a spring of very cold water, called Y Pistyll Goleu, "the bright water-spout," issuing from the side of a hill, under a considerable depth of earth over a limestone rock: it has by some writers been termed mineral, but it is not known to possess any other properties than that of its extreme coldness, which renders it efficacious in curing sprains and weakness of the sinews.
REDBARTH (RYDBERTH), a parish, in the hundred of Narberth, union and county of Pembroke, South Wales, 4½ miles (N. W.) from Tenby; containing 117 inhabitants. The name was originally spelled Rhydbeith, from Rhyd, "a ford," and Beith, "a brake." The parish is situated in the southeastern part of the county, and bounded on the west by that of Carew, north by Jeffreston, north-east by Begelly, and south by St. Florence; and consists of about 300 acres, 50 of which are common land. The soil is clayey, and not very fertile; a little wheat, barley, and oats, are grown, but the principal produce is potatoes. Some of the inhabitants are employed in a colliery in the adjoining parish of Begelly. The mail-coach road from Carmarthen to Hobbs' Point passes through the place, which was formerly a hamlet in the parish of Carew. The living is a perpetual curacy, endowed with £1200 royal bounty and £200 parliamentary grant, and in the patronage of the Bishop of St. David's; net income, £66: the impropriation belongs to the Crown. The church having fallen into a very dilapidated condition, was rebuilt, and opened for divine service in August 1841, the expense amounting to £200, part raised by rate, and part by public subscription and contributions, aided by the ChurchBuilding Society, which granted £20. It is in the early English style, in length 53 feet and breadth 24, and contains 200 sittings, including 110 free. There is a small place of worship for Wesleyans; and a day and Sunday school is held, under the active patronage and superintendence of Miss Thomas, of Redbarth Lodge, through whose exertions the schoolroom and the present parish church were both built.
RESOLVEN (SOLFEN), a township, in the parish of Lantwit-juxta-Neath, union and hundred of Neath, county of Glamorgan, South Wales, 7 miles (N. E. by E.) from Neath; containing 500 inhabitants. This place is situated in the upper part of the parish, near the left bank of the river Neath, where the mountains are lofty and rugged, and their declivities and the glens well covered with timber. It comprises 5000 acres, of which 2000 are common or waste. Solven Hill is an elevated mountain in the hamlet, at the western base of which, overlooking the Neath, are the remains of Glyn Castle; the streams that flow into that river down the glens of the mountains form many pleasing cascades. Here is a chapel of ease to the parochial church. The tithes have been commuted for £70, of which £55 are payable to the impropriators, and £15 to the rector.
REYNOLDSTON, a parish, in the union and hundred of Swansea, county of Glamorgan, South Wales, 12 miles (W. by S.) from Swansea; containing 258 inhabitants. This place, which is situated in the peninsula of Gower, is supposed to derive its name from Reginald de Breos, who was lord of the manor, and is said to have been the founder of the church. It comprises some fine portions of arable and pasture land, inclosed and in a good state of cultivation, with a tract of uncultivated and mountainous common, affording excellent pasturage for sheep: the sheep here are remarkable for the fineness of their wool, and the excellent quality of the mutton. The village, which contains several neat cottages, occupies a pleasant position under the southern declivity of the mountainous ridge called Cevn-y-Bryn, from whose summit a most magnificent view is obtained of the country on both sides. From this eminence, the peninsula of Gower appears to be completely insulated, and the Burry estuary forms a conspicuous and interesting object, with the town of Llanelly on the opposite bank, and at its extreme point the village of Penbrey: the prospect embraces also the bay of Oxwich, with the parish church, and the woods of Penrice Castle, with the village and tower, while in intervening spaces are scattered the pleasing villages of Reynoldston, Knelston, and Llanddewi. Stout Hall is a handsome modern residence here, in extensive grounds finely laid out, and comprehending much attractive scenery; and Fairy Hill, the residence of the late Lady Barham, to whom the dissenters of Gower are indebted for the erection of four neat chapels in the peninsula, is also in the parish. Limestone abounds, and is procured in great quantities for the supply of the neighbourhood. The soil in the lower lands is fertile, and the air is remarkable for its purity.
The living is a discharged rectory, rated in the king's books at £5. 11. 0½., and in the gift of C. R. M. Talbot, Esq.: the tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £102; and there is a glebe of 41a. 1r. 13p., valued at £27. 5. per annum. The church, dedicated to St. George, is an ancient structure, not remarkable for its architectural details. A Sunday school is supported, in connexion with the Established Church. In Bryn field, in the parish, are the remains of an encampment of small size, which, from the discovery of some broken urns in the fosse that surrounded it, is supposed to be of Roman origin; it is now nearly levelled. On Cevn-y-Bryn, along which a good road was made by T. M. Talbot, Esq., affording a delightful ride, and commanding an extensive and beautiful prospect over the Bristol Channel to the coasts of Devon, Pembroke, and Carmarthen, are several large heaps of stones, more especially on the eastern side, where is one called the Beacon; these are probably sepulchral mounds, and perhaps of Druidical origin. In the grounds of Stout Hall, and near a rustic bridge, is "Maen Gwŷr," a huge stone, of the same kind as Arthur's Stone, about ten feet in length; and not far distant is a small circle of upright stones, placed there by Mr. Lucas, father of the present proprietor, and forming a miniature representation of Stonehenge. In the same grounds is one of the most extensive caverns in the kingdom, accidentally discovered by the late Mr. Lucas, who, perceiving a small aperture in the limestone rock, containing a very strong clay, proceeded to clear it out; and, finding the cavity expand inward, fully explored the interior, by removing several thousand tons of clay, and occasionally blasting the rock. The bottom of the cavern is a plain surface, about forty feet below the level of the ground, and the roof, which is finely arched, varies from ten to thirty-six feet in height. It is capable of containing two thousand persons, and is entered in one part by a long flight of steps rudely formed, and in another by a gradual descent; the interior is tolerably lighted by some natural openings in the incumbent strata, and has an imposing grandeur of appearance. Near the church is a well dedicated to St. George, and at no great distance from it another, called after the Blessed Virgin, and supposed to possess medicinal properties.—See Llanrhidian.
REYNOLDSTON, a parish, in the union and hundred of Narberth, county of Pembroke, South Wales, 4 miles (S. by W.) from Narberth; containing 103 inhabitants. This parish, which is situated in the south-eastern part of the county, and on the turnpike-road leading from Narberth to Pembroke, comprises a very small tract of arable and pasture land, inclosed and in a good state of cultivation. The village has every appearance of antiquity, and in all probability was originally inhabited by a portion of the Flemings to whom Henry I. assigned territories in this part of the principality, with a view to strengthen his interests in the country, and for the greater security of the possessions which the Normans had usurped from the natives. Though now fallen almost into decay, some of the cottages have still the round chimneys that usually distinguish the Flemish dwellings. The place was formerly a hamlet in the parish of Begelly. In this vicinity, the Saundersfoot and Tenby railway will quit the Pembroke branch of the Great South Wales railway, should these lines of communication ever be carried out. The living is a donative, endowed with £600 royal bounty, and £200 parliamentary grant; total net income, £62; patron, Lord Milford. A tithe rent-charge of £33 is payable to the incumbent. The church is a small ancient edifice, with a low tower.
Rhaiadr, Rhayader, or Rhayder
RHAIADR, RHAYADER, or RHAYDER, a borough, market-town, and parish, and the head of a union, in the hundred of Rhaiadr, county of Radnor, South Wales, 16 miles (W. N. W.) from New Radnor, 28 miles (W.) from Presteign, and 177 (W. N. W.) from London; containing 742 inhabitants. This place, the name of which signifies a cataract, is by the Welsh more commonly called "Rhaiadr Gwy," from its situation on the river Wye. The water of that stream, rushing with great violence over a ledge of rocks that obstructed its course, formed a cataract, the roar of which might be heard at a considerable distance, till, on the erection of a stone bridge at Rhaiadr in the year 1780, a wider channel was opened for the stream, by clearing away the opposing rocks; since which time it has passed on in comparative tranquillity. The town is evidently of great antiquity; but at what time it was first inhabited is not precisely known. According to Caradoc of Llancarvan, a castle was erected here, in 1178, by Rhŷs ab Grufydd, Prince of South Wales, for the protection of his territories against the incursions of the Norman invaders, who at that time were making frequent irruptions into this part of the country. In 1194, Rhŷs was surprised and made prisoner by his own sons, and, during his confinement, the castle of Rhaiadr was besieged by the sons of Cadwallon ab Madoc, lord of Maelienydd, who, having succeeded in obtaining possession of it, fortified it strongly for their own use. In 1231, Llewelyn, Prince of North Wales, after taking the castle of Montgomery, putting its garrison to the sword, and burning that town to the ground, advanced to this place, where he made similar devastations. Little further is recorded of the history of the castle, but it existed till the civil war in the reign of Charles I., during which it was first dismantled and afterwards totally demolished. By an act of the 27th of Henry VIII., the assizes for the county were appointed to be held alternately here and at New Radnor; but by a subsequent act of the same reign, they were ordered to be held alternately at New Radnor and at Presteign, in consequence of the inhabitants of this place having put the sheriff to death.
The town is situated on the eastern bank of the river Wye, and on the turnpike-roads leading respectively from Worcester, through New Radnor, to Aberystwith, and from Builth, in Brecknockshire, to Llanidloes in the county of Montgomery. It appears to have been originally of much greater extent than it is at present; for on Cevn Ceido is a tract of land, about half a mile from the town, called Pant yr Eglwys, where, according to tradition, the church formerly stood, and to which the borough is said to have extended. The present town consists of four streets, diverging at right angles from the markethouse in the centre, nearly in the direction of the cardinal points, from which they take their names. The houses are irregularly built, and mostly of rather mean appearance; though several respectable dwellings have been erected, and great improvements have been made in the town, within the last few years. Its inhabitants are supplied with water by rivulets, descending from a spring a little above, and flowing through the town, which stands on ground rising gently from the banks of the Wye, and surrounded on all sides by lofty, wild, and barren hills, occasionally relieved with patches of plantations on their declivities, and by spots of cultivated ground at their bases. A new road has been made to Aberystwith, and the inclosure of the waste land within the borough has added much to the prosperity of the town, which is considered to be in a very flourishing state. The principal market is on Wednesday, and a smaller one, chiefly for butchers' meat and other provisions, is held on Saturday: great cattle-markets take place on the four Wednesdays next after Old May-day (May 12th); and there are fairs on August 6th and 27th, September 26th, October 14th, and Dec. 23rd.
This place is a BOROUGH by prescription, and a bailiff is annually elected from among the resident burgesses at Michaelmas, at the court leet of the manor, which belongs to the crown; but he has no magisterial authority, and his power is confined to the receipt of tolls, under the authority of the bailiff of the borough of New Radnor. The burgesses are appointed by a town jury, and presented at the annual court leet; they have scarcely any other privilege than exemption from toll. Rhaiadr is one of the contributory boroughs which, with New Radnor, jointly return a member to parliament: the franchise was conferred by the 27th of Henry VIII., and confirmed by a determination of the House of Commons in 1690. The right of election was formerly vested in the burgesses generally, whether resident or not. It is now, by the act of 1832 for "Amending the Representation," in the old resident burgesses only, if duly registered according to its provisions; and in every person of full age occupying, either as owner, or as tenant under the same landlord, a house or other premises of the annual value of not less than ten pounds, provided he be capable of registering as the act directs. The number of tenements of this value within the limits of the borough, which in 1832 were extended, in order to include the village of Cwmtoyddwr, forming a suburb on the opposite bank of the Wye, is forty-five. The steward of the manor used to hold a court baron, once in every three weeks, for the recovery of debts under forty shillings. The powers of the county debt-court of Rhaiadr, established in 1847, extend over the registration-district of Rhaiadr. The townhall is a plain building, erected by public subscription in 1762, and situated in the centre of the town; the upper part contains rooms well adapted for holding courts, and underneath it is an area in which the market is held. The site of the ancient prison is now partly occupied by a dissenters' meeting-house; and the place for the execution of criminals, when the assizes were held here, was at the north end of the town, near a house called Pen-y-Maes. By the Boundary act, this was made one of the pollingplaces in the election of a knight for the shire.
Rhaiadr once formed part of the parish of Nantmel, from which it was severed, and erected into a parish of itself, co-extensive with the borough, about the year 1735, when the first churchwarden was appointed. The living is a perpetual curacy, endowed with £1000 royal bounty; net income, £75, with a glebe-house; patron, the Vicar of Nantmel. The church, dedicated to St. Clement, was rebuilt in 1733, and a low square embattled tower was added in 1783; the body consists of a nave and chancel. The edifice was thoroughly repaired in 1829, when a gallery, containing eighty free sittings, was erected at the west end by public subscription, aided by a grant of £30 from the Incorporated Society for building and enlarging churches and chapels. There are places of worship for Independents, Baptists, and Calvinistic and Wesleyan Methodists. A school which had been suffered to fall into disuse, was revived about the close of the last century, and a house adjoining the churchyard was erected at an expense of £88. 18., by public subscription, in 1793. The endowment arises from the rent of a tenement in Disserth, left by John Davies for a school in 1600, and now yielding £8 per annum; and from a rentcharge of £3 a year on lands in Rhaiadr parish, for teaching six poor children, to be chosen by the minister of the parish of St. Harmon. The master also receives some fees, from several scholars not on the foundation; and the Rev. Charles Price's valuable endowment was until lately received by the master: see Cwmtoyddwr. Previously to the establishment of the College of St. David's at Lampeter, in the county of Cardigan, candidates for holy orders were ordained from this institution. There are five Sunday schools.
The Rev. Henry Williams, in 1810, bequeathed £2000 in the three per cent. consolidated annuities, for the endowment of lectures in divinity, to be delivered in the parochial church by a clergyman appointed by the Chancellor and Scholars of the University of Oxford, preference being given to the nearest of kin to the founder; and the same gentleman left the interest of £200 in the same stock for the clerk. Mr. Williams was buried in the churchyard of the parish. A lending-library, consisting of a hundred and twenty volumes, chiefly on divinity, was given to the clergy of the district, in 1810, by the Associates of the late Dr. Bray. The poor-law union of which this town is the head, was formed October 10th, 1836, and comprises the following ten parishes; namely, Abbey-Cwm-Hîr, Cwmtoyddwr, St. Harmon, Kevenlleece, Llanbadarn-Vawr, Llanvihangel-Helygen, Llanyre, Nantmel, and Rhaiadr, in the county of Radnor; and Llanwrthwl, in the county of Brecknock. It is under the superintendence of sixteen guardians, and contains a population of 6722.
There are now no vestiges of the castle of Rhaiadr, except the fosse, which is partly filled up with fragments of rock: the site of the tower or citadel is indicated by a mount overlooking the river Wye, still called Tower Mount. The river, which on the west flowed immediately under its walls, was, by means of a deep trench cut in the solid rock, made upon cases of emergency to surround the fortress. Here was also a religious house belonging to the Dominicans, or Black friars, situated near the bridge, and which may probably have been a cell to the abbey of Strata-Florida, at no great distance, in the adjacent county of Cardigan. In the vicinity of the town are several cairns and barrows, the most remarkable of them being a small mound called Tommen Llansaintfraid, encircled by cottages, and said to have communicated, by means of a subterraneous passage, with the castle.
RHANDIR-ABBOT, a hamlet, in the parish of Llanvair-ar-y-Bryn, union of Llandovery, Higher division of the hundred of Perveth, county of Carmarthen, South Wales, 7 miles (N.) from Llandovery; containing 594 inhabitants. It is situated on the eastern bank of the Towy, and at the foot of a mountain in which are extensive leadmines belonging to Earl Cawdor. The chapel of Nant-y-Bai is in this hamlet, having been erected instead of the original building that was situated at Ystrad-Fin. The living is a perpetual curacy, endowed with £200 private benefaction and £1000 royal bounty, and in the patronage of Earl Cawdor; net income, £59. Nearly opposite Earl Cawdor's mansion of Nant-y-Mwyn, where the banks of the river are somewhat precipitous, is a picturesque footbridge across the Towy, leading to Pwll Pradog. The townships of Rhandir-Abbot, Rhandir-Canol, Rhandir-Isâv, and Rhandir-Uchâv, form the parish of Llanvair-ar-y-Bryn, which see.
RHANDIR-CANOL, a hamlet, in the parish of Llanvair-ar-y-Bryn, union of Llandovery, Higher division of the hundred of Perveth, county of Carmarthen, South Wales, 5½ miles (N. E.) from Llandovery; containing 314 inhabitants. It forms, as the name implies, the middle division of the parish, and is situated on the left bank of the river Towy.
RHANDIR-ISÂV, a hamlet, in the parish of Llanvair-ar-y-Bryn, union of Llandovery, Higher division of the hundred of Perveth, county of Carmarthen, South Wales, 3 miles (N. E. by N.) from Llandovery; containing 477 inhabitants. The romantic river Brân flows through it, and has some pleasing residences on its banks, the principal of which is Glàn-Brân. The hamlet is well wooded, and the road from Llandovery to Builth here passes along the left bank of the river, and through GlànBrân Park.
RHANDIR-UCHÂV, a hamlet, in the parish of Llanvair-ar-y-Bryn, union of Llandovery, Higher division of the hundred of Perveth, county of Carmarthen, South Wales, 7 miles (N. E.) from Llandovery; containing 264 inhabitants. It is situated in a mountainous district, near the source of the river Brân, on the border of Brecknockshire.
RHIGOS (RHEGOES) a township, in the parish of Ystrad-Dyvodog, poor-law union of Merthyr-Tydvil, hundred of Miskin, county of Glamorgan, South Wales, 7½ miles (W.) from Merthyr-Tydvil; containing 615 inhabitants. It is situated on the border of Brecknockshire, near the Hîrwaun iron-works, and on the road from Neath to Merthyr. There are places of worship for dissenters, a day school, &c.—See Ystrad-Dyvodog.
RHIW, a parish, in the union of Pwllheli, hundred of Commitmaen, Lleyn division of the county of Carnarvon, in North Wales, 11 miles (W. S. W.) from Pwllheli; containing 378 inhabitants. This place derives its name, signifying the ascent of a hill, from its situation on the acclivity of Mynydd Rhiw, a lofty eminence that rises above the village to an elevation of one thousand and thirteen feet above the level of the sea. The parish is situated on the western shore of the bay of Porthnigel in the great bay of Cardigan, and comprises about 900 acres of arable and pasture land; about two-thirds are ancient inclosure, and the remainder, which is mountainous, was inclosed by an act for that purpose in the year 1811. In the lower grounds the soil is a stiff clay, and in the higher lands gravelly, producing tolerable crops of barley and oats, and excellent grass; and the inclosed commons afford good pasturage for sheep and young cattle. The surrounding scenery is pleasingly diversified, and is somewhat enlivened by several small rivulets which run through the parish. From the summit of Mynydd Rhiw the prospect is strikingly beautiful, embracing the whole range of the mountains of Snowdon, and extending over Cardigan bay, St. George's Channel, and a great part of South Wales. Plâs Rhiw, for many generations the seat of the family of Lewis, and now the property and residence of Lewis Moor Bennet, Esq., is an ancient and handsome mansion, comprehending within its grounds some picturesque scenery. Manganese, of very superior quality, abounds in the parish: the vein in which it lies, first discovered in 1827, has been worked since that time with great success, and about fifty persons are now employed in procuring it, the produce being principally sent to the Liverpool market.
The living is a rectory, with the perpetual curacy of Llandudwen annexed, rated in the king's books at £6. 14. 9½., and endowed with £200 royal bounty; present net income, £97; patron, the Bishop of Bangor: there is a glebe-house, with six acres of land, besides eleven acres purchased with the bounty money. The church, dedicated to St. Aelrhiw, is an ancient and spacious cruciform structure, in the early style of English architecture, and is in good repair; the length of the body of the edifice is sixtythree feet, the breadth twenty-one feet, and the transept measures twenty-two by eighteen. There are places of worship for Independents and Wesleyans, and three Sunday schools, one of which is in connexion with the Established Church. A day school for the parishes of Rhiw and Bryncroes is noticed under the head of Bryncroes, where it is held. Some land in the parish, now producing £4 per annum, was bequeathed for keeping the church in repair.
RHIWLAS (RHIW-LLÂS) with Tach-Lleuan, a hamlet, in that part of the parish of Llandilo-Vawr which is in the Lower division of the hundred of Cayo, in the union of Llandilo-Vawr, county of Carmarthen, South Wales, 3 miles (N. N. W.) from the town of Llandilo-Vawr; containing 165 inhabitants.
Rhôsbeirio, or Rhôs-Peirio (Rhôsbeirio,)
RHÔSBEIRIO, or RHÔS-PEIRIO (RHÔSBEIRIO,) a parish, in the hundred of Twrcelyn, union and county of Anglesey, North Wales, 3 miles (W. by S.) from Amlwch; containing 32 inhabitants. This parish, which is situated on the shore of the Irish Sea, is of very limited extent, comprising only a small portion of arable and pasture land, in a tolerable state of cultivation. The living is a perpetual curacy, annexed to the rectory of Llanilian; the tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £58. 10. The church, dedicated to St. Peirio, from whom the parish derives its name, is supposed to have been originally founded about the year 605, and is situated in the centre of a level field, at some distance from the village: divine service is performed every third Sunday. The Calvinistic Methodists hold a Sunday school.
RHÔSCOLYN, a parish, in the hundred of Menai, union and county of Anglesey, North Wales, 5 miles (S. S. E.) from Holyhead; containing 498 inhabitants. The name of this parish is derived by the author of the "Mona Antiqua Restaurata" from one of those columns which the Romans erected, both as commemorative of their victories, and to mark the extent of their conquests. The same authority states that Gwenvaen, daughter of Pawl Hên, had a religious house or cloister here, from which afterwards originated the parish church, called, from the founder of that cloister, Llanwenvaen, or "the church of Gwenvaen," an appellation that for some time superseded the earlier term Rhôscolyn, or "the moor of the column." The site of the ancient cloister is still distinguishable by the number of human bones found whenever the ground is turned up by the spade or the plough. The parish forms the southern part of Holy Island, being connected with the parish of Holyhead (forming the other part) by a narrow isthmus, along which runs the old London road to that place, and separated from the western coast of the main land of Anglesey only by a narrow, shallow, and sandy strait. Its surface is chiefly cultivated, though much of it is rendered of poor quality by rocks and sands. The total area is 2195 acres. Near Bôdior, an old mansion in the parish, is obtained in great abundance the variegated marble called verd antique, of which the specimens procured here, in the diversity and brilliancy of the colours, surpass those of Italy; and in the same quarries are found veins of beautiful asbestos, of soft silky texture, and of very superior quality. From the rocky eminence of Rhôscolyn, behind the church, is to be obtained a strikingly beautiful prospect of the adjacent coast.
The living is a discharged rectory, with the livings of Llanvair-yn-Eubwll and Llanvihangel-ynhowyn annexed, rated in the king's books at £10. 5.; present net income, £260 a year, with a glebe-house; patron, the Bishop of Bangor. The tithes of the parish have been commuted for a rent-charge of £169. 17. The church, dedicated to St. Gwenvaen, is a small edifice of the first half of the fifteenth century, measuring 44 feet by 19 feet, external dimensions, and in tolerable preservation. At the western end is a double bell-gable; and on the southern side is a porch, with a rudely elliptical archway for its entrance, and a doorway of good detail: there is also a doorway on the northern side, with a four-centred head. Of the windows, the eastern is of two cinque-foiled lights, with a quatrefoil in the head; the font is of the fifteenth century, of rather singular design, and the mouldings and other details of the building generally are well executed. The church is disfigured by a western gallery, entered by a staircase from the porch. There are places of worship for Baptists and Calvinistic and Wesleyan Methodists. A day school is aided by an endowment of £1. 16. per annum, bequeathed by the Rev. Dr. John Jones, Dean of Bangor, for teaching five children to read the Bible in their native language; it is otherwise supported by school-fees, and by J. Hampton Lewis, Esq., of Bôdior, who built the school-house, and provides the master with a house and garden rent-free, in addition to his contribution towards the support of the school. There are five Sunday schools held in the parish. Emma Roberts, in 1770, granted by deed a sum of £100, the interest to be divided in certain proportions among the oldest and poorest widows of this parish, and of Bôdedern, Llanvair-yn-Eubwll, and Llanvihangel-ynhowyn; 30s. are appropriated to this place, and distributed at Christmas as directed. The parish is also entitled to participate contingently in Ellen Owen's charity at Llangeinwen for apprenticing a poor boy, but it has never enjoyed any advantage from it, in consequence of the many claimants at Llangeinwen.
RHÔSCROWTHER (RHÔS-Y-CRYTHOR), a parish, in the hundred of Castlemartin, union and county of Pembroke, South Wales, 5 miles (W.) from Pembroke; containing 209 inhabitants. This place is said to have been the residence of some of the Welsh princes, prior to the Norman conquest; and there is still a spot called Estington, supposed to be a corruption of "Iestyn'ston," which was probably their abode. The parish is situated near the shores of Milford Haven, and bounded on the north by Angle bay and the parish of Pwllcrochon, east by Monkton, south by Castlemartin, and west by Angle parish. It contains by admeasurement 2366 acres, nearly equally divided between pasture and arable, the latter producing the usual kinds of corn. There is no timber, and the surface is rugged; but the views over the Haven and St. George's Channel are sometimes interesting, and enlivened by the passing and repassing of vessels. The living is a rectory, rated in the king's books at £15. 12. 11., and in the patronage of the Lord Chancellor: the tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £280, and there is a glebe of 75 acres, with a glebe-house. The church, dedicated to St. Decumanus, is partly of great antiquity, in the early style of English architecture, but the body of the structure is modern; it is about 70 feet long by 18 wide, and contains 120 sittings, of which 20 are free.
RHÔSDIAU (RHÔS-DDÛ), a parish, in the union of Aberystwith, Upper division of the hundred of Ilar, county of Cardigan, South Wales, 7 miles (S. by E.) from the town of Aberystwith; containing 120 inhabitants. This parish, which is situated within a few miles of Cardigan bay, comprises 1306 acres. The surface is varied, in some parts mountainous; and the surrounding scenery is characterized rather by features of rugged boldness than of pleasing or picturesque appearance: the soil in the lower grounds is productive, and the declivities of the hills afford scanty pasturage for sheep and young cattle. Its distance from any great turnpike-road renders this place difficult of access, and it has therefore little intercourse, even with the neighbouring villages. The living is a discharged rectory, rated in the king's books at £1.6. 8., and endowed with £200 royal bounty; present net income, £101; patron, the Bishop of St. David's: the tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £63, and there is a glebe of 40 acres, valued at £21. 10. per annum. The church, dedicated to St. Michael, having for some time been in a state of ruinous dilapidation, was rebuilt in 1816. Here is a Sunday school in connexion with the Established Church.
RHÔSGÔCH (RHÔS-GÔCH), a township, in the chapelry of Wolston, parish of Worthen, incorporation of Forden, Lower division of the hundred of Cawrse, county of Montgomery, North Wales, 4½ miles (E.) from Welshpool; containing 39 inhabitants. It forms a part of the Long Mountain, on the border of Shropshire, in which county the greater portion of the parish is situated.
Rhôsilly, or Rosilly (Rhôssulwy)
RHÔSILLY, or ROSILLY (RHÔSSULWY), a parish, in the union and hundred of Swansea, county of Glamorgan, South Wales, 16½ miles (W. S. W.) from Swansea; containing 339 inhabitants. The parish derives its appellation from Reginald Sili or Sulwy, to whom the lordship was given, on the division of the conquered territory of Glamorgan, by Fitz-Hamon. It is situated on a bay to which it gives name in the Bristol Channel. The bay is inclosed on the south by Worms Head, a rugged promontory forming the western extremity of the county of Glamorgan, and stretching two miles into the sea; and on the north by the promontory opposite to which is Holme's Island: on the east side it is backed by the lofty and beautiful range of hills called Rhôsilly Downs. The anchorage almost throughout this bay is very dangerous in rough weather, from the eddies and currents that set in here: that part, however, just below the village, affords good shelter and holding ground, with any but a north-west wind. During the night of the 18th November, 1840, the "City of Bristol" steampacket was lost in Rhôsilly bay. The limestone rocks that line the shore exhibit some very curious caverns, in which are fine specimens of stalactite, and where large quantities of bones of various animals have been discovered; the sands extend for three miles to the north-west of the church, and are firm and smooth. The parish comprises an extensive tract of land, of which about three-fourths are inclosed and cultivated, and the remainder consists of fine open downs affording excellent pasturage, and other common and waste. About fifty men are employed in quarrying limestone, of which great quantities are shipped from the bay to different parts of the principality. The surrounding scenery is diversified, and the views over the bay and the adjacent country abound with objects of interest: Worms Head is one of the grandest features of the Bristol Channel, and the terror of seamen in stormy weather. The living is a rectory, rated in the king's books at £9. 6. 8., and in the patronage of the Lord Chancellor; present net income, £104. The church, dedicated to St. Mary, is an ancient structure, situated near the shore, but is not remarkable for its architectural details. There is a place of worship for Wesleyan Methodists. A day school is held in connexion with the Established Church; and two Sunday schools are supported, one of them conducted on Church principles, the other connected with the Wesleyans.
RHÔS-MAEN, with Tir-Esgob, a hamlet, in that part of the parish of Llandilo-Vawr which is in the Lower division of the hundred of Perveth, in the union of Llandilo-Vawr, county of Carmarthen, South Wales, 1½ mile (N. E.) from Llandilo-Vawr; containing 590 inhabitants. It lies on the right bank of the river Towy, and the road from Llandilo-Vawr to Llangadock passes through the hamlet.
RHÔSMARKET (RHÔS-MARKET), a parish, in the hundred of Rhôs, union and county of Pembroke, South Wales, 4 miles (E. N. E.) from Milford; containing 473 inhabitants. This parish comprises a moderate extent of arable and pasture land, the whole inclosed and in a good state of cultivation; the surface is undulated, and in some parts hilly. Its situation, about half-way between Haverfordwest and Milford, affords great facility for conveying its agricultural produce to market. The living is a discharged vicarage, rated in the king's books at £4, endowed with £200 royal bounty, and in the patronage of the Lord Chancellor; present net income, £106; impropriator, G. S. Roch, Esq.: the vicar, in addition to the small tithes, has the tithe of hay. The church, dedicated to St. Ishmael, is not distinguished by any architectural details of importance. There is a place of worship for Independents, with a Sunday school held in it. In the village are the remains of an ancient mansion, formerly the seat of the family of Walters, and in which was born Lucy, daughter of Sir Richard Walters, the favourite mistress of Charles II., and mother of the unfortunate Duke of Monmouth: the ruins of this mansion are now the property of Mrs. Owen Barlow, who is the principal proprietor of land in the parish.
RHÔSVERRIG (RHÔS-FEIRIG), a township, in the parish of Llanvihangel-Bryn-Pabuan, union and hundred of Builth, county of Brecknock, South Wales, 1½ mile (N. W.) from the town of Builth; containing 101 inhabitants. This hamlet, though situated on the western bank of the Wye, takes its name from the ancient Verreg, or Verlex, an extensive district between the rivers Wye and Severn, frequently referred to by the Welsh historians as having been governed by its own reguli. It once contained a mansion belonging to Elystan Glodrydd, one of the five royal tribes, whose descendant still inherits the principal portion of this division of the parish. The river Wye bounds it on the north-east, and the Whevri stream on the southwest; and between these it forms a narrow peninsula, running in a south-eastern direction almost to the town of Builth. It is the most fertile portion of the neighbourhood, having a soil composed chiefly of loam, though intermixed with some gravel; and the crops are more abundant and varied than those of the remainder of the parish. The Radnorshire trap rocks extend for a short distance on the banks of the river Wye, at its eastern extremity, where, on the tenement of Parc ar Irvon, near Parc wood, are three mineral springs, close to each other; one saline, another sulphureous, and the third chalybeate. The waters of the saline spring are stronger than perhaps any other in the kingdom, but the sulphureous spring has a weaker impregnation than that at Llanwrtyd. The wells are covered with a pumproom. Near them is a small projecting rock overhanging the Wye, which was once fortified, and probably served as a post for guarding the ford of Llêchrhyd; it may even have been at one period occupied by the Romans, as the Roman road from Llandrindod must have crossed the Wye near this spot. The Whevri is remarkable for the abundance and excellence of its trout. A commutation for the tithes of the township has been made, amounting to £80, of which £53. 6. 8. are payable to the Dean and Chapter of St. David's, and £26. 13. 4. to the vicar of Llanvihangel-Bryn-Pabuan.
RHUDDLAN, a borough, sea-port, and parish, in the union of St. Asaph, partly in the hundred of Prestatyn, and partly in that of Rhuddlan, county of Flint, North Wales, 11 miles (W. by N.) from Holywell, 16 (W. by N.) from Flint, 21 (N. W. by W.) from Mold, and 220 (N. W.) from London; containing, with the chapelry of Rhyl, 2415 inhabitants. This place, which is of very great antiquity, is supposed to derive its name from the red colour of the soil on the banks of the river Clwyd, on which it is situated. It appears to have been of considerable importance from the earliest period; and the adjoining marsh, called by the Welsh "Morva Rhuddlan," is distinguished as the scene of a memorable battle that occurred in the year 795, between the Saxons under Offa, King of Mercia, and the Welsh, in which the latter, after a severe and obstinate conflict, were defeated with dreadful slaughter, and Caradoc, King of North Wales, with many of his principal chieftains, was slain. Such of the Welsh as escaped the sword of the enemy, perished in the marsh from the influx of the tide; and those who had been taken prisoners were inhumanly massacred, without much regard to age or sex. In commemoration of this disastrous event was composed the well-known Welsh air of "Morva Rhuddlan," which is so deservedly admired for the plaintive sweetness of its melody. According to the Welsh Chronicles, it would appear that Offa himself fell in the engagement; but the Saxon annals place his death a year earlier.
In 1015, Llewelyn ab Seisyllt, King of North Wales, erected a fortress and a palace at Rhuddlan, which he made his principal residence, and which, after his death by assassination in 1021, continued to be the abode of his son and successor, Grufydd ab Llewelyn. This prince having given offence to Edward the Confessor, King of England, by sheltering Algar, Earl of Chester, one of his refractory nobles, that monarch sent Harold, with a powerful force, to subdue the Welsh prince's dominions; and Grufydd, surprised at this place by the sudden approach of the English army, which he was not prepared to oppose, privately embarked with a few of his attendants in one of the vessels then lying in the harbour, and, setting sail immediately, effected his escape. Harold soon made himself master of the fortress, and, mortified at the unexpected flight of the Welsh king, burnt his palace and destroyed all the ships of war and other vessels remaining in the harbour; after which he returned into England, to make more extensive preparations for subduing the prince. Towards the end of the Confessor's reign, Rhuddlan seems to have been possessed by Edwin, Earl of Chester.
The castle was afterwards held by the Welsh, who appear to have retained it for some time, during which they rebuilt and fortified the town, and rendered it one of the most flourishing places in North Wales. At length, Robert, nephew of Hugh Lupus, Earl of Chester, laid siege to the place, and compelled the garrison to surrender. William the Conqueror, perceiving the advantageous situation of Rhuddlan, near to the sea, and its importance as a border fortress, issued orders to Robert, surnamed from this place "de Rotelan," to repair the castle, to strengthen the fortifications of the town, and to make it his principal residence; and the square towers still standing, evidently of Norman origin, were probably erected at this time, and in obedience to the royal mandate. The additional works raised by this nobleman, with the facility of procuring supplies of men and provisions by sea at any time from England, rendered it a military station of great consequence, and a powerful means of keeping the Welsh in subjection. In 1109, Grufydd ab Cynan, who had previously visited Robert at this place, and had obtained from him assistance against his enemies, on account of some quarrel which had arisen between them, attacked the castle of Rhuddlan, burnt the outer ward, killed many of the soldiers, and compelled the remainder to retire for safety within the towers.
Henry II., on his invasion of North Wales, in 1157, advanced to Rhuddlan without any resistance, repaired the castle, and strengthened the fortifications with additional works; and, previously to his return into England, garrisoned it with a strong body of his own forces. The Welsh chieftains having, in 1165, entered into a confederacy to throw off the allegiance which they had sworn to this monarch, Henry, aware of the importance of Rhuddlan Castle as a grand border fortress, and judging that it would be the first object of their attack, advanced hastily to protect it; but the enemy retiring upon his approach, the king, not being in sufficient force to pursue them, remained here only for a few days, and, having reinforced the garrison, returned to England. Notwithstanding its strength and the number of its soldiers, the castle, being invested by the Welsh forces in 1167, though valiantly defended, was taken, after a siege of two months, by Owain Gwynedd, sovereign of North Wales, who dismantled the fortifications, and put the garrison to the sword. It appears, however, to have been soon restored to the English, for it is named in conjunction with two other fortresses given by Henry II. to Davydd, son of Owain Gwynedd, on his marriage with Emma, natural sister of that monarch; and, in 1178, it was held for Davydd by an English force, in opposition to a body of his own subjects, who had risen in disgust at his tyrannical conduct. In 1187, Baldwin, Archbishop of Canterbury, attended by Giraldus Cambrensis, in his progress through Wales to preach the crusades, was hospitably received and nobly entertained by Davydd, in his castle at Rhuddlan; which this prince probably at a subsequent period surrendered to the English, in whose possession it for some time remained.
Towards the close of the reign of Richard I., Ranulph de Meschines, surnamed Blundeville, Earl of Chester, being suddenly besieged in this fortress by a body of Welsh, at a time when the garrison was quite inadequate to its defence, was reduced to a state of extreme peril, from which he was at length relieved by his lieutenant, Roger de Lacy. This officer, with great promptitude assembling a vast number of idle persons and vagabonds of all descriptions, who had congregated at the fair at Chester, placed himself at their head, and marched towards Rhuddlan; and Llewelyn ab Iorwerth, who had succeeded Davydd in the principality of North Wales, and commanded the besieging forces in person, perceiving at a distance an immense crowd of people, imagined it to be an English army advancing to the relief of the castle, and immediately raised the siege and retired with precipitation. The earl, in gratitude for the timely assistance, conferred upon his lieutenant the "magisterium omnium peccatorum et meretricum totius Cestreshire," which grant was, by one of his sons, partially assigned to his steward, Hugh Dutton, his heirs and assigns. In the reign of Henry VII., the descendants of Hugh Dutton preferred their claim, in right of this grant, to an annual payment of fourpence from every woman of ill-fame within the county of Chester, and to the power of summoning all minstrels exercising their calling within the said shire, to appear annually on the festival of St. John the Baptist, before themselves or their steward, and to present each a lance, four flagons of wine, and fourpence halfpenny, as the price of their licences. These claims, being annexed to certain estates, continued to descend with them for a series of ages, and the annual procession of the minstrels to the church of St. John the Baptist at Chester was continued till the middle of the last century.
King John, on his invasion of North Wales, in 1211, advanced through Rhuddlan into Carnarvonshire. In the following year the castle was attacked, but without effect, by Prince Llewelyn; who, however, succeeded in capturing it in 1214. From this time it appears to have been alternately in the possession of the English and the Welsh, till the year 1277, when it was finally wrested from the latter by Edward I., who, fully aware of the importance of its occupation, in the prosecution of his schemes of conquest, made it the principal rendezvous for the forces which he had assembled for the subjugation of Wales. It likewise formed the grand depôt of arms and provisions for the supply of his invading army. Having strongly fortified the place, Edward took up his residence at Rhuddlan, while conducting the conquest of the country, and here entered into a treaty with Llewelyn ab Grufydd, who submitted himself almost entirely to his mercy, consented to repair hither to take the oath of fealty to him, and paid him the sum of two thousand marks. About the year 1282, Anian, at one time prior of the monastery of Rhuddlan, but elected to the see of St. Asaph in 1268, petitioned Edward, as the seat of his diocese had been in a great measure destroyed by the contending armies, to remove the episcopal chair to Rhuddlan, where the bishops and the church might, under shelter of a strong castle, be protected from the furious attacks of both parties, to which they still continued exposed. This the English king would willingly have done, even making an offer of land here, on which to build a new cathedral, together with a thousand marks to defray the expense of its erection; but the consent of the pontiff was never obtained, and the cathedral was at length rebuilt on its former site.
Llewelyn, repenting of the submission he had made to the English monarch, and aware of the danger of leaving so important a place as Rhuddlan in the hands of his enemy, in conjunction with his brother Davydd, whom a sense of the common danger had reconciled to his cause, captured all the fortresses of the English in North Wales, and at length invested the castle of Rhuddlan, and slew all the workmen engaged in strengthening the fortifications. Edward, relying on the strength of this fortress, and making every preparation for finally conquering the Welsh, immediately issued summonses from Worcester, commanding that all his military tenants, including the military services of the prelates, and of the twenty-four abbots holding of the crown, should meet him at Rhuddlan, in the ensuing month of June, 1282. On the approach of Edward, about the middle of this month, the Welsh princes raised the siege; and in the following July, the English monarch, during his residence here, issued orders to the sheriffs of the adjacent border counties to raise each a certain number of hatchet-men, to act as pioneers for the safe passage of his army into the interior. From this place, too, it was that the ineffectual negotiations between Edward and the Welsh princes, through the medium of the Archbishop of Canterbury, were conducted. All conferences being at length broken off, King Edward advanced, in the beginning of November, from Rhuddlan to Conway; but returned on the 24th of the same month, after the defeat of a body of his forces near Bangor, and hence issued writs for assembling a parliament to grant extraordinary supplies for the maintenance of the war. After the unfortunate death of Llewelyn, in the following winter, and the entire dispersion of the Welsh forces, his brother Davydd, with his wife, two sons, and seven daughters, was brought prisoner to Rhuddlan, where the English king had now taken up his residence to settle the affairs of his newly-conquered territories; and having been kept for some time a close prisoner in the castle, Davydd was removed in chains to Shrewsbury, and was there ignominiously put to death as a traitor.
During his residence at Rhuddlan, Edward instituted the celebrated body of laws, for the government of his new subjects, called "the Statute of Rhuddlan," which introduced the English system of judicature into the extensive territories which, on account of their remote situation, had escaped the usurpation of the lords marcher. He likewise issued from this place a proclamation to all the inhabitants of Wales, that he would receive them under his protection, and assure to them the enjoyment of their liberties and estates, under the same tenures as they had heretofore held them of their native princes. It was here also that Edward, while sitting in council, at which the Welsh chieftains attended, promised to them for their sovereign a native of their own country, one who knew not how to speak a word of English, and whose life and conduct had been hitherto irreproachable. On their acclamations of joy, and promise of obedience, he invested with the principality his infant son Edward, who had just been born at Carnarvon: the prince, however, was not actually raised to the dignity of Prince of Wales till some years afterwards.
In order to guard Rhuddlan against any future attempts of the Welsh, Edward resolved upon rebuilding the castle, and rendering it impregnable by the strength of its fortifications; and more than fifteen years were employed in the accomplishment of this work, which was conducted on a scale of splendour and magnificence, of which striking evidence is preserved in its present stately ruins. Although not completed during Edward's sojourn here, one of that monarch's children, the princess Eleanor, was born in the castle. In the mean time the town rapidly increased in population and importance; it was principally inhabited by English settlers, and soon became the chief town in this part of the principality. The inhabitants had been invested with many immunities by Hugh Lupus, Earl of Chester; and the number of burgesses, which in his time amounted only to eight, was extended to eighteen by Robert de Rotelan, who augmented their privileges, making them equal to those enjoyed by the men of Hereford. By a charter dated at Flint, on September 8th, 1284, in the twelfth year of his reign, Edward made the place a free borough, ordaining that the constable of the castle should be mayor, to be assisted by two bailiffs, chosen annually from the burgesses, and by other municipal officers. He granted the corporation also a guild; a prison, with power to hold courts for determining all offences not extending to life or limb; a forest and free warren, and numerous other privileges and immunities, all which were subsequently confirmed by Richard II., at Leicester, and again by the same monarch at Westminster. By a writ issued by Edward from Bristol, in 1285, Rhuddlan, in common with some other Welsh towns, was declared to be free for ever from paying the taxes called talliages.
Sir Grufydd Llwyd, who had received from Edward I. the honour of knighthood, on bringing to that monarch tidings of the birth of his son at Carnarvon, rebelling against Edward II., assembled a large number of native troops in 1322, and assaulted the castle of this place; but, after many fruitless attempts to reduce it, he was taken prisoner, and, having first been confined here for some time, was executed. Rhuddlan Castle was granted by Edward III., in the seventh year of his reign, to his son Edward the Black Prince, as forming part of the earldom of Chester; and, according to a survey of the revenues of that earldom, made about forty years after this time, it appears that the town of Rhuddlan paid to the Earls of Chester a chief-rent of £72. 9. 2. per annum, and that the emoluments of the constable of the castle, who was accountable for the payment of that rent, amounted to £8. 14. per annum. On the return of Richard II. from his expedition into Ireland, whence he was recalled by the distracted state of his government at home, the king was brought to this town by the Earl of Northumberland and a large body of retainers, by whom he was held in a state of honourable captivity; and having stayed here for a short time, for the purpose of refreshment, he was hurried forward by that nobleman to the castle of Flint, where he was betrayed into the power of his rival Bolingbroke, afterwards Henry IV. From this period, little is recorded of the history of the castle, which appears to have fallen into neglect, and to have become dilapidated: for, on the breaking out of the parliamentary war, a very great expense was incurred in putting it in proper condition for receiving the troops by which it was garrisoned for the king. In 1645, it was besieged by a powerful body of parliamentarian forces under the command of Sir William Brereton: the garrison made a valiant and successful defence, and Sir William, after many fruitless efforts to reduce it, was compelled to retire to Chester. In the following year the castle was besieged by General Mytton, to whom it surrendered, and it was soon afterwards dismantled by order of the parliament.
The Town, now comparatively little more than a village, is pleasantly situated in an extensive and lovely vale, on the east bank of the river Clwyd, about two miles above its influx into the Irish Sea. It consists principally of one good street, intersected by several smaller thoroughfares; the houses are neatly built, the streets indifferently and only partially paved, and the inhabitants but scantily supplied with water, which, in dry seasons, they are frequently obliged to bring from a spot a mile distant. Over the river Clwyd is an ancient bridge of two arches, built in the year 1595, by William Hughes, Bishop of St. Asaph; near which the water was formerly only deep enough, even at high tide, to enable boats of seven tons' burthen, or "flats," as they are here called, to approach the town. Great improvements have in later times been made in the navigation of the river. Among these may be more particularly noticed a large embankment, raised at the expense of the trustees for the inclosure, under an act of parliament, of the Morva Rhuddlan; by which means the river is prevented from inundating the contiguous grounds, and much valuable land has been gained. A commodious harbour has also been formed, which is accessible at all states of the tide for vessels of one hundred tons' burthen: vessels of fifty tons' can come up to the bridge, at high water. Spacious quays and wharfs have been constructed, and warehouses erected, for facilitating the trade of the place, which has become a central depôt for supplying the several towns in the Vale of Clwyd and the adjacent parts of North Wales. In the spring of the year 1841, permission was obtained to make Rhuddlan a bonded port for timber. The principal trade consists in the exportation of grain and timber, of which great quantities are shipped to Liverpool and the neighbouring ports, and of lead-ore from the adjacent mines of Talar Gôch; and in the importation of coal, groceries, and shop goods of various descriptions, to be distributed hence throughout the surrounding country by land carriage. The port is formed by the mouth of the river Clwyd, at a place called the Voryd, or "sea ford." Steam-packets ply regularly between this place and Liverpool, and brigs and sloops sail frequently both to that and other ports: the old turnpike-road from Holywell to Abergele passes through the town, and the Chester and Holyhead railway has a station at Rhyl, in the parish. Rhyl has of late years risen into repute as a bathing-place, and during the summer is much resorted to by visiters, for whose accommodation three hotels have been erected: for a detailed account, see the article on that place. Fairs are held at Rhuddlan annually on February 2nd, March 25th, and September 8th.
The charter granted by Edward I., which was confirmed by Richard II., has been in disuse ever since the period when the castle was dismantled by order of the parliament; no constable has since been elected, and consequently the borough has had no mayor: the appointment of the bailiffs, however, which is vested in the lord of the manor, still annually takes place. The corporation no longer exercise any magisterial authority, and the courts formerly in existence under their charter have been discontinued, those now held being only the courts baron and leet of the lord of the manor, at the latter of which, in October, the borough officers are chosen. But though reduced in extent and importance, the place still retains its privilege, as one of the parliamentary boroughs within the county, of contributing in the return of a member to parliament. It is also one of the polling-places in the election of a knight for the shire. The limits of the borough are co-extensive with the Rhuddlan franchise, which extends over five townships of the parish of Rhuddlan, a part of that of St. Asaph, and portions of those of Cwm and Dyserth. Until the passing of the inclosure act already alluded to, in the 34th of George III., the inhabitants enjoyed very important rights of common, which they had exercised time immemorially, turning their cattle, sheep, and horses on all the wastes within the borough, without restriction; but at that period the privilege was taken away, and, as no right of the burgesses was recognised by the legislature, no allotment or compensation was made to them in respect of their interest in the soil. The parish comprises 4110 acres.
The living is a vicarage, rated in the king's books at £11. 10. 5., and in the patronage of the Bishop of St. Asaph. The great tithes were granted by Edward I. to the Dean and Chapter of St. Asaph, in 1284, and are still a source of revenue to that body. The whole tithes have been commuted for £991. 1. 10., of which £649. 17. 2. are payable to the dean and chapter, £264. 1. 10. to the vicar, £71. 2. 10. to a certain impropriator, and £6 to the Bishop of Bangor. A good glebe-house was built in 1820; and there are 12 acres of glebe, valued at £24 per annum. The church, dedicated to St. Mary, is an ancient structure, partly in the early style of English architecture, consisting of a nave, chancel, and north aisle, and containing some interesting monuments to the family of Bôdryddan: one of these, of white marble, is to the memory of the Very Rev. W. D. Shipley, Dean of St. Asaph, who was buried in an elegant mausoleum adjoining, erected by himself during his life. At Rhyl is a separate incumbency. There are places of worship for Baptists, Calvinistic and Wesleyan Methodists, and Independents. Through the exertions of the Rev. Thomas Wynne Edwards, a National school was established, in 1829, by subscription, aided by a grant of £50 from the parent society in London; the building is capable of receiving 180 children, and there are at present about 60 boys and 10 girls. In another National school are 60 girls, 15 of whom are paid for by Lady Mostyn, of Pengwern, who allows £8 per annum, and the rest by Mrs. Yonge, of Bôdryddan, from whom the mistress receives a salary of £15. There is a Church school at Rhyl, and the parish has altogether seven Sunday schools. Various charitable donations and bequests have been made, all of £10 each, amounting to £80, which sum, in 1718, was secured by a rent-charge of £4, annually distributed in clothing on St. Thomas's day among the poor.
The ancient castle occupied an elevated site on the bank of the river Clwyd, commanding the harbour, and the pass above Morva Rhuddlan. Its walls inclosed an octagonal area, and were defended by six round towers of great strength, of which those at the east and west angles were double, and those at the north and south were single; the steep acclivity towards the river was defended with high walls and square towers, and the whole was encircled by a broad and deep fosse, faced with stone. This fortress was built of limestone, freestone, and red sandstone, and of its original splendour and magnificence a striking memorial is presented in its venerable and stately ruins, which are among the most interesting and extensive in the principality. They consist chiefly of the walls, which are seventeen feet in thickness, and on the south side nearly entire; three of the round towers, of which one called Twr y Brenhin, or "the king's tower," is in tolerable preservation; the remains of various state apartments within the area, in one of which it is said the princess Eleanor was born; one of the square towers that defended the acclivity from the river, which is still entire; and the ruins of another, named Twr y Silod. To the south of the castle is an artificial mound, styled Toothill, surrounded by a deep fosse, and once probably the site of the fort and palace built by Llewelyn ab Seisyllt, and destroyed by Harold: the fosse comprises a quadrilateral area, in which was also anciently included the priory of Rhuddlan.
The priory was founded in the year 1197, by Ranulph de Blundeville, Earl of Chester, for brethren of the Dominican order; and in the year 1268, as already observed, Anian de Schonan, prior, was made Bishop of St. Asaph. The establishment suffered greatly during the wars of Edward I., but it still continued to flourish till the Dissolution, when its revenue was estimated at £197.19.10.: the site and buildings were granted, in the 32nd of Henry VIII., to Harry ab Harry. The remains, now converted into a farmhouse and stables, consist chiefly of some part of the dormitory and domestic apartments, which are tolerably perfect. Many stone coffins have been dug up on the site of the ancient buildings, which appear to have been very extensive; and among the monumental stones found near the spot is one to the memory of some archbishop, on which is his effigy, holding the crosier in the left hand, the right hand raised as if in the act of benediction, and the head crowned with a mitre: this stone is now built up in the wall of a barn. In the cemetery many human skeletons have been discovered, and numbers of human bones are yet frequently thrown up by the spade. Not far distant from the priory stands a farmhouse called Spital, or "Yspytty," formerly an hospital belonging to the Knights Templars, founded by Edward I., in 1279; and near it is a fine spring, from which the priory derived water, conveyed to it by leaden pipes, that were taken up not many years ago: from this spring the town of Rhuddlan is now supplied during seasons of drought. A full description of the priory and hospital, with illustrations, is given in the numbers of the Archæologia Cambrensis for July 1847 and January 1848. On the east side of the principal street is still remaining a portion of the house in which Edward I. sat in council, while superintending the erection of the castle, and legislating for the future government of his Welsh subjects. In commemoration of this circumstance, a stone was placed in the building by the late Dean Shipley, with the following inscription;—"This fragment is the remains of the building where King Edward I. held his parliament, A.D. 1283, in which was passed the Statute of Rhuddlan, securing to the principality of Wales its judicial rights and independence." About a mile from the town, in the hamlet of Cricin, is a large tumulus, heaped over the remains of St. Eurgain, or Cain, daughter of Maelgwyn, and niece of St. Asaph founder of the see of that name: on the tumulus is the shaft of a cross, the head of which is now in a pool on the farm adjoining. Bôdryddan, in the parish, has been the property and residence of the family of Conway from the time of Edward III., by whom it was bestowed upon John Coniers of Conway, then governor of Calais, to whom also belonged the castle and manor of Rhuddlan, by a grant from Edward the Black Prince. The estate now belongs to William Shipley Conway, Esq. The mansion is spacious; and the grounds, which are very extensive, are enriched with some of the finest timber in North Wales.