A Topographical Dictionary of Wales. Originally published by S Lewis, London, 1849.
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LLANGENNITH (LLAN-GENYDD), a parish in the union and hundred of Swansea, county of Glamorgan, South Wales, 16 miles (W. by S.) from Swansea; containing 436 inhabitants. It derives its name from the dedication of its church to St. Cenydd, in whose honour, also, a priory was founded in the parish, according to Bishop Tanner, by Roger de Bellomont, or Beaumont, Earl of Warwick, who is said to have conquered the territory of Gower, in which ancient lordship Llangennith is included, in the reign of Stephen. This priory, of which the present parochial church was most probably the chapel, was annexed to the abbey of St. Taurinus, at Evreux, in Normandy; and, as an alien priory, was seized in the time of Henry V., by whose son and successor it was granted, in 1441, to the Warden and Fellows of All Souls' College, Oxford. From the frequent mention, in ancient deeds, of the names "East Town," "West Town," "Prior's Town," "Druid's Moor," &c., with reference to this place, it would appear to have been originally of much greater extent than at present.
The houses forming the village, though scattered, and in general of a poor description, have a cleanly appearance, and are whitewashed, as is common in the county of Glamorgan. It is situated near the south-western foot of Llanmadock hill, and commands a fine view of the adjacent country, through which flows the Burry, a small rivulet that has its rise at Burry Head, and falls into the Loughor, below the church of Cheriton, giving to that river the name of Burry, during the finest part of its course, from the ferry at Loughor to its mouth: the town of Loughor is seen in the distance, between the hills. The soil of the parish is fertile, and the lands are almost entirely inclosed, and in a good state of cultivation. The living is a discharged vicarage, rated in the king's books at £5. 16. 8., and endowed with £400 royal bounty; present net income, £65; patron, T. Penrice, Esq. The church, a spacious structure, preserves some characteristics of its original importance, as connected with the priory; the glebe-house is supposed to occupy the site of the abode of St. Cenydd, and is still called the College. On Holmes' island, which is contiguous to this part of the coast, are the remains of an old chapel, formerly belonging to the church. In the small village of Burry's-Green is a meeting-house for dissenters, with a neat house adjoining for the minister. Several schools are held in the parish.
LLANGERNIEW (LLAN-GERNIEW), a parish, in the union of Llanrwst, partly in the hundred of Isaled, and partly in that of Isdulas, county of Denbigh, North Wales, 8 miles (W. by N.) from Denbigh; containing 1118 inhabitants. This parish is situated on the banks of the river Elwy, and comprises 7753 acres, forming one of the most rugged and mountainous parts of the county. The mansion of Hâvodunnos, within its limits, is stated to have been originally a religious foundation; but no authentic account has been preserved of such an establishment, nor are there any vestiges of the buildings: the present edifice is in the Elizabethan style. There is another good old mansion in the parish, called Pennant. Several attempts to procure lead and copper ore have been made, but the quantity found has been considered insufficient to afford an adequate remuneration to the adventurers. That part of the parish in the hundred of Isaled comprises the Upper and Lower divisions; that which is in the hundred of Isdulas forms the hamlet of Marchaled. Fairs are held on March 29th, May 16th, June 28th, September 29th, and November 29th.
The living is a discharged vicarage, rated in the king's books at £7. 6. 0½.; patron, the Bishop of St. Asaph: the rectory is an impropriation. The tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £538. 8. 8., which is equally divided between the rector and the vicar; the latter has also a glebe of 20a. 1r. 21p., valued at £25 per annum, and a glebe-house. The church, dedicated to St. Digain, was restored in the year 1849, from designs by Mr. Penson; it is a large edifice, and contains some good monuments of the Lloyds of Hâvodunnos. There are places of worship for Independents, Wesleyans, and Calvinistic Methodists. A Church school is supported mainly by Henry Sanbach, Esq., of Hâvodunnos; and a British school has been established in the parish: of six Sunday schools, one is in connexion with the Church, three with the Calvinistic Methodists, and one with the Baptists. Numerous small benefactions for the benefit of the poor, were invested in 1748 in the purchase of a plot of land called Tŷ'n-y-Caeau, then comprising about seventeen acres, and now increased to twenty-eight by various encroachments made on the common previously to the last thirty years. These investments amounted to £115, with £15 added from the poors'-rate, and at present produce about £18 per annum. The chief contributor whose name is recorded on the benefaction-table in front of the gallery in the church, is Mrs. Ursula Lloyd, whose donation was £50. A small part of the annual fund is laid out by the vicar and churchwardens in bread, distributed in Lent to some of the most aged poor, and the remainder provides clothing for the most necessitous parishioners, among whom it is dispensed on St. Thomas's day.
LLANGEVNI (LLAN-GEFNI), a markettown and parish, in the hundred of Menai, union and county of Anglesey, North Wales, 13 miles (W.) from Beaumaris, and 248 (N. W. by W.) from London; containing 1755 inhabitants. This place derives its name from the river Cevni, upon which it is situated. Towards the close of the last century, it was but a small and inconsiderable village, consisting only of two or three solitary houses; but owing to its central situation, and the establishment of a market here, it has, since that period, amazingly increased in extent and population, and is at present one of the best market-towns in Anglesey. The town is beautifully situated in a rich and fertile vale, watered by the river, which nearly encircles the place, and over which two handsome bridges of stone have been erected. It stands upon the old Holyhead road, at the distance of a mile from the new line of road from the Menai bridge to Holyhead, constructed under the authority of government. The parish has that of Trêgayan on the north, that of LlanvihangelYsceiviog on the south, that of Llanfinnan on the east, and the parishes of Hêneglwys and Llanwillog on the west and north-west; and comprises by computation about 2300 acres, of which half consists of arable land, and grass land used for hay, and the other half of pasture, with twenty acres of woodland. The greater portion is inclosed and cultivated; one part forms an open tract of common, affording good pasturage for cattle and sheep: the soil in general is a rich loamy earth, producing wheat, barley, oats, &c., and the pasture lands supply excellent grass for blackcattle, sheep, and horses. The surface is flat, and the local scenery tame and uninteresting; but some fine views may be obtained of the Carnarvonshire mountains in the distance: the parish contains the mansions of Vron and Pencraig, and the principal estates are in several places studded with trees of oak, ash, elm, and fir.
The town is well built and of prepossessing appearance, consisting of several regular and well-formed streets, with a neat market-house. On the river Cevni is a small factory for carding and spinning wool, and for bleaching and weaving woollen cloth, which is manufactured on a limited scale. The market, formerly on Friday, but now on Thursday, is well supplied with provisions of every kind; it was instituted in the year 1785, and is one of the best attended in the island. Fairs are annually held on March 14th, April 17th, June 10th, August 17th, September 15th, and Oct. 23rd; and six great cattle markets take place on the six market days preceding Christmas. A post-office under that of Bangor, from which place it is distant eleven miles, is maintained in the town; and under the act of 1832, for "Amending the Representation of the People," Llangevni is a polling-place in the election of a knight for the shire. The powers of the county debt-court of Llangevni, established in 1847, extend over the whole county.
The living is a discharged rectory, with the living of Trêgayan annexed, rated in the king's books at £9. 13. 4.; patron, the Bishop of Bangor; present net income, £446. The tithes of Llangevni have been commuted for £319. 17. 6. The church, dedicated to St. Cyngar, is a spacious structure, thirtythree yards long and ten wide, with a lofty square embattled tower crowned with pinnacles. It was built in 1824, by subscription, aided by a grant of £250 from the Incorporated Society for the building and enlargement of Churches and Chapels, to defray the cost of 383 additional sittings, of which 297 are free; making the total number of sittings between 500 and 600, and of free sittings between 300 and 400. The late Lord Bulkeley gave the land on which the church is built, and £300 towards its erection; also a plot of ground on which to build a glebe-house, and a portion of land for the enlargement of the churchyard. The Rev. Evan Williams, M.A., the rector, built an excellent, commodious, and well-planned rectory-house in 1822, and contributed £100 towards building the church; and the proprietors of land in the parish subscribed liberally towards the accomplishment of the same work. There are places of worship for Baptists, Independents, and Calvinistic and Wesleyan Methodists. A National school, which is held in a large room over the marketplace, built expressly for that purpose by the late Lord Bulkeley, was established in 1818, and is supported by subscription, for the gratuitous education of both boys and girls. Four Sunday schools are also held, in the dissenters' meeting-houses. Numerous small donations and bequests have been made by various benefactors for the relief of the poor; but they have all either been lost, or expended in building cottages, with the exception of £1. 15. per annum, which is distributed according to the intention of the donors. Three small houses in the parish, built in 1796, are occupied by poor families rentfree; and in 1812 an allotment of six acres of Rhôsy-Meirch common was assigned to the inhabitants under an inclosure act, but the soil being of a clayey nature, and not adapted for supplying fuel, six cottages were erected on the plot, at the expense of the parish, with stone drawn from three quarries on the property.
About a mile from the town, within the limits of the parish, is Trêgarnedd, anciently the residence of Ednyved Vychan, which took its name from a large carnedd, or sepulchral heap of stones, in an adjoining field: this Ednyved was the valiant commander of the forces and chief councillor of Llewelyn the Great, and ancestor of Owain Tewdwr, and of the sovereigns of the Tudor house who subsequently succeeded to the throne of England. Trêgarnedd was also the birthplace of Sir Grufydd Llwyd, grandson of Ednyved, who was knighted by Edward I., in 1284, on announcing to that monarch the intelligence of the birth of Prince Edward, at Carnarvon. Sir Grufydd was greatly distinguished by the royal favour, both in the reign of Edward and during part of that of his son; but in 1317 he attempted to form an alliance with Edward Bruce, who had assumed the crown of Ireland, and in 1322 he openly revolted, ravaging the whole country, and committing various acts of atrocity. The English giving him battle, in which he sustained considerable loss, he retreated to his fortress of Trêgarnedd, which he had previously garrisoned; and also constructed another stronghold, called Ynys Gevni, in the marsh at a short distance from his mansion, and surrounded it with a broad and deep fosse, of which part is still remaining. In this strong position he maintained himself for some time, but he was finally taken prisoner, and conveyed to Rhuddlan Castle, where he was soon afterwards beheaded. The site of Trêgarnedd is now occupied by a farmhouse: the only part of the ancient house remaining at the present time is a portion of the western wall, which is pierced with a circular-headed door without mouldings, and with two square-headed labelled windows, one of a single light, and the other of two lights; all of about the period of Henry VII. The whole extent is clearly marked by the intrenchments which encircle it, and which inclose an area of nearly five acres: part of the moat on the north-west side is quite perfect. The adjacent carnedd, which consisted of an immense pile of stones, surrounded by a circle of upright stones, was wholly removed in 1822, for the purpose of building a wall to divide the field. Of the fortress in the marsh, the site of which is still called Ynys Gevni, nothing but some small vestiges of the intrenchments are now visible, the continued overflowing of the river having swept away every part of the ancient buildings.
About a mile from the town are considerable remains of a paved road, which may be traced for a distance of two miles, in parts in a very perfect state, being paved in some places with large masses of jasper, which is found in a quarry at no great distance, intermixed with grit-stone. It is supposed by some antiquaries to be part of a Roman road that led from the Moel-y-Don ferry to the station at Holyhead. In taking down the old parish church, in 1824, a large stone was discovered beneath the foundation, or in the wall, with a curious inscription in rude Roman characters, of which, owing to its mutilated condition, the following part only can be read with any degree of correctness; CVLIDORI. IACIT. . . MVLIER. . . . SECVNDI. . . .: it is now in the churchyard. In 1829, in removing a small fence at Glànhwva, near the town, forty human skeletons were dug up, which, from the position in which they lay, appeared to have been hastily interred; and in the adjoining field, numbers of human bones are scattered in every direction: these are thought to be the remains of the men who fell at the siege of Ynys Gevni. Adjoining the town is a chalybeate spring, formerly in great repute, but now altogether disused, owing to an admixture of other water, by which its medicinal efficacy is weakened.
LLANGIAN (LLAN-GIAN), a parish, in the union of Pwllheli, hundred of Gaflogion, Lleyn division of the county of Carnarvon, North Wales, 7 miles (S. W. by W.) from Pwllheli; containing 1144 inhabitants. It is four miles in length and three in breadth, and pleasantly situated near the south-western extremity of the county, in the centre of the promontory which shelters St. Tudwal's Roads, in the bay of Cardigan, on their west side. The parish comprehends a very extensive tract of land, of which a considerable portion is uninclosed and uncultivated; the remainder, which is rich and fertile, has been brought into a good state of cultivation. An act of parliament was obtained in 1808, for inclosing the common called Mynydd Mynytho, comprising from 600 to 700 acres, of which by far the greater portion is within this parish. The scenery is pleasingly varied, in some places highly picturesque; and the views from the higher grounds over the bay of Cardigan on the south and east, and over the adjacent country on the north, combine many objects of interest and features of beauty. Nanhoron, in the parish, is an elegant mansion, situated in grounds tastefully disposed, and surrounded with woods of stately growth, and with thriving plantations, that form a prominent and very ornamental feature in the scenery of the place. The inhabitants, with the exception of such as are engaged in the herring fishery, carried on here during the season, are principally employed in agriculture. Some indications of lead-ore have been observed in several parts, but no mines have been opened. A fair is held on June 28th.
The living is a perpetual curacy, annexed to the rectory of Llanbedrog. The church, dedicated to St. Cian, is a spacious and well-built edifice, containing several good monuments to the Edwards family of Nanhoron, of which one to the memory of Captain Edwards, R.N., who died at sea, is remarkable for its elegance. In the churchyard, and on the south side of the church, is an erect stone, which, from the nails still remaining in its head, would appear at one time to have supported a sun-dial. The eastern side of this stone bears an early inscription, probably of a period not later than the fifth century, the merit of decyphering which is due to T. L. D. Jones Parry, Esq., of Madryn Park, who lately took some accurate rubbings of the inscribed portion, by which he was enabled to obtain a correct reading. The letters are Roman capitals, and the inscription runs in these terms; MELI MEDICI FILI MARTINI IACIT. In removing the earth from the foot of the relic, Mr. Parry found the spot immediately round the stone neatly paved, the paving sinking slightly towards the middle; the relic itself is three feet ten inches high, and from its base to the circumference of the pavement is a distance of about eighteen inches. An engraving of this curious memorial is given in the Archæologia Cambrensis for April 1848. There are two or three places of worship in the parish for dissenters; a Church day school, a Sunday school belonging to the Calvinistic Methodists, and another belonging to the Wesleyans. Richard Hughes, in 1642, bequeathed in trust to the heirs of Tŷ'n-y-Cae and Nanhoron Issa, £40, the interest of which, together with that of a few other small charitable donations and bequests, is annually distributed among the poor. The parish is also in possession of two cottages, one of which with an acre of ground is let at £3 per annum, and the other occupied by a pauper.
LLANGINNING (LLAN-GYNIN), a parish, in the Higher division of the hundred of Derllŷs, union and county of Carmarthen, South Wales, 2½ miles (W. N. W.) from St. Clear's; containing 405 inhabitants. This parish derives its name from the dedication of its church to St. Cynin, or from its situation on the river Cynin, by which it is bounded on the eastern side. It contains a considerable tract of land, and, with the exception of a very small portion, is inclosed and in a good state of cultivation. A fair is held on January 18th. The living is a perpetual curacy, endowed with £800 royal bounty; net income, £74; patron, J. Lewes Philipps, Esq.: the tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £200, payable to All Souls' College, Oxford. The church has no architectural claim to particular description. There is a place of worship for Independents; a Church school is held, and the Independents hold a Sunday school.
LLANGLYDWEN (LLAN-GLEDWYN), a parish, in the union of Narberth, Lower division of the hundred of Derllŷs, county of Carmarthen, South Wales, 9 miles (N. W.) from St. Clear's; containing 328 inhabitants. The parish derives its name from the dedication of its church to St. Cledwyn, one of the sons of Brychan, Prince of Brycheiniog. It is pleasantly situated on the west of the river Tâf; the scenery is richly diversified, and well wooded, and some parts of the parish are in a high state of cultivation. Dôlwylim is a handsome modernised mansion, romantically seated in a deep vale, along which the Tâf flows; the grounds are tastefully laid out, and from the house may be seen the venerable Druidical remains described in the article on Llanboidy, where they are situated. The woods surrounding Dôlwylim abound with squirrels: on the estate are some indications of lead-ore, but no attempt has been made to work it. The living is a discharged rectory, rated in the king's books at £2. 13. 4., endowed with £200 royal bounty and £200 parliamentary grant, and in the patronage of the Lord Chancellor; present net income, £96. The church, dedicated to St. Cledwyn, is a small neat edifice, and was repaired and beautified some time since, at the expense of the family at Dôlwylim. There is a place of worship for Independents, with a Sunday school held in it.
Llangoed (Llan-Goed), or Llan-Gourda
LLANGOED (LLAN-GOED), or LLAN-GOURDA, a parish, in the union of Bangor and Beaumaris, hundred of Tyndaethwy, county of Anglesey, North Wales, 3 miles (N. by E.) from Beaumaris; containing 604 inhabitants. This place, the name of which signifies "the church in the wood," is situated on the shore of the Irish Sea, by which it is bounded on the north, and forms an inclosed and wellcultivated tract. The surrounding scenery is agreeably varied; the views over the sea and the adjacent country are extensive, and abound with interesting features. Plâs yn Llangoed, in the parish, is a spacious mansion, occupying a delightful situation, embracing within its demesne a rich variety of scenery, and commanding, from various parts of the grounds, prospects of considerable beauty. On the sea-shore are very large quarries of black and grey marble, and of limestone, from which the government works at Portpatrick and other places have been supplied. From the former are raised blocks of marble weighing ten tons, and slabs of large dimensions, susceptible of a high polish; and from the latter, stone of excellent quality for building, and also for burning into lime. These quarries, which are worked upon an extensive scale, give employment to more than a hundred men, exclusively of others who are engaged in the navigation of some vessels which are employed in transporting the produce. The situation of the quarries near the sea-shore affords facility for exportation; and on this coast is good anchorage for vessels while waiting to receive their freight.
The living is a perpetual curacy, with the perpetual curacies of Llanvihangel-Din-Sylwy and Llaniestyn annexed, endowed, conjointly, with £200 private benefaction, £600 royal bounty, and £900 parliamentary grant; net income, £104; patron and impropriator, the Rev. Robert J. Hughes. The church is dedicated to St. Cawrdav in conjunction with his brother Tangwn; they were sons of Caradog Vraichvras of the line of Coel, and the former succeeded his father as sovereign of Brecknock, becoming distinguished for his extensive influence, and afterwards, it is said, embracing a religious life in the college of Illtyd. The present structure is a rather irregular church of a late period. It seems to have been originally of the cross form; but the northern transept or chapel has been extended towards the east, and now reaches beyond the chancel, thus making the plan of the edifice somewhat anomalous. The western end has a single bell-gable; and there are doors, without porches, both in the northern and southern walls of the nave, with a small window in each wall. The southern transept or chapel has two square-headed later-English windows of two lights, pointed and trifoliated under labels; the northern transept contains two square-headed windows of three round-headed lights, without foliations, and without labels, of the time of James I. The chancel window is also of the time of James I. The font, a relic of an older building, is a small circular basin, placed at the western end of the nave; and the pulpit is a curious feature in the church, being similar in form to that at Llanvihangel-Din-Sylwy, though less elaborate in its design. It appears that King James granted the tithes of the parish to Henry Johnes, Esq. There are places of worship for dissenters, and some Sunday schools are held.
William Wynne, by deed in 1670, gave a tenement called Tyddyn Llwyn, in Bethgelart, in the county of Carnarvon, the rent of which he directed to be appropriated to the apprenticing of two boys either of this parish or that of Penmon adjoining, and also for the purchase of six coats annually, to be given to six poor men at Christmas, and of six penny loaves to be distributed weekly on Sunday: the property is now worth £200 per annum, but no appropriation of its rental to the objects for which it was given has been made since 1826. There were several other benefactions to the poor, the proceeds of the whole of which are either lost or misapplied, except a rentcharge of 5s. payable out of a part of the estate of Tros-y-Marian, which is distributed in bread among the poor at Easter and Christmas. Plâs Newydd, an extensive farm in this parish, was left by the foundress of Llandwrog almshouses, in Carnarvonshire, towards their support, and is now become a very valuable property.
LLANGOEDMORE (LLAN-GOED-MAWR), a parish, in the Lower division of the hundred of Troedyraur, union and county of Cardigan, South Wales, 1 mile (E.) from Cardigan; containing 985 inhabitants. The name of this place, signifying "the church of the great wood," is derived from its situation in a district abounding with timber of ancient and luxuriant growth, and with groves of stately oaks and other trees, for the number and beauty of which the immediate vicinity is eminently distinguished. Soon after the death of Henry I., a memorable battle was fought near Crûg Mawr, a conical hill in the parish, between the Welsh, commanded by Grufydd ab Rhŷs, and the English, in which the latter sustained a signal defeat. The parish is pleasantly situated on the river Teivy, on the turnpike-road from Cardigan to Newcastle-Emlyn, and in addition to the large proportion of woodland above noticed, contains a considerable portion of arable and pasture land, which is inclosed and in a good state of cultivation. The whole forms rather a hilly surface of about 5000 acres, having a variety of soils, among which clay prevails. Slate of good quality is found, and some quarries have been opened, and worked with considerable success; the river Teivy, which is here navigable, flows near the quarries, and affords every facility for the exportation of their produce. The scenery is richly diversified, in some parts highly picturesque; and the views of the adjacent country combine many features of pleasing character. The parish contains the hamlets of Church, Cawrence, Blaenwennen, Penyboyn, and Poorlan, called also Weddva; and in this vicinity are several handsome seats and villas, beautifully situated, and embracing extensive prospects.
Coedmore is a noble residence, situated on a lofty eminence overlooking the river Teivy, commanding a fine view of the venerable remains of Kîlgerran Castle, and sheltered in the rear and on the sides by an extensive wood of stately and well-grown trees: contiguous to this seat formerly stood Castell Cevel, the ancient mansion of the lords of Coedmore. The name of the house, once written Coed-Mawr, signifies "the great wood," and was probably bestowed on it from the luxuriant forest in which it was built. The baronage of Coed-Mawr was conferred by Edward III. on Sir Robert Langley, constable of Aberystwith Castle, and lieutenant of the county of Cardigan, from whose family it passed by exchange to the Mortimers, of whom Llewelyn Mortimer, the first of that name who owned the estate, espoused Angharad, daughter of Meredydd ab Rhŷs, Prince of Cardigan. Rowland, the sixth in descent from Llewelyn Mortimer, assigned it to his brother-in-law, Sir John Lewis, in exchange for Castell Llwyd, in Laugharne, county of Carmarthen; and it subsequently came into the possession of the Lloyds, by marriage of an ancestor of the present proprietor with Jane, daughter of Col. James Lewis, a gentleman who was rather actively engaged during the civil commotions of the seventeenth century. Llangoedmore Place, a handsome mansion, built by John Lloyd, Esq., of Plymouth, is delightfully situated in grounds beautifully laid out, commanding an interesting view of the town of Cardigan, the village of St. Dogmael's, the river Teivy enlivened with shipping, and other picturesque objects. Trêvorgan is a substantial mansion, standing in grounds comprising much varied scenery; and there are some other gentlemen's residences on a smaller scale.
The living is a rectory, rated in the king's books at £12. 18. 6½., and in the patronage of the Principal and Tutors of St. David's College, Lampeter: the tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £440. The church, dedicated to St. Cynllo, was entirely rebuilt in the year 1830, and is a neat structure in the later style of English architecture, consisting of a nave and chancel, with an elegant little tower of two stages, rising from the centre of the nave, and surmounted by a delicate and finely proportioned spire. The expense of its erection was defrayed by a parochial rate. In the parish are, two places of worship for Baptists, in each of which a Sunday school is also held; a Church day school for girls, established by subscription, and chiefly promoted by one of the daughters of the late Admiral Parry, a lady residing in the neighbourhood; and a Church Sunday school for males and females. Near Trêvorgan is a spring called St. Cynllo's Well, to which extraordinary healing properties were formerly ascribed.
LLANGOLLEN (LLAN-GOLLEN), a market-town and parish, in the union of Corwen, Nant-heudwy division of the hundred of Chirk, county of Denbigh, in North Wales, 21½ miles (S. E. by S.) from Denbigh, 13½ (S. E. by S.) from Ruthin, and 183 (N. W.) from London; consisting of the two divisions of Glyn-Traian, and LlangollenTraian with Trevor-Traian, each supporting its own poor by a separate assessment; and the whole containing 4906 inhabitants, of whom 3955 are in the latter, which includes the town of Llangollen. The name of this place is derived from the dedication of its church to an ancient British saint named Collen. The town, which is beautifully situated in a deep and narrow valley, inclosed by lofty mountains, and watered by the noble stream of the Dee, appears to have been formerly protected by the neighbouring fortress of Castell Dinas Brân, occupying the summit of a vast conical hill which rises from the side of the vale immediately opposite to Llangollen. It is supposed to have been erected by some of the native Welsh lords of Yale, who made it their principal residence for several centuries; and Madoc ab Grufydd Maelor, one of these lords, about the year 1200, founded in an adjacent dell the famous abbey of Valle Crucis. His son and successor, Grufydd, in the reign of Henry III., taking part with the English against his countrymen, was compelled to immure himself in the fortress of Dinas Brân, to secure himself from the resentment of the latter. After the death of Grufydd ab Madoc, Edward I. gave the wardship of his two sons to John, Earl Warren, and Roger Mortimer, who, causing them to be murdered, received from the king a grant of the possessions of their late wards. The same monarch, by a charter to Roger Mortimer, dated July 16th, 1284, granted to the manor of Llangollen a weekly market, to be holden on Sunday, and two annual fairs, each of which was to continue for three days. In 1390, the castle of Dinas Brân was inhabited by a celebrated beauty, named Myvanwy Vechan, descended from the house of Tudor Trevor, and celebrated in an elegant and impassioned ode, still extant, by a poetic suitor named Einion Lygliw. The possession of Castell Dinas Brân was an object of frequent contention, in the reign of Henry IV., between Owain Glyndwr and the vassals of the English king. When it was deserted or dismantled is uncertain; but it is described by Leland, in the time of Henry VIII., as being then in a ruinous condition.
The houses of the town are in general old and of mean appearance, but occasionally interspersed with some handsome modern dwellings; and there is excellent accommodation for the numerous visiters who frequent the neighbourhood during the summer season, few of whom, in their excursions of pleasure in this part of Wales, fail to pass some time at the place. The buildings are for the most part constructed of a dark shaly stone, which gives them a very dull aspect. There is a stone bridge over the Dee, consisting of five pointed arches, erected in the year 1345, by John Trevor, Bishop of St. Asaph, and which was anciently regarded as one of the wonders of North Wales: the largest of the arches is twenty-five feet in span; the two smallest are placed in the centre: the piers are triangular, and rest on a bed of slippery rocks. The situation of Llangollen on the road from Shrewsbury to Holyhead causes it to be enlivened by the passage of travellers; and its inhabitants derive considerable advantage from the number of persons who visit it in the summer season, and make it their temporary abode, for the purpose of enjoying the scenery of the neighbourhood, which is equally pre-eminent for its grandeur and sublimity, and for its picturesque and romantic beauty. The parish comprises by admeasurement 16,386a. 2r., of which 3040 acres are arable, 4069 pasture, 2160 grass for hay, 5500 sheep-walk, and the remainder rough waste. The soil is light and gravelly, and the chief grain cultivated, barley and wheat; the grounds are interspersed with trees of oak, ash, elm, sycamore, and fir, and are watered by several minor streams, the chief of which is the Ceiriog, running along the southern boundary. The district is in many parts wild and mountainous.
The Vale of Llangollen, in proportion to its extent, comprehends a greater variety of interesting objects, and a more striking combination of the milder and nobler features of scenery, than probably any other valley in the principality. The river Dee, winding along the vale, which is environed by hills of stately elevation, in some parts of its course flows with a broad and unruffled surface, and in others rushes impetuously over the shelving rocks that interrupt its progress, adding equal beauty and fertility to the vale. This charming tract is richly diversified with verdant meadows, highly cultivated fields, barren hills, and luxuriant woodlands, stretching from the banks of the river, or depending in varied slopes from the lofty eminences that rise on either side, and finely interspersed with plantations and rural villas. At the eastern extremity of the vale is Wynnstay Park, the seat of Sir W. W. Wynn, Bart., the grounds of which are skirted by a thickly-wooded dingle, called Nant-y-Bele, "the dingle of the martin," but commonly known as Nant-y-Bellan, on a projecting rock in which an ornamental tower of white freestone has been erected, forming a conspicuous and pleasing object in the view. To the west of Wynnstay, which is described under the head of Ruabon parish, the banks of the Dee are beautifully fringed with wood; and over the river is a bridge on the road from Chirk to Ruabon, designated Newbridge, beyond which is the straggling village of Cevn, where another ornamental tower has been erected on the Wynnstay estate. On the southern side of the vale runs the road from Shrewsbury to Holyhead, which some time ago was diverted from its former course at the village of Chirk, and carried, by means of excavations and embankments, along the acclivity of the mountain, instead of its former rapid descent into the bottom of the vale. In the Llangollen part of the vale the Ellesmere canal is conveyed across it by the splendid aqueduct of Pont-y-Cysylltau, a stupendous structure of nineteen lofty arches. From this point upwards, the left side of the vale is bounded by a lofty barren mountain, at the base of which the lands on the bank of the river are divided into small inclosures of great fertility. Upon the right the lands, which are less elevated, and in a state of high cultivation, are occasionally interspersed with farmhouses and cottages, and ornamented with the plantations and pleasuregrounds belonging to various gentlemen's seats: among these Trevor Hall, the ancient residence of the Trevor family, is conspicuous; and romantically situated, almost at the water's edge, is the small but picturesque mansion of Plâs-y-Pentre. On the summit of an isolated rocky mountain, rising precipitously on the northern side of the vale to the height of 1045 feet above the level of the sea at low water, are the magnificent ruins of Castell Dinas Brân, occupying the whole summit of the mountain, whose base is washed by the river Dee; the river is here about 250 feet above the same level, and on its opposite bank is the town of Llangollen, beautifully sheltered by a continuous chain of hills.
Above the town the valley of the Dee becomes exceedingly rich, and on the northern side is joined by the Vale of Eglwyseg, the charms of which are heightened by the interesting ruins of Valle Crucis Abbey, situated in a small fertile plain, watered by a winding rivulet, and embosomed among hills, whose sides are covered with verdure affording pasturage to numerous flocks of sheep. Beyond the picturesque ruins of the abbey, the vale of Eglwyseg is bounded on the right by the Eglwyseg rocks, extending for a considerable distance, and towering above each other in successive tiers to the height of 1500 feet above the sea. Of these stupendous rocks, which assume a rude and grotesque appearance, and in the fissures of which trees of stately growth have taken deep root, Craig Arthur, Craig yr Adar, and Craig y Vorwyn, or "the maiden's rock," are the most remarkable: the last obtained its name from the circumstance of a young woman of the neighbourhood having precipitated herself from its summit, in despair arising from the inconstancy of her lover. On the left hand the Eglwyseg vale is bounded by richly-wooded eminences: in the centre flows the river Brân, in beautiful windings; and at the extremity is the venerable mansion of Plâs Uchâv, erected in the reign of Elizabeth.
Llangollen is a market-town, and the market, chiefly for corn, is on Saturday: fairs are annually held on the last Friday in January, March 17th, May 31st, August 21st, and Nov. 22nd, for horses, cattle, pigs, butter, and cheese. In 1832 the town was made a polling-place in the election of knights for the shire. On the banks of the river Dee is an extensive factory, in which the first attempt to manufacture cotton fancy goods by power-looms was made by Mr. Turner, but the undertaking having passed successively into various hands, at last failed, and the building is at present used for making flannel, for which there are two other factories in the parish; the three employing respectively about 130, 80, and 12 hands. The neighbourhood abounds with coal and ironstone; and limestone is found in great abundance in the townships of Trevor Isâv and Uchâv: on the side of the mountain close to the Holyhead road are extensive lime-works, upon the Chirk Castle estate. About twenty-six tons of lead-ore were raised near Llangollen in 1846.
A branch of the Ellesmere canal extends up the vale, on the northern side, and, passing above the town of Llangollen, is continued along the left bank to within a quarter of a mile of Llantysillio church, where, arriving at nearly a level with the Dee, it receives a supply of water by means of a well-constructed weir, thrown across in the form of a semicircle. This and the main canal afford a ready means of conveyance for the produce of the district. The aqueduct of Pont-y-Cysylltau was projected, designed, and executed under the superintendence of Mr. Telford; the first stone was laid on the 25th of July, 1795, and the work was completed and opened to the public on the 26th of November, 1805, with the ceremony of a grand procession, led by the Earl of Bridgewater in his barge, accompanied by his countess, Sir Watkin Williams Wynn, Sir Foster Cunliffe, Colonel Kynaston Powell and his lady, and several other gentlemen and ladies of the vicinity, followed by boats full of people, and by two empty boats, which, after being loaded with coal on the north side, were taken across the aqueduct with flags flying, accompanied by the firing of guns and other demonstrations of joy. This magnificent work of art was formed with a view to continue the canal in a straight line to Chester, which was soon found impracticable, owing to the broken nature of the country. It is one thousand and seven feet in length, one hundred and twenty-six feet eight inches in height, and supported on nineteen arches of cast-iron, each forty-five feet in the span, resting on elegant piers of solid masonry; the watercourse is wholly of iron, eleven feet ten inches wide, and five feet three inches in depth. At the southern end is an embankment of earth, one thousand five hundred feet in length, and seventy-five feet in height nearest the aqueduct. By this means the canal is conveyed over the river Dee and the Vale of Llangollen to the Ruabon collieries and Trevor limeworks, and, at the distance of three hundred yards, terminates in an extensive basin, from which are tramways through the Acrevair collieries to the PlâsKynaston stone-quarries: the height of the canal above low water at the Mersey is three hundred and thirteen feet. At the extremity of the aqueduct are spacious wharfs for coal, timber, and lime, with boatbuilders' yards, and other accommodations connected with the navigation of the canal.
The Chester and Shrewsbury railway runs at the eastern end of the vale, a few miles from the town of Llangollen, beyond the parish boundary, passing from Ruabon by Wynnstay to Chirk. It is carried over the river Dee and the vale by a stupendous viaduct, at Newbridge (already mentioned), half a mile lower down than Pont-y-Cysylltau; and thus connects the two parishes of Ruabon and Chirk. The viaduct, forming a noble specimen of engineering and architectural skill, was designed by Henry Robertson, Esq., the engineer to the company, and executed by Mr. Brassey, contractor. It measures one thousand five hundred and eight feet in length, or between one-third and one-fourth of a mile; and stands one hundred and forty-seven feet above the level of the river, being higher than the great viaduct at Stockport, or the suspension-bridge at the Menai: the structure is supported by nineteen arches, of sixty feet span. From three to four hundred masons were employed the whole time of its construction, and the work, massive in its strength and beautiful in its proportions, was completed in the autumn of 1848.
The Living is a discharged vicarage, rated in the king's books at £9. 11. 10½.; patron, the Bishop of St. Asaph; impropriator, Sir W. W. Wynn: the tithes of the parish have been commuted for £888. 14. 9. payable to the impropriator, and £401. 18. 3. to the vicar, who has also a glebe of six acres, valued at £8 per annum, and a glebe-house. The church, dedicated to St. Collen, is an ancient structure, partly in the early style of English architecture, consisting of a nave with one aisle, and a chancel, and measuring sixty-five feet by forty. The pews, which are closely arranged, cover the area of the nave, and are all appropriated, but there is a gallery containing about one hundred sittings, all of which are free: the roof is of oak, panelled and richly carved; the east window of the chancel is embellished with a half-length figure of the Saviour, in stained glass, by Eginton. Service in the English language is performed only on the second Sunday in each month. The churchyard is spacious and elevated, and commands a pleasing prospect of the town and bridge, above which is seen the isolated hill whereon stand the ruins of Castell Dinas Brân. In Trevor-Traian is another incumbency; and at Pontfadog is a church in the early English style, the first stone of which was laid in June 1845: it contains 322 sittings, all free, and is ornamented with a tower. There are places of worship for Baptists, Independents, and Calvinistic and Wesleyan Methodists. A National school, and a British school, are held; and sixteen Sunday schools are conducted, one of them in connexion with the Established Church, and the others with the dissenters. There is a small endowment for education, charged on certain property.
The interest of various charitable bequests, amounting in the aggregate to about £80 or £90 per annum, for the entire parish, is annually distributed among the poor. The consolidated charities of the Llangollen and Trevor "Traians," or districts, produce £43 per annum, which amount arises out of the donations of several individuals, made between the years 1697 and 1753, and is given on St. Thomas's day in each year in clothing and money, among such persons as are selected by the clergyman and wardens, at a vestry held on the preceding day. In these Traians, also, a distribution is made on every Thursday morning during fifty weeks in the year, of bread to the amount of twenty loaves, amongst twenty of the most deserving poor, men and women; the bread being made from a measure of corn annually received in conformity with the will of Sir Thomas Myddelton, whose charities in this neighbourhood were marked by great liberality and discrimination. In the two weeks at Christmas time there is no distribution, on account, as is supposed, of the munificence of this ancient family to the poor at that period of the year, at Chirk Castle, rendering the donation in bread of minor importance. This bequest was provided for out of the family estates until 1819, when the Hon. Frederic West became possessed, in right of his lady (one of the three daughters and co-heiresses of Richard Myddelton, Esq.), of that portion of the property liable to the payment of it. In the Glyn district of the parish, the same weekly donation of bread is made, emanating from the same benevolent testator, and also provided for out of the estate of the West family; and various other charities, chiefly bequests of small yearly amount, are appropriated to the relief of the poor of this division. John Matthews, a resident here, but a native of the parish of Llanarmon, granted the residue of his estate, which produced £300, to purchase a plot of ground near the place where he was born, the proceeds to be applied to the education of four boys of his next kindred, and the vicars of Chirk and Llangollen to act as trustees and make the selection. The estate, purchased in Llanarmon parish, now produces £36 per annum, and is applied to the education of the four boys, the next of kin being regularly advertised for on every vacancy.
The abbey of Valle Crucis, though forming a beautiful and prominent feature in the scenery of this neighbourhood, is situated in the parish of Llantysillio, under which head an account of it will be found, as also of the famous "Pillar of Eliseg," in the same vicinity. Castell Dinas Brân, from its peculiar situation, and the massive structure of such portions of its walls as are still remaining, appears to have been almost impregnable. Its remains, which are very extensive, comprise a quadrilateral area, 190 feet long, and 140 broad, forming the entire summit of the mountain on which they stand, and which on most sides is so precipitous that it can be ascended only with great difficulty: the side easiest of access is defended by a deep trench cut through the solid rock. The walls, though ornamented in some places with mouldings of freestone, are composed for the most part of the coarse and friable schistose stone abounding in the neighbourhood, which gives to the broken towers and shattered fragments yet remaining a strikingly rugged and picturesque appearance, and combines, with the conspicuousness of their situation, to render them one of the most remarkable objects in the surrounding scenery. At Pengwern are some remains of a mansion supposed to have been the residence of Tudor Trevor, lord of Bromfield, in the early part of the tenth century, and which certainly formed the residence of Ednyved Vychan, one of his descendants.
Close to the town stands the elegant little mansion of Plâs Newydd, lately occupied by Lady Eleanor Butler and Miss Ponsonby, two ladies of Irish extraction, who, in 1778, retired from the gaieties of fashionable society, and secluded themselves in this charming sequestered retreat, where they continued, devoted in their companionship, and seeking little intercourse with the neighbouring gentry, for the remainder of their lives. Lady Eleanor Butler died in 1829, and Miss Ponsonby in 1831, and both were interred in the churchyard here. After the decease of the latter lady, the estate was purchased by two other ladies, Miss Lolly and Miss Andrews.
LLANGOLMAN (LLAN-GOLMAN), a parish, in the poor-law union of Narberth, hundred of Kemmes, county of Pembroke, South Wales, 8 miles (N.) from Narberth; containing 255 inhabitants. This parish, which derives its name from the dedication of its church to St. Golman, was formerly a chapelry under the parish of St. Mary's. It is pleasantly situated on the Eastern Cleddy river, in the eastern extremity of the county; and is bounded by the parish of Mynachlogdû on the north, by that of Llandissilio on the south, by Carmarthenshire on the east, and by the parish of Llandilo on the west. It is intersected by the turnpike-road from Newport to Narberth, and its northern part by that leading from Fishguard to Narberth; and comprises 2912 acres, of which a considerable portion is arable, and the rest pasture, with a few acres of woodland: the chief produce is barley and oats, with a little wheat. The scenery is pleasingly varied, and the views over the adjacent country embrace some interesting features: the gentlemen's seats are Llangolman and Plâs-y-Meibion. Slate of good quality is found in the parish, and some quarries are worked upon an extensive scale, affording employment to such of the inhabitants as are not engaged in agriculture. The living is a perpetual curacy endowed with £800 royal bounty, with the living of Llandilo annexed, also endowed with £800 royal bounty: the total net income of the joint living is £97. The tithes of the parish have been commuted for £110, of which £76. 6. 8. are payable to T. Bowen, Esq., the patron. The church is a plain edifice, forty-five feet long and fifteen wide. In the parish is a place of worship for Independents, called Llandilo chapel, in which a Sunday school is also held.
Llangonoyd, or Llangonwd (Llan-Gynwyd)
LLANGONOYD, or LLANGONWD (LLAN-GYNWYD), a parish, partly in the union of Neath, and partly in that of Bridgend and Cowbridge, hundred of Newcastle, county of Glamorgan, South Wales, 7 miles (N. N. W.) from Bridgend, and 10 miles (S. E.) from Neath; containing, in the year 1841, 4155 inhabitants, of whom 2880 were in the township of Cwmdû, 597 in the township of Higher Llangonoyd, 339 in that of Bayden, or Lower Llangonoyd, and 339 in that of Middle Llangonoyd. This parish is said to have afforded a temporary asylum to King Edward II., who, after quitting the castle of Caerphilly, is supposed to have sought refuge at Gelly Lenwr-Vawr, here: an oak-tree in which the royal fugitive, says tradition, used to sit, called Cadair Edward, was cut down only a few years ago. The parish is very extensive, comprising an area of 15,462 acres, and forms a wild and mountainous district abounding in mineral wealth: coal, and both argillaceous and carboniferous iron-ore, exist in large quantities. Among the objects of interest in this neighbourhood is the hill called by the inhabitants Mynydd Pwll-y-Iwrch, "the deer-pit mountain." This hill is of considerable elevation, probably 600 feet, and from its summit a most extensive view of the surrounding country, of St. George's Channel, and the English coast, is obtained in fine weather. It is also thought to be an excellent natural barometer, and when the summit of the hill is enveloped in mist, the country-people say, Ymaer hên Lady yn gwisw i Bonnet, "the old lady has put on her bonnet."
At the foot of this hill, on the south side, are situated the Maestêg iron-works, consisting of a powerful steam-engine, three blast furnaces, with all the necessary appendages for the manufacture of pigiron, and capable, when in full work, of affording employment to from 500 to 600 persons. The discovery of blackband, or carboniferous ironstone, on the property, within the last few years, has tended to enhance the value of these works; which, unfortunately, are at present unemployed.
The Llynvi iron-works were established by a jointstock company (the Cambrian) in 1839, at an outlay of upwards of a quarter of a million sterling. In 1844 the works shared the fate which so often awaits speculations of the kind; they were brought to the hammer, and purchased by a company of which Dr. Bowring, M.P., is the head. The present proprietors have added two blast furnaces, the total number being four; but only two of these are at present in operation: in 1846, a forge and mill, constituting the finishing department of the works, were erected. A moderate quantity of bar-iron and rails is manufactured, the latter chiefly intended for exportation, arising from Dr. Bowring's extensive foreign connexions. The mineral resources of the company embrace a surface of between 2000 and 3000 acres: blackband has been discovered, and is to some extent worked, but not on so large a scale as at other neighbouring iron-works, owing to the absence of the same facilities in procuring that mineral. At the distance of a mile north-east of the Llynvi works, and near the source of the river Llynvi, upon a slight eminence in the Higher hamlet, stand the spelter-works erected, or rather rebuilt on a new principle, by the patentee and proprietor, Mr. Graham, under a lease procured from the first-mentioned company in 1844. In consequence, however, of some recent discoveries by which spelter, it appears, can be manufactured at a considerably cheaper rate than that produced here, these compact and well-finished works are likely to be abandoned.
The Garth iron-works, situated near an angle of the Llynvi river, were established by the Patent Galvanized-Iron Company in 1847, and consist of a powerful double engine of 100-horse power, worked by steam, and fitted up by Messrs. Davies, of Tipton, in Staffordshire; three blast furnaces, a spacious cast-house, &c. Unlike other works in this neighbourhood, the necessity for what are termed "back-walls" to the furnaces has been here altogether superseded by the introduction of an ingeniously constructed hydraulic apparatus, the invention of Mr. Lewis Ambrose Williams, the company's mining-engineer, by which the different materials are conveyed to the tops of the furnaces with astonishing facility and despatch. The discovery of extensive veins of blackband on the property is said to have been the inducement to erect these works, which however as yet appear to have yielded but a comparatively small return to the proprietors: the furnaces are not at present in blast, owing to a contemplated change in the proprietary. About 100 hands are employed in working the blackband and coal, the former being calcined on the premises, and afterwards conveyed by railway to the company's iron-works at Cevn Cwsc, in the parish of Tythegston (which see). In the vicinity of the works, on the opposite side of the river, and on the brow of a hill, stands the recently-formed village of Llwydarth, consisting of workmen's cottages erected at the company's expense; while on the south-west side of the works has sprung up the village of Cwm-y-Velyn, between which and the former the Llynvi-Valley railway is to be carried. It should be observed, that this account of the various works in the parish refers to their condition in the autumn of the year 1848.
The population of the hamlet of Cwmdû, in which the three iron-works above described are situated, is of two kinds, namely, the settled inhabitants, and the shifting portion. The former amount to about 4000, and the latter, whose movements are chiefly regulated by the state of the iron-trade, the number increasing or diminishing according to the demand for labour, may be said to amount to about 3000 persons. Besides the mines of ironstone and the numerous collieries in the parish, there are some quarries of freestone; and at Maestêg is a manufactory for Welsh woollens. The Dyfryn-Llynvi tramway, the main line of which is seventeen miles in length, was commenced in the year 1825, and completed at a considerable expense. The main line begins at the harbour of Porthcawl, in the parish of Newton-Nottage, on the Bristol Channel, and proceeds northward by Pyle, after which, taking an eastern direction, it is joined by a branch of several miles from the flourishing town of Bridgend. From this junction it takes a northern course towards Llangonoyd, and, after crossing the river Llynvi, terminates at Blaen-Llynvi, at the head of the valley. For fourteen miles from the sea it forms an inclined plane, rising 400 feet in the whole of that distance: in the course of the next two miles it has a rise of 110 feet, and the remaining mile is a good level. An act has been lately passed for the conversion of this line into a locomotive railway, to be called the Llynvi-Valley railway, comprising various improvements.
The parish consists of four hamlets, namely, Cwmdû, Bayden, or Lower Llangonoyd, and Middle Llangonoyd, in the poor-law union of Bridgend and Cowbridge; and Higher Llangonoyd, in the union of Neath. Each of these separately raises its own poorrates and taxes, church-rates excepted. The living is a discharged vicarage, rated in the king's books at £19. 5.; patron, J. Dillwyn Llewelyn, Esq., of Penlle'rgaer; impropriator, the Earl of Dunraven. The vicarial tithes have been commuted for an annual rent-charge of £147, and there is a glebe-house, with about two acres of land, and some cottages. The registers of the parish commence in the year 1661, and the church is dedicated to St. Cynwyd, a saint of the congregation of Catwg. In the township of Bayden, or Baidan, was formerly a chapel of ease, now in ruins; and a neat chapel of ease was erected at Maestêg about two or three years ago, where divine service is performed twice every Sunday. There are places of worship in the parish for Independents, Particular Baptists, and Calvinistic Methodists; a National school; three schools supported out of the workmen's wages, at Maestêg, Llynvi, and Garth; and ten Sunday schools, two of which are in connexion with the Church.
LLANGONOYD, HIGHER, a township, in the parish of Llangonoyd, union of Neath, hundred of Newcastle, county of Glamorgan, South Wales, 10¼ miles (N. by W.) from Bridgend; containing 597 inhabitants. This township is situated in the upper part of the parish, at the head of the river Llynvi, which joins the Ogmore, and in an extremely rugged and mountainous tract.
LLANGORSE (LLAN-GORS), a parish, partly in the hundred of Pencelly, but chiefly in that of Tàlgarth, union and county of Brecknock, South Wales, 6 miles (E. S. E.) from Brecknock; containing, with the hamlet of Llanywern, 401 inhabitants. The name of this parish, signifying literally "the church of the marsh, or bog," appears to have been derived from its situation on the low banks of an extensive pool, or lake, from which circumstance the place is also designated, in ancient charters, "Mara," and St. Paulinus on the Mere. This fine sheet of water, called Llyn Savaddan, or, more generally, Llangorse Pool or Mere, is about two miles in length, and one mile across in the broadest part, which lies between the churches of LlangastyTàlyllyn and Llangorse. Its mean depth is from nine to twelve feet, though in some places it varies considerably; the deepest part is near the junction of this parish with that of Cathedine, where its depth is from thirty-five to forty-five feet: the depth of the lake diminishes very gradually from the centre towards the banks, so that flat-bottomed boats only can be used. It receives several streams, the chief of them being the Llynvi, rising about a mile distant near the ruins of the ancient castle of BlaenLlynvi, and near the source of which the lake forms a curve; this river, whose name signifies literally "having left the lake," takes its course from the mere in a straight direction to the Wye at Glâsbury, about eight miles distant. An island, much visited by pleasure parties, is situated in Llangorse Mere, and wild-fowl frequent its banks, especially in severe winters, when wild swans also are often seen. It contains pike, perch, roach, and eels, the last frequently of enormous size: the pike are sometimes found of thirty or forty lb. weight, and are considered of superior flavour; the perch are generally small, five or six together weighing not more than a lb., though some are occasionally caught weighing three lb. each, which are esteemed a great delicacy. The contributory streams have been sometimes so crowded with fish that the inhabitants have taken them out with baskets and sieves, and the lake is said to be described in old records as consisting of two-thirds water and one-third fish, but the fish having become comparatively scarce, the six or seven men formerly obtaining a livelihood here have been reduced to two or three. Leeches, which also were taken in great numbers, have nearly disappeared.
The parish is separated from the parishes of Llanvihangel-Tàlyllyn and Llandevailog-Tre'r-Graig by the river Llynvi: it is intersected by the turnpike-road leading from Crickhowel through Bwlch to Tàlgarth; and the tramroad from Brecknock to Hay passes through a part of it. The surrounding scenery is interestingly diversified, embracing on the west the majestic elevations called the Brecon Beacons, and on the east the lofty range of the Black Mountains of Tàlgarth, which in contrast invest the lake and the adjacent level grounds with a beautifully picturesque appearance. The lands comprise 2800 acres, nearly equally divided between arable and pasture, and in tolerable cultivation; the soil in some parts is gravelly, in others stiff and clayey, and takes its character chiefly from the decomposition of the red sandstone which is the principal geological formation of the neighbourhood. The only mansion is the Plâs, which appears to have formerly been a place of some importance from the subterraneous passages, and the extensive range of buildings, now demolished. The village is pleasantly situated on the banks of one of the tributary streams of the lake, and about half a mile eastward of the turnpike-road from Brecknock to Tàlgarth.
The living is a vicarage, rated in the king's books at £5. 10. The great tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £168. 15. 6.: they were anciently appropriated to the priory of St. John the Evangelist, in Brecknock, upon the dissolution of which establishment they were granted by the crown, together with the advowson of the living, to the Dean and Canons of Windsor, under whom they are held on lease. The vicarial tithes have been commuted for £131. 4. 6., and the glebe comprises fourteen acres, valued at £12 per annum; with a glebe-house. The church, dedicated to St. Paulinus, is an ancient structure, with a tower at the western end, surmounted by turrets, and containing six musical bells, the fine tone of which has been attributed to the effect of the large body of water contained in the neighbouring lake; the nave is separated from the aisles by a series of obtusely pointed arches, supported on octangular columns. There are places of worship for Calvinistic Methodists and Baptists, in each of which a Sunday school is also held. Mrs. Elinor Williams, of the Gaer, in 1698, bequeathed the rental of a tenement in Battle, to be appropriated to the apprenticing of four children, born in or near Llangorse. John Dilwyn, of the parish, left £20, directing the interest to be distributed among the poor; and Walter Lewis, of Llangasty-Tàlyllyn, in 1680, charged the tenements of Caepella and Worglodd Kîl-y-llyn, in the parish of Cathedine, with the annual payment of twenty shillings; but neither of these legacies is now paid. Mrs. Williams, of the Gaer, in 1745, bequeathed £40, secured on the Brecknock turnpike trust, and now producing £2 per annum, which, together with the interest of £80 invested in the funds, is given to the poor.
An ancient tenement in the parish, called Cwrt-yPrior, was the occasional residence of the priors of the monastery of St. John the Evangelist, in Brecknock. The monks of Llantony appear also to have held lands in the parish: for, according to an early document, it appears that, in 1324, Hugh de Turberville granted them the tenements called "Cevn" and "Celliau," "at the town of the mere or lake of Breconium, situate on the side between the land of the lord of the mere, and the lands of Roger the Fisherman, and on the other side next to the road or highway leading to Breconium, in pure and perpetual alms." After the Dissolution, the tithes of these tenements were some time paid to the appropriators and vicar of the parish; but one of the Earls of Oxford having claimed an exemption under the grant of Hubert de Turberville, and the Dean and Canons of Windsor not thinking it proper to bring the question to issue, the tenements have ever since continued to be tithe-free.