A Topographical Dictionary of Wales. Originally published by S Lewis, London, 1849.
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Steynton, or Stainton
STEYNTON, or STAINTON, a parish, in the union of Haverfordwest, hundred of Rhôs, county of Pembroke, South Wales, 2 miles (N. N. E.) from Milford; containing 2903 inhabitants, of whom 1640 are in the town of Milford. This parish, which lies on the turnpike-road from Milford to Haverfordwest, extends to the shore of Milford Haven, on the south; and Hubberston Pill, an inlet from the Haven, is navigable for small craft, at high water, for a considerable distance. In the southern part of the parish is situated the market and sea-port town of Milford, described under its appropriate head. In the western part of it is St. Botolph's, the seat of A. I. Stokes, Esq., by one of whose relatives it was purchased, in 1826, from the representatives of General le Hunt, who bought it, in 1803, from the family of the Elliots, to whom it had belonged for many years. The present mansion was built in 1800, about a hundred yards to the west of the ancient edifice, and partly on the site of a monastery, supposed to have been a cell to the priory of Pill near the head of Hubberston Pill. In excavating the ground for the new building, several stone coffins containing bones were dug up; and part of the walls of the ancient monastery, which are still remaining, have been incorporated with the out-buildings of the modern mansion. Bolton Hill, an old seat formerly belonging to a family named Bolton, is in the northern part of the parish, near an abrupt and lofty eminence called Bolton Beacon. While Cromwell lay at Haverfordwest, two of his soldiers entered this mansion, with the intention of plundering it, and Bolton, who had concealed himself, was denied by his wife to the soldiers. They nevertheless suspected that he was in the house, and one of them took up his child, and pretended to throw it on the fire, on which the father rushed from his concealment, and killed the man on the spot. His comrade escaped; and Bolton, on reflection, deemed it prudent to inform Cromwell of all that had occurred, observing to that general that the man he had killed had only one eye: the latter replied, "The fellow was a great rascal, and you have saved me the trouble of having him executed." Castle Hall, in the south-eastern part of the parish, was originally built by John Zephaniah Holwell, whose sufferings in the Black Hole at Calcutta are well known; it is a spacious mansion, and the grounds are extensive and pleasingly laid out.
The parish is about six miles in length from north to south, and a mile and a half or two miles in breadth from east to west, and is wholly inclosed and in a good state of cultivation. Culm is found within its limits, and a mine which had been worked for many years, for the supply of the neighbourhood, was some time ago re-opened on Lord Kensington's estate. Great facilities are afforded for the conveyance of the produce by the navigable creek called Hubberston Pill, and by the main Haven. Besides the town of Milford and the village of Steynton, the small village of Pill, distant about a quarter of a mile from Milford, is within the parish.
The Living, a discharged vicarage united to the rectory of Johnston, is endowed with the whole of the great and small tithes of a portion of the parish; part of the remainder are impropriate in Mrs. Ann Wright, whose family, the Jordans, sold the other portion, which now forms part of the income of the living of St. Mary's, Haverfordwest. The vicar's tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £58. 10. The church, dedicated to St. Peter, or, as is stated in the Monasticon, to St. Kewel, and formerly dependent upon Pill Priory, is situated in the village of Steynton, and forms an ancient and venerable structure, with a lofty tower, which, from its elevated situation, is seen from every part of the surrounding country. The interior consists of a nave, chancel, and two aisles, separated by series of massive columns and pointed arches. This edifice was garrisoned with a small number of troops during the parliamentary war in the reign of Charles I. There are two or three places of worship for dissenters in the rural part of the parish; and at Milford are a district chapel in connexion with the Establishment, and several meeting-houses. In the village is a school endowed in 1832 by Martha, lady of George Devonald, Esq., of Sodston House, with £30 per annum, to be paid out of her estate of Studda, in this parish, for the education of children in the principles of the Established Church: the trusteeship and management are vested in the incumbent and churchwardens. There are eight Sunday schools in the parish, two of them in connexion with the Church; and poor children of the parish are eligible for admission to Tasker's school in Haverfordwest, where the scholars are clothed as well as instructed.
At the head of Prix Pill stood Pill Castle, the capture of which is recorded by Fenton: there are no remains of this fortress, but in digging near the site, about a century ago, at a place termed Cwm, a human skull with an iron ball in it was found; and a tradition is extant that a pond near the spot, now called Deadman's Lake, derived its name from having been deeply tinged with the blood of the slain on that occasion. Near the head of Hubberston Pill are the remains of Pill Priory, founded in the year 1200 by Adam de Rupe, for monks of the order of Tyrone, who afterwards became Benedictines. The priory was dedicated to St. Mary and St. Budock, and flourished till the Dissolution, at which time its revenue was estimated at £67. 15.: the site and buildings were granted, in the 38th of Henry VIII., to Roger and Thomas Barlow. The ruins are very small, consisting chiefly of some fragments of the walls; the low entrance gateway leading into the garden is still remaining, but the arch above it fell down in 1826. At Butter Hill, which was a grange belonging to the priory, live a family of the name of Roch, who are said to be descended from Adam de Rupe, founder of the priory. There are several ancient encampments, here called rhâths; one near the priory; another near the neat residence of Thornton House; and a third, called Old Castle, near the town of Milford: but not one of them is of sufficient importance to require particular notice. Near the ruins of an ancient chapel dedicated to St. Catherine, a silver coin of Domitian was dug up, about half a century since. In 1818, a celt was found not far from St. Botolph's, where also are some remains of a Druidical altar, designated by the country-people the Long Stone. Sir William James, Bart., the celebrated naval commander in the East India Company's service, in commemoration of whose achievements the ornamental tower on Shooter's Hill, near London, was erected by his widow, was born at Bolton Hill mill, in the parish.
Strata-Florida, or Caron-Uwch-Clawdd
STRATA-FLORIDA, or CARON-UWCH-CLAWDD, a Chapelry, in the parish and union of Trêgaron, partly in the hundred of Ilar, and partly in the Upper division of the hundred of Penarth, county of Cardigan, South Wales, 6 miles (N. E.) from Trêgaron; containing 819 inhabitants. It was distinguished for an abbey of Cistercian monks, built in 1164 by Rhŷs, son of Grufydd, the reigning Prince of South Wales, under the name of Strata-Florida, or, as called in the Welsh language, Ystrad-Flur. The chapelry is noticed under the head of Caron-Uwch-Clawdd, where the history of the abbey, and a description of the surface, the living, the ruins, &c., are given.
SULLY (SULWY), a parish, in the poor-law union of Cardiff, hundred of Dinas-Powys, county of Glamorgan, in South Wales, 6½ miles (S. S. W.) from Cardiff; containing 144 inhabitants. This parish is situated on the shore of the Bristol Channel, by which it is bounded on the south; and nearly opposite to a small island of the same name. It comprises 1679 acres, of which 214 are common or waste. The Scottish system of agriculture, introduced here by Mr. Thomas, of Sully House, who is regarded as one of the best agriculturists in South Wales, is generally adopted in the parish, and has succeeded well. The living is a discharged rectory, rated in the king's books at £11. 9. 9½., and in the patronage of Mrs. Thomas; present net income, £250. The church, dedicated to St. John the Baptist, is a neat edifice, kept in excellent repair; and adjoining it is a handsome parsonage-house. A small school is supported by subscription; the mistress has a salary of £10 per annum, and attached is a library furnished by the clergyman. Mr. John Howel, in 1775, beqeathed £10 to the poor not receiving parochial relief; but nothing is now known of this charity. The Rev. Mr. Conybeare, who has so greatly distinguished himself by his geological researches, was lately incumbent.
SUTTON, a township, in the parochial chapelry of Is-y-Coed, union of Wrexham, hundred of Bromfield, county of Denbigh, North Wales, 5 miles (E. by S.) from Wrexham; containing 203 inhabitants. It is situated on the left bank of the Dee, near the place where that river receives a stream from the west. A tithe rent-charge of £165 is paid to the Dean and Chapter of Winchester.
SWANSEA, a parish, comprising the Upper and Lower divisions, and the Franchise of Swansea (the last of which contains the important market and sea-port town of the same name), in the hundred of Swansea; and the township of St. Thomas, in the hundred of Llangyvelach; union of Swansea, county of Glamorgan, South Wales; 44 miles (W. by N.) from Cardiff, 68 (E. by S.) from Milford, and 209 (W.) from London; containing 19,115 inhabitants, of whom 16,787 are in the Franchise, 837 in the Higher and 808 in the Lower division, and 683 in the township of St. Thomas. This town is called by the Welsh "Abertawy," from its situation at the mouth of the river Tawe or Tawy, which here discharges its waters into the great bay of Swansea, in the Bristol Channel. It derived the appellation of "Swinesea," or "Swinesey," according to Camden, from the number of porpoises with which this part of the Channel abounded: of this designation its present name is only a slight modification. After the defeat of Rhŷs ab Tewdwr by the united forces of Iestyn ab Gwrgan, Prince of Glamorgan, and the Normans under the command of FitzHamon, Conan, natural son of Rhŷs, having escaped from the scene of carnage with some of his troops, was drowned in the lake of Cremlyn, now an extensive marsh between this place and Briton-Ferry, in attempting to pass it in his flight towards Carmarthen. The castle of Swansea, or Abertawe, according to Caradoc of Llancarvan, was built in the year 1099, by Henry Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, with a view to secure possession of those lands, in the province of Gower, which he had wrested by force of arms from the sons of Caradoc ab Iestyn; and on the completion of the fortress, the town is said to have been built by the same nobleman. Having subsequently reduced the whole province under his dominion, the earl introduced into it colonies of English and Flemings, to garrison the various castles which he had erected for its defence. To these his dependents he gave a large portion of territory; and their descendants, who still retain the ancient settlements, were, until of late years, distinguished by their language, manners, and customs, from the aboriginal inhabitants, with whom they seldom intermarried. From the peculiar advantages of its situation, and its early maritime importance, the town soon became the capital of the province of Gower; its inhabitants enjoyed many valuable privileges, conferred by the early Norman lords, and for some time it continued to flourish with increasing prosperity.
Its importance, and its being regarded as the key to the English possessions in Glamorgan, exposed it to all the horrors of frequent warfare, and subjected it to repeated desolation and rapine. In 1113, the place was furiously assaulted by Rhŷs ab Grufydd, who, after fruitless attempts to reduce the castle, which, from the strength of its fortifications and the number of its garrison, resisted all his efforts, set fire to the town, and laid waste the surrounding country. Early in the thirteenth century it was more successfully attacked by Rhŷs Vychan, who, being assisted by Llewelyn ab Iorwerth, finally succeeded in destroying all the fortresses that had been erected by the Normans within the province of Gower. In reference to the desolation which Swansea suffered upon these occasions, Llywarch ab Llewelyn, in a panegyrical ode addressed to the victor, has the following remarkable words: "In Swansea, that peaceless town, the towers are rent, and now peace prevails there; in strongly fortified Swansea, the key of England, all the women are widows." From this dreary state of devastation, however, the town soon recovered, and in the year 1260 it was again besieged, by Llewelyn ab Grufydd, the last Prince of North Wales, who, coming against it with a powerful army, entirely demolished the castle, which, according to the testimony of most historians, lay from that time in ruins till the prelacy of Henry Gower, Bishop of St. David's. This prelate restored Swansea Castle, besides building the palace of St. David's, and enlarging and embellishing the episcopal residence at Lamphey. A similar style of architecture and embellishment is observable in these three structures, which are all distinguished by a beautiful open parapet, pierced alternately in pointed, and circular Norman, arches. In 1331, the same bishop, who was a native of the province of Gower, founded an hospital at this place in honour of St. David, which continued to flourish till the Dissolution, when its revenue was estimated at £20. After his death, Swansea being so remote from the seat of the diocese, and there being not less than seven palaces belonging to the see in different places, the castle, during the prelacy of his successor, was neglected, and went rapidly to decay.
In the reign of Henry IV., the town suffered materially during the insurrection raised against that monarch by Owain Glyndwr, by whom it was burnt, and the neighbourhood reduced to a state of desolation. About the middle of the sixteenth century the number of houses was 180. During the parliamentary war in the reign of Charles I., Oliver Cromwell received a grant from parliament of an estate in this part of Glamorganshire, being made "lord of Swansea, of the seigniory of Gower, and the manor of Kilvey, with the members thereof;" the conveyance of the property is still preserved by the Duke of Beaufort, and is not only drawn up in the king's name, but has a portrait of the king at its head. Soon afterwards, in May, 1648, Cromwell paid a short visit to the town, and gave £10 for the use of the poor, when on his way to Pembroke; and in the following year, in the month of July, he again passed through the place, on his journey to Ireland as lord-lieutenant, being entertained on this occasion with all his followers, at dinner, in the house of William Bayly, then portreeve.
The TOWN is advantageously situated in an angle between two lofty hills; on the western bank of the river Tawy, which is here navigable for ships of large burthen; and at the head of a noble bay (to which it gives name) stretching nearly nine miles in breadth from east to west, and sheltered by an amphitheatre of hills from the most unfavourable winds. The principal thoroughfare in the town extends for more than a mile in a line parallel with the river; and this street, and also the streets diverging from it, which are numerous, and in some instances spacious, are well paved, and lighted with gas, under the provisions of an act of parliament passed in 1809. The houses are neatly and substantially built, especially those in High, Castle, and Wind streets, which are the principal for business. From these many smaller streets branch off in various directions, some of them leading to a populous district towards the west, in the neighbourhood of the market-place. Among the principal ranges of building in and near the town are, Belle Vue, an assemblage of detached houses of handsome elevation, with several pleasing villas, occupying a delightful eminence, and commanding a fine view of the sea, and the distant coasts of Somerset and Devon; the Burrows, comprising several lines of respectable houses of modern erection, inhabited by genteel families; and a continuation of good buildings, both in the upper and lower roads leading to the Mumbles, an agreeable village about five miles from the town, the road to which is, throughout the whole distance, under an elevated ridge, thickly studded with elegant seats and substantial dwellings. Considerable additions have been made to the town within the last twenty years, new streets having been formed, and many detached residences erected: a very large portion of land in the neighbourhood has been appropriated as building-ground. In 1837 an act was obtained for better supplying the borough with water, and in 1844 an act for its general improvement.
The Royal Institution of South Wales is a very valuable establishment, fixed at Swansea. A literary and scientific society was founded in the town in 1835, which was so well supported that in about three years the members raised a sufficient sum for the erection of a building, and determined to enlarge the design of the institution, at the same time changing its title to that of the Royal Institution of South Wales. Plans were furnished by Mr. F. Long, architect, of Liverpool, and a building was commenced on a piece of detached ground granted by the corporation, near the Burrows; the first stone was laid in August 1838, and the whole was completed at a cost of £3500. The principal front, which is of Bath stone, extends 100 feet from east to west, and has a portico of four Ionic columns in the centre. The edifice comprises a theatre, a library, a laboratory, and, on the upper floor, a museum of zoology, one of antiquities, one of geology and mineralogy, a council-room, &c. Lectures are given during the season, and the attention of the members is directed, among other objects, to the illustration of local antiquities, to researches in natural history, and statistical inquiries. The members of the Swansea Literary and Scientific Society, established in 1845; of the Society for the Acquirement of Useful Knowledge, and other societies, also hold their meetings in this fine building. The library contains a large collection of books relating to Wales, and the museum is full of interest, general as well as local. In August 1848, the British Association for the Advancement of Science held their eighteenth annual meeting at Swansea, when the Royal Institution was appropriated to their use.
The situation of the town on the margin of a fine open bay, with extensive, firm, and level sands, forming an interesting marine promenade; the excellent accommodation the town affords, and the reasonable charges for provisions, have contributed to render it a resort for sea-bathing; and during the summer season a considerable number of visiters are attracted, for whom assembly-rooms, and hot and cold sea-water baths, have been erected. The Assembly-rooms, in Cambrian-place, comprise a suite of five spacious and handsomely arranged apartments, consisting of a ball-room elegantly fitted up, in which concerts are sometimes performed, and a card-room on the first floor, and having on the basement story a reading-room, billiard-room, and club-room, which are well attended. The theatre, a neat and commodious structure, is entitled to rank among those of the second class out of the metropolis; it is opened during the season by a portion of the Bath and Bristol company, and is occasionally visited by some of the principal London performers, who, during the recess of the winter theatres, attend here in their provincial tours. Races take place on the Cremlyn Burrows, being continued for two days, at a time regulated by the English races, with which they are in a great measure connected. The principal prizes are, a tradesman's plate, of which the value is uncertain, and a subscription purse; and the course, which is well adapted for two-mile heats, is upon these occasions numerously attended; but the races are so entirely dependent upon the influence and liberality of the stewards, that they cannot be considered as fixed, either with respect to the period of being held, or to the stakes which may be run for. An annual regatta takes place, generally in August, lasting three days, during which, as also during the races, balls and concerts are held at the assembly-rooms, and dramatic performances are exhibited at the theatre.
This town has risen, with a rapidity unparalleled in the history of the principality, from a comparatively insignificant place to a degree of COMMERCIALY and MANUFACTURING importance, which may well entitle it to be considered, not merely as the chief town in the county of Glamorgan, but as the most important in all Wales. About a century or a century and a half ago, it had only a manufacture of straw plat, which was carried on upon a very limited scale; and its port, at that time a creek dependent on the port of Cardiff, was noted only for the exportation of coal. This was conveyed from the pits in the neighbourhood to the shipping-place by means of pack-horses; and so deeply-rooted was the prejudice of the inhabitants, at this time, in favour of their accustomed mode of conveyance, that, on the introduction of wagons by an ancestor of the present Sir John Morris, in the early part of the last century, they threatened to indict him for a nuisance, affirming that "the motion of his cumbrous machines disturbed the beer in their cellars." For its advancement and almost unprecedented commercial prosperity, the place is not less indebted to the mineral treasures abounding in its neighbourhood, than to its advantageous maritime situation. The vast stores of coal, culm, ironstone, limestone, rottenstone, flags, fire-clay, and other mineral productions throughout the district, combining with its local facilities of intercourse by sea, first attracted public attention, and led to the establishment of furnaces for the SMELTING of COPPER-OREY , which was conducted with such complete success, that Swansea soon became the principal seat of the copper-trade. It has been supposed that the art of manufacturing copper was known in this country at a very early period, and some old excavations for copper-ore in Anglesey have been attributed to the Romans; but the practice, if it had been known in the country, was entirely neglected, and the art altogether lost, till within the last two centuries, when it was restored by Sir Clement Clarke, who, in 1670, first erected works for the smelting of copper-ore, in Cornwall. These, from the scarcity of fuel, were soon after removed to the Hot Wells, near Bristol. Other furnaces and smelting-works were not long afterwards built at Crew's-Hole, near Bristol, and subsequently at Redbrook, on the river Wye, near Monmouth. At this time the Cornish miners were unacquainted with the true nature of the copper-ore, which they called "Poder;" and when they met with it, in working for tin, it was thrown away as useless. To Mr. Coster, the agent and successor of Sir Clement Clarke, is ascribed the discovery of the value of the "Poder," or copper-ore, the promulgation of which has tended so greatly to increase the prosperity of the county of Cornwall, and of the copper-smelting districts of South Wales.
From such inconsiderable beginnings has the copper-trade of the kingdom advanced to its present extent and importance. The first works for smelting copper-ore, established in South Wales, were erected in the year 1700, by Mr. Turner, near Neath Abbey; the next were built at Melingryddan, near Neath, by Sir Henry Mackworth and Co.; and the first which were erected in the immediate neighbourhood of this town were built on the site of the present Cambrian pottery, by Mr. Phillips, in 1719. To these succeeded the Landore works, on the site of the present Landore foundry; and afterwards were successively erected, the Forest, the White Rock, Middle Bank, Upper Bank, Ynis, Rose, and Havod works. Villages arose in the vicinity of all these establishments, and the town of Swansea, including the Swansea copper district, has now a population of between 35,000 and 40,000. At this place are at present, in full operation, the following extensive smelting-works: viz., the Forest, Rose, Landore, Upper Bank, Havod, Middle Bank, Morva, and White Rock works; also several very large rolling-establishments on the Swansea river, for the manufacture of sheet-copper. A considerable number of vessels are constantly employed in conveying the ores from the mines in England and foreign parts to Swansea; and in transporting the copper, when smelted, to the different markets. In separating the copper from the sulphur in the ore, which is effected by sublimation, sulphureous and other gases are evolved, and very large sums of money have been expended in repeated attempts to obviate this result, but only with a trifling degree of success, and experiments are still being made in the hope of ultimately accomplishing so desirable an object. Though the smoke emitted from the copperworks is injurious to vegetation, it has not been found prejudicial to health; on the contrary, it appears that agues and fevers, which were formerly endemic in the low and swampy grounds in the neighbourhoods where the works have been erected, have, since their establishment, materially decreased. Besides these works, which have made the Swansea valley the chief seat of the copper-trade of Great Britain, there are furnaces at or near Neath, Llanelly, and Aberavon, all within twelve miles of Swansea; also in the county of Anglesey; at St. Helen's, near Liverpool; and in Derbyshire.
The copper-ore is principally brought from the mines of Cornwall and of South America. Until the year 1827 the ore smelted in the country was exclusively of native production; at that period the importation of foreign ore commenced, in 1846 the first cargo of Australian ore arrived, and at present a very large part of the ore smelted in South Wales, and most of that smelted at St. Helen's, are from foreign mines. In 1847 the counties of Cornwall and Devon produced 155,985 tons of ore, yielding about eight per cent of fine copper; of this ore the greater portion was smelted at Swansea, and in the same year 47,611 tons of Irish, Welsh, and foreign ore were purchased by the eight copper companies here. The foreign ore yields a much greater per centage of pure copper than the British: the Chili mines give a very large proportion, and some of the Australian ore yields nearly twenty-seven per cent; the average, however, of the foreign ore, being about fifteen per cent of pure copper.
In the town and its neighbourhood are various other important works, giving employment to a large number of the population. Among those are the iron-works of the Milbrook and Landore Iron Companies, some very extensive potteries, some rope-yards, tanneries, breweries, lime-works, large works erected in 1848 by the Patent-Fuel Company, and others in the same year by an iron-ship building company. The adjacent district abounds with collieries, employing a very considerable number of men, though the continual fluctuation to which they are liable renders even a remote estimate of the exact number impracticable: the coal here is of the bituminous or binding kind, the collieries of stonecoal chiefly commencing about thirteen miles up the valley. Ship-building and the repairing of vessels are also carried on to a large extent; and commodious and spacious yards have been formed for these purposes, in which many persons are constantly employed.
From these various sources arises the TRADEY of the port, which is consequently very extensive, and has been for several years rapidly increasing, especially the foreign traffic in copper-ore. The number of vessels now belonging to Swansea is nearly 140, and there are 10 pilot-boats. The chief exports are copper, iron, coal, culm, lime, and earthenware, which are shipped hence to various parts of the kingdom, but the copper chiefly to London: the chief imports are, copperore from Cornwall, Devonshire, Ireland, South America, and Australia; timber from America and the Baltic; hemp, tallow, flour, and miscellaneous goods from London, Liverpool, and Bristol; and also flour, grain, and provisions from the south of Ireland. The quantity of coal of every description shipped in 1847 coastwise was, coal, 107,371 tons; culm, 90,886 tons; stone-coal, 7916 tons; total, 206,173 tons: coal (none of it stone-coal) in foreign vessels, 34,182 tons: total exports in the year, 240,355 tons. The customs' duties paid at the port in 1846 exceeded £70,000. Steam communication is maintained with Bristol, Gloucester, Liverpool, and other places.
The situation of the port is in every respect admirably adapted for carrying on a very extensive commerce, and considerable sums have been expended in its improvement. The first attempt of this kind was made under the authority of an act of parliament obtained in the year 1791, for "enlarging and preserving the harbour of Swansea," the original powers of which were extended by two additional statutes subsequently passed. Under the provisions of these acts, two massive stone piers were constructed at the mouth of the river; one on the western side, extending three hundred yards in length, and the other on the eastern, extending six hundred yards, leaving an entrance between them eighty yards in width. At the head of the western pier is a lighthouse, which by night displays a light, and by day a black ball, as long as there is a depth of eight feet of water above the bar. At high water the harbour forms a noble and spacious basin, capable of containing a great number of vessels of large burthen; but at low water, and for two hours before and after, it is nearly dry, the river during this time being fordable. Among other numerous and important improvements which have been undertaken to promote the commercial prosperity of the town, much has been done of late years towards improving the harbour. In 1836 an act was obtained, amending several previous acts for its improvement; also in 1844 and 1847, further amendment acts, and in the latter year an act for constructing and maintaining docks and other works at or near the south side of the town. These new dock works, situated in front of the Burrows, when finished will comprise a basin 100 yards long, and a dock 480 yards long by 100 yards, with another dock of the same size in the rear. At present Swansea is a dry harbour; but on the completion of the docks, it will possess ample accommodation of the best kind, and the trade will no doubt receive a great impulse. The customhouse and the commercial rooms, though spacious, and internally well adapted to the purposes to which they are respectively applied, are not distinguished by their architecture from private houses. On the north-east of the harbour is Port Tennant, so named from the gentleman by whom it was originally projected, and at whose expense it was constructed, in the year 1826. It contains two spacious docks, in which the water is of sufficient depth to receive vessels of 200 tons' burthen, opening on one side into the basin, and communicating on the other with the Swansea and Neath Junction Canal, which is also the property of the Tennant family, of Cadoxton Lodge. The river Tawy is navigable, for vessels of 300 tons' burthen, for two miles from its mouth, and one mile further for small sloops and barges. On its western bank are commodious quays, wharfs, warehouses, stores for timber, a dry dock, and every accommodation requisite for the prompt despatch of business.
Great facility of communication between the various works and the harbour is afforded by means of canals and tramroads, by which the produce is conveyed to the port, in order to be shipped to its destination. The Swansea canal, constructed under the provisions of an act of parliament passed in the year 1794, was completed in 1798. It commences near the mouth of the Tawy, and extends up the valley of that river for seventeen miles, passing by Landore and the copper-works at Morriston, crossing the stream Twrch by an aqueduct of four arches, and terminating at Hên Noyadd, in the parish of Ystrad-Gunlais, in the county of Brecknock. In the line of its course from Swansea to Pont-ar-Dawe, a distance of eight miles and a quarter, there is a rise of 105 feet; and from that place to Pont-Gwaynclawdd, a length of eight miles, a rise of 237 feet; making, together with 31 feet in the remaining distance, a total rise in its whole extent of 373 feet. The Swansea and Neath Junction canal, constructed in the year 1789, by H. T. Tennant, Esq., originally formed a direct communication between Swansea and Briton-Ferry, falling into the Neath river at a short distance above that village. It was subsequently, however, diverted up Cwm Neath by an abrupt turn to the north-east, and now joins the Neath canal at a place called Aber-Dylas, about two miles above Neath, after crossing the river by a magnificent stone aqueduct of thirteen arches, the only aqueduct on a line nine miles in length. This alteration was completed, and the new line opened, in 1824. Numerous tramroads from the collieries in the neighbourhood of the canals and the river, add to the means of inland communication, and afford a facility of conveying the produce of the various works in this extensive mineral and manufacturing district to the ports of Swansea and Neath. A tramroad has also been constructed from the lower extremity of the Swansea canal to the limestone quarries at Oystermouth, a distance of more than five miles. The most important means of communication, however, will be, the South Wales railway, it runs on the north side of the town, to which it will have a short branch, with a station for passengers in the Pottery Field, near the High-street, and a goods' station near the Old Brewery, Strand. An account of this line is given under the head of Glamorganshire. Cameron's Coalbrook Steam-coal and Swansea and Loughor railway, for which an act was passed in 1846, is to run from Swansea to the Coalbrook collieries, near the town of Loughor, a distance of five miles: the Railway Commissioners lately extended the period limited for the completion of the line, to August 1851. The Swansea-Valley railway, authorized by parliament in the year 1847, will proceed from Swansea, up the vale of the river Tawy, to Abercrave, in the parish of Ystrad-Gunlais, Brecknockshire; the length of the main line being seventeen miles, and of its three branches something under one mile and a half.
The Markets are held on Wednesday and Saturday, and are abundantly supplied with provisions of every kind. The latter day is also for corn, and fish is exposed for sale daily, though not considered to be of so good a quality here as on other parts of the coast; a circumstance which is attributed to the prevalence of sand in the neighbourhood of the shore. Fairs occur on May 2nd, July 2nd, August 15th, and October 30th. The market-place, opened in 1830, occupies a plot of ground given for the purpose by Calvert Jones, Esq., and comprises a quadrilateral area, three hundred and twenty feet in length, and two hundred and twenty wide, inclosed by a lofty stone wall with spacious and convenient entrances. Along the walls are ranged the shambles for butchers' meat, consisting of eighty-nine stalls. The central portion of the area is divided into compartments furnished with long tables, each sheltered by a penthouse roof, supported by cast-iron pillars; and in these compartments are exposed for sale poultry, eggs, butter, fruit, vegetables, flannel, boots and shoes, and almost every other article of provisions, pedlery, and merchandise. The area is flagged; and in the centre is a market-house, containing a committee-room and other requisite apartments, and surmounted by a handsome turret. The whole expense of erecting this building, which is of essential importance to so populous a town, was defrayed by the corporation, and was supposed, at a moderate estimate, to amount at least to the sum of £20,000. A new fish-market, and an illuminated two-dial clock, were added in 1847, the latter at the expense of T. B. Essery, Esq.
Swansea appears to have been created a BOROUGH in the reign of King John, by charter from De Breos, lord of the seigniory of Gower, and also to have received a charter from that monarch himself, granting the inhabitants licence to trade beyond the limits of the seigniory. Their privileges were confirmed and extended by successive sovereigns. In the possession of the corporation are charters granted by Henry III. in the 18th year of his reign; by William de Breos, descendant of the above lord of Gower, in 1305; by Edward III. in the sixth year of his reign; by Edward III. in the sixth year of his reign; together with a translation of another charter, not strictly connected with the town, obtained from Edward III. in the second of his reign, by Aliva, widow of John de Mowbray. Henry's charter merely conferred upon the town freedom from toll, pontage, and other customs. The charter of William de Breos bestows numerous immunities on the burgesses, including estovers of wood for firing, and for building ships and houses; permission to hold the meadow of Crosswood, and part of that of Portmead; power to elect a portreeve; and exemption from the assize of ale. These liberties were confirmed by Edward II. and Edward III., without altering the constitution, or conferring on the borough increased facilities for carrying on its trade. The charter of the latter monarch to Aliva, is a confirmation of a grant of Gower by William de Breos to John de Mowbray, William's son-in-law, and recites gifts by various kings of England to William, or his ancestors, of the land of Gower, with the royal liberties, free customs, and jurisdiction attached to it.
A charter granted to Swansea by Oliver Cromwell, and dated February 1655, recites that the town was an ancient port, and time out of mind corporate, and that it had enjoyed important privileges by the gifts of kings and lords marchers. It then grants that the people of the place, previously known by the style of the "Portreeve, Aldermen, and Burgesses," should henceforth be a body politic under the name of the "Mayor, Aldermen, and Burgesses;" declares that they should possess the town in fee farm, rendering a yearly rent of twenty shillings, and that they should have a free guild of merchants, and be governed by a mayor, high steward, recorder, twelve aldermen, and twelve capital burgesses; appoints a court of record; institutes four fairs and two weekly markets; and finally directs that the customs payable for any goods brought into the port, should be appropriated for the benefit of the mayor, aldermen, and burgesses. This charter was laid aside by the corporation even before the Restoration. In 1685, James II. gave a charter, which, having proclaimed that the borough had, by deed under the seal of the commonalty, surrendered all its different charters, proceeds to reconstitute the corporation, reserving to the crown the power of displacing, by order in council, any mayor, alderman, capital burgess, or chamberlain; restores the liberties and immunities which had been given up; and grants to the town the right of purchasing lands not exceeding the yearly value of £100. The charter thus drawn up, however, was rejected by the corporation, and it is uncertain whether any was granted by William and Mary: at the close of the 17th century Swansea seems to have been regarded as a borough by prescription. From this time till the Municipal Corporations' Act was passed, no alterations were made in the government, which up to that period was vested in a steward, portreeve, twelve aldermen, a recorder, two common attorneys, a layer-keeper, two serjeantsat-mace, and an indefinite number of burgesses; under the simple style of "The Burgesses of the Borough of Swansea."
By the act just mentioned, the corporation is now named the "Mayor, Aldermen, and Burgesses," and consists of a mayor, six aldermen, and eighteen councillors, together forming the council of the borough, which is divided into three wards, and of which the municipal and parliamentary boundaries are the same. The council elect the mayor annually on November 9th, out of the aldermen or councillors; and the aldermen sexennially out of the councillors, or persons qualified to be such, one-half going out of office every three years, but being re-eligible: the councillors are chosen on November 1st, by and out of the enrolled burgesses, one-third retiring annually. Aldermen and councillors must each have a property qualification of £500, or be rated of £15 annual value. Occupiers of houses and shops, rated for three years to the relief of the poor, are entitled to be burgesses. A recorder is appointed by the crown: two assessors for each ward, and two auditors, are elected annually on March 1st, by and from among the burgesses; and the council appoint a town-clerk, treasurer, and other officers on November 9th. The number of borough justices is seven. The corporation possess a considerable estate in land; and also claim all the waste within the limits of the borough, and a right to certain customary tolls and dues, sanctioned by immemorial usage, producing in general from £700 to £800 per annum, which sum is enjoyed by the mayor for the time being, to defray the contingent expenses of his office.
This borough, together with Aberavon, Cowbridge, Kenvig, Llantrissent, Loughor, and Neath, was made contributory to Cardiff, as the county town, in returning a member to parliament, by the 27th of Henry VIII., and the right of voting vested in the burgesses generally. Once, during the interregnum, it sent a representative independently of the other places; it received a charter from Cromwell in May 1658, authorizing the election of a member for itself, and it appears that William Foxwist, one of Oliver's judges of assize on the Brecknock circuit, was chosen to serve in the parliament that met under Richard Cromwell in January 1658-9. This parliament was dissolved in April following; so that the inhabitants enjoyed the privilege of separate representation for three months only. After the Restoration, the town resumed its former character as contributory, and it has continued to participate with other boroughs in the return of a member to the present time; the right of election, till 1832, being in the burgesses generally. By the act of that year, "to Amend the Representation," Swansea was made the head of a new district of boroughs, comprising Swansea, Aberavon, Kenvig, Loughor, and Neath; and the right of exercising the franchise was vested in the former resident burgesses, if duly registered according to the provisions of the act, 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 at least ten pounds, provided he be capable of registering as the act demands. The present number of tenements of this value, within the extended borough, is about 1350. The new limits, which are minutely detailed in the Appendix, include, on account of the increased populousness of the vicinity, in addition to the ancient town and franchise of Swansea, the parish of St. John, the township of St. Thomas, part of the parish of Llansamlet, and the modern town of Morriston, in the parish of Llangyvelach.
The corporation hold a court of pleas by prescription, recognised by statute of the 34th and 35th of Henry VIII., every month, for the recovery of debts above the amount of forty shillings; the mayor presides, either in person or by deputy, together with the recorder, or the steward of the lord of the manor. This court has power to issue process to hold to bail in actions for debt, the amount to be not less than twenty pounds, as altered by statute of the 7th and 8th of George IV.; and its jurisdiction extends over the town and franchise. The steward of the manor holds a court baron every three weeks, for the recovery of debts under forty shillings, the jurisdiction of which extends over the seigniory of Gower and the manor of Kilvey; and the county magistrates hold a petty-session for the hundred of Swansea, every Tuesday, in the town-hall, where also are held the assizes alternately with Cardiff, and the Michaelmas quarter-sessions for the county. One of the county debt-courts established in 1847 is also fixed here, with powers extending over the Swansea registration-district. This is one of the places at which, under the Reform Act, the poll is taken at the county elections. The town-hall, erected in 1827–29, being inadequate for the assize and other business, the corporation determined in 1847 to make extensive improvements, comprising a nisi-prius court; a council-chamber; offices for the town-clerk, the paving commissioners, and other public boards, &c. The material used is Bath stone, and the designs of the south, west, and east fronts are rich elevations in the Corinthian order of the Palladian school. The house of correction for the western part of the county, erected in the year 1827, at an expense of £3750, and since enlarged, is situated in a healthy spot on the shore, within a quarter of a mile of the town, and forms a substantial stone building, well adapted for the reception of prisoners, for whose proper classification every facility has been provided.
The living is a discharged vicarage, rated in the king's books at £7. 14. 4½., and endowed with £200 private benefaction, £200 royal bounty, and £800 parliamentary grant; present net income, £291; patron and impropriator, Sir John Morris, Bart. The tithes, recently commuted for a rent-charge of £424, formerly belonged to the hospital of St. David's, in the town, but in the reign of Edward VI. were, together with the other possessions of that establishment, after its dissolution, granted to Sir George Herbert. They are now divided between the impropriator and the vicar, of whom the former has two-thirds, and the latter one-third. The church is dedicated to St. Mary, from which circumstance the parish derives its Welsh name of "Eglwys Vair Aber-Tawy." Having become greatly dilapidated, the nave fell down in the year 1739, and was rebuilt, divine service being performed in the chancel till the completion of the new building in 1745. The present church is a plain neat structure, with the tower, chancel, and some other parts of the original edifice: in the tower are six bells, cast in the year 1720, and bearing different inscriptions. The chancel contains a window in the decorated style; and the altar is ornamented with a valuable Madona, presented by the late Thomas Bowdler, Esq., editor of the Family Shakspeare, and, according to a tablet recording the gift, supposed by the donor to be an original painting by Sassaferat, the companion picture of which was sold for £750; some connoisseurs, however, ascribe it to Ludovico Caracci. In the chancel is a monument of black marble, with figures engraved in brass of Sir Hugh Johnys and his wife, who lived in the 15th century, at Landimore Castle, in Gower; and in the Herbert chapel (formerly the chapel of St. Ann) is an ancient altar-tomb, bearing the effigies of Sir Mathew Cradock, and the Lady Catherine his wife, widow of Perkin Warbeck. Among the other monuments in the church is one erected by subscription to the Rev. Dr. Hewson, for thirty-two years vicar of the parish, who died in 1845. The building is adapted to the reception of a numerous congregation; but since the amazing increase in the population, which has been progressive for some years, it has become inadequate to the accommodation of the parishioners. A second place of worship, dedicated to the Holy Trinity, has been therefore erected, which forms a separate incumbency; income, £40. The parish church of St. John juxta Swansea is also situated within the town, and, from the service being performed in it in Welsh, as well as English, is of considerable benefit to the inhabitants of this part of Swansea, who are mostly of the poorer class, and speak only Welsh. There are two places of worship each for English and Welsh Baptists; two for English, and one for Welsh Independents; two each for the Society of Friends and the Welsh Calvinistic Methodists; a very handsome meeting-house for Wesleyans, and one each for members of Lady Huntingdon's Connexion, Unitarians, and Unitarian Baptists; a Roman Catholic chapel, dedicated to St. David; and a Jews' synagogue.
A Free grammar school was founded in 1682, by Hugh Gore, D.D., Bishop of Waterford and Lismore, who assigned to it lands in the parish of Llandyvodog, in this county, now producing about £70 per annum, which endowment has been augmented with £20 a year by the corporation. Bishop Gore appointed Bussy Mansel, of Briton-Ferry, Esq., trustee and patron of the school, with power to choose and remove the master, such power to be perpetual in the proprietors of that estate, and, during their minority, in the Bishop of St. David's: the master becomes ineligible as soon as he obtains a benefice. The school is open for the gratuitous instruction of twenty boys, sons of the most indigent burgesses, and, in the event of a dissolution of the corporation, to sons of the poorest inhabitants of the town. The property at Llandyvodog consists of a wild and mountainous tract, little adapted for agriculture, but will be of immense value when means are afforded for working and conveying the coal with which it and the vicinity abound.
The Normal College for all Wales, for the training of schoolmasters, was opened at Brecon, January 1st, 1846, and subsequently transferred to Swansea. It arose out of the "educational conference" held at Llandovery in April 1845, was established without the aid of government, and, though explicit testimonials are required at entrance as to religious character, is not confined to any particular body. In point of expense, the plan of the Borough-Road school, London, is followed as far as is practicable; the students contributing to the funds, but not in so considerable a proportion as in the metropolitan establishment. The National schools were opened in May 1848, and are for boys, girls, and infants: the buildings comprise three spacious schoolrooms, with separate residences for a master and a mistress, class-rooms, and a library; they are in the Elizabethan style, and cost about £2000. In York-place is a free-school for girls, and there are British schools for boys and girls in the town; also an infants' school, erected by subscription, and the proceeds of a ladies' bazaar, at a cost of about £440, the site being granted by the Duke of Beaufort on a lease of sixty years from the year 1831, at a nominal rent. One or two other schools are supported also by voluntary contributions, and a number of Sunday schools are regularly held.
An infirmary for the relief of sick and lame poor from any part of the kingdom, whose cases require the aid of warm or cold sea-bathing, was instituted in 1817, and is principally maintained by subscriptions. There are various other benevolent institutions in the town, and in 1848 it was determined to erect a lunatic asylum for the counties of Glamorgan, Carmarthen, Cardigan, and Pembroke, on a site near Swansea, at a cost of £15,000. Gabriel Powell, in 1735, bequeathed a rent-charge of £5, to be distributed among twenty-five poor persons; Captain John Price left £200 for apprenticing children; and Rebecca Miller left a rent-charge of £1. 4.: but these and a few other small charitable donations have been lost, and the only charity now in operation is a distribution of wheaten bread among the poorest inhabitants, in St. Mary's church, on sacrament Sundays, arising from a bequest of £10 per annum by William Thomas, in 1787. The poor-law union of which the town is the head, was formed October 23rd, 1836, and comprises the following 27 parishes and townships; namely, the Town and Franchise of Swansea, Higher and Lower Swansea, St. John's, St. Thomas'; Higher and Lower Clâs, Higher and Lower Mawr, Higher and Lower Penderwi, and Higher and Lower Rhwngdwy-Clydach, in the parish of Llangyvelach; Bishopston, Cheriton, Ilston, Knelston, Llanddewi, Llandeilo, Llangennith, Llanmadock, Llanrhidian Higher and Lower, Nicholaston, Oxwich, Oystermouth, Penmaen, Pennarth, Penrice, Port-Eynon, Reynoldston, and Rhôsilly. It is under the superintendence of forty guardians, and contains a population of 38,641.
The remains of the ancient castle, situated on an eminence, now nearly in the centre of the town, are so surrounded with buildings that little more of them can be seen, to any advantage, than a lofty circular tower, from the summit of which a beautiful view is obtained over the bay of Swansea and the adjacent country: to the east of this tower are extensive remains of the ancient state apartments, distinguished by the elegant open parapet, said to be the work of Bishop Gower. The structure is appropriated to the purposes of a barrack, a prison, and a warehouse. Near it stood the mansion of the lords of Gower, occupying a spacious quadrangular area, through which a street was carried some time since, leaving but few remains by which any thing more than the extent of the buildings could be traced; and even these were removed in 1840, and the site appropriated to dwelling-houses. On excavating the ground under one of the walls of the old building on 9th May, 1840, a jar or bottle was found, containing silver coins of the time of John, Henry III., Edward I., and Edward II.; perhaps intended as a deposit under the foundation-stone. St. David's Hospital, founded by Bishop Gower, was for aged or unfortunate priests; it was endowed with the tithes of the parish, with the lordship of Brinavel, and with lands and tenements in the hamlet of Sketty, in the parish of Swansea, and also in the environs of the town. Roman coins have been found in the neighbourhood of Swansea.
There are numerous gentlemen's seats and elegant villas in the immediate vicinity of the town. Singleton, situated at the distance of two miles, on the road to the Mumbles, is an elegant and spacious mansion, in the later style of English architecture, erected at different periods by the present proprietor, and forming one of the most complete and best built houses in the county. The grounds, which are very extensive, are laid out with great taste, and embellished with some cottages after Swiss and Italian designs; the variety and beauty of the scenery within the limits of the demesne are judiciously displayed in the construction of the walks, and the distant views obtained from several points are strikingly picturesque. Sketty Park is a handsome and substantial mansion, in finely varied grounds of considerable extent. Sketty Hall, and Veranda, are elegant residences, pleasingly situated amidst flourishing plantations; and among others which constitute a rich assemblage in the vicinity, too numerous for a detailed description, are Woodlands Castle, Park Wern, Bryn-y-Môr, St. Helen's, Upland Villa, Pant-yGwydir, and Hill House; all on the road between Swansea and the beautiful village of Oystermouth.s Near the town is a chalybeate spring, called Swansea Spa, which was formerly resorted to for the highly medicinal properties of the water, but which at present is not much frequented, having almost fallen into disuse. In the Caswell rocks upon the coast, and within six miles of the town, is a remarkably fine spring, which, though always overflowed by the sea at high water, retains not the slightest saline admixture on the sea's retiring.
In the parish of Swansea, and the lordship of Gower, within which the parish is included, many eminent and highly distinguished individuals have been born. Henry Gower, D. D., Bishop of St. David's, celebrated not less for the elegance of his taste, than for his munificent patronage of the fine arts, was a native of the lordship; as also was probably John Gower, the poet, who flourished towards the close of the fourteenth century. Both were descendants of Grufydd de Gower, a Welsh chieftain of one of the ancient royal houses, and founder of a family in Gower, noted alike for opulence and power, in the beginning of the thirteenth century. Henry de Swinesey, abbot of Glastonbury, whose epitaph on the tomb of the renowned Arthur at Glastonbury is noticed by Leland, was a native of the town. Hugh Gore, D.D., founder of the grammar school, and once rector of the parish of Oxwich in the lordship of Gower, being ejected from his living during the usurpation of Cromwell, retired to Swansea, where he for some time kept a school. After the Restoration he was advanced to the see of Waterford and Lismore, which he held till the reign of James II., when he resigned his bishopric, and settled at this town, where he died, and was buried. Richard Nash, more generally known by the appellation of Beau Nash, was born at Swansea in the year 1674. His mother was niece of the unfortunate Colonel Poyer, who, after the taking of Pembroke Castle by the parliamentarians, during the civil war, was shot at Covent Garden, in London. Mr. Nash acquired his questionable celebrity at Bath, where for many years he filled the office of master of the ceremonies with much urbanity, and scrupulous impartiality, but where he became equally remarkable for his frivolity and extravagance, which were conspicuous even in that gay city; he died at Bath, in 1760, and was honoured with a public funeral in the abbey church. In 1739 Richard Savage the poet arrived at Swansea, with the intention of making it his residence; but from the failure of a subscription, by which he had been induced to remove from the temptations of the metropolis, he remained here only a year. Some curious notices of Swansea will be found in Mr. Dillwyn's "Contributions towards a History of Swansea;" and a graphic account of the town and its surrounding district is given in Mr. Cliffe's "Book of South Wales," from which some valuable particulars have been derived for this article.
SWYDD, with Graig, a hamlet, in the parish of Llandegley, union of Kington, hundred of Kevenlleece, county of Radnor, South Wales, 1 mile (E. N. E.) from Pen-y-bont; containing 225 inhabitants. It forms the northern portion of the parish, which borders on the ancient Forest of Radnor, and lies between the left bank of the Cymaron brook and the lofty and mountainous range of that district.