A Topographical Dictionary of Wales. Originally published by S Lewis, London, 1849.
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Gwiller, or Gwithla
GWILLER, or GWITHLA, with Trewern, a hamlet, in the parish of Llanvihangel-NantMelan, within the liberties of the borough of New Radnor, union of Kington, county of Radnor, South Wales, 2 miles (S. W.) from New Radnor; containing 153 inhabitants. The parochial church is situated in this hamlet, which occupies a small vale in the southern portion of the mountainous district called Radnor Forest, near the source of the Somergill brook. Here is also the celebrated cascade called "Water-break-its-neck," which is formed by a stream rising in the above-mentioned district, and, after its fall of seventy feet perpendicularly, joins the Somergill. The lower portion of the hamlet is well wooded; and there is a lake termed Llyn Llanillyn, about three-quarters of a mile in circumference.
GWILLY (GWILI), with Iscoed, a hamlet, in the parish of Llanedy, union of Llanelly, hundred of Carnawllon, county of Carmarthen, South Wales, 11 miles (N. N. W.) from Swansea: the population is returned with the parish. It is situated on the left bank of the small river Gwilly or Gwili, which joins the river Loughor at no great distance. About 200 yards from the parish church, is a rock with a curious recess, naturally formed, traditionally called Gwely-Edi (St. Edith's bed), and superstitiously thought to have been occasionally used by that saint for repose.
GWNNWS-ISÂV, a township, in the parish of Llanwnws, union of Trêgaron, upper division of the hundred of Ilar, county of Cardigan, South Wales, 10 miles (S. E.) from Aberystwith; containing 488 inhabitants. It is bounded on the north by the river Ystwith, the scenery on the banks of which is highly picturesque; and is situated on the road between Aberystwith and Trêgaron: the village consists only of a few scattered dwellings.
GWRAVOG (GWÂR-HAFOG), a township, chiefly in the parish of Llanlleonvel, and partly in that of Llanavan-Vechan, union and hundred of Builth, county of Brecknock, South Wales, 5 miles (W. by S.) from the town of Builth; containing 72 inhabitants. The name of this place signifies literally "the summer bank," which is partly descriptive of it. The surface chiefly, however, forms part of the northern declivity of a well-wooded eminence, a branch of the Eppynt hills, on the northern side of which flows the river Irvon.
GWREDOG, a chapelry, in the parish of Llantrisaint, hundred of Llyvon, union and county of Anglesey, North Wales, 2 miles (N. by E.) from Llanerchymedd; containing 42 inhabitants. This small chapelry, which consists only of two farms, is situated in a very retired part of the county, and is not distinguished by any feature of interest or importance. The living is a perpetual curacy, annexed to the rectory of Llantrisaint: the rectorial tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £32. 13. 7. The chapel, dedicated to St. Mary, is a very small and plain edifice, occupying a solitary situation, almost inaccessible in winter, and without any road leading to it. One poor man of this place is eligible to the almshouses founded at Beaumaris, in 1609, by David Hughes, who also established the free grammar school of that place.
GWYDDELWERN, a parish, in the union of Corwen, hundred of Edeyrnion, county of Merioneth, North Wales; comprising the three principal divisions of Cwm, Uwch-Avon, and UwchMynydd, and containing 1684 inhabitants: the village of Gwyddelwern is in the Cwm division, and occupies a pleasant situation in a small valley, on the road from Corwen to Ruthin, 3 miles (N.) from Corwen. This parish comprises 7000 acres, of which 500 are common or waste land: the quality of the soil is extremely various. The elevated parts, forming the greater portion of the parish, command fine views of the Vale of Edeyrnion, watered by the river Dee, and of the surrounding country. The south-western portion is intersected by the road from Shrewsbury to Holyhead, and the two high roads from Corwen to Bala: that from Corwen to Ruthin also passes through the parish, and has been greatly improved by diverting certain parts, in order to avoid the hills over which it previously passed. Peat is procured in the parish, for the consumption of the inhabitants of the district. The manufacture of flannel is carried on at Cynwyd, a village six miles distant from that of Gwyddelwern, in the Uwch-Avon division, which is entirely detached from the two other divisions of the parish. At this village was also anciently held the court for the whole comot of Edeyrnion, which contained thirteen baronies, and had independent manorial rights; but, on a quarrel among the lords, as it is stated, the records were burnt, and the courts have been since discontinued. Fairs are held on April 15th, August 5th, and October 18th.
The living is a discharged vicarage, not rated in the king's books, endowed with £400 parliamentary grant, and in the patronage of the Bishop of St. Asaph: the tithes of the parish have been commuted for £700, divided into five equal portions, of which four belong to the vicars choral of St. Asaph, and the fifth to the incumbent: there is a glebe of five acres, valued at £6 per annum. The parish church, dedicated to St. Beuno, is an ancient building, with a rich eastern window containing some remains of stained glass: here is also a curious old chandelier of wood. There are places of worship, in different parts of the parish, for Calvinistic Methodists, Wesleyan Methodists, Baptists, and Independents; also nine Sunday schools, all of them supported by the dissenters. At Gwyddelwern and Cynwyd are day schools in connexion with the Church. About £9, the interest of several benefactions, the principal of which was one of £100 by Mrs. Jones, are distributed among twenty decayed housekeepers and others; and two poor old women are annually clothed from Mrs. Lumley Salusbury's charity at Corwen. On Bettws mountain, in the Uwch-Mynydd division, are vestiges of an ancient British encampment; and about three-quarters of a mile south of the village of Gwyddelwern, in a field by the road side, is an artificial mound surrounded by a fosse, called Tommen-yCastell, together with some tumuli. Near Gwyddelwern is a place called Bryn Saith Marchog, from its being the spot where Owain Glyndwr surprised Reginald de Grey and seven knights, whom he made prisoners; it commands a beautiful view of the small Vale of Glyn. Above the village of Cynwyd is a picturesque waterfall.—See Uwch-Avon, &c.
GWYDIR, a township, in the parish and union of Llanrwst, hundred of Nantconway, county of Carnarvon, North Wales, on the western bank of the river Conway, ½ a mile (W.) from Llanrwst; containing 381 inhabitants. The name is a contraction either of Gwy-dir, "water land," from being subject to overflowing, or of Gwaed-dir, "the bloody land," from this having been the scene of some battles fought by Llywarch Hên, about the year 610, or from a sanguinary conflict which occurred, in 952, between the sons of Hywel Dda and the Princes Ievav and Iago. The surface of the township is exceedingly hilly, and within its limits is comprised the greater part of the vast and lofty mountain called Moel Siabod, one of the most prominent of the Snowdonian chain. The tithes have been commuted for £16. 19. payable to the rector of the parish, and £85 payable to an impropriator.
The estate of Gwydir comprises 30,000 acres, of which upwards of 2000 consist of plantations, formed since 1790, and 500 acres are in lakes, twelve in number. It includes the whole of this township, and extends into the parishes of Trêvriw, Llanrhychwyn, Bettws-y-Coed, and Dôlwyddelan, containing an abundance of lead-ore, zinc, and pyrites, all worked, besides four extensive slate-quarries, in active operation. It came into the possession of the family of Wynne by purchase from a descendant of Howel Coytmor, grandson of Davydd, brother of Llewelyn the last Prince of Wales; and continued for several generations to belong to that family, until it passed, in the year 1678, into that of the Duke of Ancaster, by the marriage of Mary, daughter and heiress of Sir Richard Wynne, with Robert, Marquess of Lindsay. Priscilla, Baroness Willoughby de Eresby, elder sister of Robert, Duke of Ancaster, having espoused Sir Peter Burrell, Bart., the mansion and estate of Gwydir became the property of that gentleman, who, in 1796, was created Baron Gwydir; and at his death in 1820, the property descended to his eldest son, Peter Robert Drummond Burrell, second Lord Gwydir, and present Lord Willoughby de Eresby.
The ancient mansion was situated beneath the wood-clad rock called Carreg-y-Gwalch, or "the rock of the falcon." It was built by John Wynne ab Meredydd, in 1555, and consisted of a greater and a lesser court, but was taken down in 1816, since which time the present structure, on a much smaller scale, has been erected: a small portion of the former mansion still remains, and has been fitted up in an antique and elegant style. The grounds are laid out with corresponding judgment and taste. In the plantations above the Lower Gwydir stood another edifice called the Upper Gwydir, which was pulled down some time ago, and the walls of which were almost covered with inscriptions. It was erected in 1604, by Sir John Wynne (who distinguished himself by his partiality to antiquarian researches, and by compiling the memoirs of his family), as a kind of summer-house, embracing a fine prospect of the rich and beautiful Vale of Conway, and of the picturesque scenery with which this mountainous district abounds. Near its site stands a small handsome chapel, built by Sir Richard Wynne in 1673, and improved by the present noble possessor of the estate, whose domestic chaplain performs divine service in it, every Sunday, in the English language, which affords great accommodation to the numerous English families resident in the neighbourhood. Carreg-y-Gwalch was the retreat of Davydd ab Shenkin, a noted partisan of the house of Lancaster, who for some time concealed himself in a cave, called from that circumstance Ogov Davydd ab Shenkin. Mr. Pennant says that the "noblest oaks in all Wales grew on this rock, within memory of man," although it is "totally destitute of earth for a considerable way, so that the nutriment which the oaks received must have been derived from the deep penetration of the roots, through the fissures of the stones, into some nutritive matter."
Gwyndy (Gwin-Dy, or Gwyn-Dy)
GWYNDY (GWIN-DY, or GWYN-DY), a chapelry, in the parish of Llandrygarn, hundred of Llyvon, union and county of Anglesey, North Wales, 11 miles (E. by S.) from Holyhead, and 15 miles (W. by N.) from Bangor; containing 77 inhabitants. It formerly constituted part of the parish of Holyhead, and is considered to be situated halfway between that port and Menai suspension bridge, though somewhat nearer the former.
GWYNVE (GWINFAI), a hamlet, in the parish of Llangadock, poor-law union of Llandovery, Lower division of the hundred of Perveth, county of Carmarthen, South Wales, 4½ miles (S. S. W.) from Llangadock town; containing 1109 inhabitants. Some consider the name of this place to be a compound derived from Gwyn (white) and Banau (peaks), as there are some peaks in the hamlet which remain covered with snow, when it is not to be seen in all the adjacent country. The hamlet is situated on elevated ground between Trichrig and the western division of the Black Mountains, from which the Clydach and Sawdde-Vechan streams descend, and join the Sawdde on the northern confines of Gwynve. It contains within its limits a seat of the same name. There are limestone-quarries of great celebrity, the lime burnt here being regarded as the most enriching to the soil of any in the principality, and being supplied in great quantities to the counties of Carmarthen, Glamorgan, and Brecknock. The chapel here was formerly a chapel of ease to the church of Llangadock, but was detached many years since, and raised into an independent perpetual curacy, though without any district annexed to it. The living is endowed with £1000 royal bounty, and £800 parliamentary grant; net income, £107; patron, the Vicar of Llangadock.
GWYNVIL, a township, in the parish of Llandewy-Brevi, union of Trêgaron, Lower division of the hundred of Penarth, county of Cardigan, South Wales, 6¾ miles (N. E. by N.) from Lampeter; containing 366 inhabitants. A chapel, dedicated to St. Gwynvil, which formerly existed here, is now in ruins. The tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £78. There are a few respectable and ornamental residences overlooking the vale of the Teivy.
GWYTHERIN, a parish, in the union of Llanrwst, hundred of Isaled, county of Denbigh, North Wales, 6 miles (E. S. E.) from Llanwrst; comprising the Upper and Lower divisions, and containing 403 inhabitants. In this parish, which is situated in the mountainous district of the county, are the sources of the rivers Elwy, Aled, and Alwen, upon the first of which, about two miles below its source, the village is pleasantly seated. The parish comprises 3559 acres, whereof about 2000 are common or waste. The surface of the surrounding country is diversified, and in many parts the scenery is highly picturesque: within the parish are three noble lakes, Llyn Alwen, Llyn Moelvre, and Llyn Aled, the last of which is inclosed on almost every side by mountains covered with dark and barren heath. St. Winifred is said to have retired hither on the death of Beuno, and to have placed herself under the protection of St. Elerius, who at that time was living in devotional seclusion at this sequestered village, where, finding a convent of nuns under the superintendence of Theonia, she assumed the veil, and after some years' residence became abbess, on the death of her predecessor.
The living is a discharged rectory, rated in the king's books at £6. 12. 1.; patron, the Bishop of St. Asaph: the incumbent's tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £160, and the parish-clerk receives £5 annually from the same source; there is a glebe-house. The church, dedicated to St. James, or, as some with probability assert, to St. Gwytherin, who lived in the latter part of the sixth century, is a spacious and ancient structure, but in a very dilapidated condition. In it were deposited the mortal remains of Theonia and of St. Winifred, which latter were removed, after a lapse of 500 years from her death, to Shrewsbury: the wooden chest in which these were preserved is still kept; and in the churchyard are four upright stones, marking the site of her grave, one of which is inscribed, and ornamented with a scroll and running foliage. There is also a very ancient gravestone, ornamented with a cross fleury and chalice, and bearing an inscription now almost illegible. Of the chapel of St. Winifred, on the south side of the church, there is not a single vestige, nor can any traces be discovered of the convent over which she is said to have presided. The Calvinistic Methodists have two places of worship, with a Sunday school held in each of them. The interest arising from some bequests amounting to £63, is annually distributed among the poor of the parish, on St. Thomas's day, together with a rentcharge of £1 on Caerllwyn farm, bequeathed by Anne Lloyd, of Plâs Madog; and one of 6s. by Alice Lloyd on Brynton farm.
GYFIN, a parish, in the union of Conway, hundred of Llêchwedd-Isâv, county of Carnarvon, North Wales; adjoining Conway (S. by W.), and containing 635 inhabitants. This parish is intimately connected with the borough of Conway. A memorable battle took place in or near the parish, in 880, between the forces of Anarawd, Prince of North Wales, and those of Edred, Earl of Mercia, the former of whom was completely victorious, driving the Mercians from the field of battle, and finally expelling them from the principality. The victory was called "Dial Rhodri," or "Roderic's revenge," in consequence of Anarawd having thus fully avenged the slaughter of his father Roderic in a descent of the Saxons upon Anglesey. The spot where this important and bloody engagement was fought was a low tract of land called Cymryd, bordering upon the river Conway. The parish is traversed by the road to Llanrwst, and takes its name from the small river Gyfin, on which the village is pleasantly situated, near the confluence of that stream with the Conway. From its proximity to the port of Conway, it shares in all the commercial advantages of that town, of which, indeed, it may be considered as forming an integral part. The living is a perpetual curacy, endowed with £400 royal bounty, and £1600 parliamentary grant; net income, £115; patron, the Dean of Bangor. The church, dedicated to St. Benedict, is in a state of substantial repair, and contains an early English font, and an early English doorway of considerable elegance: it is beautifully situated in a narrow part of the valley, distant about three-quarters of a mile south-by-west from Conway. There is a place of worship for Calvinistic Methodists, with a Sunday school held in it. The parish has (or had) the advantage of an endowment of £5 per annum left by the Rev. John Jones, Dean of Bangor, in 1719, for the education of twelve children in the principles of the Church; and there are some trifling charitable donations and bequests for distribution among the poor, amounting to about £2 annually. A day school, which is supported by subscriptions and school-pence, was established in the adjoining parish of Llangelynin, in 1844, for the benefit in part of the children of Gyfin. John Gibson, the distinguished sculptor, was born at Gyfin in 1791.