A Topographical Dictionary of Wales. Originally published by S Lewis, London, 1849.
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LLANDEWY-BREVI (LLAN-DDEWI-BREFI), a parish, in the union of Trêgaron, comprising the townships of Dothie-Camddwr, DothiePyscottwr, Godwidd, and Prisk with Carvan, in the Upper division, and the chapelries of Blaen-Penal and Gartheli, and the townships of Cugian, Gwynvil, and Llanio, in the Lower division, of the hundred of Penarth, county of Cardigan, South Wales, 8 miles (N. E. by N.) from Lampeter; and containing 2591 inhabitants. This parish, which is intersected by the river Teivy and by the turnpike-road from Lampeter to Trêgaron, derives its name from the dedication of its church to St. David. It is distinguished as the place where a memorable convocation of the fathers of the Christian Church was held in 519, for the suppression of the Pelagian heresy, then spreading rapidly through the principality. This synod, of which many marvellous particulars have been related by Giraldus Cambrensis, was presided over by St. David, to whom St. Dubricius, at that time Archbishop of Caerleon, who was present at the meeting, resigned his archiepiscopal see, thereupon retiring to Bardsey Isle, where he spent the remainder of his days in solitude and devotion. In 1073, a sanguinary battle was fought here between the forces of Gronw and Llewelyn, sons of Cadwgan ab Bleddyn, who had excited an insurrection to avenge the murder of their grandfather the late Prince of Powys, and the troops of Rhŷs ab Owain and Rhydderch ab Caradoc, Princes of South Wales, in which the former were victorious, and Rhydderch was slain. In making their attack upon the Princes of South Wales, the sons of Bleddyn crossed the river Camddwr by a ford still called Rhŷd-y-Meirch, or "the ford of the cavalry;" and on the western bank of that stream are the remains of a military work, called Castell, which was constructed by Rhŷs and Rhydderch on this occasion. A college was founded here in 1187, by Thomas Beck, Bishop of St. David's, in honour of the patron saint of his cathedral, who had so ably confuted the Pelagian heresy at this place, in the year 519; the bishop also recommending it to the patronage of King Edward the Confessor. The establishment was for a precentor and twelve prebendaries; it was amply endowed, and continued to exist till the Dissolution, when its revenue was estimated at £40 per annum. A society formed of late years, for the promotion of Christian knowledge and Church union in the diocese of St. David's, contemplated the foundation of a college at this place, for the education of young men intended for the ministry in the Church of England; for which purpose they procured stone and timber for the erection of suitable buildings; but the plan was afterwards altered, and the object of the society was ultimately carried into effect at Lampeter.
The parish comprises the upper part of the Vale of Teivy, the banks of which river are ornamented with some pleasingly varied scenery; but on the north and east the lands are environed by hills of bleak and desolate appearance, and the surrounding country, consisting of high and barren mountains, wears a dreary aspect. The village, situated about a mile from the Teivy, consists of a few detached cottages, and is watered near its entrance by a small brook, called in Leland's time the Brevy. Fairs are held annually on May 7th, July 24th, October 9th, and November 13th. The living is a perpetual curacy, with that of Llanbadarn-Odwynne annexed, in the alternate patronage of the Earl of Lisburne and R. Price, Esq., the impropriators; net income, £146. The church, dedicated to St. David, and situated on an eminence, said to be the spot on which that saint stood while preaching against the Pelagian heresy, was built by Thomas Beck, Bishop of St. David's, as the collegiate church of the establishment which that prelate founded here in 1187. Having suffered much from dilapidation, the edifice was repaired in 1848, by voluntary contributions; the Society for Building Churches subscribing £100, Her Majesty the Queen Dowager £20, and the Bishop of St. David's £20, in aid of the fund. It is a spacious and venerable structure, in the early style of English architecture, with a massive square tower, and contains about 350 sittings. In it is preserved a very large horn, called by the inhabitants of the place "Mat-Corn ŷch Davydd," and which is said to have been in the possession of the parishioners ever since the time of St. David. On a stone over the entrance to the chancel is a Latin inscription, which is noticed by Edward Llwyd in a communication to Bishop Gibson, and is as follows: HIC IACET IDNERT FILIVS I . . . . . . QVI OCCISVS FVIT PROPTER P . . . . . . SANCTI. Near the west end of the church is a curious old monument, termed by the natives of the place "David's Staff," on which he is said to have leaned whilst preaching in the synod; it is an upright stone, seven feet high, and about ten inches broad, bearing a mutilated inscription, now illegible. A similar stone, four feet five inches high, and one foot eight inches broad, inscribed only with a cross, serves as a gate-post at the western entrance into the churchyard; and at the eastern entrance is a third, three feet ten inches in height, and one foot two inches in breadth, with an illegible inscription. All these three monuments are supposed to have been raised in the early part of the sixth century. At Bettws-Leike is a separate living. There are six places of worship for Calvinistic Methodists. An endowment of £8. 12. per annum is paid to the master of a Church school here; and there is a school at Bettws-Leike, erected with aid from the National Society, and by subscription. Of eight Sunday schools in the parish, two are in connexion with the Established Church, and the others with the Calvinistic body.
LLANDILO (LLAN-DEILO), a parish, in the poor-law union of Narberth, hundred of Kemmes, county of Pembroke, South Wales, 11 miles (N.) from Narberth; containing 116 inhabitants. This place derived its name from the dedication of its church to St. Teilo, one of the most eminent saints of British antiquity, who flourished in the latter part of the fifth, and the beginning of the sixth, century. The parish is pleasantly situated in the eastern part of the county, bordering on Carmarthenshire, and is intersected by the road from NewcastleEmlyn to Haverfordwest. It is bounded on the east by Llangolman, on the west by St. Mary's, on the south by Llanycevn; and comprises about 300 acres, of which 150 are pasture, 100 arable, and 6 woodland. The surface is boldly undulated, and in parts rises into abrupt eminences, among which are some of the highest summits of the Precelly range of mountains. The lands are but partially inclosed and cultivated; the soil is various, being in some parts fertile, in others thin and poor, and the chief agricultural produce is oats and barley. Slate of good quality is found in abundance, and quarries of it are worked with advantage, the produce consisting of roofing-slates which are in high estimation. The living is a perpetual curacy, annexed to that of Llangolman, and endowed with £800 royal bounty; the tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £33, of which £22 are payable to the impropriator. Llandilo and Llangolman were formerly chapelries to St. Mary's parish.—See Llandilo.
LLANDILO-ABERCOWIN (LLANDEILO-ABER-CYWYN), a parish, in the Higher division of Derllŷs hundred, union and county of Carmarthen, South Wales, 8 miles (S. W. by W.) from Carmarthen; containing 78 inhabitants. This parish derives its name from the dedication of its church to St. Teilo, and the distinguishing adjunct to its name from its situation on the Cowin, or Cywyn, near the influx of that stream into the Tâf, by the estuary of which latter river, expanding into Carmarthen bay, it is bounded on the south-west. The turnpike-road leading from Carmarthen to St. Clear's passes through the village. The living is a perpetual curacy, endowed with £200 royal bounty; net income, £54; patron, Mrs. Hughes: the tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £65. The church is not remarkable for any architectural details, but is pleasantly situated on the eastern bank of the river Cowin. Adjoining the churchyard was anciently an hospital, called the Pilgrims' Lodge; but no particulars, either of its foundation or its history, are recorded, and the building has long been appropriated to other uses. John Popkin, in 1713, bequeathed £10 to the poor of the parish: but no such charity is now in operation.
LLANDILO'R-VÀN (LLAN-DEILOFÀN), a parish, in the hundred of Merthyr-Cynog, union and county of Brecknock, South Wales, 12 miles (N. W. by W.) from Brecknock; containing 525 inhabitants. This parish is bounded on the north by the parishes of Newchurch-in-Tîr-Abbot and Llangammarch, on the south by Llywel, on the east by Llanvihangel-Nant-Brân, on the west by Llanvair-ar-y-Bryn; and comprises by measurement, exclusively of common, 6315 acres, of which 1382 are arable, 4688 pasture, and 245 wood. The surface is hilly, the soil a reddish earth, and there are some fine plantations of oak, larch, and ash; the chief produce is stock, consisting of sheep, cattle, and hill ponies. The parish forms a tract of high ground above the Vale of Usk, and is intersected by three brooks, namely, the Mawen or Vawen, the Ethrym, and the Kilieni; the two former effect a junction near the church, and about a mile lower down flow into the latter, which preserves its name till it joins the river Usk at Pont Maes. The north-western extremity, adjoining the hundred of Builth, was anciently called Tîr yr Abad, or Monksland, and formed part of the possessions of the abbey of Strata-Florida, in the county of Cardigan. Though, from its more elevated situation, the lands in the parish are less fertile than those in the Vale of Usk, they are by no means unproductive; the greater portion is inclosed and well cultivated, and there are extensive tracts of common land, the right of which, as in most of the hilly districts, is considered by the inhabitants as a valuable and important privilege. The chief houses are Llandilo Hall, and Neuadd: the latter has ceased to be a family seat, and is let to tenants; and the lands belonging to the former mansion are farmed out. The village is within three miles of the high road from Brecknock into Carmarthenshire, through Trêcastle.
The living is a perpetual curacy, endowed with £600 royal bounty, and £1000 parliamentary grant; net income, £83; patrons and impropriators, the Coheirs of Walter Jeffreys, Esq., whose tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £173. During the Commonwealth, this living was endowed with £40 per annum out of the sequestrated rectory of Merthyr-Cynog, which arrangement, however, ceased at the Restoration. The church, dedicated to St. Teilo, and appropriately fitted up, is eighty-four feet in length and twenty-seven in breadth, and contains forty-eight sittings. One or two Sunday schools are held. In the northern part of the parish, which belonged to the abbey of Strata Florida, twenty pieces of silver coin, of the reign of Edward I., were found some time ago; they were carefully wrapped up, and appeared to have been lost, or concealed in a bog.
LLANDILO-TÀL-Y-BONT, county of Glamorgan, South Wales.—See Llandeilo.
LLANDILO-VAWR (LLAN-DEILO-FAWR), a large parish, comprising the market-town and liberties of Llandilo-Vawr, and the hamlets of Maenor-Deilo-Vabon, Taliaris, and Tîr Esgob with Rhôs-maen, in the Lower division of the hundred of Perveth; the hamlets of Cwm-Garw-Llwyd, Maenor-Deilo Upper, Maenor-Deilo Lower, and TâchLleuan with Rhiwlas, in the Lower division of the hundred of Cayo; and the hamlets of Bryn-y-Beirdd, Glyn-Amman, Pentrêv Cwn, Trêcastell, and Trêgib, in the hundred of Iscennen; union of LlandiloVawr, of which it is the head, county of Carmarthen, South Wales; the whole containing 5471 inhabitants, of whom 1313 are in the town and liberties of Llandilo-Vawr, 15 miles (E. by N.) from Carmarthen, and 202 (W. by N.) from London. The name of this place is derived from the dedication of its church to St. Teilo, an eminent British saint, who flourished towards the close of the fifth, or early in the sixth, century. After his death, his remains, which were vehemently contended for by this parish, in which he died; by the inhabitants of Pennalum, where his ancestors had been buried; and by those of Llandaf, where he had been bishop; were finally interred at the last-named place. The town, though now one of the most considerable in South Wales, derived all its former importance from the neighbouring castle of Dinas Vawr, or Dynevor, originally erected as a royal palace, by Roderic the Great, sovereign of all Wales. On the death of Roderic, in 877, his dominions were divided into three separate sovereignties, and the seat of government for that of South Wales was removed, for the sake of greater security, from Carmarthen to Dynevor, which was strongly fortified both by nature and art. This castle, in which, in the tenth century, a copy was deposited of the celebrated code of laws compiled and enacted by Hywel Dda, continued to be the residence of the sovereigns of South Wales, till their government was overthrown by the aggression of the Normans after their conquest of England.
In 1142, Cadell, son of Grufydd ab Rhŷs, a scion of the ancient royal family of South Wales, laid siege to the castle, then held by the Norman usurpers of the circumjacent soil, and took and retained it. About the year 1150, his brothers Rhŷs and Meredydd, returning to their own territories, after a successful predatory incursion into the lands of the English vassals, rebuilt this palace of their ancestors, and rendered it stronger than it had ever before been. Rhŷs having made peace with Henry II., that monarch ceded to him the district of Cantrêv-Mawr, in which Dynevor Castle was situated; and several other lordships at that time belonging to the English. These possessions not being given up according to treaty, Rhŷs again had recourse to arms, and soon obtained them by force, recovering also the other ancient demesnes of his family; and after continuing for some time to spread devastation through the parts inhabited by the English vassals in the counties of Cardigan and Pembroke, he returned to Dynevor, laden with spoil and military honour. From this time until the death of Henry II., Rhŷs remained in quiet occupation of Dynevor Castle, where, excepting in the case of a formidable attack which he made on the Marches, after the accession of Richard I., he appears to have lived entirely in peace and retirement.
In the year 1204, Rhŷs ab Grufydd, grandson of the above-mentioned Rhŷs, made a successful attempt to recover this fortress, which had been seized by his uncle Maelgwyn; but the latter, with the assistance of his brother, Rhŷs Vychan, regained it, and likewise took nearly all the other possessions of Rhŷs ab Grufydd and his brother Owain. Under these circumstances the latter chieftains had recourse for assistance to the English monarch, John, who ordered Lord Foulke to demand of Rhŷs Vychan the castle of Llandovery, with its dependent territory, for the support of the brothers Rhŷs and Owain ab Grufydd. The application being refused, the English commander, accompanied by these chieftains and all the forces they could collect in the vicinity, advanced towards Dynevor, and, meeting on his march the forces of Rhŷs Vychan, defeated that chieftain in battle with considerable loss: Rhŷs Vychan was compelled to retreat upon Dynevor, the garrison of which he reinforced; and after burning to the ground the town of Llandilo-Vawr, he retired into the most inaccessible parts of the neighbouring country. Foulke and the native chieftains immediately invested the castle, and so pressed the siege, that the garrison surrendered on the following day, on condition of being allowed to depart with their arms. Soon after, Llewelyn ab Iorwerth, Prince of North Wales, in alliance with several of the chieftains of South Wales, dispossessed many of the English vassals of the usurped territories in this part of the principality, and, in the partition of them, assigned Dynevor Castle, with nearly the whole of CantrêvMawr, to Rhŷs Vychan, who afterwards died at Llandilo-Vawr, in 1234, and was buried at St. David's. His son Rhŷs, having been deprived of his territories, in 1254, by Llewelyn ab Grufydd, Prince of North Wales, who divided them among other chieftains of South Wales, applied for assistance to Henry III.; and that monarch granted him a powerful force, to aid him in the recovery of such of them as were held by his brother Meredydd. With the auxiliaries thus obtained, Rhŷs came by sea to Carmarthen, and proceeded thence to Dynevor Castle, which he immediately invested; but Meredydd ab Owain and Meredydd ab Rhŷs, reinforced by a large body of troops sent by Llewelyn, gave the English battle, and, after one of the most sanguinary conflicts which ever took place in this part of the principality, defeated them with the loss of more than 2000 of their number.
Soon after the accession of Edward I. to the throne, Payen de Chaworth, who commanded that monarch's forces in South Wales, attacked and laid waste the territories of several of the native chieftains, who, despairing of assistance from Llewelyn, Prince of North Wales, made their submission to the English sovereign, and delivered the castle of Dynevor into the hands of his lieutenant. The king, about the time of his final invasion of North Wales, also sent an army into South Wales, under the command of the Earl of Gloucester and Sir Edward Mortimer, who, near Llandilo-Vawr, encountered and totally defeated the Welsh army which had been raised to oppose them, but not without sustaining a considerable loss on their own side, five knights, and William de Valence, cousin of Edward I., being slain: this victory was one of those which completed the final conquest of Wales. In 1287, Rhŷs ab Meredydd, who had excited an extensive insurrection in South Wales, suddenly besieged and took the castle of Dynevor; but it was afterwards retaken by the English under the Earl of Cornwall, and subsequently demolished. In the reign of Henry VII., it formed part of the family estates of the celebrated Sir Rhŷs ab Thomas; but on the unjust attainder of his grandson, Rhŷs ab Grufydd, in the time of Henry VIII., it reverted to the king. In the following reign, Mary restored a small portion of the estates to his son Grufydd ab Rhŷs; and Charles I. restored to Sir Henry Rice all the family estates that then remained in the possession of the crown. George Rice, who died in 1782, was created Baron Dynevor, with remainder to his daughter, whose son, the present Lord Dynevor, is proprietor of the ancient castle and its dependent territory.
The town is beautifully situated on an eminence rising from the right bank of the river Towy, over which is a bridge. It consists of several irregularly formed streets, containing few houses of ancient date which at all agree, either in size or style, with the important rank the place now holds in the county. Of late years, however, considerable improvements have taken place, and greater regularity and a more prepossessing appearance characterize the buildings that have been erected: a new road has been constructed through the churchyard, instead of the old one, which was so steep in this part of its course as to be almost impassable for carriages; and the approach from the town to the bridge has been materially improved. More recently, the bridge itself, a narrow stone structure built by Edwards, so celebrated in Wales for his bridge-building, has been taken down, and replaced by a very handsome structure of one arch, erected under the superintendence of Mr. Haycock, of Shrewsbury. The inhabitants are scantily supplied with water from a pure spring in the churchyard, at which St. Teilo used to baptize Christian converts in ancient times. The streets are neither paved nor lighted. The surrounding scenery is richly diversified with hill and dale, and embellished with flourishing plantations: towards the east the view embraces the lofty Carmarthenshire Beacons, and to the west the wooded heights inclosing the beautiful Vale of Towy, along which the river winds its majestic course. In the vicinity are numerous elegant seats and pleasing villas, situated in grounds that add greatly to the interesting character of the country, and the principal of which are, the modern castle of Lord Dynevor, noticed in the article Llandeveyson; Golden Grove, the seat of Earl Cawdor; Trêgib, an old fortified mansion, now modernised; Maenorvabon; Taliaris; with the deserted residences of Derwydd and Tŷ Gwyn Mawr.
The town stands on the roads from Brecknock to Carmarthen and from Swansea to Lampeter. Here, also, is the northern terminus of the Llanelly railway, which has its southern terminus at the Llanelly docks, on the Burry estuary. The market, which is well supplied with corn, is on Saturday; and fairs occur on February 20th, Palm-Monday, May 12th, June 21st, August 23rd, November 12th, and the Monday after Christmas-day. The quartersessions for the county are held here alternately with Carmarthen, and the election of the knights of the shire takes place in the town: the powers of the county debt-court of Llandilo-Vawr, established in 1847, extend over the registration-district of LlandiloVawr. The town-hall is a respectable building of modern erection, containing the courts for the sessions, and a grand-jury room, with a commodious area underneath, in which the corn market is held.
The parish is upwards of thirteen miles in length, from north to south, and about eight in breadth, from east to west; and is bounded on the north-west by that of Llandeveyson, on the north by the parishes of Tàlley and Llansadwrn, on the east and north-east by that of Llangadock, and on the south and southwest by those of Bettws, Llandebie, and LlanvihangelAberbythic. It comprises an area of 26,000 acres, of which about 5200 are arable, 13,000 pasture, 1300 woodland, consisting of oak, ash, and alder, interspersed with many fine beech and fir trees, 5500 mountain and uninclosed land, and the remainder roads, waste, &c. The soil comprehends the several varieties of calcareous earth, near the limestone rocks; red loam, from the old red-sandstone formation; a considerable portion of clay to the north-west of the town; and a deep, rich, alluvial earth, occasionally alternated with patches of gravel, in the meadows bordering on the river Towy. There are quarries of limestone, flagstone, and mica-slate, which last is used for tiles: small streams and water corn-mills are numerous.
The Living is a vicarage, endowed with one-third of all the tithes, and rated in the king's books at £16; patron, the Bishop of St. David's; impropriator of the remainder of the tithes, D. J. Parker, Esq. The tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £1536. 12. The church, dedicated to St. Teilo, and situated nearly in the centre of the town, was rebuilt in 1848-9, on the same site, from the designs of Mr. Scott. In the hamlet of Taliaris is a neat chapel, enlarged by the late Lord Robert Seymour. A grant for the erection of a new church at Cwmamman, in the parish, was made in 1841, by Her Majesty's Commissioners; the building is in the early English style, with a tower, and contains 545 sittings, 500 being free: it is dedicated to Christ. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the gift of the Bishop of St. David's; net income, £150. The annexed district includes part of the parish of Bettws. Formerly there was a chapel of ease to the mother church, called Capel yr Ywen; also one at Capel Bâch, another at Llanbrydau, and a fourth at Llanduvaen. This last, to which is attached a curious open baptistery, of quadrangular form, has, by the munificence of Lord Dynevor, been again annexed to the Church; the others are in ruins, or even more effectually destroyed. Within the limits of the parish are not less than seventeen places of worship for dissenters. Several schools are held, in connexion with the Church, comprising schools under the immediate patronage of the vicar, a school supported by Lord Dynevor; one at Llwyndyrys, supported by Mrs. Du Boisson, of Glyn-hîr, in the parish of Llandebie; endowed schools at Taliaris, and a school at Pen-y-Bank. An annual endowment of £4. 18. 6. is available for the education of children, exclusively of the endowment at Taliaris; and the parish contains as many as fifteen Sunday schools, two of them in connexion with the Established Church, five belonging to the Independents, three to the Calvinistic Methodists, two each to the Wesleyans and the Baptists, and one to the Particular Baptists. There is also a small endowment for the relief of the poor. The poor-law union of which this town is the head, was formed Dec. 14th, 1836, and comprises the following twelve parishes and townships; namely, Bettws, Brechva, Llandebie, Llandeveyson, LlandiloVawr, Llanegwad, Llangathen, Llansawel, Llanvihangel-Aberbythic, Llanvihangel-Kîlvargen, Llanvynydd, and Tàlley. It is under the superintendence of twenty-one guardians, and contains a population of 17,128. The union-house is a neat building in the Elizabethan style, with a handsome front of cut stone.
In the vicinity of the town are some interesting ruins. The remains of Dynevor Castle are situated at the south-western extremity of Newton Park, which is within the parish of Llandeveyson, and contains also the modern mansion of Lord Dynevor. They comprise a quadrangular area, about thirty-five yards in length and thirty in breadth, which was anciently inclosed with lofty walls of massive thickness, and appears to have been defended at the angles by towers, two of which are still standing, namely, a square one on the north, and a large round tower, overhanging a tremendous precipice on the southeast, overlooking the river Towy. About four miles from the town, and in that part of the parish situated in the hundred of Iscennen, are the remains of Carreg Cennen Castle, occupying the summit of an isolated rock nearly one hundred yards in perpendicular height, at the base of which flows the small river Cennen, whence it derives its name. The erection of this fortress is by some writers ascribed to a chieftain named Goronw, and by others to Urien Reged, the remote ancestor of the house of Dynevor, whose ancient territories extended from the river Neath, in Glamorganshire, to the river Towy in the present county of Carmarthen. The simplicity of its architecture certainly bespeaks its early origin; and there can be little doubt of its being of ancient British construction, although by some it is supposed to possess no claim to an origin more remote than the reign of Henry I. It was probably altered by the Normans. Recent discoveries have only contributed to involve the question in still greater obscurity: the coins of the Roman emperors which are continually discovered, lead to an opinion of its occupation by the Romans; and a stone hatchet has been found in the immediate vicinity, which is evidently of a date anterior to the use of metal in Britain for the construction of military weapons. The only historical event on record concerning it, is its recapture by Rhŷs Vychan, about the year 1248, or 1254, from the English, to whom it had been given by his mother, from motives of personal dislike, in order to prevent its falling into his hands. This fortress, from its elevated situation and the loftiness of its buildings, forms an interesting object from many points of view, especially from the direction of Llandebie, from which village is the finest approach to it. The present remains occupy a quadrilateral area, nearly thirty-five yards in length and twentyfive in breadth, and consist chiefly of two square towers on the northern side, which defend the entrance; a large round tower placed at the northwestern angle; and an octangular tower at the northeastern, where is the principal entrance. On the eastern side of the quadrangle are the remains of several of the principal apartments, and on the southern side is a range of building, consisting of smaller apartments, which were probably the offices of the castle. There appears to have been another entrance, by a covered way leading along the margin of the precipice on which the castle is built, to a gate on the southern side; and a narrow arched passage on the northern side conducts by an easy descent to a gallery excavated in the rock, and apparently designed for supplying the castle with water. This gallery is about fifty yards in length, varying in breadth from three to twelve feet, and in height from four to ten, and is lighted at intervals by apertures cut outward through the rock: at the lower extremity is a basin, about four feet from the level of the floor, capable of holding not more than two gallons, and into which the water trickles from the roof. From the summit of the rock on which the castle stands, is an extensive and almost boundless prospect over the wide valleys intervening between the lofty mountains by which the site is surrounded.
Near the source of the small river Cennen are numerous excavations, the interior surface of which is covered with fine grass: these are supposed to have been habitations of the aboriginal Britons. About five miles to the south of the town, is Fynnon Craig Cefyl, a chalybeate spring; and in various parts of the parish are several others of inferior note; but the waters of none of them are now used for medicinal purposes. On the opposite side of the river Towy is a remarkable ebbing and flowing well; and at a short distance to the south of Carreg Cennen Castle, at the place called Llanduvaen, on the borders of the Black Mountains, is a square stone tank, anciently a baptistery for the use of the early Christian Church at the little chapel of Llanduvaen. In the south-eastern part of the parish is the source of the river Llwchwr, or Loughor, called Llygad y Llwchwr; the water issues from a limestone rock, in a stream of sufficient force to give motion to the machinery of some extensive iron-works at a small distance, and lower down on its course in the demesne of Glyn-hîr, the river falls over a ledge of rocks eighteen feet in perpendicular height, forming a fine cascade.—See Llandeveyson, Taliaris, Llanvihangel-Aberbythic, &c.
LLANDINAM (LLAN-DINAM), a parish, in the union of Newtown and Llanidloes, Lower division of the hundred of Llanidloes, county of Montgomery, North Wales, 6½ miles (E. N. E.) from Llanidloes, on the road to Newtown; containing 1732 inhabitants, of whom 461 are in the township. This parish is bounded on the south-west by the Llandinam mountain, which forms also a boundary between the counties of Montgomery and Radnor, rising to the height of 1800 feet above the level of the sea, and commanding from its summit an extensive view of the surrounding country. The village is beautifully situated on the south-eastern bank of the Severn, which flows smoothly along a narrow but highly cultivated vale, bounded by hanging woods of luxuriant foliage which in many places impend over its stream, and through which also the road winds in a direction parallel with the course of the river. The scenery of this small vale is pleasingly picturesque, in some parts highly romantic; and from the summit of Carnedd Hill a fine view is obtained of the Vale of the Severn, with the windings of the river, and the beautiful country upon its banks. On the Llanidloes and Newtown road, and about four miles from the former town, is Berthddw, a splendid mansion, commanding some fine prospects. All the waste lands have been allotted among the freeholders, under the Arustley inclosure act, passed in 1816, and they have chiefly been inclosed and brought under cultivation. The manufacture of flannel is carried on to a moderate extent, affording employment to a portion of the inhabitants.
The living is a vicarage, rated in the king's books at £7. 3. 1½.; present net income, £270; patron, the Bishop of Bangor. The rectory, divided into two comportions, and valued in the king's books at £22, was, by act of parliament in the 1st of James II., vested in the Dean and Chapter of Bangor, in trust, to appropriate one-third to the augmentation of the vicarages within the said comportions, and the remainder to the repairs of the cathedral church and the maintenance of its choir. The church, dedicated to St. Llonio, who lived in the sixth century, is an ancient structure in the early style of English architecture, with a square embattled tower, and is said to have been partly erected with the materials of the ruined fortifications of Caer-Sws, in the parish of Llanwnnog: the western entrance is by a lofty and finely pointed arch under the tower, leading into the nave. At Pen Halwg, in the hamlet of Hêngynwith, stood an ancient chapel of ease, which was rebuilt in 1826; the chapel is six miles distant from the mother church, and is a neat plain edifice of stone, adapted to the accommodation of 300 persons. There are places of worship for Wesleyans and Calvinistic Methodists; a day and Sunday school in connexion with the Church, and some Sunday schools connected with the dissenters. The annual amount of the charities for distribution among the poor, who generally receive it on St. Thomas's day, is £17. 10. The principal portion, £12, arises from a house, barns, and thirty-two acres of land, purchased in 1729, for £125, the produce of several benefactions, the chief contributor having been the Hon. Mrs. Catherine Lloyd; and to this property was subsequently added an inclosure allotment of twenty-three and a half acres. Another part of the charity fund proceeds from a rent-charge of £3, the bequest of some anonymous donor.
Within the parish are three British encampments, of which the most perfect is that called the "Moat," about a mile nearly south-east from the Roman station at Caer-Sws, in the parish of Llanwnnog: it comprehends a quadrilateral area of about three acres, having the entrance at the lower extremity, and is defended by a strong intrenchment surrounded with a fosse. Connected with this camp is one of smaller dimensions, similarly fortified, and terminating with a high mound of earth entirely environed by a broad and deep moat; and about a quarter of a mile distant, on the summit of an eminence, is the third, called Caer-Vechan, which, from its greater elevation, appears to have been an exploratory station. Several silver coins of the reign of Edward III., and of later date, have been found in the parish; and near the bridge over the Severn to Caer-Sws an urn containing ashes was discovered about half a century since.
LLANDINGAT (LLAN-DINGAD), a parish, in the union of Llandovery, partly in the Higher division of the hundred of Perveth, and partly in that of the hundred of Cayo, county of Carmarthen, South Wales; comprising the market-town of Llandovery, and containing 2345 inhabitants. This parish, which takes its name from the dedication of its church, is situated near the confluence of the rivers Brân and Gwytherig, which, uniting their streams a little above the town of Llandovery, fall into the river Towy. It comprises an area of 7500 acres, and the surface is for the most part undulated: with the exception of the summits of a few of the hills, the lands are generally inclosed and in a good state of cultivation. The turnpike-road from London to Carmarthen intersects the parish. From the higher grounds some views are obtained over the romantic Vale of Brân and the adjacent country. The environs are enlivened by numerous handsome seats, of which the principal within the parish are, Llwynybrain, an elegant mansion, situated about two miles and a half from the town, and embracing within its demesne a pleasing variety of scenery; and Blaennôs and Velindre, nearer the town, of both which the grounds are tastefully laid out.
The living is a vicarage, with that of Llanvair-ary-Bryn annexed, rated in the king's books at £7; present net income, £254. The tithes of Llandingat have been commuted for £650, of which £520 are payable to the Dean and Chapter of St. David's, and £130 to the vicar, who has also a glebe of twentythree acres, and a house, valued together at £82 per annum. The church, dedicated to St. Dingad, is an ancient building, consisting of two spacious aisles, with a tower, but presents no interesting details: the then existing edifice was destroyed by the Norman invaders of this part of Wales. The church of Llanvair-ar-y-Bryn is situated within this parish, about a quarter of a mile from Llandovery, and about a mile distant from its own parish. There are several places of worship for dissenters, a college, two day schools, and numerous Sunday schools. A rent-charge of 20s. on the Kilmery estate, county of Brecon, was given for teaching children of the hamlet of Ystrad, in this parish; but though forty years' arrears were once paid, nothing has been received for some time. The spot on which the church of Llanvair-ar-y-Bryn is built has evidently been the site of a Roman station; and Sir R. Colt Hoare, from the fact of five Roman roads terminating here, considers that it must have been a station of considerable importance. The intrenchments are at present indistinct, but coins, bricks, antique lamps, and other relics have been found within the area. According to tradition, the station was called Trê-Gôch, or the "red city," which appellation the same antiquary deduces from its having been originally built of brick. In the church of Llandingat the celebrated Rees Prichard, commonly known as the "Vicar of Llandovery," who died in 1644, was buried.—See Llandovery.
LLANDISILIO (LLAN-DYSILIO), a parish, in the union of Llanvyllin, Lower division of the hundred of Deythur, county of Montgomery, North Wales, 7 miles (S. by W.) from Oswestry; containing 744 inhabitants. This parish derives its name from the dedication of its church to St. Tysilio, a saint who flourished in the sixth century. It is situated on the river Vyrnwy, by which it is separated from the county of Salop and a detached part of Denbighshire, and at no great distance from the influx of that river into the Severn; the parish is bounded on the north by the parish of Llanmynech, on the south and east by that of Llandrinio, and on the west by that of Llansantfraid-yn-Mechan. It comprises by admeasurement 3100 acres, of which about one-third are arable, and the remainder pasture, with fifty acres of woodland, consisting chiefly of oak and ash: the waste and common lands were inclosed under an act of parliament in 1787. The surface is for the most part flat, but there are some beautiful eminences commanding extensive views of the adjacent and more remote scenery, the latter of which embraces, among other interesting features, the fine plains of the northern portion of Shropshire. The soil is in general a rich alluvial earth, and most of the land of excellent quality, producing good wheat, oats, barley, &c. A modern mansion here, the seat of J. J. Turner, Esq., is built in the old English style, with great elegance and taste. The Montgomeryshire canal passes through the western part of the parish. The petty-sessions for the hundred are held in the village, on the first Saturday in every month.
The living, lately a perpetual curacy, is now a rectory; patron, the Bishop of St. Asaph. The tithes have been commuted for £453 per annum, of which £4. 4. are paid to the parish-clerk; there is a glebehouse, and the glebe comprises about ten acres and a half, valued at £20 per annum. The church, a neat edifice, partly in the early and partly in the decorated style of English architecture, is seventy feet long and eighteen broad, and contains 300 sittings: there are several good monuments to deceased members of the family of Lloyd, of Domgay. A day and Sunday school is supported in connexion with the Established Church; and there is a place of worship for dissenters, with a Sunday school held in it. David Jones, in 1696, gave some land for the relief of ten persons; and Peter Jones assigned a portion of land for the poor in general; the produce of which benefactions amounts to £12 per annum, and is distributed among the poor at Easter and Christmas, at the discretion of the minister and churchwardens. There were also bequeathed £50, in 1783, by Mary Bernard, of Welshpool, who left a donation of the same amount to the neighbouring parish of Llandrinio: this money has been floating in private hands, and neither parish (as appears by the Parliamentary Report concerning Charities) has any security for the amount; the interest, however, is regularly paid, and, together with the benefactions already mentioned, is added to the sacrament money, and distributed twice a year in small sums to the poor. A bequest of £1 per annum, made by Mrs. Sarah Austin, of Kinnerley, in 1748, was paid until about 1826, when the property out of which it issued passed into other hands, and payment was refused: the bequest being void under the statute of mortmain, the claim has been abandoned, and the charity is consequently lost. Offa's Dyke may be distinctly traced in its progress through this parish, in which also are some obvious remains of a Roman road pointing northwards towards Chester.
LLANDISSILIO (LLAN-DYSILIO), a parish, in the union of Narberth, partly in the Lower division of the hundred of Derllŷs, county of Carmarthen, and partly in the hundred of Dungleddy, county of Pembroke, South Wales, 6 miles (N. by E.) from Narberth, on the road to Cardigan; containing 1060 inhabitants, of whom 643 are in the county of Carmarthen. This parish, which derives its name from the dedication of its church, is bounded on the east by Killymaenllwyd, on the west by Llanycevn, on the north by Mynachlogdû and Llangolman, on the south by Egermont and the chapelry of Castel-Dauyran. It comprises two divisions, respectively situated in the counties of Carmarthen and Pembroke; it is about five miles in length, and four in breadth, and contains by admeasurement 6467 acres, of which about two-thirds are in the Carmarthen portion, and one-third in that of Pembroke. The soil is of a very mixed kind and various qualities, generally poor, but with some that is good and productive interspersed in particular situations. The mountainous parts afford indifferent pasture for sheep; the greater portion of the other land is either arable or pasture, and there are about 200 acres of wood: the chief agricultural produce is wheat, barley, and oats. The scenery is diversified by hill and dale, and by small copses and plantations; the prevailing timber is oak, ash, sycamore, and alder. The Eastern Cleddy river passes through the parish, and the main road from Cardigan to Narberth intersects both divisions of it. There are two quarries producing an indifferent kind of slate, and two corn-mills for the use of the neighbourhood.
The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £7, endowed with £400 royal bounty, and in the patronage of the Bishop of St. David's: the tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £385, of which £132. 10. are payable to the vicar. The church, dedicated to St. Tysilio, is a very plain building, with few of the usual characteristics of a church: it was erected by means of a small rate, private subscription, and a grant of £60 from the ChurchBuilding Society, in 1838; and contains 250 sittings. In the churchyard, leaning against the south side of the church, is an ancient stone of large dimensions, with the inscription, in rude characters, LVTORICI. FIL. PAVLINI. MARINI. LATIO; it was dug from under a heap of rubbish by the incumbent, in the year 1827, and now forms part of the south wall, together with another that was found in a horizontal position in the wall of the old building. The Baptists and Independents have each a place of worship; that of the former denomination is endowed with a small tenement, and a Sunday school is held in each meeting-house. John Matthias, of Kilvaur, bequeathed £2. 2. per annum for teaching the children of poor communicants of the Church to read and write, and £2. 2. to be divided among the communicants themselves, with £1. 1. to the vicar for preaching a sermon annually on the shortness and uncertainty of human life: to these bequests his sister, Mrs. Cicely Morris, added £2. 2. to apprentice the children that had been taught by her brother's charity. Morris Jones, of the county of Denbigh, also left by will £2 a year, to be distributed in white bread to the poor of the Pembrokeshire part of the parish attending the church. The former charities are charged on lands in this parish, and the latter charity on Cae Helig, in the parish of Wrexham, Denbighshire.
On the farm of CâsgwYn, in that part of the parish which is in the county of Pembroke, is an ancient encampment, comprising a semicircular area, 240 yards in circumference, with an entrance fifteen yards in width; its aspect is towards the west, and overlooks an extensive tract of country: small cannon balls have been turned up by the plough in its vicinity. Another encampment of similar form, and commanding the same district of country, is to be seen on a farm called Portispark, in that part of the parish in the county of Carmarthen; it is situated on an eminence, and includes an area of which the chord is 130 yards in length. On the farm of Llwynyrebol is a circular encampment, thirty yards in diameter, surrounded by a rampart three feet high; in the centre are two stones, four feet in height, and in a position declining from the perpendicular. There were formerly about twenty of these stones, varying in height; and at the distance of 200 yards to the north-west is a small circle, within which are two erect stones, from four to five feet in height, near which it is supposed was formerly a third stone, so placed as to form an altar. Two avenues of stones, in opposite directions, but both tending to the circular inclosure, may still be traced; and around this relic of British antiquity are scattered numerous barrows, varying in dimensions, in one of which, on its being cut through in forming the present road from Narberth to Cardigan, was found an entire vessel, rudely formed of coarse pottery.
LLANDOUGH (LLAN-DÔCH), a parish, in the union of Bridgend and Cowbridge, hundred of Cowbridge, county of Glamorgan, South Wales, 1¼ mile (S.) from Cowbridge; containing 92 inhabitants. This parish is separated from that of St. Hilary by the river Ddaw, which winds along a beautiful little valley, richly wooded, and abounding with pleasing and picturesque scenery. On an eminence above the river, a little west of the village, are the remains of Llandough Castle, the castellated mansion successively the seat of the Welsh families of Vychan and Walche; these remains have been incorporated with a modern residence. The substratum of the soil is limestone, interspersed with sandstone; and the lands are in general inclosed and in a good state of cultivation. The living is a discharged rectory, rated in the king's books at £4. 18. 9., and having the living of St. Marychurch annexed; present net income, £263, with a glebe-house; patron, C. R. M. Talbot, Esq. The church, dedicated to St. Dôchdwy, contains some ancient monuments, among which is one to the Walches, consisting of recumbent effigies of a male representative of that family, and his lady. To the south-east of this edifice are the remains of a small British encampment; and within 400 yards of it many human bones have been discovered, supposed to be those of men killed in some battle that took place between the natives and the early Norman settlers. There is a school at St. Marychurch, designed for the two parishes that compose the living. The Rev. John Walters, M.A., an eminent Welsh divine and critic, and author of an English and Welsh Dictionary, was for some time rector of the parish: he died in 1794.
Llandough (Llan-Dôch), or Llan-Doche-Penarth
LLANDOUGH (LLAN-DÔCH), or LLAN-DOCHE-PENARTH, a parish, in the poor-law union of Cardiff, hundred of Dinas-Powys, county of Glamorgan, South Wales, 4 miles (S. W.) from Cardiff; containing 133 inhabitants. This place is supposed by some writers to have been the site of a monastery founded in the fifth century for twelve monks, or canons, and dedicated to the Holy Trinity, by St. Cyngarus, which was afterwards amply endowed by Paulentus, at that time King of Gwent. Cyngarus, who is also called Docuinus, and who, according to Bishop Tanner, came into this part of the country about the year 474, has by other writers been identified with the British saint Dôchdwy, who is said to have accompanied Cadvan into Wales in the early part of the sixth century; and the parochial church, which is dedicated to that saint, has consequently been regarded as the original church of the monastery. But this conjecture is not supported by any satisfactory authority, nor has it been confirmed by the discovery of any remains of conventual buildings. The village is pleasantly situated on a finely wooded eminence, on the west bank of the Ely, about a mile above its fall into Penarth harbour; it overlooks a large level tract, intersected by the rivers Ely and Tâf, and commands an extensive and interesting view of the surrounding country, which abounds with richly varied scenery. The exhalations from the marshes below are unfavourable to the health of the inhabitants, who are consequently subject to attacks of ague. Limestone is the prevailing substratum of the parish.
The living is a discharged rectory, united to the livings of Leckwith and Cogan. The church, a very ancient structure, neatly fitted up, and kept in good repair, is evidently of a period anterior to the introduction of the pointed style of architecture, though some windows of that character have been inserted: in the churchyard is the shaft of an old circular cross, ornamented with scrolls and tracery, but without any legible inscription. A school has been erected by subscription, aided by a grant from a society. Cogan Pill, the ancient seat of the Herberts, a branch of the family of that name near Swansea, has been converted into a farmhouse, the grand hall being appropriated as a barn: the Herberts of this county were ancestors of the Earls of Pembroke and of Warwick. At a short distance from the church, to the southeast, is a small circular mound, commanding the entrances of the rivers Ely and Tâf, and probably an outpost for the defence of those rivers, communicating with the stations at Whitchurch, Romney Bridge, and Cardiff.
LLANDOVERY, an incorporated market-town, and the head of a union, in the parish of Llandingat, hundred of Perveth, county of Carmarthen, South Wales, 27 miles (E. N. E.) from Carmarthen, and 187 (W. by N.) from London, on the road from London through Brecknock to Carmarthen; containing 1709 inhabitants. The present name of this place is an obvious corruption of its ancient Welsh appellation, Llan ym Ddyvri, or Llan ym Ddyvroedd, signifying "the church among the waters," and derived from the situation of the church on a level promontory between the river Towy and the stream formed by the union of the rivers Brân and Gwydderig, which here falls into the former river. By some writers the town is supposed to have had its origin in the establishment of a Roman station within a quarter of a mile of its present site, an opinion which is strengthened by the discovery of numerous Roman coins, bricks, and fragments of pottery: but it is equally probable that, like many other towns in South Wales, it owes its origin to the erection of its castle. The early history of the castle is very imperfectly known. Its foundation, however, may be ascribed to some of the Norman settlers in this part of the principality, to enable them to retain the territories which they had usurped from the native proprietors. The first authentic historical notice concerning it occurs in the reign of Henry I., about the year 1113, when it was occupied by Richard de Pons. In 1116 it was attacked by Grufydd ab Rhŷs, who burned the outer ward, and slew part of the garrison; but he sustained so great a loss in this attempt to reduce it, that he was disabled from pursuing his advantage, and compelled to abandon the siege. In 1158, Rhŷs ab Grufydd, one of the most powerful chieftains of South Wales, laid siege to the castle, of which he made himself master; and on the death of Meredydd ab Rhŷs, in 1201, it was seized by his brother Grufydd ab Rhŷs, upon whose death in the following year it fell into the hands of his brother Maelgwyn. In 1204, Rhŷs, son of Grufydd ab Rhŷs, attacked the castle, in order to recover it from his uncle Maelgwyn, and succeeded in obtaining possession, but did not long retain it; for Maelgwyn, assisted by Gwenwynwyn, Prince of Powys, soon wrested it from him: Rhŷs, however, subsequently succeeded in his efforts to recover it.
In 1208, Rhŷs Vychan, brother of Maelgwyn, having entered into hostilities with his nephews Rhŷs and Owain, obtained from the English monarch a supply of troops, with the aid of which he invested Llandovery; and the garrison of the fortress, seeing no prospect of relief, surrendered to him on condition of being allowed to depart with their arms and property. Rhŷs and his brother Owain, however, complaining to King John of the violent proceedings of their uncle, that monarch sent to demand the fortress of Llandovery, with the dependent territory, for the support of the young chieftains; and Rhŷs Vychan neglecting to comply with this demand, Rhŷs, aided by a party of English auxiliaries, recovered possession of it by assault in 1214. It appears, nevertheless, to have been repossessed by Rhŷs Vychan; for, in 1226, it was surrendered by him to his son, by whom he had been taken prisoner, as the price of his liberation from captivity. After the entire subjugation of the principality by Edward I., the castle became vested in the English crown, and was garrisoned by the king; but, during the absence of that monarch in France, an alarming insurrection was excited in South Wales by Rhŷs ab Meredydd, who, for his instrumentality in the subjugation of his country, had been knighted by Edward, but who now, among other fortified places in this part of the principality, besieged and reduced this castle. Few particulars are henceforward recorded of it till the time of Queen Elizabeth, when it is mentioned as being in ruins. The vandalism of some of the occupiers of the Castle inn, only two generations back, reduced it to its present condition: the remains occupy the summit of a rocky eminence on the western bank of the river Brân, and consist of part of the keep and the intrenchments by which the works were surrounded. It does not appear to have been of very great extent, and seems to have been suited rather for effective defence than domestic comfort.
The town is pleasantly situated in the upper part of the Vale of Towy, on the banks of the river Brân, and consists principally of four streets meeting nearly at right angles. Leland describes it, in the reign of Henry VIII., as "poor built, of thatched houses;" but since that period great improvement has taken place, and the houses at present are well built and of respectable appearance. The streets are partially paved; the town was lighted for the first time with oil in the winter of 1831, and is abundantly supplied with water, which, passing over a gravelly bottom, is beautifully transparent, and of excellent quality. About a mile above the town the river Towy is crossed by a stone bridge of one arch, eighty-three feet in the span, built by William Edwards, the ingenious self-taught architect of the celebrated Pont-y-Pridd; and a handsome iron suspension-bridge has been erected over the same stream, about half a mile west from the town, on the road to Llandilo-Vawr, by subscription, the interest to be paid by a toll; the first stone was laid by Colonel Gwynne, April 18th, 1832. The appearance of the neighbourhood is enlivened by several gentlemen's seats, and the streams in this part of the county afford good sport to anglers. A road of modern construction, which leads from Llandovery eastward towards Brecknock, winding through a deep valley round the base of the Black Mountains, exhibits a succession of the most romantic scenery.
The trade is inconsiderable, consisting only of what is necessary for supplying the consumption of the town and its vicinity, which are inhabited by several families of great respectability. The press of Mr. William Rees, of Llandovery, has produced some valuable works connected with Welsh literature and antiquities. The market, which is well supplied with corn, and with provisions of all kinds, is held on Saturday, in a market-house, and in a commodious area under the town-hall. Fairs are held on April 17th, June 5th, August 2nd, October 22nd, and November 16th, for horses, cattle, sheep, and pigs.
The inhabitants were first incorporated by Richard III., January 26th, 1485. That monarch confirmed to them all the liberties and free customs they had previously enjoyed, and granted to the bailiff and burgesses, who were to be styled "the Bailiff and Burgesses of the Borough of Llanymtheverye," the "burgages and lands lying, in length, from the water called Tewye to the water of Devye, and in breadth from the water of Fulbroke to the ditch of Krenchey, with their appurtenances to the said town anciently belonging. For these possessions the corporation was to render to the king and his successors, "for every burgage twelve-pence, and for every acre of land within the bounds twelve-pence, for all services and demands." This charter, from the language of which it appears that Llandovery had been long an important borough, held by the lords of the place, and more recently by the kings of England, was confirmed by Henry VIII. in the 22nd year of his reign, April 5th, 1531, and by Queen Elizabeth in her 32nd year, July 10th, 1590. Under its provisions, a bailiff was to be elected by the burgesses from among themselves every year, on the Thursday before the feast of St. Michael. He was to be escheator and coroner, and to "hold his hundred from month to month," and have before him the determination of all disputes, as well real as personal, according to the English laws, felony alone excepted; and upon his appointment, the bailiff was to choose one serjeant-at-mace, and the burgesses another: but no other officers than these are mentioned in the charter. The corporation, however, not acting exclusively upon the regulations thus laid down for the government of the place, made new rules and instituted additional offices; and until the passing of the Municipal Corporations' Act, the corporate body consisted of a bailiff, recorder, town-clerk, two macebearers, six constables, and a number of burgesses. Their duties were of a very limited nature, the municipal form of government having become almost disused. A bailiff was, notwithstanding, elected under the terms of the charter, who acted as coroner, and committed offenders to the lock-up house; a recorder was chosen by the bailiff and burgesses, a town-clerk by the lord of the manor; and two mace-bearers, and six constables, one for each of the six wards into which the borough was formerly divided, were also elected: but the jurisdiction, both criminal and civil, had long fallen into complete desuetude.
By the act 5th and 6th of Wm. IV. c. 76, the corporation is styled the "Mayor, Aldermen, and Burgesses;" and consists of a mayor, four aldermen, and twelve councillors, constituting the council of the borough. The council elect the mayor annually on November 9th from among the aldermen or councillors; and the aldermen triennially out of the councillors, or persons qualified as such, one-half going out of office every three years, but being re-eligible: the councillors are chosen by and out of the enrolled burgesses, annually on November 1st, one-third retiring from office every year. Aldermen and councillors must each have a property qualification of £500, or be rated at £15 annual value. The burgesses are, the occupiers of houses and shops who have been rated for three years to the relief of the poor. Two auditors and two assessors are elected annually on March 1st by and out of the burgesses; and the council appoint a town-clerk, treasurer, and other officers on November 9th. The county magistrates hold petty sessions for the hundred, every Saturday, in a room over the lock-up house; and Llandovery is one of the polling-places, appointed under the Reform Act, in the election of a member for the shire. A county debt-court is also fixed here; it was established in 1847, under the general smalldebts' act, and its powers extend over the registration-district of Llandovery. The town-hall, erected in 1752, at the expense of the corporation, is a commodious building, containing rooms for the transaction of the municipal business, under which is an area for the corn market. There are several places of worship for dissenters, of which those belonging to the Independents and Calvinistic Methodists are spacious and handsome structures, each capable of containing upwards of 2000 persons.
The Welsh educational institution, or college, in the town of Llandovery, was founded by the munificence of Thomas Phillips, Esq., of Brunswick-square, London, and was opened on the 1st of March, 1848, under the superintendence of the Ven. John Williams, M.A., of Balliol College, Oxford, archdeacon of Cardigan, and late rector of the Edinburgh Academy. The object of the founder is stated to be, "the dissemination of useful and practical knowledge in Wales, and to raise both morally and intellectually the character of the people;" in other words, "to benefit the rising generation in Wales, to bring out, encourage, and cultivate their native talents, and, as far as can be done, to give a complete education on moderate terms to those willing students who hitherto have not been enabled to receive an accurate course of instruction, in classical and mathematical knowledge, without travelling in search of it beyond the bounds of the principality." In order to this, and more especially to enable young men desirous of so qualifying themselves, to become learned and efficient ministers of the Church in Wales, Mr. Phillips has endowed the school with more than £4600 in the three per cent. reduced and consolidated annuities. The interest of this sum is paid to the head-master or warden, who is bound to educate twenty scholars, natives of the dioceses of St. David's and Llandaf, without the payment of any fees, and is allowed to receive as many additional pupils as may be willing to pay for the advantages of the same course of instruction. The scholars on the foundation are expected to devote a certain portion of their time to the accurate study of the Welsh language and literature, and are taught to recognise its great etymological value in connexion with the study, not only of the learned languages, but of all the dialects of western Europe. The free education is given as the "reward of conjoined capacity, diligence, and accurate knowledge:" no regard is paid, in the choice of the scholars, to the worldly circumstances of their parents; the aim of the founder, of the trustees, and of the principal, being to raise the tone of education among the middle classes, to establish it on a sound basis, and not merely to give eleemosynary instruction. The school is already attended by above eighty pupils from all parts of the kingdom. The terms at present are, for the junior classes, eight guineas per annum; the senior classes, ten guineas; and board and lodging are to be obtained for very reasonable charges in the town and its vicinity. It may be added that Archdeacon Williams, the warden of the institution, has been appointed an examiner of the candidates for the Welsh scholarships founded in the universities of Oxford and Cambridge as a memorial of the services rendered by the late Earl of Powis to the Church in Wales.
The premises in which the school is now held being quite unfit for the purpose, and merely temporary, a suitable structure is about to be erected for the masters and scholars. At a public meeting held at Llandovery, on the 27th of June, 1848, and presided over by the Bishop of St. David's, a committee was appointed to promote a subscription for erecting buildings; and in the course of a few months, in answer to the first appeal, confined to Wales, a sum exceeding £3500 was received by the committee, proving the existence of a numerous and influential class willing to advance the interests of the institution. A second appeal was afterwards made; and ultimately, a general appeal to those unconnected by property or blood with the principality, the total sum required being £6000. With this amount the committee propose to raise "a building, not only convenient and suited to the purpose, but also an architectural ornament to the beautiful scenery by which it will be surrounded; and moreover, to set aside a sufficient sum of money to keep it in repair." A site has been presented by Lady Hall, of Llanover, Monmouthshire. Among the subscriptions received in answer to the two first appeals were those of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, £100; the Bishop of St. David's, and D. Jones, Esq., of Pantglâs, Carmarthenshire, £200 each; D. A. Saunders Davies, Esq., M.P., £150; the Hon. Colonel Rice Trevor, M.P., the Ven. Archdeacon Williams, the Rev. W. Jenkins Rees, of Cascob, Radnorshire, John Jones, Esq., of Blaennôs, and Edward Loyd, Esq., of the city of Manchester, £100 each; William Chambers, Esq., and William Chambers, jun., Esq., of Llanelly, jointly £100; Major Williams, and his sister-in-law Mrs. Williams, of Aberystwith, £50 each. Nine other donations of £50 were received from the Dean and Chapter of St. David's, the Principal and Professors of Lampeter College, Lord Dynevor, Sir Josiah John Guest, Bart., M.P., Howel Gwyn, Esq., M.P., Crawshay Bailey, Esq., Charles Bishop, Esq., of Dollgarreg, Theophilus Rees, Esq., of Llandovery, and his brother Mr. William Rees, already mentioned in this article. The Rt. Hon. John Nicholl, M.P., presented £30; John Johnes, Esq., £30; &c., &c. Nearly all these liberal donations were made in answer to the primary appeal of the committee appointed for the erection of the buildings.
A National school was commenced in the town in the year 1816; but in 1822 the department of it for the instruction of boys was discontinued, for want of funds, and from the irregularity of attendance; and the girls' department was abandoned, from similar causes, in 1846, the only school of a public kind then remaining being an infants' school. New schoolhouses, however, have since been erected in connexion with the National Society, at an expense of £800, of which £300 were raised in the neighbourbood: they are capable of accommodating upwards of 300 children. A British school has subsequently been built, capable of accommodating the same number of children. Of the several Sunday schools held in the town, two are in connexion with the Established Church. The Poor's Grove, a tract of woodland, about sixty acres in extent, situated within a mile of the town, and said to be worth £1000, was left to the poor burgesses of Llandovery, many centuries since, and is noticed in the charter of King Richard; the poor of the town cut fire-wood indiscriminately, although it is believed the right strictly belongs to the burgesses only. The poor-law union of which this town is the head, was formed Dec. 15th, 1836, and comprises the following eleven parishes and townships; namely, Cayo, Kîlycwm, Llandingat, Llangadock, Llansadwrn, Llanthoysaint, Llanvairar-y-Bryn, Llanwrda, and Myddvay, in Carmarthenshire; and Llandulas and Llanwrtyd, in the county of Brecknock. It is under twenty-one guardians, and has a population of 14,726.
The Rev. Rees Prichard, Vicar of Llandingat, but better known as "the Vicar of Llandovery," was a native of this place. He is celebrated as the writer of a work called Canwyll y Cymry, "the Welshman's Candle," but more generally known under the title of Llyvr y Vicer, or "the Vicar's Book," comprising 210 poems on religious subjects, written in the Welsh language, and with so much simplicity of style as to be perfectly intelligible to the most uncultivated understanding. This highly useful work is generally learned by heart by the Welsh peasantry, and forms a companion to the Bible in almost every cottage in the principality. Mr. Prichard bequeathed a house, and land of the value of £20 per annum, for the foundation of a free school in his native town; but through a legal flaw in the will, which appears to have been taken advantage of by a descendant of the vicar's, the intentions of the testator were not permanently carried out. This venerated man was born in the year 1575, and, after a life devoted to the welfare of his parishioners in particular, and the religious improvement of his countrymen in general, died in 1644.