A Topographical Dictionary of Wales. Originally published by S Lewis, London, 1849.
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LLANEDARN (LLAN-EDEYRN), a parish, in the poor-law union of Cardiff, hundred of Kibbor, county of Glamorgan, South Wales, on the banks of the Romney, 4 miles (N. E. by N.) from Cardiff; containing 354 inhabitants. This parish, which lies on the eastern confine of the county, comprises about 2550 acres of land, partly arable and partly pasture. The surface, though in general low, presents some pleasing scenery; it gradually rises on the north into an elevated ridge, in some parts richly wooded, and is embellished with several genteel mansions, the principal of which are, New House, Ruperra, and Cevn-Mably. Towards the west the venerable cathedral of Llandaf, and southward Cardiff and the Bristol Channel, are included in the prospect. The living is a discharged vicarage, united to that of St. Mellon's, in the county of Monmouth, and rated in the king's books at £5. 8. 11½.; the impropriation is vested in the Chapter of Llandaf. The church, a small simple structure, is dedicated to St. Edeyrn, who, it is stated, established a Christian society here, amounting in number to 300 persons. At Penygroes, three-quarters of a mile distant from the church, is a place of worship for Calvinistic Methodists, with a Sunday school held in it. The Rev. William Edwards, in 1782, bequeathed £400 for charitable purposes, £100 of which he directed should be applied for the use of the poor of this parish: the interest of this sum, which, with the remainder of the bequest, is in the hands of Sir Charles Morgan, of Tredegar, Bart., is distributed in January among such poor as are not receiving parochial relief.
LLANEDWEN (LLAN-EDWEN), a parish, in the union of Bangor and Beaumaris, hundred of Menai, county of Anglesey, North Wales, 5 miles (N. E. by N.) from Carnarvon; containing 283 inhabitants. This parish derives its name from the dedication of the church to St. Edwen, a female saint of Saxon descent, who has been allowed a place among the saints of Wales. She is said to have been a daughter or niece of Edwin, King of Northumbria; and the statement derives probability from the circumstance, admitted by the English historians, that Edwin was brought up in the court of Cadvan, King of North Wales, at Caerseiont, or Carnarvon. Llanedwen is situated on the western shore of the Menai strait, and, with the adjoining parishes of Llanidan and Llandeiniol, anciently formed a district which was the principal seat of the Druidical priesthood, and in which the arch-druid is supposed to have had for ages his chief residence. There are still within the district, and particularly in this parish, considerable remains of those deeply-shaded groves so well adapted to the performance of the sanguinary rites of the Druidical religion, which obtained for Anglesey the appellation of Ynys Dywell, or "the shady island;" and amid them are some vestiges of Druidical temples, altars, circles, and cromlechs.
Porthamel, or Porth-Aml, the only ferry between the Menai suspension bridge and Carnarvon, is celebrated as the place where Suetonius Paulinus, in the reign of the Emperor Nero, is thought to have crossed the strait for the invasion of Mona. In this attempt he was opposed by the Druids, who, having assembled an army of men and women arranged in all the mystic terrors of their idolatrous superstition, and brandishing lighted torches, drew up on the western shore to oppose his progress. But after spreading a momentary panic through the Roman ranks, they were quickly repulsed by the rallying troops, and many of them consigned to perish in their own sacrificial fires. The sacred groves in which their rites were solemnized were cut down, and the reign of Druidism, which had for ages been established in the Isle of Mona as its principal seat, was finally destroyed. At a short distance from this place is a field still called Maes Mawr Gâd, or "the plain of the great army," supposed to have been occupied by the Roman forces under Julius Agricola, in his successful expedition to regain possession of the island, which Suetonius, by a general revolt of the British states in his rear, that necessarily caused him to withdraw his forces, had been compelled to relinquish.
Opposite to Moel-y-Don, or "the hill of the wave," in the parish, the English suffered a signal defeat in the reign of Edward I. Having landed in the island in 1282, under the command of Luke de Tany, a Gascon, after reducing to obedience such of the inhabitants as had not previously sworn allegiance to that monarch, they constructed a bridge of boats across the Menai strait, near the spot where Agricola had landed, in order to effect an entrance into the country on the opposite shore. The Welsh, hastily throwing up an intrenchment to defend the pass into the mountains, placed themselves in ambush, and quietly awaited the result. De Tany having, with a detachment of his troops, rashly ventured at low water to pass the bridge before it was completed, his retreat was intercepted by the return of the tide; and the Welsh at this moment rushing from their ambuscade, and impetuously assaulting his detachment, killed the greater number, and drove the rest into the strait. Of this force, which consisted of more than 200 soldiers, seventeen gentlemen, and thirteen knights, only one escaped, whose horse swam with him to the bridge.
The Parish, though generally destitute of wood, of which it is difficult to raise any plantations of considerable extent, is nevertheless in some parts richly ornamented with timber of ancient growth: the instances, however, are not common, and are probably the remains of the groves that escaped destruction by the Romans. The shores of the Menai are rocky and precipitous: the scenery is bold, striking, and in some places beautifully picturesque; and in the parish and its immediate vicinity are several gentlemen's seats, some of which display elegant specimens of architecture. The parish, which is small, is fertile, and the land for the most part is inclosed and cultivated. Limestone of excellent quality is found in abundance, and very extensive quarries of it are worked, affording employment to a considerable number of the inhabitants: great quantities of this limestone, both for building and for the purpose of manure, are raised from the quarries, which extend along the shore of the Menai; and the produce is shipped to Liverpool and other places in numerous vessels. Through the park of Plâs Newydd runs a bed of granite, in a state of decomposition, and so soft that it crumbles upon the slightest touch.
Plâs Newydd, the property of the Marquess of Anglesey, is a splendid mansion of modern erection, built upon the site of a house which once belonged to the celebrated Gwenllian, a descendant of Cadrod Hardd. It is beautifully situated in a portion of the old Druidical groves, on ground rising gently from the margin of the Menai. The building consists of a semicircular centre and two semi-octagonal wings: the façade is relieved by octagonal turrets on the sides of the centre and the wings, rising from the base above the parapet, which is embattled; and the entire edifice, as seen from the water, to which it is open in front, forms a conspicuous and interesting object. It contains a noble suite of apartments, a handsome library, and a chapel: the latter is lighted on each side by a fine range of pointed windows, enriched with tracery of elegant design, and embellished with stained glass; the roof is delicately and elaborately groined, and the altar, which has a receding canopy, is beautifully adorned with tabernacle-work. The whole of this elegant mansion is built of Mona marble from the quarries of Moelvre, near Red Wharf bay; and displays, both in its design and execution, a high degree of taste and judicious arrangement. The grounds are extensive, and pleasingly laid out: in front of the house is a spacious lawn, sloping to the margin of the strait, from the waves of which it is protected by a strong parapet wall, on which is a noble terrace; while each side, and the rising ground behind, are sheltered by groves of venerable oak and ash of luxuriant growth. His Majesty George IV. visited Plâs Newydd, on his way to Ireland, in 1821; and in 1832 Her present Majesty, then Princess Victoria, and Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Kent, resided here during the summer months. Within the park is Druids' Lodge, the pretty residence of J. Saunderson, Esq., containing some valuable works of art and natural curiosities.
Plâs Côch, an ancient seat in the parish, forming one of the most considerable of the old residences of the gentry of Anglesey now extant, was erected by Hugh Hughes, attorney-general in the time of Queen Elizabeth, and member for the county in the thirtyninth year of that reign. It is now held by William Bulkeley Hughes, Esq., his descendant, M.P. for Carnarvon, and has been lately much added to and improved. The mansion is built of a red rock found close by, and hence derives its name. The original plan approximated to the form of the letter E, an arrangement designed, no doubt, as a compliment to the reigning sovereign; and this shape has been partly preserved in the recent additions: the whole edifice is a pleasing, though rather plain, specimen of the Elizabethan style, and the effect of light and shade, caused by the boldly projecting wings and porch, is remarkably good. Its interior has been lately arranged with excellent taste; and in particular a fine dining-room erected, the oaken panelling of which is exceedingly beautiful: the hall, with a double staircase, is likewise an admirable feature. A well-engraved view of the mansion is given in the Archæologia Cambrensis for April 1847, from which these details are derived.
The Living is a perpetual curacy, annexed to the vicarage of Llanidan. The church is a small singlebodied edifice, partly in the later English style; it has a bell-gable of good design at the western end, and the entrance is by a circular-headed doorway in the western wall. Under the eastern window occur three curious small buttresses. The churchyard is one of the most interesting in Anglesey, from its picturesque appearance and situation, and is remarkable as containing the remains of the Rev. Henry Rowlands, the eminent antiquary. It is nearly surrounded by lofty trees, and there is a venerable yewtree within its precincts: many of the graves, also, are planted with box, in a manner scarcely to be witnessed elsewhere, but which is well worthy of more general adoption. There are two Church schools in the parish. Bishop Rowlands, in 1616, bequeathed £6 per annum, charged on his estate at Plâs Gwyn; Lady Bailey left a small annual sum, derived from the estate of Plâs Newydd; Mr. Bagnal bequeathed a rent-charge of 10s. on the same property; and Mrs. Rowlands, in 1740, gave £100 in money: the three former of which, together with the produce of the latter, are annually distributed among the poor during the winter. The estate of Llŷsllew, in the parish, now producing £200 per annum, was given by Bishop Rowlands as an endowment to the school which he had founded at Bottwnog.
Within the limits of the park of Plâs Newydd is one of the largest cromlechs in the island, supported on several upright stones; the tabular stone is about thirteen feet in length, about eleven feet in breadth, and measures four feet in thickness. Adjoining this is a smaller cromlech; and at no great distance, in the woods, a large carnedd was opened some time since, and found to contain a vault, seven feet in length, and four feet in breadth. Near Maes Mawr Gâd, in making a fence in the year 1829, several Roman coins, fibulæ, buckles, and other vestiges of Roman antiquity, were dug up; and near Porthamel is a large mount, supposed by Mr. Rowlands to mark the scene of Suetonius' sanguinary victory over the Druids.
Plâs Gwyn, in the parish, was the birthplace and residence of the Rev. Henry Rowlands, the learned author of the Mona Antiqua Restaurata. That elaborate and interesting production was composed by the author at this his patrimonial estate, and the old oak chair in which he sat while writing it is still preserved in the house. He died here, and was buried in the churchyard, in 1725, as appears by the Latin inscription on his tomb, though his biographers state his death to have occurred in the year 1723, in which his work first appeared.
LLANEDY (LLAN-EDI), a parish, in the poor-law union of Llanelly, hundred of Carnawllon, county of Carmarthen, South Wales, 10 miles (S.) from Llandilo-Vawr; containing 1098 inhabitants. This parish is situated on the river Loughor, by which it is separated from the county of Glamorgan; and is intersected by the turnpike-road from Swansea to Llandilo-Vawr. It is bounded on the south-west by the parishes of Llandeilo-Tàlybont and Llangennech, on the north-west by those of Llandebie and Llannon, and on the north-east by Bettws and Llangyvelach; and extends nearly eight miles in length, and one mile and a quarter in breadth, comprising by measurement 5200 acres, of which about 1800 are arable, 2000 pasture, 700 wood, and between 600 and 700 common and waste. The surface is elevated and hilly, the soil generally dry and light, and on the tillage lands very fertile, producing good crops of wheat, barley, oats, and potatoes. The scenery is extensive, varied, and picturesque, and beautified by the meandering of the river Loughor along a rich and narrow vale on the south; the Gwilly, an inferior stream, passing to the north. There are mines of excellent anthracite coal, which until lately were worked only for the supply of the immediate neighbourhood; they are now in operation on a larger scale, and the coal is exported in considerable quantity: a poorer kind is found in almost every part of the parish, but the principal mines lie at the northern extremity, where numerous hands now find employment. Iron-ore exists, but no works are carried on; and there is a quarry of excellent stone for building and other purposes. The Llanelly railway passes on the other side of the Loughor. An annual fair is held on the 8th of November.
The living is a rectory, rated in the king's books at £8, and given by George IV., together with the patronage of several other crown livings in the diocese, to St. David's College, Lampeter; present net income, £360. The church, dedicated to St. Edith, is pleasantly situated on an elevated hill, overlooking the Loughor, and commanding an extensive view of great variety and beauty; it has been enlarged by the erection of a gallery at the west end, affording an addition of 120 free sittings, towards the expense of which the Incorporated Society contributed the sum of £100. There are places of worship for Calvinistic Methodists, Particular Baptists, and Independents; a National school; and four Sunday schools, one of them in connexion with the Established Church. In the hamlet of Gwilly, about 200 yards from the church, is a rock, with a curious recess, naturally formed, and traditionally called Gwely Edi, or "St. Edith's bed;" it is superstitiously thought to have been occasionally used for repose by that saint. At a cottage near Forest Hall, a deserted mansion in the parish, was born, in 1721, the Rev. John Walters, M.A., the learned author of Dissertations on the Welsh Language, a Welsh and English Dictionary, and other works.
LLANEGRIN (LLAN-EGRYN), a parish, in the union of Dôlgelley, hundred of Tàlybont, county of Merioneth, North Wales, 4 miles (N.) from Towyn; containing 745 inhabitants. It is about eight miles in length and two in breadth, and comprises about 10,000 acres, part of which is mountainous land, while some is so low as to be subject to occasional inundation. The arable land, by measurement, comprehends 1365 acres; the pasture, 2531; and the woodland 200, consisting of oak, ash, and alder. The beautiful little river Dysynni, rising at the foot of the lofty Cader Idris, meanders through Llanegrin, and between the parishes of Towyn and Llangelynin, and pours its waters into the spacious bay of Cardigan. The village is pleasantly situated near the northern bank of the river, which is navigable for vessels of ten or twelve tons' burthen from the sea to beyond Peniarth Weir, near which stands the ancient mansion of Peniarth. The higher grounds command extensive and varied prospects, embracing the Vale of Dysynni, Cardigan bay, and the lofty hills on this part of the coast. About three-fifths of the land are uninclosed and uncultivated; in this portion, considerable quantities of peat are dug for fuel: the remainder is comparatively fertile and in a good state of cultivation; the prevailing soil of the cultivated lands is a strong clay. Slate abounds in the parish, and is quarried to supply the immediate neighbourhood; but the quality is not sufficiently good to make it an object of general demand, nor is any of it exported.
The living is a perpetual curacy, endowed with £400 royal bounty, which was invested in the purchase of a tenement in Montgomeryshire, and with £1000 parliamentary grant; patron, the Rev. Peter Titley, the impropriator, who pays the curate an additional annual stipend of £10; total net income, £72. The church, dedicated to St. Egryn, and situated about a quarter of a mile from the village, on an eminence commanding a fine and extensive prospect, is an ancient structure in the early style of English architecture. The chancel is separated from the nave by an elaborately carved screen and roodloft, said to have been brought hither from Cymmer Abbey, near Dôlgelley; and among the sepulchral monuments in the church are several to different members of the Owen family, of Peniarth. There are places of worship for Independents and Calvinistic and Wesleyan Methodists.
A free grammar school was established under the will of Hugh Owen, Esq., of Tàlybont, dated 1650, regulated by a decree of the commissioners for charitable uses, under the act of the 43rd of Elizabeth, directing certain lands of one Lewis Owen to be charged with an annual rent-charge of £20 for the use of the school; the master to be "a person graduate in one of the universities of this land, and well learned in the Latin and Greek tongues, and skilled in grammar and rhetoric." The rent-charge was accordingly made, in 1653, upon lands which at present form part of the Peniarth estate; and the endowment was augmented by Griffith Owen, Esq., who, in 1668, left £400 to be invested in the purchase of land, the produce to be appropriated to the salary of a writing-master, the catechising of poor children of the parish, and the apprenticing of boys from the school. This latter bequest was laid out in the purchase of the tenements of Bryn, Nant-Cynog, and Nant-y-Pool, and the whole income arising from it is £86. 5., including £14. 5. yearly derived from £475, three per cent. consols., an accumulation of the rents during a time when the school was suspended. A substantial schoolroom appears to have been built on the original foundation, which was surrounded by two acres and a half of land. The total income arising from the two endowments is £106. 5., but the rent-charge has not been paid since the year 1811, being then withheld by the late proprietor of the Peniarth estate: the income from Griffith Owen's charity only, is at present received. At the time when the parish was visited by the government commission for inquiring into the state of education in Wales, in December 1846, the school was in abeyance, the premises having been pulled down, with a view, as was stated, of being rebuilt. The last master legally appointed was the Rev. Mr. Owen, who resigned in 1811; a person of inferior acquirements appears to have been then appointed, and he continued to hold the mastership until his death in February 1846, after which a master was chosen who is said to have been a scholar, but who died in the summer of the same year. The school is free to the Lower division of the hundred of Tàlybont, containing the parishes of Llanegrin and Llangelynin, and part of Llanvihangel. There is also a grant of £4 per annum, by Hugh Owen, for distribution among the poor; and four Sunday schools are held, one of them in connexion with the Established Church.
Tàlybont, in the parish, is supposed to have been a mansion of the Princes of North Wales, and the residence of Llewelyn, who dated one of his charters from the place: on the farm belonging to this estate is a meadow named Waen Llewelyn, or "Llewelyn's meadow;" also a large artificial mound, on which a watch-tower is said to have formerly stood; and on the opposite bank of the river, in the parish of Towyn, is a similar station. On the Peniarth Mill farm, at the lower end of Cwm ŷch, or "oxen's glen," is a chalybeate spring; and there is also in the parish a spring called Fynnon y Vron, the water of which is held in high repute for its efficacy in the cure of rheumatic complaints.
LLANEGWAD (LLAN-EGWAD), a parish, in the union of Llandilo-Vawr, partly in the Lower division of the hundred of Cathinog, and partly in the Higher division of that of Elvet, county of Carmarthen, South Wales, 7½ miles (W. by S.) from Llandilo-Vawr; containing 2113 inhabitants. This place derives its name from the dedication of its church to St. Egwad, who is said to have lived here in seclusion and devotional retirement, probably near the spot still called "Eisteddva Egwad," where are the ruins of an ancient and very extensive mansion. The parish stretches for nearly seven miles from north to south, and about four from east to west; it comprises 12,330 acres, and is intersected by the river Cothy, which falls into the Towy here. The lands, with the exception of a small portion, are inclosed, and in a good state of cultivation; and the village is pleasantly situated. Search was made by N. B. Jones, Esq., some time ago, for copper-ore, of which a vein was discovered, but it dipped so considerably below the bed of the river as to render the working of it altogether impracticable.
The living is a vicarage, rated in the king's books at £8. 13. 4.; patron, the Bishop of St. David's: the tithes have been commuted for £326. 16. 8. payable to T. D. Berington, Esq., the impropriator, and £299. 5. 4. to the vicar. There are places of worship for Baptists, Independents, and Calvinistic and Wesleyan Methodists. The late Rev. John Francis, of Bath, in 1825, gave a rent-charge of £25 for educating, clothing, and apprenticing six boys, &c.: for instruction £4. 4. are paid to a master; £9 are expended on clothing; two of the children are annually put out as apprentices with premiums of £5 each; and the residue of the income is distributed in small rewards to the most deserving, and in repairing the family tomb. The master is further supported by school-pence and subscriptions, and the school is in connexion with the Established Church. Another school, belonging to the Calvinistic Methodists, is maintained by an endowment of £5 a year, and by school-pence; and the parish contains seven Sunday schools, one of which is in connexion with the Church, and held in the day-school room. In 1676, Archdeacon William Jones devised to the poor a farm in the parish of Llanpympsaint consisting of seventytwo acres, now let at £40, charged by him with £3. 4. in lieu of a bequest by Griffith Lloyd in 1633 for catechising, and for preaching a sermon. The rest, £36. 16., is distributed a week before Christmas, among the poorest and most infirm of the inhabitants, in various small sums, together with the money arising from a bequest of lands to this parish and that of Llanvynydd by Maud Watkins, in 1685, producing for Llanegwad £16. 2.; a rent-charge of 10s. by Evan Jones, in 1705; another of £1 by David Jones, in 1715; and the rent of a cot, let at 15s., by John Herbert, Esq.; making altogether about £60 per annum. The poor also partake, about the same time, of a distribution of seven teals of barley, each containing four Winchester bushels, being the bequests of William David Jenkin, John Rice, David Rees Thomas, and William Lewis John. A few minor charities have been lost. Near Cothy bridge are the remains of an old dilapidated edifice, formerly a chapel of ease to the mother church, but now converted into a stable: there were anciently several chapels in the parish.
LLANEILIAN (LLAN-EILIAN), a parish, in the hundred of Twrcelyn, union and county of Anglesey, North Wales, 2 miles (E.) from Amlwch; containing 1439 inhabitants. This parish is of considerable antiquity, and early in the fifth century was the residence of Caswallon Law-Hîr, Prince of North Wales, who had a palace on the summit of Llaneilian mountain, the site of which is at present occupied by a small cottage, called from that circumstance "Llŷs Caswallon." Llaneilian derives its name from St. Eilian, who, in 450, it is said, founded a church here, which was endowed by Caswallon, and adjoining to which that prince erected a chapel; these edifices, with the exception of Llanbadrig church, being perhaps the earliest places of Christian worship erected in the principality. St. Eilian, who was bishop of Lindisfarne, was celebrated for the sanctity of his life; and the veneration in which his memory was held drew multitudes from the remotest parts of Britain to this place, in which he had resided, in order to obtain, by their pilgrimage and votive offerings, the highly appreciated benefit of his favour and protection. The offerings of the pilgrims amounted annually to a large sum, and were received in a chest kept in the church for that purpose, and called Cŷff Eilian, from the contents of which the church of St. Eilian and the chapel of Caswallon were elegantly rebuilt, and two farms purchased, the rents of which, till within a recent period, were applied to keeping them in repair. It was the custom of the devotees to visit a well called Fynnon Eilian, situated in a barren part of the parish, among wild and broken rocks, on the eve of the saint's festival, and, after drinking the water, to kneel for some time before the altar of a small chapel erected over it; they afterwards repaired to the parish church, where they performed other ceremonies, concluding with an offering to the saint. The custom even at present prevails to a small extent, and though the spring is nearly dried up and the chapel is in ruins, people still resort to this place, imploring the intercession of the saint for persons in grievous sickness; and the offerings made upon these occasions are annually distributed among the poor.
The parish, which is extensive, is situated at the northern extremity of the island, upon the shore of the Irish Sea, into which a part of it considerably projects, forming a headland, called by Caswallon, in honour of his tutor, Hilary's Point, a name it still bears. Off the coast is good anchorage for coasting-vessels. The surface is varied, and, with the exception of the mountainous portion, and several acres of turbary and moor land, is generally inclosed and cultivated. Copper-ore and other mineral produce are obtained from the Parys mountain, which is partly in the parish; and several attempts have been made at various times on Llaneilian mountain to discover copper-ore, of which a considerable vein has been found on Rhôs Myneich.
The living is a discharged rectory, with the perpetual curacies of Coedanna and Rhôsbeirio annexed, rated in the king's books at £14. 1. 8.; present net income, £400 a year, with a glebe-house; patron, the Bishop of Bangor. The church, dedicated to St. Eilian, is an elegant structure, partly in the early and partly in the decorated style of English architecture, with a tower surmounted by a spire. The entire edifice, which is embattled, is handsomely and substantially built of gritstone, with quoins and cornices of freestone. It comprises a nave and chancel, the roofs of which are of carved oak, that of the latter resting upon finely sculptured corbels of angels playing on musical instruments. A splendid screen of richly carved oak, ornamented with a portrait of St. Eilian, but much defaced with paint, separates the chancel from the nave; and in the chancel are four stalls of tabernacle-work, with the date 1533, and an altar-piece of carved oak, of inferior execution. The east window, of three lights, enriched with tracery, and surmounted by an ogee canopy, contains some portions of ancient stained glass. Within a few yards of the church, and now communicating with the chancel by means of a covered passage, which greatly disfigures the appearance of the building, is the small chapel of Caswallon, a beautiful structure, containing an altar-piece of oak elaborately carved, and an east window of elegant design. In this chapel is kept the oak chest called Cŷff Eilian, in which are still deposited the offerings of the devotees at the shrine of this saint. About the middle of the seventeenth century, a considerable sum of money was expended for oil paintings of the Apostles and St. Eilian, of which that of the latter is the only one remaining. In digging a grave in the churchyard, many years since, a deep trench was discovered, extending about twenty yards in length, and containing a great quantity of human bones, supposed to be the place of interment of a number of sailors who at some remote period perished upon this coast in a storm. There is a place of worship for Calvinistic Methodists, with a Sunday school held in it.
The parish is possessed of two farms, but how they became its property, or for what purpose, cannot now be ascertained with accuracy, as the minister's house, containing the documents, was burned down about a century since. One of the farms, situated in the parish of Llanvechell, contains about sixteen acres and three-quarters, and is let, with two tenements contiguous, at £13 per annum; the other is let to the curate at £6. 10., and contains, with another small parcel of land, six acres and a quarter. Only the rent of the latter farm is at present appropriated to the benefit of the poor, as the tenant of the former advanced £120 for the repairs of the church, a great portion of which sum still remains unpaid. The village wakes, commonly called Gŵyl Mâb Saint, used to continue for three weeks, and though now lasting only for about half that time, are still very numerously attended.
Llanelhairn, or Llanhaiarn (Llan-Aelhaiarn)
LLANELHAIRN, or LLANHAIARN (LLAN-AELHAIARN), a parish, in the poor-law union of Pwllheli, hundred of Uwchgorvai, county of Carnarvon, North Wales, 7 miles (N.) from Pwllheli, and 13 (S.) from Carnarvon; containing 660 inhabitants. This parish, which is situated on the shore of Carnarvon bay, is bounded on the north-east by the parish of Clynnog, on the north-west by the bay, on the west by the parish of Pistill, on the southwest by that of Carngiwch, and on the south-east by that of Llangybi. It comprises by computation 4850a. 3r. subject to tithes, and 1628 acres free, making together 6478a. 3r.; of the former portion, 846 acres are arable, and the rest meadow and pasture, with about two acres of woodland. The soil in the valleys is rich and fertile, producing excellent crops of barley and oats, and there is some good pasture land, upon which many cows, oxen, and horses are reared for the market: a large part of the land is turbary, and wet; but on the hills numerous flocks of sheep find pasture.
This is an extensive mountainous district, and comprehends the lofty range of mountains called Yr Eivl, or the Rivals, whose conical summits are conspicuous from every elevated point in this part of the principality. These mountains are three in number, the central one having an elevation of 1860 feet above the level of high water; they rise abruptly from the shore of St. George's Channel, and form boldly projecting promontories, separating the districts of Arvon and Lleyn. The mountain nearest to the church, the southernmost of the three, is called Mynydd Tre'r-Cawri, and Tre'r-Caerau, signifying "the mountain of the town of the giants," and "the town of the fortresses;" the most distant, in a western direction, is called Mynydd Gorllewin, and the central or middle mountain Y Garn-ganol. They are situated on the right of the road leading to Nevin; and on the left, opposite to the Rivals, is a mountain named Mynydd Carngiwch. There is a range of four other mountains, which served as a sure retreat to the Britons in ancient times, situated in a northern direction from the church; they are called respectively Mynydd Penllechog, CaerTyddyn Mawr, Gyrn-ddû, and Mynydd Bronmiod. Between the two last is a wide pass or defile, BwlchMawr; a manganese mine has been opened in this defile, and a great quantity of the ore has been forwarded to Port Llanelhaiarn, and shipped to Liverpool. In 1827, a wooden pillar was erected on the highest point of the central mountain of the Rivals, by a company of engineers employed by government to make a trigonometrical survey of this part of the coast; a similar staff was erected on the summit of Rhiw mountain, visible from hence, and another on the top of Snowdon. The village, which is small, is pleasantly situated on the turnpike-road from Carnarvon to Pwllheli; and the parish contains a woolfactory and two corn-mills. During the season of the herring-fishery several boats are employed, and crabs and lobsters are also taken on the coast; in a river to the south-east of the church is an abundance of fine trout.
The living is a discharged rectory, in the gift of the Bishop of Bangor, rated in the king's books at £8, and endowed with £200 private benefaction and £200 royal bounty, with which a farm called Tŷmawr, in the parish of Mallwyd in the counties of Montgomery and Merioneth, consisting of 175a. 24p., was purchased in the year 1743. This farm is now let for £60 per annum; and the tithes having been commuted for a rent-charge of £195 in 1838, the present gross annual income of the rectory is £255. The church, dedicated to St. Aelhaiarn, is a venerable cruciform structure, in the later style of English architecture, and contains sittings for about 200 persons; the interior, which is appropriately arranged, possesses some interesting details, and the building is kept in excellent repair. There are places of worship for Calvinistic Methodists, Independents, and Baptists, with a Sunday school held in each of them. A rent-charge of 20s. was devised by Anne Jones, in 1703, to be expended in bread for the poor of Penmorva; and she also bequeathed £200, to be laid out in the purchase of lands, one moiety of the rents of which was to be appropriated to apprenticing boys of Festiniog or Criccieth, or to their poor, and the other moiety to this parish for the same purpose; but this charity is in abeyance, though it was decreed, after a trial at Beaumaris, in 1735, that it should be carried into effect. Some cottages and parcels of land, yielding a rent of £9. 7. 4., were left for church purposes, and the rents are applied to the repairs of the church. Bishop Evans was rector of the parish at the beginning of the eighteenth century, before his episcopal elevation, and at his death was a benefactor to the living. The late Rev. Dr. Lewis left money with which his trustees purchased a number of farms here, for charitable uses, not however connected with the parish.
Through the Eivl mountains is the celebrated pass into Vortigern's Valley, across which extends an immense rampart of stones; and on Tre'r Cawri are the remains of the most extensive British fortification in North Wales. This strong military post is defended on the side on which alone it is accessible by triple ramparts, and the two innermost of these are nearly entire. The foundations of buildings, of various forms and dimensions, are scattered over the whole summit of the mountain, which is almost level, and also on the declivities. Within the walls of defence are the foundations of several circular buildings, about thirty-two feet in diameter; the upper wall is about twelve feet in height, and, in some places, fourteen in thickness at the top. Nearly the whole of the inclosed area is filled with cells of different forms, round, oval, oblong, and square. Several other mountains in the neighbourhood are fortified in a similar manner, though not with equal strength; from which circumstance it is supposed that Tre'r Cawri was the principal of a chain of military stations, and most probably the chief stronghold of the native Britons, driven into this part of the country by the victorious arms of the Saxons. The mountains abound with copper-ore and manganese. Under the Eivl mountains, and less than a quarter of a mile from the church, on the left side of the road towards Nevin, is a very copious spring, called Fynnon Aelhaiarn, contained in a square inclosure, surrounded by a wall: the water of this spring, which was anciently in estimation for its sanctity, is still in some repute for cold bathing.
LLANELIAN-YN-RHÔS (LLAN-ELIAN), a parish, in the union of Conway, Uchdulas division of the hundred of Isdulas, county of Denbigh, North Wales, near the road from Chester to Holyhead, 6 miles (W. by S.) from Abergele; containing 604 inhabitants. It is situated in the midst of a very mountainous district, and agriculture affords the principal employment. The living is a discharged rectory, rated in the king's books at £11. 1. 8.; patron, the Bishop of St. Asaph. The tithes have been commuted for five rent-charges, together amounting to £543. 2. 5.: a sum of £327. 4. is payable to the rector, and he has a glebe of three acres, with a house, the whole valued at £15 per annum; another sum of £160. 19. 6. is payable to the bishop, a sum of £35. 12. 6. to the vicar of Llandrillo-yn-Rhôs, £17. 17. 9. to the rector of Llŷsvaen, and the parish-clerk receives £1. 8. 8. The church is dedicated to St. Hilary. There is a place of worship for Baptists, in which a Sunday school is also held. The interest of divers small benefactions amounting in the whole to about £150, for the benefit of the poor, is distributed among the most deserving objects annually on St. Thomas's day; the money, previous to 1827, was in private hands, but was then laid out on mortgage at five per cent., at the recommendation of the vicar and churchwardens. Fynnon St. Eilian, a well sometimes resorted to for the practice of invoking vengeance upon the heads of such as have given grievous offence, is situated near this place, but in the township of Eireas, in the parish of Llandrillo.
LLANELIDAN (LLAN-ELIDAN), a parish, in the union and hundred of Ruthin, county of Denbigh, North Wales, 5½ miles (S.) from Ruthin, on the road to Corwen; containing 962 inhabitants. It is situated in the upper part of the Vale of Clwyd, where the mountains assume a bolder and more rugged character than in the lower section of that valley. The parishes of Llanvair-Dyfryn-Clwyd and Clocaenog bound it on the north, Derwen parish on the west, and Bryn-Eglwys on the south. It comprises 4900 acres, of which one-half is arable, one-fourth pasture, and the remaining fourth wood: the soil, in some parts rather shallow, is in other places a deep and fertile earth. The surface is mostly hilly, presenting much mountainous and side land; and the scenery from the heights is very fine, the Clwydian hills being in the distance on the one side, and those of Merionethshire on the other, with some intervening plantations, principally of oak. There are some quarries of limestone. The river Clwyd, whose source is about three miles distant, separates the parish from Clocaenog; and there are several other streams, celebrated for trout of very superior flavour. Nant Clwyd, the ancient seat of the Kenrick family, though large, is by no means remarkable for its architecture, and is at present partially occupied by a farmer.
The living is a rectory, consisting of two comportions, each rated in the king's books at £8: one is in the patronage of the Bishop of Bangor, and the other is appropriated by letters patent of the 32nd of Elizabeth to the grammar school at Ruthin. The tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £600, which is equally divided between the governors of Ruthin school and the rector, who has also a glebe of half an acre, valued at £1 per annum, and a glebe-house. The church, dedicated to St. Elidan, is an ancient and spacious structure, enriched with some elaborate carving in oak, and having the east windows embellished with some fine specimens of stained glass; it has two aisles, and contains several handsome monuments of white marble, among which are some to the families of Thelwall, Kenrick, and Jones. On the south side of the church are the arms of Queen Anne, with the name of Llanelidan inscribed upon them. There are places of worship for Baptists and Calvinistic and Wesleyan Methodists; a National school; and four Sunday schools, one of them in connexion with the Church. All the boys in the parish are entitled to gratuitous instruction in the free grammar school at Ruthin. Several charitable donations and bequests, amounting in the aggregate to £340, were, in 1764, invested in the purchase of a farm called Garth-y-Groes, now producing £25 per annum; and this sum, together with the interest of £34 secured upon the Ruthin turnpike trust, is distributed on St. Thomas's day and Good Friday, among the poor of the parish, according to the will of the several testators. There also appears to have been an estate belonging to the poor, called Bryn-Sion, of the gift of which nothing is now known. In 1839, a Friendly Society for this and the neighbouring parishes was established, which consists of about 150 members; and there is likewise an Odd Fellows' club in the parish.
LLANELIEU (LLAN-ELIEU), a parish, in the union of Hay, hundred of Talgarth, county of Brecknock, South Wales, 5 miles (S. W. by S.) from Hay; containing 103 inhabitants. This parish derives its name from the dedication of its church to St. Ellyw, grand-daughter of Brychan, Prince of Brycheiniog, who ruled about the commencement of the fifth century, and was distinguished chiefly for the number and the piety of his children. It is bounded on the north by the parishes of Glâsbury and Hay, by the parish of Tàlgarth on the south and west, and the Black Mountains on the south and east; and comprises by computation about 6000 acres, of which nearly 700 are arable, 450 good pasture, 200 woodland, and the remainder sheepwalks, common, and waste. The surface of the district is extremely uneven and irregular, and the soil is consequently various, but in general on the arable lands a red loam; producing, besides the ordinary grain, peas, turnips, and potatoes. A considerable portion of the parish, being mountain land, affords only pasturage, for sheep, cattle, and small horses: the mountain tracts are in some parts intersected by deep narrow glens or valleys, in which corn is grown; but the farmer depends more for his support upon his live stock than upon the agricultural produce of his lands. The scenery is bold, in some parts romantic; and the view of the mountains by which the parish is bounded, and of those in the distance, is strikingly grand and beautiful. The wood consists of oak, ash, alder, and Scotch fir; and numerous brooks water the parish. There were formerly several ancient mansions, but they have been all abandoned as family residences by their proprietors, and are at present occupied as farmhouses. One of these, called Llanelieu Court, which is situated near the church, and belonged to a family of the name of Aubrey, has on the sides of the entrance-gateway to it the following inscriptions,—"Excitus acta probat, 1676;" "Sic hora sic vita;" "Deus nobis hæc otia fecit, R. A. W. M., Anno Domini——;" "Noctua II vola, 1676, W. A. H. I.;" "Non Jupiter quidem omnibus placet;" "Spes alit exules."
The living is a discharged rectory, endowed with £200 royal bounty; patron, the Earl of Ashburnham: the tithes have been commuted for a rentcharge of £100, and there is a glebe of twenty-eight acres, with a parsonage-house. The church is a small ancient edifice, consisting of a nave and chancel; and is situated in a mountain dell, sheltered on the south-east by the Black Mountains, to the base of which the cultivated portion of the lands extends. From the churchyard is obtained a beautiful view of the chain of mountains comprising the Brecknockshire and Carmarthenshire Beacons, with the fertile tract intervening between it and the Black Mountains. Walter Watkins, of Cwm in Glâsbury, by will, in 1775, charged certain lands called Tîr Jenkin Perrot, in this parish, with the payment of the annual sum of ten shillings to two of the poorest legitimate children in it; but the charity has been lost for many years. Llanelieu is one of those parishes which are entitled, under the ample bequest of the Rev. Rice Powell, to the advantages of the Boughrood charity at Brecon, for apprenticing poor children. Within a cairn in a field on the Porthaml estate, the property of Lord Ashburnham, in the parish, was found, some time since, a spear-head of flint, nearly seven inches in length, and two inches broad in the widest part, which had been rudely chipped into its artificial form, and appears to have been made before the use of iron was known in this country. In the same cairn was a coarse earthen vessel, which, in the eagerness of the workmen to discover the treasure it was supposed to contain, was broken.
LLANELLTYD (LLAN-ELLTYD), a parish, in the union of Dôlgelley, hundred of Ardudwy, county of Merioneth, North Wales, 2 miles (N. W.) from Dôlgelley, on the road leading to Barmouth; containing 504 inhabitants. This parish, which is situated on the eastern bank of the river Maw, or Mawddach, near its confluence with the Wnion, extends for nearly five miles in various directions from the church, and comprises some fine tracts of meadow and arable land. An act of parliament was obtained in 1809 for reclaiming the common and waste, under the provisions of which 4164 acres have been inclosed. The Eden falls into the Mawddach about three miles above the village, and the scenery throughout the parish is richly diversified; the views along the banks of the rivers are beautifully picturesque, in some places even highly romantic, and have acquired much additional interest from the extensive and flourishing plantations made of late years. There are several ancient mansions in the neighbourhood, inhabited by opulent families; and the venerable remains of Cymmer Abbey, nearly opposite to the church, on the other side of the river, form an interesting feature in the village. Within three miles and a half of the village, near the road to Trawsvynydd, is the celebrated waterfall of Rhaiadr-Dû, more generally called Dôl-y-Melynllyn, from its proximity to a house of that name, and of which a description is given in the article on Dôlgelley. The principal of the neighbouring seats are, Hengwrt, and Dôl-uwch-Eogrŷd. The latter was erected by one of the Nanney family of Nannau: and has been rebuilt: a stone, on which is the inscription "Non Domus Dominum, sed Dominus Domum," was transferred from the old building to the front wall of the present handsome edifice. Peat is found in abundance, affording an ample supply of fuel. The river Mawddach is navigable for vessels not exceeding twenty tons as far as Maesygarnedd, about a quarter of a mile from the village, and the tide flows occasionally up to the bridge of Llanelltyd: several small craft ascend from Barmouth. The road from Dôlgelley divides into two branches at the village; one, on the left, leading down the vale along the river side to Barmouth; and the other, on the right, towards Trawsvynydd and Tan-y-Bwlch.
The living is a perpetual curacy, endowed with £1000 royal bounty; net income, £62, with a glebehouse; patron and impropriator, G. H. Vaughan, Esq., of Rûg and Hengwrt, whose tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £38. The church, dedicated to St. Illtyd, is an ancient structure, and contains a much-admired monument to the memory of Sir Robert Howel Vaughan, Bart., of Hengwrt and Nannau. There are places of worship for Independents, Calvinistic Methodists, and Baptists; a Church day-school; and four Sunday schools, one of them in connexion with the Established Church. Richard David, in the year 1770, bequeathed a small portion of land, the rent of which he directed to be paid to his nearest relative in the first degree, legally settled in this parish.
Cymmer Abbey, or, as it is called by the Welsh, Y Vanner, and Yr hên Vonachlog, was founded in 1198, by Meredydd and his brother Grufydd, sons of Cynan ab Owain Gwynedd, for monks of the Cistercian order, and dedicated to St. Mary. Llewelyn ab Iorwerth, who was a great benefactor to the establishment, augmented its endowments, and gave to the abbot Esau and his brethren an ample charter, confirming all preceding grants, and conferring additional and very extensive privileges. From this period it continued to flourish until the Dissolution, at which time its revenue was £58. 15. 4. The present remains of the conventual buildings consist principally of the abbey church, of which the roofless walls are yet standing: at the east end are three lofty, narrow, and sharply-pointed windows, above which are three of smaller dimensions, thickly overspread with ivy; on the south side of the east end are several niches, anciently containing statues. The great hall and part of the other buildings have been converted into a farmhouse, and the approach is by a noble avenue of lime-trees. These remains form an interesting and picturesque ruin, and, as seen from the parish church, and from many other points on the opposite side of the river, have a truly venerable and romantic appearance. On a small circular eminence, near a place called Pentre, and within a short distance of the abbey, stood the ancient castle of Cymmer, erected by the sons of Uchtryd ab Edwin, and demolished, in 1113, by the sons of Cadwgan ab Bleddyn, between whom and the founders hostilities had arisen. There are no traces of this fortress, except the site, which is still called Tommen, or "the tumulus."
Hengwrt was in the seventeenth century the seat of Robert Vaughan, Esq., an eminent antiquary, who published various works on British antiquities, and collected and transcribed a vast number of Welsh manuscripts, which are still carefully preserved at this ancient mansion, and which were augmented by a large collection made by Mr. Jones, of Gelli Lyvdy, according to a mutual agreement between those gentlemen, that the survivor should possess both. Mr. Vaughan was a correspondent of the learned Ussher, of Selden, Sir Simon D'Ewes, and other eminent men; he died in 1666, and was buried in the parish church of Dôlgelley.
LLANELLY, a parish, in the union and hundred of Crickhowel, county of Brecknock, South Wales, 5 miles (W. by N.) from Abergavenny, on the road to Merthyr-Tydvil; composed of the hamlets of Aberbaidon and Maesgwartha, and containing, in 1847, nearly 10,000 inhabitants. This parish, which derives its name from the dedication of its church, is bounded on the north by the river Usk, and consists of arable, pasture, wood, and mountain land, that portion which constitutes part of the Vale of Usk being fertile, and the mountainous and mineral districts very barren. Its area is 4000 acres, whereof 1500 are common or waste land. It is divided into two nearly equal parts by the river Clydach, a mountain torrent, which, descending with impetuosity along a deep channel obstructed by rocks, forms some picturesque falls in its course through the parish. The scenery is diversified, combining features of romantic grandeur and enchanting beauty. The Vale of Clydach, which extends nearly the whole length of the parish, is deep, narrow, and winding; and the scenery on the banks of the Clydach, though seldom visited by the tourist, and consequently but little known, is remarkably beautiful. The banks of this rapid stream rise precipitously to an immense height, and being richly clothed with wood, and in some parts with timber of majestic growth, form, in the luxuriance and variety of the foliage, a striking contrast to the rugged and barren summits of the mountains above them. The Clydach, in its progress through the narrow cwm, or vale, presents two interesting falls, and there was formerly a third, called Pistill Mawr, which, however, was destroyed by the sinking of a coal-mine, at the head of the rock from which the water was precipitated, when the channel of the river was bored some distance higher up, and the stream, carried through a tunnel, was made to emerge at the bottom of the rock. Of the two others, called respectively Pwll Crochan and Pwll Cwn, the latter is by far the more picturesque, being formed by the precipitation of the river from a considerable height into a basin worn in the rock by the continual action of the water, from which it descends with great force from an elevation of thirty feet into a pool encircled with impending rocks and thick underwood, over which a few aged yew-trees cast a sombre shade. The banks of the river Usk likewise afford scenery of much interest. The chief hills in the parish are those named the Gilwern, Disgwilva, Dinas, and Brynmawr, on which last is a great number of houses.
The parish abounds with Mineral wealth of various kinds, in procuring and manufacturing which the inhabitants are principally employed. In the mountains that inclose the Vale of Clydach, coal, iron-ore, limestone, sandstone, and fire-clay are found in great profusion. The Clydach collieries, which are very extensive, and employ about 100 hands, belong to the Brecknock Boat Company, and supply the town of Brecknock and the surrounding country to a great distance with bituminous coal. An immense quantity of coal is also raised here by the Clydach Iron Company, for the supply of their extensive works. It is all worked by levels, brought down the mountain steeps by means of inclined planes, and conveyed by the tramroad belonging to the Brecknock and Abergavenny canal company, either for the supply of the iron-works, or to the canal, for conveyance to Brecknock and its vicinity. The Clydach iron-works, originally established about 200 years ago, by a member of the Hanbury family, of Pontypool in Monmouthshire, are conducted upon a very large scale, affording employment to upwards of 1000 hands; and comprise four blast-furnaces for smelting the ore, worked by a steam-engine of seventy-horse power, and by a water-wheel forty feet in diameter: the forges, in which charcoal is employed, are supplied with air by a steam-engine of smaller power, and by a water-wheel of the same diameter; and the rolling-mills for converting the pig-iron into bars are set in motion by the waterwheel alone. Clydach House, the residence of the manager of the iron-works, is a handsome building; and of the other mansions in the parish may be named Tŷ Mawr, Aberbaidon, Glâslyn, and Dyfryn Mawr.
Great facilities of communication between the mineral districts of the parish, and other parts, are afforded by the road from Abergavenny to MerthyrTydvil, by the Brecknock and Abergavenny canal, and by a tramroad from the aqueduct below Aberclydach to the Beaufort iron-works, in the parish of Llangattock. This tramway, which is the property of the canal company, and about eight miles in length, winds up Cwm Clydach, and communicates along its whole course with tramroads from the different works in the neighbourhood. The Brecknock and Abergavenny canal, after traversing a distance of sixteen miles from the town of Brecknock, with a fall of sixty-eight feet, by means of six locks, is here conveyed over the valley and stream of the Clydach, at an elevation of little less than 100 feet above the bed of the river, by a strong aqueduct of stone, supported by a prodigious embankment raised upon an arch, twenty-two feet in the span, built over the Clydach in 1799; the whole forming a prominent feature in the scenery of the vale.
The Living is a perpetual curacy, united, with the living of Llangeney, to the rectory of Llangattock; the tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £423. The church, dedicated to St. Elliw, a small ancient structure in the early style of English architecture, with a low massive tower, comprises a nave and one aisle, the one much older than the other, separated by a series of pointed arches, and contains about 300 sittings. It is situated on an exposed eminence, about a mile south of the Usk, and a little westward of the Clydach; the churchyard is inclosed by yew-trees of ancient growth, and commands a charming prospect over the Vale of Usk, which abounds with richly varied and highly picturesque scenery. Divine service is also performed on Sunday evening in a licensed schoolroom, the services at the parish church being held in the morning and afternoon. There are places of worship for Baptists, Independents, Calvinistic Methodists, Primitive Methodists, and Wesleyans; the total number of the meeting-houses is about fifteen. Six of these are at Brynmawr, in the upper part of the parish, where a population of several thousand persons is located, dependent on Mr. Bailey's great iron-works at Nanty-Glo, in the adjoining county of Monmouth. At Glâslyn, in the lower part of the parish, is a school in connexion with the National Society, which owes its origin almost entirely, and its maintenance chiefly, to Mrs. Ansdell, a lady of the neighbourhood. A school is held under the patronage of the Clydach Iron Company; it is conducted on the National system, but is unconnected with any society, and attended only by the children of the company's workmen. At Brynmawr is a school built by the dissenters, but this is wholly supported by the parents of the children, and a free school on the National plan is greatly needed there; the population of the place has been much neglected, and at present there is neither school nor chapel in connexion with the Establishment. Of the numerous Sunday schools in the parish, two are taught on Church principles, and the rest supported by the various denominations of dissenters.
Edward Lewis, of Aberclydach, Esq., in 1713, bequeathed a rent-charge of £3, payable out of the produce of his estate of Pant Dreiniog, for six Welsh sermons to be preached annually in the church of Llanelly, by some clergyman other than the incumbent or his curate, "as long as the Church of England shall continue in this country." Mr. William Lewis, of Llanelly, in 1760, left £2 per annum, charged on a tenement called Llandewi Ysgyryd, in the county of Monmouth, and which his sister Anne afterwards extended to £4, to such poor persons not receiving parochial relief as may be thought most deserving. Harry William, or Harry William Jenkin, of Llanelly, in 1687, bequeathed to the poor certain lands called Tîr yr Hooper, containing from ten to twelve acres of arable and pasture, let at £25 per annum; and a tramroad has been of late years cut through the upper part of the property, for which a rent of £1. 4. 5. per annum is paid in addition to the above: after an expenditure for repairs, the money is distributed, first among the poor relatives of the testator, in sums varying from five to thirty shillings.
On a hill called the Gaer, overlooking the Vale of Clydach, are the remains of an ancient encampment, supposed to be of British construction; and on a rock opposite to it are some vestiges of another military post, called Dinas. Mr. Edward Llwyd, who examined the coal and iron mines throughout the county of Brecknock, more than a century since, discovered near the mines in this parish a singular fossil production, consisting of a cylindrical piece of limestone, about eight inches in length and three inches in diameter, having the surface ornamented with narrow and equidistant circular cavities, in each of which was a circle of small diameter, with a small stud in the centre. Various spars are also frequently found among the iron-ores in the neighbourhood.
LLANELLY (LLAN-ELLI), an incorporated sea-port and market-town, a parish, and the head of a union, in the hundred of Carnawllon, county of Carmarthen, South Wales, 15 miles (S. E. by S.) from Carmarthen, on the road to Swansea, 11 miles (W. N. W.) from Swansea, and 216 (W. by N.) from London; containing 11,155 inhabitants, of whom 6846 are in the borough hamlet. This place, which appears to be of great antiquity, derives its name from its church being dedicated to St. Elliw. It was probably an ancient British town of some importance, and remains of British fortifications may be distinctly traced in the immediate neighbourhood. The town is situated on the northern bank of the Burry, which forms an expansive estuary, and constitutes the boundary between the counties of Carmarthen and Glamorgan; and though described forty years ago as a small and insignificant place, inhabited chiefly by sailors and persons employed in the adjacent coalmines, Llanelly, from the convenience of its situation on a navigable estuary, and from the richness of its vicinity in iron, coal, and limestone, has risen into manufacturing and commercial importance, and is still rapidly increasing in population and extent. An act of parliament was obtained in 1807, by which an inclosure of the commons of that portion of the parish immediately dependent on the town was effected, and the land, with the exception of onefourteenth allotted to the owner of the lordship of Kidwelly, was vested in trustees chosen by and from the burgesses, to be let on lease, and the proceeds applied to the improvement of the town and harbour: this property now produces £500 per annum, and is capable of being much increased in value. Respectable houses have been erected in almost every direction; as have numerous others of inferior character, which are occupied as soon as they can be finished. The town has been paved, and is supplied with water from the river Lliedi, which flows through it: an act for lighting it with gas was passed in 1835. Its prosperity will be further augmented by the South Wales railway, now in progress, which will pass by it. A mechanics' institute has been formed within the last three or four years.
Llanelly is supposed to be situated in or near the centre of the mineral basin of South Wales, which is calculated to contain no fewer than forty-two beds of coal, incumbent upon each other, with intervening strata of stone, &c.: upon these beds are found numerous fossil remains. The abundance of excellent coal, both anthracite and bituminous, in the vicinity, has caused the establishment here of extensive works called the Llanelly Works, which are used for smelting copper-ore, for extracting silver from lead and copper, and for rolling copper; also the Cambrian Works, used for smelting lead-ore. Both these concerns are carried on by Messrs. Sims, Willyams, Nevill, and Co.; and connected with them are extensive collieries, from which the works are supplied, and which produce large quantities of coal to be shipped to Cornwall, Ireland, and other parts: the mines also furnish the government steamers very largely with coal. The works are remarkable for having two immense chimneys, of the extraordinary height of 270 and 220 feet, of a pyramidal shape, and which, from their loftiness, form conspicuous and imposing objects in the view of the town. There are also extensive tin-plate works, iron-foundries, and potteries in the parish. Of late years, ironstone has been largely worked in the interior of this part of the county.
The Port, which exercises paramount jurisdiction over some others as dependent members, has been vastly improved within the last forty years, prior to which it was only open beach. An act of parliament for the improvement of the port was passed in 1813. In 1828, the Llanelly Railway and Dock Company obtained an act enabling them to make a railway from the Llangennech collieries to Llanelly harbour, and to construct a floating-dock at the latter place. The railway was completed and opened in 1833; and at its termination eastward of the harbour, are an extensive floating-dock and other works, in the formation of which numerous difficulties presented themselves, from quicksands and other obstacles. These works were opened in the month of July, 1834, and the railway has since been extended from Llangennech much further inland, to Llanedy, Bettws, and Llandebie; its present length, including branches, being twenty-six miles and a half. The floatingdock consists of a basin capable of holding fifty sail of ships, and is always kept full of water by means of a pair of lofty stop-gates, of African oak: the entrance is formed by wing and entrance walls, substantially composed of ashlar masonry, and secured by inverted arches, permitting a vessel of 1000 tons' burthen to pass in with perfect safety; the depth of water upon the sill during neap-tides is fourteen, during ordinary spring-tides twenty, and during high spring-tides twenty-four, feet. It communicates with the sea by an outer tide-basin, and an entrance channel, or ship-canal, about half a mile in length: the outer basin was constructed with a view to avoid the inconvenience and delay of crowding the canal with vessels, and in it light vessels wait until the loaded ships have passed out of the dock into the entrance canal, which is itself an artificial cut through the beach. Owing to its peculiar position, and the protection afforded to the estuary by the projecting coast of Glamorganshire, vessels can enter or leave the dock in almost any state of the weather. At the eastern side of the dock is a large reservoir, so situated as to be filled by the sea when required; by means of a sea-sluice it is made available for scouring out the mud and silt from the entrance canal and outer basin. The facilities for shipping coal in this dock, tide-basin, and canal, are very great, and there is abundant accommodation for any increase of the trade of this improving district. Vessels of 600 or 700 tons not unfrequently trade to Llanelly.
The principal article of import is copper-ore, the produce of which, after having been here manufactured, is shipped off to the value of £300,000 per annum. More than 230,000 tons of coal and culm are also annually exported, some of the coal, owing to its peculiarly fine quality, being shipped to France, Spain, India, and the West Indies, for the use of steam-boats. Besides the large dock previously described, there are three other docks, one of which is a floating-basin, capable of admitting fifty vessels of 350 tons' burthen. The improvement of the navigation of the rivers Burry, Loughor, and Lliedi, is regulated by the act of 1813, by which commissioners are empowered to scour, enlarge, and deepen them, to erect buoys and lights, and to regulate the pilotage and mooring of vessels, for which a small tonnage-rate is paid by such vessels as cross the bar of Burry. A small impost is also levied on all goods imported into, and exported from, the harbour of Llanelly. The markets, which are abundantly supplied with provisions of every kind, are held twice a week, on Thursday and Saturday, and are much frequented: the fairs take place annually on Holy Thursday and September 30th, and are in general numerously attended.
Llanelly is a borough by prescription, and most probably received its corporate privileges from its ancient lords, though no evidence of any regular charter having been granted to it has yet been discovered. Two courts leet are held annually, one in the spring and the other in the autumn, by the steward of the lordship of Kidwelly, within which the borough is comprised. At these courts the jury, who are selected by the steward from among the burgesses, present to him whomsoever they think fit, for admission to the freedom; and at the court which takes place in the spring they nominate a burgess to serve as portreeve, who is sworn in for the ensuing year. By the act of 1832, for "Amending the Representation of the People," Llanelly was united with Carmarthen in the return of a member to parliament. The franchise is vested in every male 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 £10, provided he be capable of registering as the act directs: the number of tenements of this value, within the limits of the borough, which are minutely defined in the Appendix to the work, is about 200. A county debtcourt is also fixed here; it was established in the year 1847, under the general small-debts' act, and has jurisdiction over the union or registration-district of Llanelly. By the Boundary Act, the town was made a polling-place in the election of the knights for the shire.
The parish, which is bounded on the north by the parishes of Llangendeirn and Llannon, on the east by Llangennech parish, and on the west by Penbrey, contains about 20,000 acres, and is divided into five hamlets, called the Borough, Berwick, Glyn, Hêngoed, and Westva. About one-third part of the land is arable, under the cultivation of wheat, barley, oats, and potatoes, and the remainder pasture and wood. The surface for the most part is uneven; and the scenery, which is of varied character, and interspersed with fine plantations of fir and other kinds of timber, is in many situations highly picturesque. Among the principal mansions in the parish are Stradey, Great House, Llundain Vâch, Glanmor, and Westva.
The Living, which is rated in the king's books at £6. 6. 8. as a discharged vicarage, is really a perpetual curacy; it has a net income of £250, and is in the patronage of Rees Goring Thomas, Esq., who is owner of both the great and small tithes, which have been commuted for a rent-charge of £2100. There is a glebe of forty acres belonging to Mr. Thomas, worth £80 per annum; and the vicar has also a glebe of nine acres, with a house, the whole valued at £50. Previously to the Reformation, when the tithes were alienated from the Church, there was a chapel in each of the five hamlets into which the parish is divided: of these, the chapel in the borough, the only one remaining entire, at present forms the chancel of the parish church, to which transepts have been added, and other additions made; the whole constituting an irregular edifice, having a tower surmounted by an embattled parapet. There are four services in the church on Sunday, two in Welsh and two in English; and two lectures in the week, one in each language. The patron, Mr. Thomas, has rebuilt the chapel of St. John, or Capel Ivan, and made provision for the maintenance of a clergyman; and another small chapel in connexion with the Church has likewise been rebuilt. The living of St. Paul's, Llanelly, is a perpetual curacy, formed under the act 6th and 7th Victoria, cap. 37; patrons, the Crown and the Bishop of St. David's, alternately. There are places of worship for Baptists, Particular Baptists, Independents, and Calvinistic and Wesleyan Methodists. Several day schools, and about a dozen Sunday schools, are supported. The sum of £4 per annum was bequeathed by Mr. Allen, of the parish, to be expended in the purchase of Bibles for the poor; it was for some years regularly applied to that purpose, but the payment of it has lately been discontinued, under the operation of the Mortmain Act. The poor-law union of which this town is the head, was formed Oct. 24th, 1836, and comprises the seven parishes of Llanelly, Kidwelly, Llanedy, Llangennech, Llannon, and Penbrey, in the county of Carmarthen; and Loughor, in the county of Glamorgan. It is under the superintendence of sixteen guardians, and, according to the last census, contains a population of 20,178.
On a small promontory, projecting into the Loughor river a little below the town, and which was formerly an island, a monastery is supposed to have been erected by St. Peiro, about the year 513; this saint constituted himself first abbot, and was succeeded by Samson, a disciple of St. Illtyd. The farmhouse of Machynis, the name of which is thought to be a contraction of Mynach Ynys, or "monk island," is conjectured to occupy the site of this ancient religious house. Pen Castell, in the immediate neighbourhood of the town, is considered to be the vestige of an old British fortification. Near the church is Great House, a fine old mansion, formerly belonging to Sir John Stepney, Bart., who for many years, during the reign of George III., was ambassador at the courts of Dresden and Florence. After being for more than sixty years deserted by the family, during which time it was let out in different tenements, and the conservatory converted into a market-house, it came into the possession of William Chambers, Esq., who at considerable expense has restored it, and has also erected a market-place for the accommodation of the town. Stradey, the seat of David Lewis, Esq., prior to its becoming the property of the father of the present owner, belonged to the Mansels, who had extensive possessions in this and the adjoining parishes: two of this ancient family were created baronets in 1621, but one of the titles is extinct.
LLANELWETH (LLAN-ELWEDD), a parish, in the union of Builth, hundred of Colwyn, county of Radnor, South Wales, nearly 1 mile (N. E.) from Builth; containing 197 inhabitants. This parish is pleasantly situated on the river Wye, by which it is separated on the south and south-west from the parish of Builth, in the county of Brecknock. It is intersected by the turnpike-road from that place to Newtown in Montgomeryshire, from which, soon after it enters the parish, branches a road up the eastern bank of the Wye to Rhaiadr, and further on, near the church, branches another road to New Radnor, Kington, Presteign, and Leominster. The surface is generally undulated, with some abrupt eminences of considerable height; and the lands, except some elevated commons and a small rocky district, are inclosed and in an excellent state of cultivation. The scenery is pleasingly varied; and the views from the higher grounds, and especially from the rocks beyond Wellfield, are extensive and extremely rich.
In this neighbourhood are a few gentlemen's seats. Llanelweth Hall, the ancient residence of the Gwynnes, of Garth, in the county of Brecknock, (of which family was Marmaduke Gwynne, a judge on the North Wales circuit, who died in 1712,) has been deserted by its proprietor, and is now in the occupation of a tenant. Wellfield House, erected in 1787, by David Thomas, Esq., of London, descended from a branch of the Thomas family, of Llwyn Madoc, in Brecknockshire, is a spacious and handsome mansion, with a portico of the Tuscan order. It is finely situated on a lofty eminence, and embosomed in flourishing plantations, forming a prominent object from every point of view, and strikingly contrasted with the rugged barrenness of some of the adjacent heights. The grounds are ornamented with shrubberies and walks, and command a fine prospect, including the rivers Wye and Irvon winding along their respective vales, with the town of Builth and the adjacent country. From the summit of an eminence on this estate is one of the most magnificent panoramic views in any part of the principality; comprehending a circle of more than twelve miles in the radius, entirely inclosed with lofty hills, and embracing a vast number of interesting objects, and a variety of beautiful scenery. To the east are seen the Black Mountains, of dreary appearance, with the acclivities of others of more softened aspect; and to the west are the mountains of Tregarn and Garn Wen, the former said to be the highest ridge, next to the Beacons, in this part of South Wales, and the latter remarkable for its conical form, and the cairn that marks its summit. About a mile north of Wellfield is Penkerrig House, which has been enlarged and partly rebuilt, and embellished with a new front in the Elizabethan style. It is pleasingly ornamented with a rich plantation of evergreens, and is sheltered in the rear by a hill of considerable elevation, with stately timber. In the grounds, which are laid out with great taste, is a fine sheet of water, covering about six acres; and the view obtained from the house, though not extensive in its range, is picturesque.
The living is a perpetual curacy, endowed with £800 royal bounty, and in the gift of the Thomas family, as lessees of the tithes; net income, £70. The tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £140. The church, dedicated to St. Matthew, a small edifice not distinguished by any remarkable details, is situated on an eminence near the high road, and on the bank of the river Wye. Lady Hartstrong, or Hartstongue, bequeathed a farm, called Bailey Bedw, in the parish of St. Harmon, in this county, for the gratuitous education of the children of the poor of Llanelweth; and from the rent of the lands thus bequeathed a charity school is supported. The farm consists of 75a. 1r. 7p. of land, arable and pasture, to which a right of common is appurtenant; there are also two fields, close to Bailey Bedw, containing 1a. 2r. 25p. A new trust-deed was prepared in 1821, continuing the appointment of the master in the Price family, of Foxley; the control in all other respects being in the majority of the trustees. This school, and a Sunday school which is also held, are in connexion with the Established Church. Llanelweth is one of the sixteen places entitled to participate in the benefits of the Boughrood charity at Brecon for the apprenticing of children.
On the summit of the eminence near Wellfield House are the imperfect remains of a semicircular intrenchment, once defended by a rampart of loose stones, and to which a walk has been formed from the grounds of that seat; and on the confines of this parish and of Disserth, where the desperate battle between Rhŷs ab Tewdwr and the three sons of Bleddyn ab Cynvyn is supposed by some to have been fought, may be seen, from this eminence, the square moat of Cwrt Llêchryd, so called, perhaps, from a monument erected there to the memory of Riryd ab Bleddyn, who was slain in the battle. At a short distance is a tumulus, called by the Welsh "Castell," of which nothing is with certainty known: by some it is thought to have been surmounted by an arx speculatoria, and by others to be only sepulchral. There are also some remains of a fortification on the hill behind Penkerrig House, but they are in a very imperfect state. On the farm belonging to the Wellfield estate, are two remarkable quarries: in one is obtained a kind of transitional clay slate, which displays some curious marine impressions of a species of the Trilobite: the other produces a hard kind of clay, or stone, perforated with small holes emitting a black powder; the external appearance of the substance indicates the action of fire, and in the clay are found fine specimens of crystals, some of them very beautiful and perfect.