A Topographical Dictionary of Wales. Originally published by S Lewis, London, 1849.
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CHIRK, a parish, in the union of Oswestry, hundred of Chirk, county of Denbigh, North Wales, 5¾ miles (N.) from Oswestry, on the road from London to Holyhead and Dublin; containing 1611 inhabitants, of whom 475 are in the township of Chirk. This parish is remarkable in history as the scene of a conflict between part of the forces of Henry II. and the Welsh, which took place in 1165, in a deep and picturesque valley, along which runs the river Ceiriog, on the west and south sides of Chirk Castle. Henry, with a view to the conquest of Wales, collected an army at Oswestry, whilst the Welsh prince, Owain Gwynedd, mustered his forces at Corwen; and being eager to decide the struggle, the English monarch hastened to meet the enemy, but was interrupted in this valley by almost impenetrable woods, which he commanded his men to cut down, in order to secure himself from ambuscade, posting the pikemen and flower of his army to protect those at work. When thus engaged, a strong party of Welsh fell upon the English with indignant fury, and a battle ensued, which, while it ended in the retiring of the former, so reduced the strength of Henry, that although he contrived to advance to Corwen, yet, harassed by the activity of Owain, who cut off his supplies, he was at length compelled to fall back into the English territory, and relinquish his design. This encounter, in which numbers of men were slain on both sides, is called the battle of Crogen, and the place where it was fought Adwy'r Beddau, "the pass of the graves."
The exact period of the erection of Chirk castle is uncertain. John Myddelton, Esq., in a communication to the Society of Antiquaries, in 1729, says, that "it was begun 1011, and finished 1013: the repair of one of the wings, in Cromwell's time, cost £28,000. The front is 250 feet long, the court 165 by 100, and five round towers 50 feet in diameter; Adam's tower, 80 feet high, the wall near the dungeon nine feet deep, and the dungeon as deep as the walls of the castle are high." But, though the description applies to the present structure, the period is more probably that of the erection of a prior edifice, called Castell Crogen; since both Bishop Gibson in his additions to Camden, and Mr. Pennant, ascribe it to Roger Mortimer, in the reign of Edward I. Mortimer, on the death of Grufydd ab Madoc, lord of Dinas Brân, on which lordship the territory around Castell Crogan, called Trêv-yWaûn, was dependent, was appointed by Edward I. guardian of Llewelyn, one of Grufydd's sons, the other, named Madoc, having been entrusted to John, Earl Warren. These noblemen are stated, after having given orders for putting the youths to death, to have seized upon their possessions, Mortimer taking the lordships of Chirk and Nanheudwy, and Earl Warren those of Bromfield and Yale. John, the grandson of Roger, sold the lordship of Chirk to Richard FitzAlan, Earl of Arundel, whose descendants possessed it for three generations, when it was conveyed by marriage to Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk, on whose disgrace and exile, in 1397, it was forfeited to the crown, and soon after granted to William Beauchamp, lord of Abergavenny, who had married the other heiress of the Fitz-Alans. His grand-daughter, sole heiress of Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Worcester, having been married to Edward Neville, afterwards Lord Abergavenny, in the reign of Henry VI., it became the property of that family. It came afterwards to the Stanleys, and at length to the crown, and was conferred by Queen Elizabeth on her favourite, Dudley, Earl of Leicester. At his death it passed to Lord St. John, of Bletso, whose son sold it, in 1595, to Sir Thomas Myddelton, Knt., who served the office of lord mayor of London, in 1614, and to whose descendants it has ever since belonged. On the decease of Richard Myddelton, Esq., who died unmarried in 1796, it was divided among his three sisters and co-heiresses, of whom the late Mrs. Myddelton Biddulph, after a protracted suit in Chancery, succeeded to that portion on which the castle and village are situated. The present lord of the manor is Robert Myddelton Biddulph, Esq., lord-lieutenant of the county.
During the civil war of the seventeenth century, Sir Thomas Myddelton, son of the purchaser of the estate, having espoused the cause of the parliament, orders were issued by Charles I. in 1642 to Col. Robert Ellyce, to take possession of the castle, and apply the money and plate found in it to the payment of his regiment, and then deliver it up to Sir Thomas Hanmer, who was appointed governor. The following notices of the castle, relating to this period, are extracted from a manuscript account of the civil war in North Wales, by William Maurice, preserved at Wynnstay: "1643, Jan. 15, Chirk Castle taken and plundred by Colonell Ellis." "1644, 20 March, Prince Robert (Rupert) cam to Chirk Castle, and so went to Chester." "20 Nov., Sir Tho. Midleton and Coll. Mitton attempted suddenly in the night to surprize Chirke Castle, but were disappointed." "1655, Feb. 5, Prince Maurice cam to Shrewsbury, and having stayed there 9 dayes in ordering his forces, advanced towards Chester: the first night he lay at Chirk Castle; from thence went to Ruthyn." "22 Sept., the king marched from Llanfyllin by Brithdir (where he dined, and gave proclamation among his soldiers that they should not plunder any thing in Denbighshire), and thence passed through Mochnant and Cefnhirfynydd, and so along the topp of the mountains to Chirk Castle, where he lay that night." Afterwards, "from Chester the king retreated to Denbigh Castle, and having layed there two or three nights, returned to Chirk Castle. The next morning, viz. 29 Sept., he advanced from thence with his army through Llansilin." "1646, 23 February, the Montgomeryshire forces (parliamentary) began to fortifie Llansilin churche, for the straightninge and keeping-inn of Chirk Castle men, where Sir John Watts was governor, who shortly after deserted the castle." "13 June, Sir Thos. Mydleton cam first to Chirk Castle after it was deserted." The manuscript containing these notices has been printed in the Archæologia Cambrensis, from which the above extracts are taken. Sir Thomas Myddelton, lord of Chirk, had exerted himself with great zeal for the parliament; but being disgusted at the events of the war, he passed over to the other side, and, in 1659, joined Sir George Booth, in attempting to restore the ancient constitutution. Sir George, however, having been defeated by Gen. Lambert, Sir Thomas was obliged to seek refuge in his castle, which was besieged by Lambert, to whom it was surrendered after a defence of two or three days, in which the western side and three of its towers were demolished, the victor, it is said, plundering the estate to the amount of £80,000. The injury sustained by the castle in this siege was soon after repaired by Sir Thomas Myddelton, in the course of one year. The lordship of Chirk, otherwise "Chirkland," includes the parishes of Chirk, Llangollen, and Llansantfraid-Glynn-Ceriog.
This parish is bounded on the north by Ruabon, on the east and south by St. Martin's in the county of Salop, and on the west by Llangollen; the river Dee runs along the boundary on the north and northeast, and the Ceiriog, which takes its course along the southern and south-eastern limits, unites with the former on the eastern side of the parish. It lies at the foot of the Berwyn range of mountains, and comprises by admeasurement 4635 acres, of which 3050 are arable, 1150 pasture, and 435 woodland, in the last of which oak predominates; the soil in general is a loam incumbent on gravel, and the chief produce wheat, barley, potatoes, and turnips. The surface is undulated and hilly, rising from the village to an eminence on which the castle is situated, on the western side, with the Berwyns beyond, and on the eastern side to another elevation. From the brow of the latter is a delightful prospect of the plain of Salop, in the one direction, and in the other a nearer view of part of the Vale of Llangollen, including the celebrated Pont-y-Cysylltau aqueduct, which conveys the Ellesmere canal over the valley of the Dee, with the meanderings of that river between its wood-fringed banks towards the grounds of Wynnstay. This hill also embraces a complete view of Chirk Castle, towering on its elevated site, and the princely grounds that surround it, which, adorned with noble plantations, and interspersed with clumps of trees tastefully arranged along the side of the mountain, combine to present, with the picturesque village of the Cevn, and the woody scenery of Newbridge and Nant-y-Belan, on the right, the beautiful grounds of Brynkinalt and the village of Chirk on the left, and various intermediate objects of picturesque beauty, a home view highly diversified, rich, and cheerful. The village is pleasantly situated on the northern bank of the river Ceiriog, which, flowing along a small vale of great beauty, here separates the counties of Denbigh and Salop, and consequently Wales and England. It is exceedingly clean and neat, and contains some highly respectable houses and wellbuilt cottages, having been greatly improved by the late Mrs. Myddelton Biddulph, who, on coming into possession of the Chirk Castle estate, pulled down several dilapidated buildings, and erected others of uniform appearance for her tenants, on more eligible sites. The Holyhead road, on both sides of the village, has been widened and altered within the last few years, so as to avoid the inequalities and windings in its course. Chirk Hill, which was previously very abrupt, has been partially levelled, and the road conducted more circuitously across the vale by means of an embankment. On the north side of the village, also, its course has been diverted; but these improvements, though greatly conducive to the convenience of passengers, have probably lessened the picturesque character of the route.
There is a valuable mine of coal in the parish, at Black Park, which is worked on an extensive scale, by Mr. T. E. Ward, who holds it on lease from the owner of the Chirk Castle estate, and employs here about 200 workmen; the pits are 240 yards deep, and the annual sale exceeds 50,000 tons: a tramroad leads from them to the Ellesmere canal, where is a wharf for loading barges. At the Vron, within the parish of Llangollen, and on the banks of the canal, are extensive lime-works, belonging to the same estate, affording employment to about one hundred persons. Pont-y-Blew forge, in the township of Halton, and on the river Ceiriog, was erected in the year 1710, for making charcoal iron, and was enlarged in 1795, when the manufacture of puddled iron was introduced: about twenty tons are now made weekly, and about ten men are employed. The Ellesmere canal enters the parish from Shropshire, and is conveyed across the Vale of Chirk and the river Ceiriog, by means of the Chirk aqueduct, 232 yards long, consisting of ten arches, the piers of which are 65 feet high. It then immediately enters a tunnel, 220 yards long. On emerging from this, it proceeds in its course through the parish, passing near the village, and then enters another tunnel, soon after which it is carried over the Vale of the Dee by the stupendous aqueduct of Pont-y-Cysylltau, noticed under the head of Llangollen. The Shrewsbury and Chester railway also enters the parish from Shropshire, crossing the river Ceiriog by a viaduct parallel and almost close to the Chirk aqueduct; this viaduct is at least 850 feet long, upwards of 129 feet high, and has ten arches of 45 feet span, and one arch of 120 feet span. The line thence passes through the parish, and crosses the Dee valley, into the parish of Ruabon, by a grand viaduct above 1530 feet in length, which is about half a mile lower down the river than Pont-y-Cysylltau: see the article on Llangollen. There is a grist-mill, which is turned by water-power. Fairs are held at the village annually on February 10th, June 10th, August 12th, and November 12th, for the sale of live-stock and pedlery; and a court leet for the manor of Chirk takes place once a year.
About a mile and a half to the west of the village is Chirk castle, proudly situated on an eminence backed by the Berwyn mountains. It is a venerable quadrangular embattled structure, defended by a low massive tower at each corner, and another in the centre of the north front, where is the principal entrance, under an arched gateway guarded by a portcullis, leading into a square area of considerable dimensions, round which the various apartments are ranged. On the east side of this area extends a low embattled corridor, conducting to the principal apartments, which were greatly altered, modernised, and embellished by Mrs. Biddulph: the old entrance to the hall is by a flight of steps on the north side of the area. The picture-gallery, at the south end of which is the ancient chapel, is one hundred feet in length, by twenty-two in width, and contains several good portraits and other paintings. The park is extensive, and is disposed with picturesque effect, the inequalities of its surface, and the declivity of the hill extending behind it and toward the north, having afforded a favourable scope for the arrangement of the trees and plantations. A new road, also, leading to the castle, in a winding direction through the park, so as to embrace a view of much interesting scenery in the valley of the Ceiriog, and avoid a steep hill, has been made of late, in lieu of that which formerly led from the village. Near New Hall, which is described as an old seat of the Myddeltons, rebuilt many years ago as a farmhouse, and surrounded by a moat, stands a pair of iron gates of the richest and most delicate and exquisite workmanship, designed and executed by a common blacksmith; they originally stood immediately in front of the castle, and now form the entrance into the park from Llangollen and Wrexham. The summit of the castle embraces a wide prospect of great beauty and magnificence, offering to the naked eye, on a clear day, it is said, an uninterrupted view into seventeen different counties. Brynkinalt, in the parish, the seat of Lord Viscount Dungannon, passed in the female line to his lordship's family from the Trevors, whose great ancestor, Ednyved Gam, was a descendant of Tudor Trevor; it was built in 1619, from a design by Inigo Jones, but has been enlarged and embellished by the present noble owner, and stands in a beautifully secluded spot on the western bank of the Ceiriog, surrounded by fine plantations.
The living is a discharged vicarage, rated in the king's books at £6. 11. 5½., and endowed with £200 royal bounty; patron, the Bishop of St. Asaph; impropriator, Viscount Dungannon: the vicarial tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £565; and there is a glebe-house, with a glebe of about two acres and a half valued at £2 per annum. The church, dedicated to St. Mary, is a handsome edifice, with a square tower containing a ring of bells, and measures fifty-seven feet in length and thirty-nine in width. It has been renovated and embellished, in the later style of English architecture, by subscription among the parishioners, and has received an addition of 173 sittings, of which 133 are free, the Incorporated Society for Building and Enlarging Churches and Chapels having granted £100 for that purpose. It contains divers marble effigies of the Myddeltons of Chirk Castle, mostly ill-executed, with the exception of a bust of Sir Thomas Myddelton, the active parliamentary commander, represented with a peaked beard, long hair, and armed; near which is another, of his lady, of the Napier family of Luton. Here was interred Dr. Walter Balcanqual, a Scottish divine of some note, who represented his country at the famous synod of Dort, in 1618, and was successively raised to the deaneries of Rochester and Durham. Having, in consequence of his loyalty, rendered himself obnoxious to his countrymen, he was, in 1645, obliged to seek an asylum at Chirk Castle, where he died on Christmas-day ensuing; and a small mural tablet was erected to his memory in the church by Sir Thomas Myddelton, at whose request an elegant epitaph was composed for him by Dr. Pearson, then Bishop of Chester. A school for boys was founded in the village by Mrs. Myddelton Biddulph, in 1820: the master receives the interest of £20 left by Mrs. Mary Bennett, of £20 by an unknown benefactor, and of £5 by Major Charles Myddelton; he likewise receives some school-pence, but is principally supported by Colonel Myddelton Biddulph. In 1843, a handsome school for the instruction of girls was built by subscription of the vicar and some of the parishioners, aided by the National Society, on a site given by Col. Biddulph: it is supported by subscription, and a few school-fees. There are also two or three Sunday schools. In 1698, Mrs. Catherine Trevor bequeathed an estate in the parish of Llantysillio, and another in the parish of Llanrhaiadr, to the churchwardens and overseers of "Cherque," the rental of which, amounting to £46, together with £17 per annum received by bequest from the Chirk Castle estate, is regularly distributed at Christmas and Easter among the poor. Another charity, a charge on the same estate, consists of a measure of corn annually, made into bread, and distributed every Thursday, except the two Thursdays in the Christmas holidays, to twenty poor persons of the parish. Also a sum of 36s. is paid quarterly to six widows, being 6s. to each, on the 29th of March, June, September, and December.
Offa's Dyke, crossing the river Ceiriog, enters the parish, and passes through it in a direction from south-west to north-east; it runs through Chirk Castle park, where it is plainly visible, and soon afterwards crosses the Dee. In a garden immediately on the right of the entrance into the village from Oswestry, on the verge of the vale, is an artificial mound of earth, opposite to which, on the other side of the road, was another: these Mr. Pennant supposes to have been constructed by the Saxons, at the period of the formation of Offa's Dyke, as exploratory camps, and also to command the pass through the valley. Black Park is said to have been anciently an inclosed park, noted for its deer, but it has for ages been disparked, and there are now no vestiges of its appropriation to this purpose, except in the name.
CHRISTYONYDD (CRISTIONYDD), a township, in the parish of Ruabon, union of Wrexham, hundred of Bromfield, county of Denbigh, North Wales, 2 miles (N. W. by W.) from Ruabon; containing 4554 inhabitants. It is situated in the western and more elevated portion of the parish, where are some extensive and valuable mines of coal, in which the principal portion of the population is employed. A tithe rent-charge of £286. 18. 9. is paid to the impropriators, and one of £62. 10. to the vicar of Ruabon.—See Ruabon.
CHURCHSTOKE, a parish, in the incorporation of Forden, partly in the Lower division of the hundred of Cawrse, and partly in that of the hundred of Montgomery, county of Montgomery, North Wales, and comprising the townships of Brompton and Riston (which support their poor separately from the rest of the parish) in the hundred of Chirbury, county of Salop, England, 4 miles (E. S. E.) from Montgomery; containing 1527 inhabitants, of whom 593 are in Churchstoke township. The parish is situated on the road from Bishop'sCastle to Montgomery, and is bounded on the north by Chirbury, in Shropshire; on the south by the Clun forest, which runs nearly parallel with the boundary of the county; on the east by Hyssington, and on the west by Kerry, &c. It comprises 10,071 acres, of which 8665 are inclosed and cultivated, and the remainder chiefly rough sheep-pastures, or land just inclosed. Of the former portion about one-third is arable, and the rest, with the exception of a little woodland, meadow and pasture, the soil of the whole of which is slightly clayey, but in general rich and fertile, especially in the valleys, which afford fine pasture, and are well wooded with oak and ash. The land under tillage produces good wheat, barley, and oats, and the sheep and cattle which here traverse the mountains, are of good average breed. The surface consists of hill and dale, valleys and mountains; and the scenery is frequently striking and beautiful: from some of the high grounds are fine views, extending over the vales of Churchstoke and Montgomery, with the surrounding hills, and comprehending a rich variety of scenery. The parish is distributed into several manors, the principal of which are, Overyoether, comprising the townships of Bachelden and Weston Madoc; Chirbury, in which are the townships of Brompton and Riston; Halcetor, in which are the townships of Churchstoke and Hurdley; and parts of Hopton, Mellington, and Bishop's Tiertref. The chief gentlemen's seats are Pentrenant, Mellington, Broadway, and those of T. Wollaston, and Thomas Jones, Esqrs. Considerable quantities of lead-ore have been found in the parish; and on the Churchstoke hills are evident traces of mines, which are supposed to have been worked by the Romans. The village, in which is a post-office, is situated near the confluence of the river Caebitra with the Camlet, which, after passing along the romantic dingle of Marrington, falls into the Severn near Forden: from the flatness of the ground above it, and the contracted channel of the Camlet, the adjacent meadows are subject to inundation, and during the winter have been frequently entirely covered with water.
The living is a perpetual curacy, endowed with a rent-charge of £20 per annum, and £600 private benefaction, £1000 royal bounty, £600 parliamentary grant, and a further augmentation of £1200 from the bounty commissioners; net income, £151, with a glebe-house; patron, the Earl of Powis. The impropriate tithes of the townships of Churchstoke and Hurdley have been commuted for a rent-charge of £254. 18., with a glebe of one acre. The church, dedicated to St. Nicholas, and formerly dependent on the priory of Chirbury, is a plain neat edifice, with a square embattled tower surmounted by a spire, and contains about 600 sittings. The body was taken down and rebuilt, at an expense of £2500, in 1815, previously to which the porch and other parts of the structure exhibited indications of the damage it sustained from an attack during the parliamentary war, by the men of Montgomery Castle, in order to seize a party of royalists, commanded by Sir John Watts, which had taken refuge in the church, and which after an obstinate resistance was obliged to surrender. A school-house, consisting of two rooms, has been erected on land belonging to the Earl of Powis; the expenses, amounting to £500, being defrayed by the parishioners: the master receives the interest of an endowment of £60, and is otherwise supported by school-fees, and subscription. A Sunday school is held in the same building.
The principal benefactions of the parish are invested in two mortgages of £200 and £60 from the corporation of the guardians of the poor in the parishes of Montgomery, Pool, &c., producing an interest of £11. 10., of which £2. 14. are paid to the schoolmaster, as already mentioned, under the grant of certain donors for the purpose, and the remaining £8. 16. are distributed among the poor in small sums. The contributors for the endowment of the school were, Andrew Griffith, who in 1776 left £10; George Morris, who in 1776 bequeathed £40, half of which was for the relief of the poor, and the other half for teaching children; and Thomas Morris, of Pentre Nant, who bequeathed £60, and made a similar distribution. The bequests for the general relief of the poor, besides the two by George and Thomas Morris, just noticed, are, a grant of £40 by Thomas Dunne, in 1720; another of £30 by Charles Evans, in 1754; another of £10 by John Roberts, in 1756; and a similar sum given by Edward Baxter in 1773, by Judith James in 1720, and by Mrs. Barbara Downes in 1780. Independently of these, which are all included in the mortgages, is a yearly rent-charge of £2 distributed in bread monthly, arising from a grant of £40 by Andrew Myddelton, in 1775, charged on the Swan public-house; and a few other charities and small rent-charges have been either lost by change of ownership in the lands charged with them, or were rendered void under the statute of mortmain.
On the summit of a prominent rock, in the vale of Churchstoke, are the remains of Symond's Castle, an ancient fortification; and on Llanvawr Hill, a craggy and precipitous eminence, are the remains of an encampment, the origin of which has not been ascertained. On Churchstoke Hill are vestiges of a Roman camp, and on the declivity called Todleth are the remains of old walls, and a piece of water named the Churchpool, probably belonging to some religious house, near the site of which, according to an absurd popular tradition, the church was originally to have been erected. There are remains of British encampments on the Aldres farm, Pentre wood, and at Galet-y-din, or Coldtown, in this parish, in which also is included the greater part of Corndon Hill. Near Offa's Dyke, which passes through the parish, are several tumuli, one of which was opened many years since: the bottom of the tumulus, sunk about a foot below the level of the surrounding land, was paved, and the sides were formed with flag-stones, on one of which was an inscription, very much obliterated; within was only some black dust, with a coin bearing a legend quite unintelligible. At a place on Offa's Dyke, called the Three Jacks, a coin of Agricola was found, about thirty years since.
CILIAU-AËRON, a parish, in the union of Aberaëron, partly in the hundred of Troedyraur, and partly in the Lower division of the hundred of Ilar, county of Cardigan, South Wales, 10½ miles (N. W.) from Lampeter; containing 307 inhabitants. This parish is situated on the river Aëron, by which it is bounded on the north-east, and from which it derives the adjunct to its name. The living is a discharged rectory, rated in the king's books at £5, and endowed with £400 royal bounty; patron, the Bishop of St. David's: the tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £115. The church, dedicated to St. Michael, is a small edifice, consisting of a nave and chancel. There is a place of worship for Presbyterians, and a Sunday school is held in connexion with the Established Church.
CÎLMACHALT, a township, in the parish, and Upper division of the hundred, of Llanidloes, union of Newtown and Llanidloes, county of Montgomery, North Wales: the population is returned with the parish. The manufacture of flannel is carried on here, and affords employment to the greater part of the inhabitants. The hamlet surrounds the town of Llanidloes on the north, east, and south, and a large portion of it is included within the limits of the new borough. Three-fourths of the tithes belong to Sir Watkin Williams Wynn, Bart., and the remaining fourth is the property of the vicar of Llangurig.
CÎLMARGH (CÎL-Y-MARCH),with Iscoed, a hamlet, in the parish of Llandeveylog, hundred of Kidwelly, union and county of Carmarthen, South Wales, 5½ miles (S. by W.) from Carmarthen; containing 160 inhabitants. It is situated close to the left bank of the river Towy, near its mouth, and contains a few respectable residences, standing on the gentle elevations within view of that river.
CÎLVAWR (CÎL-FAWR), a chapelry, in the parish of Manerdivy, union of Cardigan, hundred of Kîlgerran, county of Pembroke, South Wales, 4 miles (S. E.) from Cardigan: the population is returned with the parish. It is situated near the right bank of a small stream, which falls into the river Teivy at Castle Maelgwn. The great and small tithes, the property of W. O. Brigstocke, Esq., of Blaenpant, have been commuted for a rent-charge of £80: the chapel has fallen into ruins.
CLARACH, a township, in that part of the parish of Llanbadarn-Vawr which is in the Upper division of the hundred of Geneu'r-Glyn, in the union of Aberystwith, county of Cardigan, South Wales, 3 miles (N. E.) from Aberystwith, below the road from that town to Machynlleth; containing 283 inhabitants. The river Clarach, which gives name to the township, flows along a pleasing vale here, and falls into the bay of Cardigan, where the shore expands into a fine sandy beach. From the northern part an extensive bank of sand, termed Sarn Cynvelyn, stretches in a south-western direction for several miles into the bay of Cardigan, terminated by sunken rocks, and with only two fathoms of water on its surface at ebb tide. The vale is celebrated for its early harvest, and more particularly for the superior quality of its barley crops; an advantage derived partly from its sheltered situation and genial soil, and partly from the facility of gathering the sea weed or wrack after storms, to be used as a manure. In the hamlet of Pont-Llangorwen, in the township, a church has lately been erected, a very beautiful structure in the early English style, consisting of a nave seventy-two feet long by thirty-three feet, and a chancel twenty-nine feet long by twenty-seven feet. It is built of the harder veins of the slatestone of the country; parts of the interior are of a superior kind of stone, and the whole of the woodwork is of Welsh oak or Spanish chestnut. The site for the building, as well as the burial-ground, was given by a friend of the Church, who also endowed the living with £1000, and contributed the greater part of the cost of erection, aided however by the liberal subscriptions of some of the neighbouring gentry, clergy, and parishioners. It was consecrated on the 16th December, 1841, by the Bishop of St. David's, who performed the service of its dedication in the Welsh language. The living is a perpetual curacy, distinct from the mother church, with an ecclesiastical district annexed to it. There are two day and Sunday schools; one of them, the Clarach school, founded in 1795, and supported by an endowment of £11. 14. per annum, and by school-pence; the other, at Llangorwen, founded in 1843, and supported by subscription, with the aid of a few fees.
CLARBESTON, a parish, in the union of Narberth, hundred of Dungleddy, county of Pembroke, South Wales, 8 miles (N. E.) from Haverfordwest; containing 244 inhabitants. The parish is detached from any high road, and situated near the East Cleddy river. The living is a perpetual curacy, endowed with £800 royal bounty, and £400 parliamentary grant; net income, £60; patron, the Rev. Thomas Thomas; impropriator, W. H. Scourfield, of the Mote, Esq., whose tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £44. 10., with a glebe of 48a. 2r. 25p., valued at £24. 7. per annum. The church, dedicated to St. Martin, has been rebuilt, and is a very neat edifice. The Baptist denomination have a place of worship here, and two Sunday schools are held, one of them in connexion with the Established Church, and the other supported by the Baptists. In the parish is an artificial mount, which is surrounded by a hedge, about fifty yards in diameter, and is supposed to have been formed for defence at some early period.
Clâs, Higher and Lower
CLÂS, HIGHER and LOWER, a township, in the parish of Llangyvelach, union of Swansea, partly within the new limits of the borough of Swansea, and partly in the hundred of Llangyvelach, county of Glamorgan, South Wales, 3 miles (N.) from Swansea; containing 5924 inhabitants, the population having greatly increased since the census of 1821. Morriston, a considerable and thriving village, with a large population employed in copper-works, is situated in this hamlet, but is described under its appropriate head. The Swansea canal, part of which, called Morris's, was constructed at the expense of the Duke of Beaufort, who receives the tolls, passes close to the village, between it and the Tawy, and hence pursues its course through the rest of the hamlet, both that river and the canal being crossed by bridges on the road leading to the town of Neath. The bridge over the Tawy, called Wych-Tree Bridge, from a tree of that description which grew near its eastern end, is admired for its lightness and elegance: it consists of one arch, ninety feet in the span, with cylindrical holes in the abutments, and was executed by Edwards, the celebrated architect of Pont-y-Pridd. Clasemont, late the seat of Sir John Morris, situated within a short distance north-west of the village, has been taken down; there are, however, numerous other respectable residences scattered over the hamlet, which is in general well wooded, and presents many agreeable rides and walks, especially along the banks of the canal, and the Vale of the Tawy. Coal is found in abundance. Part of Higher Clâs is included in the ecclesiastical parish or district of Clydach, formed under the act 6th and 7th Victoria, cap. 37.
CLÂS-GARMON, a hamlet, in the parish of St. Harmon, union and hundred of Rhaiadr, county of Radnor, South Wales, 5 miles (N.) from Rhaiadr; containing, with the hamlet of Bwnneiaid, 433 inhabitants. It forms the north-western portion of the parish, which borders on Montgomeryshire. Two roads from Rhaiadr to Llanidloes pass through it, one along the left bank of the Wye, and the other, the more direct, after crossing the Mertyd brook, through the mountainous part of it. Clâs Hill is an extensive and bleak elevation in the township, chiefly appropriated to pasturing sheep.
CLAWDDMADOC (CLAWDD-MADOG), a hamlet, in the parish of Llanwrtyd, union of Llandovery, hundred of Builth, county of Brecknock, South Wales, 10½ miles (W. by N.) from Builth; containing 341 inhabitants. It occupies a romantic and highly picturesque situation in the upper division of the parish, and is environed on two sides by lofty mountains: the small stream of the Cammarch, which falls into the Irvon, has its source in the vicinity.
Clear's, St. (St. Clare's)
CLEAR'S, ST. (ST. CLARE'S), a parish, in the Higher division of the hundred of Derllŷs, union and county of Carmarthen, South Wales, on the road from Carmarthen to Haverfordwest, 9 miles (W. by S.) from Carmarthen; containing 1167 inhabitants. This place, which is of considerable antiquity, is supposed to have derived its name from a pious lady, named Clara, who founded a church here in the fifth or sixth century, and, after being canonized, became its tutelar saint. Some, however, are of opinion that it owes its name to the assembly of the Welsh bards, which used to be held here, called in the Welsh language Clair; pointing out, in support of the hypothesis, a lofty tumulus as the place of meeting. Soon after the Norman invasion of this portion of the principality, a castle was erected here by some of the conquerors, the ruins of which are noticed by Leland, who wrote in the time of Henry VIII., but have since entirely disappeared. It is frequently mentioned in the Welsh annals, and was taken and partially demolished by Llewelyn ab Iorwerth, Prince of North Wales, in the year 1215; it afterwards shared the fate of nearly all the Welsh fortresses, until the struggle between the natives and the Norman settlers was decided by the conquest of Wales by Edward I. A small Cluniac priory, for a prior and two monks, was founded here before 1291, as a cell to the monastery of St. Martin de Campis at Paris: it was dissolved with the other alien priories, in the reign of Henry V., and its possessions were given by Henry VI. to the Warden and Fellows of All Souls' College, Oxford, to whom, together with two-thirds of the tithes of the parish, they still belong.
The town is situated at the confluence of the Guinning with the Tâf, which discharge their united waters into the bay of Carmarthen, at the small town of Laugharne, a few miles to the south. It consists of one straggling street, nearly a mile in length, neither lighted nor paved, but well supplied with water, and contains many good dwelling-houses. Several respectable shops have been lately built; the old houses renovated, and other improvements made. The surrounding district is highly productive of corn and butter, which are here shipped for Bristol, Cardiff, Bridgwater, Southampton, and other ports; this trade at present affording constant employment to two vessels of fifty-five tons' burthen each: there are also eight small craft, each of about twenty-five tons' burthen, engaged in the coal, culm, and limestone trades between this place and Milford Haven; and there is a limited export trade in cheese and bark. The port is a creek within the limits of the port of Llanelly, and a new quay, 150 yards in extent, has been constructed, which affords increased facility for loading and unloading. The great South Wales railway will pass a little to the north of the town. St. Clear's is commonly reputed a markettown, but it has no market for the sale of provisions, &c.; Tuesdays and Fridays being here called the market-days, in consequence of the opening of the merchants' stores on those days for the reception of the staple commodities of the vicinity.
The place appears to be a borough by prescription, and is under the control of three portreeves, a recorder, a town-clerk, two common-attorneys, a crier, and an indefinite number of burgesses. Two principal courts leet are held for the borough every year, the one on the first Monday in May, and the other on the first Monday after Michaelmas-day, at the latter of which the portreeves and common-attorneys are appointed, from among the burgesses, by presentment of the jury. The recorder, town-clerk, and crier are chosen in a similar manner, but for life; and the freedom is also conferred solely by the jury, who present candidates to the portreeve to be sworn in. The duties and fees of the officers are slight: the portreeves hold the courts, superintend the property of the burgesses, and act as treasurers; the common-attorneys have the care of a wharf upon the river Tâf, belonging to the corporation; and the crier has merely to act as such at the courts leet. The limits of the borough are not correctly known, though believed to be co-extensive with those of the parish; the perambulations of the authorities are therefore confined to those lands which belong to them, or from which they derive chief-rents, this, indeed, being all that is absolutely necessary. The property of the corporation consists partly of some quit-rents paid to them by certain burgesses, or their successors, who, having been favoured with liberty to occupy some waste lands on payment of a small acknowledgment, have built upon or inclosed them, still paying only the original sum; and partly of land which was assigned to the corporation in lieu of right of common, under an act for inclosing lands passed in the 47th of George III., and of which thirteen acres are let to yearly tenants at a rent of £15. 10., and the remainder upon lease at an annual sum of £11. The total income of the borough is about £45, which, after payment of some fees to the officers, is divided among the principal part of the resident burgesses. The county magistrates hold a court of petty-session once a month; the corporation, which was formerly of some note, once had its courts of session, and its gaol was standing about seventy years ago.
The living is a discharged vicarage, rated in the king's books at £4. 17. 1., and endowed with £200 private benefaction, £200 royal bounty, and £600 parliamentary grant; present net income, £133; patron, J. Lewes Philipps, Esq. The impropriation belongs to the Warden and Fellows of All Souls' College, Oxford, whose tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £185. 11. 4.; the vicar's tithes have been commuted for one of £92. 15. 8., and attached to the vicarage is a glebe of nine acres, valued at £11 a year. The church, which is situated on the bank of the Guinning, is an edifice of considerable antiquity. There are two places of worship for Independents, and one for Wesleyan Methodists, with a Sunday school held in each of them. A donation of £8 per annum to a schoolmaster, for educating a limited number of children, was made by Lady Mary Osburne, of Pencoed, in the parish; who also, by deed in 1719, gave lands now producing £16. 10. per annum, for distribution among the poor, and 10s. to the minister for preaching a sermon, which he delivers on the Sunday previously to the annual distribution on the first Tuesday in March. The tumulus mentioned as being considered the place of meeting of the bards is now called Banc-yBaily, and is stated also to have been the site of the castle; but it appears to be too small to have been occupied by the whole of that edifice, and is probably only the mount on which the keep stood. It was near St. Clear's that the lawless practices of the Rebecca Insurrection were first enacted.
CLETTERWOOD, a township, in the parish of Buttington, incorporation of Forden, within the jurisdiction of the borough of Welshpool, county of Montgomery, North Wales, 3 miles (E. N. E.) from Welshpool; containing 275 inhabitants. It is situated on the banks of the Severn. The tithes of this township and that of Hope have been commuted for £207. 10., of which £154 are payable to the Dean and Chapter of Christ Church, Oxford.
CLICIEDIG, with Prion, a hamlet, in the parish of Llanrhaiadr-in-Kinmerch, hundred of Isaled, county of Denbigh, North Wales; containing 443 inhabitants. The former place is divided into Cliciedig Isâv and Cliciedig Uchâv.
CLOCAENOG, a parish, in the union and hundred of Ruthin, county of Denbigh, North Wales, 3½ miles (S. W.) from Ruthin; comprising the Lower and Upper divisions, and containing 457 inhabitants, of whom 150 are in the Lower, and 307 in the Upper, division. This parish is situated in a mountainous district, and comprises an area of 6671 acres, of which 3167 are common or waste land. The village is almost surrounded by unproductive and widely extended heaths: in the vicinity are some excellent quarries of stone, among which is that peculiar kind used for hones. The living is a rectory rated in the king's books at £12; patron, the Bishop of Bangor: the tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £342.10.; and there is a glebehouse. The church, dedicated to St. Trillo, is a small neat edifice, with a fine east window. Here is a place of worship for Wesleyan Methodists. A day and Sunday school is supported by subscription, by fees from some of the scholars, and by an endowment of £3 a year: the school-house was erected by Lord Bagot. Sunday schools are also held by the Wesleyans and the Calvinistic Methodists, one by each denomination. There are several benefactions in land for charitable purposes, the rental of which, amounting to £52 per annum, is distributed among the poor. One of these is part of a bequest, in 1669, by Griffith Thomas ab Evan, of a farmhouse and sixteen acres of land, now yielding £18 per annum, the rent to be applied for the benefit of the poor of this and three other parishes, but the larger portion to be given to those of Clocaenog, amounting to £12 per annum: timber of the value of £22. 10. was cut from the estate in 1835. Another is a grant of the estate of Graig Wen, by Hugh Thomas, in 1680, consisting of a dwelling and several out-buildings, and twenty-four acres of land, to which is also attached a right of common over five hundred acres; the whole being let at £25 per annum. A third benefaction arises from the purchase, for £65, in 1721, of a parcel of land comprising twelve acres; two acres in addition were gained under the Llanvwrog inclosure act, and the whole now produces an annual rent of £14. The greater portion of these rents is distributed in money on St. Thomas's day, about £12 in clothes, coal, and potatoes, and a small sum in bread on the first Sunday of each month. Four other charities of the gross amount of £37 were lost, either by the insolvency of parties, or the negligence of the parochial officers. In the township of Maestyddin is a large tumulus, on the summit of which was an upright stone, inscribed, in Saxon characters, with the words Aemilini Tovisac: the stone has been removed to Pool Park.