A Topographical Dictionary of Wales. Originally published by S Lewis, London, 1849.
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FLINT, a borough, sea-port, and parish, in the poor-law union of Holywell, hundred of Coleshill, county of Flint (of which it is the ancient capital), North Wales, 6 miles (N.) from Mold, 5 (E. S. E.) from Holywell, 13 (W. N. W.) from Chester, and 191 (N. W.) from London; containing 2860 inhabitants, of whom 1961 are in the town. The name of this place is supposed to be a corruption of the word Fluent, an abbreviation of the Latin Fluentum. In the old charters and documents connected with the town, its castle is sometimes designated as nostrum castellum supra fluent, "our castle above the tide or flood;" three of the four sides of the castle being washed by the sea at high spring tides. The origin of the town, though undoubtedly remote, is involved in the greatest obscurity. Although it cannot be identified with any Roman station mentioned in the Itineraries, it was nevertheless either of Roman or Roman-British origin, as is proved by the circumstance of its even now occupying a rectangular intrenched area, like that of a Roman place of defence, and by the discovery, at various times, both here and in the neighbourhood, of a vast quantity of Roman coins, fibulæ, &c.; while at the same time it is still traditionally related that a very large town existed here at an early period. The above remains were chiefly found in "old washes," as miners term the spots where they separate ore from ancient scoria; from which circumstance, it has been supposed that the process of smelting lead-ore was carried on at this place by the Roman conquerors of Britain, who probably constituted it a port for the exportation of the metal, and fixed here a small garrison to protect the works and enforce the payment of the duties. It is conjectured by Mr. Pennant that Flint is identical with the place noticed in the Norman survey as "tenementum de Coleselt," comprising one hide of taxable land, and forming part of the possessions of Robert de Rhuddlan, of whom it was held by one Edwin, a free man; and also with the place included, under the designation of "Capella de Colsul," among the benefactions enumerated in the charter of Davydd ab Llewelyn to the abbey of Basingwerk.
Flint and its immediate vicinity have at different periods been the scenes of important and interesting historical events. In the division of his dominions made by Roderic the Great, sovereign of all Wales, among his three sons, it was ordained, that if any quarrel should arise between the Princes of North Wales and Powys, a meeting of the parties was to be held at Morva Rhianedd, on the banks of the Dee, near the site of the present town of Flint, in which the Prince of South Wales was to determine the controversy. Ranulph, Earl of Chester, invading North Wales in the year 1150, was met at Counsyllt, Cynsyllt, or Coleshill, to the west of this town, by Owain Gwynedd, Prince of North Wales, who totally defeated his forces with great slaughter, few escaping death except the prisoners and the leaders of the invading army, the latter of whom saved themselves by the swiftness of their horses. Near the battle field are the remains of an ancient mound or fort of earth, situated on the brow of the eminence above the town, and overgrown with brushwood. On the invasion of North Wales by Henry II., in 1157, after a party of his troops had been defeated at Coed-Eulo, near Hawarden, this monarch advanced at the head of his army along the shores of the Dee to the town of Flint, a little beyond which, at the place where the Earl of Chester had been defeated by Owain Gwynedd, he received a severe check from this prince's forces. Giraldus Cambrensis, in his Itinerary of the journey made through Wales by Archbishop Baldwin and himself, in 1188, for the purpose of preaching the crusades, mentions the fact of their resting one night at "Coleshulle, or the hill of coal," undoubtedly the same place as that identified by the respectable antiquary above-named with the present town of Flint.
Much doubt prevails as to the period of the first erection of the castle, which, from the thirteenth century until the termination of the civil war of the seventeenth, holds a distinguished place in the Welsh annals. Camden, who is followed by Lord Lyttelton, asserts that it was begun by Henry II., and completed by Edward I. Leland, however, adduces the authority of an ancient writer for attributing even its foundation to the latter monarch, who, being encamped on Saltney Marsh, near Chester, preparing for an invasion of North Wales, certainly either originally erected this fortress, or rebuilt it on a new site, to secure, together with Rhuddlan Castle, the country which he had already subdued, and to afford his army a safe retreat, in case he should meet with any disaster. Henry, after his partial defeat at Counsyllt, might have constructed some slight fortification here, for the protection of his discomfited forces, yet the certainty of Edward's being the founder of the present castle is proved by a petition of the inhabitants of Flint, in the year 1281, stating, amongst other grievances, that the king had built the castle upon their soil, by which means numbers of persons were injured, and that, although the justiciary had received a royal mandate to grant them a specified remuneration of land, equal in quantity and quality, they had been despoiled of their property, and had received in lieu neither land nor money. Previously to this, in 1277, the men of Flint had obtained an order for the proclamation of a market at the town; and in 1280 an order had been issued for the custody of the gate of the castle, at which time probably the place was first garrisoned. In 1282 the fortress was besieged and taken by the forces of Llewelyn ab Grufydd, Prince of North Wales, and his brother Davydd; being then, besides Rhuddlan, the only fortress in North Wales in the possession of the English. Edward afterwards resided for some time in the castle, and made the town a free borough; empowering the inhabitants, by his charter, dated from the castle on the 8th of September, 1284, to cut down timber in the woods of Northop, Leadbrook, Keldreston, Wolfynton, Weppre, and Sutton, for the smelting of their lead-ore; and also granting them a right of pasture in these woods. The same monarch, in 1290, issued an order for superintending the works of the castles of Flint, Rhuddlan, and Chester, which places were of the first importance, as commanding a free entrance into his newly-conquered dominion of North Wales.
Edward II. resided for some time in this castle, in which he received with exulting pleasure his banished favourite, Piers Gaveston, who had landed from Ireland at Carnarvon. The castle and town appear almost always, when in the possession of the English, to have belonged to the earldom of Chester, with which they were granted by Edward III., in the seventh year of his reign, to his son Edward, surnamed the Black Prince, to whom he issued an order two years afterwards, to take the castles of Flint and Rhuddlan into his custody, to furnish them with provisions, and place in them sufficient garrisons, as had been done in the same prince's castles of Beeston and Chester. Flint Castle has, in like manner, been always enumerated in the charters investing the eldest sons of succeeding sovereigns of England with the earldom of Chester, when they were created princes of Wales. From a schedule of the 50th of Edward III. it appears, that the town of Flint then yielded to the Earls of Chester a revenue of £56, and that of "Colshul," of which there is a separate entry, £4. 7. 10. But in a later account the profits arising from the former appear to have greatly decreased, while those from the latter increased to an amount nearly equal to the original estimate of those derived from Flint: this revenue has, however, dwindled to a mere trifle.
In 1385, the castle was bestowed by Richard II., with the office of chief justice of Chester, on Robert de Vere, Earl of Oxford, and subsequently, in 1399, on Percy, Earl of Northumberland, who, in the following year, on the return of this unfortunate monarch from his Irish expedition, inveigled him to this fortress, for the purpose of delivering him into the power of the usurping Bolingbroke, who was afterwards advanced to the throne, under the title of Henry IV. Having decoyed him from among his friends at Conway, Percy conducted him to Flint Castle, under an escort of Bolingbroke's soldiers, who had met them on the road: here Richard was at first received with every outward sign of respect by his rival and his attendants, who, however, on the following day commenced treating him with indignity, and he was conveyed a virtual prisoner to Chester. During the insurrection of the Welsh under Owain Glyndwr, in the reign of Henry IV., that monarch garrisoned the castle of Flint against the men of the borough, who had joined their revolted countrymen, and were making frequent attempts to gain possession of it. But the garrison resisted every assault, and kept possession of the fortress till the insurrection was quelled, upon which event Henry, Prince of Wales, procured from his father a free pardon for all the burgesses of Flint who had joined the standard of the insurgents.
Soon after the commencement of the civil war in the reign of Charles I., the castle was repaired and garrisoned for the king by Sir Roger Mostyn, Bart., who had raised a force of 1500 men, equipped and maintained at his sole expense. Sir Roger was appointed governor of Flint, which, in the year 1643, was vigorously besieged by the parliamentarian forces under Sir William Brereton and Sir Thomas Myddelton: though closely pressed, the garrison made an obstinate and protracted defence, till reduced by want of provisions to feed on the flesh of their horses; and this resource also failing, and being entirely hopeless of relief, they at length surrendered upon honourable terms. The castle was afterwards retaken by the royalists, under the command of Sir William Vaughan, in September 1645, and was reinforced in the November following by the garrison of Beeston, which, after a gallant but unsuccessful resistance to the parliamentary forces, was allowed by the terms of capitulation to march to this place with all the honours of war. Having received this accession of force, the castle remained unmolested till August 1646; it was then finally surrendered to Major-General Mytton, and in the following year was dismantled by order of the parliament.
The towns is situated on the shore of the estuary of the river Dee, opposite to Parkgate in Cheshire, from which place it is distant five miles. It consists of four principal streets, intersecting each other at right angles, with many smaller ones, dividing it into squares, and exhibiting, with little deviation, the regular plan of an ancient Roman city. The buildings are very inferior in appearance, however, to what might be expected from the regularity with which the streets are disposed; and with the exception of its convenient situation for sea-bathing, which attracts a considerable number of visiters during the summer months, the town possesses few recommendations as a place of residence. For the convenience of visiters, hot baths have been formed, with every requisite accommodation. In the centre of the town is a station of the Chester and Holyhead railway. The neighbourhood abounds with pleasing walks and rides through a finely varied tract of country.
The principal branch of trade, until within the last seven or eight years, was the smelting of leadore, for which purpose extensive works were erected, the proprietors of which, by investing a large capital in the formation of wharfs, and other improvements, materially increased the trade and added to the importance of the town. In these works, erected by George Roskell and Co., in 1812, and containing several very extensive reverberatory furnaces, 6000 tons of lead were annually smelted, from which nearly 40,000 ounces of fine silver were extracted. In 1824, a tower, 140 feet high and 42 feet in diameter, was added, for the purpose of collecting the sulphur from the different flues in this important concern, in the various departments of which 120 persons were employed. The smelting of lead is now discontinued, but the furnaces and machinery, which are of the first order, have not been removed. Reference is made to this branch of manufacture in King Edward's charter to the town, and in the fifteenth century Flint appears to have been famous for its furnaces for smelting the ore. Messrs. Roskell and Co. also erected large alkali-works, which have likewise been suspended, and are not likely to be resumed, as the muriatic acid gas evolved from them deterred strangers from frequenting the town as a bathing-place. The making of boilers for steam-engines is carried on to a limited extent; and close to the town are extensive collieries, in which several hundred men are constantly employed, and 1500 tons of coal are raised weekly: tramroads have been constructed to convey the coal to the wharfs, whence it is sent coastwise to Liverpool, various parts of North Wales, and Ireland. Ship-building to some extent has been lately carried on, and North American timber is imported. The principal exports, in addition to the vast quantity of coal, were, until recently, the produce of the leadworks; consisting of lead in pigs, bars, sheets, and patent pipes, also red lead, litharge, and silver. The estuary of the river Dee is navigable for vessels of 250 or 300 tons' burthen, which can at any time approach the quay; and the various wharfs, piers, and embankments that have been constructed, for the accommodation of the works above-mentioned, afford every facility to the commerce of the town. Fairs are held on the first Monday in February, on July 3rd, and November 3rd.
Flint was made a free borough by Edward I., who, in 1284, granted the inhabitants a charter of privileges, conferring many advantages upon them, including freedom from toll and other demands throughout the kingdom. These immunities were confirmed, in 1327, by Edward III., whose son, the Black Prince, in the 34th year of the reign of his father, confirmed the previous grants, and bestowed upon the burgesses additional favours in a new charter, which, although probably altered in the 2nd and 3rd of Philip and Mary, and the 12th of William III., continued to be the only governing charter till the passing of the Municipal Corporations' Act. The style of the corporation was, "the Mayor, Bailiffs, and Burgesses of the borough of Flint;" and the control was vested in a mayor, two bailiffs, a recorder, a serjeant-at-mace, and four constables. Of these officers, the mayor was such by virtue of his office of constable of the castle, the appointment to which was in the crown; no active duties, however, belonged to the situation, and the mayor's only important patronage was the power to choose a recorder, when one was required by a vacancy occuring through death or removal. The bailiffs, who were elected annually on Michaelmas-day by the resident burgesses paying scot and lot, acted as returning officers of the member to serve in parliament, and presided at the court leet. The recorder remained in office during the pleasure of the mayor, and received from him a salary of eight guineas.
By the act 5th and 6th of William IV., c. 76, the old corporation was abolished, and a new one established, styled the "Mayor, Aldermen, and Burgesses," which consists of a mayor, four aldermen, and twelve councillors, forming the council of the borough. The mayor is elected by the council, annually on Nov. 9th, out of the aldermen or councillors; and the aldermen triennially, out of the councillors or persons qualified as such, one half going out of office every three years, but being reeligible: the councillors are chosen by and from among the enrolled burgesses, annually on Nov. 1st, one third going out of office every year. The aldermen and councillors must possess a property qualification of £500, or be rated at £15 annual value. Occupiers of houses and shops rated for three years to the relief of the poor, are entitled to be burgesses. The council appoint a town-clerk, treasurer, and other officers, on Nov. 9th; and two auditors and two assessors are elected annually on March 1st, by and out of the burgesses. The revenue of the borough was greatly diminished by an act obtained in 1816, for inclosing the waste lands in the parish, by which the burgesses were deprived of the greater portion of the lands assigned to them by the charter of Edward the Black Prince.
The elective franchise was first granted to the borough, as the shire town, in the 27th of Henry VIII., from which period it constantly returned a member to parliament, in conjunction with the contributory boroughs of Caergwrle, Caerwys, Overton, and Rhuddlan; the right of election in this, as in each of the contributory boroughs, being vested in all the resident householders paying scot and lot. The Reform Act added the towns of St. Asaph, Holywell, and Mold to the former district of boroughs, but did not alter the constituency of the latter, owing to its scot and lot character, except by subjecting each individual voter to the registry, in common with the £10 householders in other boroughs. According to a late return, the total number of voters in the eight boroughs is 803. The mayor of Flint is the returning officer; and the nomination and election of the member both for the county and for the boroughs take place in this town. The limits of the borough, which remain unaltered by the late act, include not only the whole parish of Flint (comprising about 1600 acres), but also the township of Coleshill-Vawr, in the adjacent parish of Holywell, which township, on account of its ancient importance, has given name to the hundred in which the whole is locally situated. There is a separate commission of the peace, and the borough magistrates, who are eleven in number, hold petty-sessions here; but though the town is the ancient provincial metropolis of Flintshire, the assizes and quarter-sessions for the county have for many years been held at Mold. The old guildhall erected in the reign of Elizabeth, having become dilapidated, a handsome hall of hewn freestone, with a marketplace underneath, has been erected at an expense of £2000. The county gaol, erected on part of the site of the ancient castle, in 1785, has been greatly enlarged, and now admits of a due classification of the prisoners: the expense of its erection was partly defrayed by subscription, but chiefly by the county, as is expressed by a neat inscription over the entrance gateway, written by Thomas Pennant, Esq., the antiquary and naturalist, who was a great promoter of the work, from benevolent motives, the former gaol having become quite unfit for use.
The Living is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of the Bishop of St. Asaph. The appropriate tithes, payable to the bishop, have been commuted for a rent-charge of £84. 4. 7., and the tithes belonging to the perpetual curate for one of £226. 19.3. The church, dedicated to St. Mary, being in a dilapidated state, and not affording sufficient accommodation for the increasing population, was taken down in 1846, and a new one erected upon the same site by voluntary contributions, aided by grants from the Incorporated Society and the St. Asaph Diocesan Society, and including a gift of £20 from the Queen Dowager. This edifice was consecrated in December 1848, and consists of a nave, two aisles, a clerestory, and a handsome tower and spire forty-five feet high. It contains nearly 700 sittings, all open and uniform, 300 of which are free. Whilst the workmen were engaged in clearing the foundation of the old church, some curious coffin lids and incised slabs were discovered, which were subsequently purchased by the Cambrian Archæological Association, aided by a small subscription, in order that they might be placed in some public museum in the county, should such an institution ever be established, as has been proposed. A crucifix and a monumental brass were also discovered, but these are in the possession of private persons. There are places of worship for Wesleyans, Calvinistic Methodists, Independents, and Baptists. A National school was built in 1820, by the subscriptions of a few individuals; and a very small Roman Catholic school is supported: the Sunday schools are seven in number, and one of them, in connexion with the Established Church, contains above 300 scholars, including a few adults. The parish is entitled to receive £2 per annum from the Rev. George Smith's charity at Northop, for the benefit of one child. Twelve almshouses were built by the corporation, for the accommodation of poor burgesses; but, from the alienation of the lands of that body by a late inclosure act, they have no endowment. There are a few charitable bequests and donations, producing £1. 6. for distribution in bread among the poor annually, the principal being a gift of £22 by William Venables, in 1712: about four or five other gifts, amounting in the whole to £54, have been either lost, or applied to parochial purposes.
At a short distance to the east of the town are the remains of the CASTLE, occupying the summit of a rock of freestone, which is washed by the tide at high water. The pile comprised within its outer walls a quadrangular area, at each of three angles of which was a strong circular tower, and at the fourth a similar bastion of much greater dimensions, called the Double tower, from its inner inclosure being surrounded by an outer concentric wall, forming a circular gallery, from which four arched openings afforded entrance to the inner and central area, twenty-two feet in diameter. This tower, which was the "donjon," or keep, communicated with the quadrangle by a drawbridge across an intervening moat, which isolated it from the rest of the works; and on account of the prodigious thickness of the walls, and the completeness of its fortifications, it was considered impregnable. From it Richard II. descended to meet Bolingbroke, on being betrayed into his power by the Earl of Northumberland. The principal remains of the ancient fortress are the towers and the east and north walls, now fast going to decay: the foundations of the eastern tower are undermined by the sea, which, in high tides, dashes with great violence against its base. A considerable portion of this interesting and once important structure was taken down in 1785, for the purpose of erecting the county gaol; and another portion fell down in the month of May, 1848: other parts, also, have been removed at different times. It is still nominally under the government of a constable, appointed by the crown, who receives a fee of £10, and it has also a porter, who receives a fee of £6. 1. 8.: the crown has sold its freehold interest in the castle to the county magistrates, but notwithstanding continues to exercise the right of appointing the constable.
About a mile from the town, on the lower road to Chester, formerly stood an ancient cross, from which the hundred of Atiscross, noticed in the Norman survey as comprising nearly all the country between the rivers Dee and Conway, took its name; the shaft of the cross is still preserved, and the ground around it is called Croes Ati: tradition states that a large town once existed here, and the foundations of buildings have been turned up by the plough. This is one of the places at which the scoria and Roman antiquities above noticed have been found. The scoria contained such quantities of lead as to induce the washers of ore to farm these spots, and to smelt it over again, by which means many tons of metal have been obtained. In removing it for that purpose, coins of the emperors Nero and Vespasian were found in a state of high preservation, together with a variety of ancient instruments and ornaments of Roman construction. Among the interesting remains thus discovered may be noticed a rich ornament of gold, elegantly formed of twisted wire, studded with globular beads of solid gold, which appears to have belonged to a bracelet, or necklace, of gold links, ornamented with pieces of blue glass, of which a part only was found; a small head of brass affixed to iron; a stylus, or instrument for writing on the ceratæ tabellæ, or waxen tablets; a species of narrow spoon used to collect tears for the lachrymatory; instruments of sacrifice; golden bullæ, or amulets; two fibulæ, or brooches; various species of buttons; some keys, rings, &c.
FLINTSHIRE, a maritime county of North Wales, the main body of which is bounded on the south, south-west, and west, by Denbighshire; on the north, by the Irish Sea; on the north-east, by the estuary of the river Dee; and on the east, by the English county of Chester. The chief part of the hundred of Maelor lies detached from the rest of the county, about seven miles to the south-east, and is bounded on the north by Cheshire, on the east and south by Shropshire, and on the west by Denbighshire. Exclusively of the detached portion, the county lies between 53° 2' and 53° 22' (N. Lat.), and 2° 55' and 3° 31' (W. Lon.). The detached portion of the hundred of Maelor is about nine miles long, and three and a half broad: the whole county, according to Evans' Map of North Wales, contains 172,790 acres, or nearly 270 square miles. The population, in 1841, was 66,919, of whom 33,808 were males, and 33,111 females; and the number of houses inhabited was 13,394, uninhabited 431, and in the course of erection 87. The annual value of real property assessed to the property and income tax, for the year ending April 1843, was as follows: lands, £193,505; houses, £27,617; tithes, £9835; manors, £6162; mines, £28,669; iron-works, £3531; railways, or tramways, £374; quarries, £289; other property, £4488; making a total of £274,470.
At the period of the conquest of this part of Britain by the Romans, Flintshire was a portion of the territory of the Ordovices, excepting only the detached part of it lying eastward of the Dee, which was occupied by the Cornavii; and, in Mr. Pennant's opinion, the principal part of the main county derived its ancient name of Tegeingl, or Tegangle, from a tribe of the former people, called Cangi, who attended the flocks and herds in different pastures, of various quality, according to the season of the year; teg importing fair; cang, the name of the people; and lle, a place. In support of this etymology he adduces the circumstance of a plain, in the parish of Caerwys, being at the present day called Maescan-hâvod, or "the plain of the hundred summer residences." By the Romans this district was called Tegenia; and under their dominion it contained the station Varis, either at Bôdvari, on the banks of the Clwyd, near Denbigh; or, as some say, at Caerwys. Banchorium, Bonium, or Bovium, was situated at Bangor-Iscoed, on the eastern bank of the Dee; and from the various traces of Roman occupation discovered at Caergwrle, that place also appears to have been an important post belonging to these conquerors. Flintshire was crossed by a branch of the northern Watling-street, which entered it near Chester, and passed by the station Varis to that at Caerhên, near Conway.
The Romans having withdrawn their forces, and left the native and partly civilized Britons to defend themselves against the northern barbarians, the latter in the year 448, were totally defeated by the Christian Britons, at Maes-y-Garmon, or "the field of Germanus," near the seat of Rhual, and not far from the present town of Mold. The British army was led on by Germanus and Lupus, two missionary bishops from Gaul, and, commanded by the former, the troops raised such vehement shouts of Alleluia, that the allied Picts and Scots fled in dismay, and were nearly all slain. This triumph, by most of the monkish historians, has been called Victoria Alleluiatica. At the beginning of the seventh century, ethelfrith, King of Northumbria, having gained some advantages over the northern Britons, turned his arms against the Welsh, and, at the commencement of the great battle of Chester, in which he was completely victorious, issued orders for the massacre of the monks of the monastery at Bangor-Iscoed, 1200 in number, who had come to offer up their prayers for the success of their countrymen, and of whom only fifty escaped. After the battle, Ethelfrith marched to Bangor, situated on the eastern banks of the Dee, in this county; he totally destroyed that ancient and celebrated seminary of learning, and committed to the flames its invaluable library. The Saxon prince then attempted to penetrate further into the Welsh territory, but his passage over the Dee, at Bangor, was successfully opposed by the Prince of Powys, until relieved by Cadvan, King of North Wales, Meredydd, King of South Wales, and Bledrus, sovereign of Cornwall. The confederate princes having joined their forces, Dunothus, the abbot of the lately destroyed monastery, made an oration to the army, and, before the action commenced, gave orders that the soldiers should kiss the ground, in commemoration of the communion of the body of Christ, and should take up water into their hands, out of the river Dee, and drink it, in remembrance of his sacred blood which was shed for them. Animated by this act of devotion, the British forces encountered their adversaries with great bravery, entirely defeated them, with the loss of above 10,000 men, and compelled Ethelfrith, with the remainder of his army, to retreat into Northumbria. Thus, the desolation of Bangor was severely punished within sight of its ruins.
OFFA, the powerful and warlike sovereign of Mercia, having, in the eighth century, driven the Cymry westward into the mountains, drew a conspicuous line of demarcation, along the western side of his dominions, consisting of a vast ditch and rampart, which extended from the sea near Prestatyn, in this county, to the banks of the Wye. Through Flintshire it took a direction from north-west to south-east, and the first visible traces of it, proceeding in the latter direction, are found near Golden Grove, whence it proceeds towards Marian, in the parish of Newmarket, and hence to the Holywell race-ground, below which it is lost until found again at Cae-dwn, near Tryddin, beyond which it soon enters Denbighshire. Mr. Pennant conceives that Offa's Dyke, or Clawdd Offa, as it is designated by the Welsh, terminated northward at Cae-dwn, observing, "it seems probable that Offa imagined that the Clwydian hills, and the deep valley at their eastern base, would serve as a continuance of his prohibitory line; he had carried his arms over the greater part of Flintshire, and vainly imagined that his labours would restrain the Cambrian inroads, in one part, and his orders prevent any incursions beyond these natural limits, which he had decreed should be the boundaries of his new conquests." The Mercian monarch, however, having been attacked by surprise, and defeated near this great monument of his power, breathing slaughter and vengeance, once more attacked the territory of the Cymry. Confining themselves to a desultory warfare, the latter made continual and destructive irruptions, from their woods and mountains, upon the forces of the enemy, and for some time maintained a successful defence. But abandoning this cautious system, they imprudently determined to risk a general engagement, and the hostile armies met on the extensive marshy plain, near the sea-coast, called Morva Rhuddlan: the battle was long and sanguinary, but at length victory declared in favour of the Saxons; the Welsh were completely defeated, with terrible slaughter, and Caradoc, their valiant chieftain, slain. On this event, so disastrous to the Britons, the victor commanded the men and children taken prisoners to be massacred; but, according to tradition, few were left to gratify this barbarous revenge, those who had escaped the enemy's sword, during the action, having fled across the marshes with such precipitation as to perish on the sands in the waters of the advancing tide. Immediately after the surrender of Chester to EGBERT of Wessex, the whole of the present county of Flint, being an open tract, and devoid of those rugged and almost inaccessible elevations which occupy so much of the rest of North Wales, became subject to the arms of that powerful monarch, who carried his devastations to the foot of the Snowdon mountains.
On the death of Roderic the Great, in 877, the cantrêv of Tegeingl, or, as the Saxons called it, Englefeld, became included in the district of Perveddwlad, in the kingdom of Gwynedd, or North Wales, the seat of the government of which was at Aberfraw, in Anglesey; while the south-eastern parts of it, contained in the comots of Ystrad-Alun and Caergwrle, formed part of the kingdom of Powys, as also did Maelor Saesneg, or "English Maelor," to the east of the Dee. Early in the reign of Anarawd, who, on the death of his father Roderic, became sovereign of Gwynedd, the remnant of the StrathClyde Britons, being harassed by the Danes, Saxons, and Scots, and, after severe conflicts with them, having lost their king, Constantine, in battle, applied to Anarawd for an asylum in his dominions; and the prince agreed to receive them, on condition of their recovering from the Saxons a portion of the territory usurped by the latter from the ancient Cymry, in which they had permission to settle, and to maintain their position by force of arms. These Britons soon dispossessed the Saxons of the country situated between the rivers Conway and Dee, of which they remained for some time in quiet possession until it was again overrun by Eadred, Earl of Mercia, who, however, was defeated by the Prince of North Wales, near the town of Conway, and pursued into his own country. The northern Britons, who, on the approach of Eadred, had removed their cattle and other valuable effects westward beyond the Conway, now established themselves, as a separate state, in the conquered country, to which they gave the name of Ystrad-Clwyd, from an important part of it lying on the banks of the river Clwyd. This was afterwards peaceably united to the kingdom of North Wales. In the year 1055, the county was laid waste by the forces of Harold, whom Edward the Confessor had sent to punish Grufydd, Prince of North Wales, for assisting Algar, the banished Earl of Chester, in his attacks on the English territories. It experienced a similar calamity, from the same cause, in 1063, on which occasion Harold advanced with such celerity, that he nearly took Grufydd by surprise, in his palace at Rhuddlan; the latter having only time, the moment before the English presented themselves at the gate, to embark on board one of his ships, at that time lying ready for his reception in the harbour. Mortified that the Welsh prince should thus have escaped, Harold burned his palace, and set fire to all the vessels remaining in the harbour of Rhuddlan.
After the norman conquest, nearly the whole of this county appears in the general survey as appertaining to the county palatine of Chester, being then called Englefeld. It formed a chief portion of the great district called, in that document, the hundred of Atiscross, lying between the river Dee and the Vale of Clwyd; and many places now contained in it, though difficult to identify, from the disfiguration of Norman orthography, are there described, and their valuations given, under the head of the county palatine. The isolated portion of the county, then called Maelor Saesneg, was, at the period of the Norman survey, included in a hundred called Dudestan; but by the Statutum Walliæ, enacted in the twelfth year of the reign of Edward I., it was declared to constitute part of Flintshire; and in the reign of Henry VIII. the south-eastern extremity of the main county was added to it, and the whole formed into the present hundred of Maelor. In addition to Hugh Lupus and his successors in the earldom of Chester, in the reign of William Rufus a Norman named Eustace de Cruer is noticed among the proprietors of lands in this county, having done homage to that monarch for the territory of Mold and Hopedale, which afterwards, together with Hawarden, formed part of the possessions of Robert de Monthault, high steward of Chester. In 1144, in the reign of Stephen, the castle of Mold was besieged and taken by storm, by the forces of Owain, Prince of North Wales.
Henry II., in 1157, collected a formidable army from different parts of England, intending to invade Wales; and marching to Chester, thence entered Flintshire, where he encamped on Saltney Marsh, bordering on the Dee. So vast were the preparations made by this prince for the subjugation of the Welsh, that he compelled every two of his military vassals throughout England to furnish a soldier for the reinforcement of his army. Owain, Prince of North Wales, with his habitual activity, advanced to the frontiers of his dominions, and posted himself at Basingwerk, near Holywell, to await the approach of the English. Henry, hoping that Owain would risk a general engagement, despatched a chosen body of troops, under the command of several distinguished barons, with the design of bringing the Welsh to action, or at least dislodging them from their station. This party, in traversing the woody and rugged district of Coed-Eulo, near Hawarden, was attacked by Davydd and Cynan, sons of Owain, who, with a body of forces, lay in ambush; and the suddenness and impetuosity of the assault, with the natural difficulties of the situation, so intimidated the English, that they fled in great disorder, and with much loss, to the main body of the army. Alarmed by the danger, and mortified by this disgrace, Henry broke up his camp, and marched along the shores of the Dee to the town of Flint, intending, by another manœuvre, to leave the Welsh on the right, and to cut off their communication with the interior; but in passing through a long and narrow defile at Counsyllt, or Coleselt, now called Coleshill, near Flint, he was intercepted by Owain. The English were permitted to enter so far into the pass as to render their advance or retreat, in case of attack, equally dangerous and difficult, when the Welsh, rushing with frightful outcries from the woods, assaulted them with stones, arrows, and other missiles. Struck with dismay, encumbered with heavy armour, and unaccustomed to fight in such situations, the English were again thrown into the utmost disorder; in the prevailing confusion, Henry himself was obliged to flee, and Eustace Fitz-John and Robert de Courcy, with other noblemen of distinction, were slain. A few of the vanguard of the English army, who had escaped the slaughter, fell back upon the main body, which was advancing in regular order to the entrance of the defile; and a false report of the king's death being raised, the Earl of Essex, hereditary standard-bearer of England, was seized with the general terror, and, throwing down the royal standard, gave increased currency to the rumour, by exclaiming aloud, "The king is slain." The alarm now spread rapidly throughout the whole of the English ranks; and the Welsh, perceiving the disorder, attacked the invaders with such impetuosity, that a total rout must have ensued, had not the king, at length extricated from his perilous situation, appeared at this crisis, and made himself known to his army by lifting up the vizor of his helmet. The English, re-inspired by the gallantry of their sovereign, who with alacrity led them on to the charge, checked the victorious career of the Welsh, and drove them back into the woods. The Prince of Wales, after this slight reverse, retired to a post near St. Asaph, called from this circumstance Cîl Owain, or "Owain's Retreat;" and on the nearer approach of the King of England, he further retreated to a still stronger post, called Bryny-Pin, situated about five miles to the west of St. Asaph. Henry, meeting with no further resistance, advanced to Rhuddlan, and strongly fortified the castle of that town, as well as that of Basingwerk, between which places he erected a house for the Knights Templars, a new kind of military garrison in Wales; and further to secure his new conquests, by facilitating military movements, he cut down the woods, and constructed new roads through the subdued districts. Meantime, Owain frequently descended from his post on the hill, to skirmish with the English troops and molest them in their operations; but at last he was compelled to enter into a treaty, by which himself and his chieftains submitted to do homage to Henry, and to yield up those castles and districts in North Wales which, in the late reign, had been obtained from the English.
A few years afterwards, all the princes of Wales entered into a confederacy for the recovery of their lost independence, and one of their first enterprises was an expedition, under the conduct of Davydd, son of Owain Gwynedd, into Flintshire, where this leader made dreadful devastations, carrying off the inhabitants and the cattle to the Vale of Clwyd. The English monarch, who was absent in Normandy, on his arrival in 1165, marched into the county with a body of troops, which had been levied by parliament for the reduction of Rhŷs ab Grufydd, Prince of South Wales, to protect Rhuddlan Castle, which he feared would be besieged by the Welsh; but the enemy having retired, the king stayed only a few days to reinforce his garrisons, and then returned into England, to prepare new levies for a powerful expedition, which, however, was directed against a more southern frontier. In 1166, the Prince of North Wales took and demolished the castle of Basingwerk.
In 1210, the Earl of Chester made an inroad into North Wales; and the prince of this country, in return, devastated the earl's territories, and brought away from them considerable plunder. Incensed at this incursion by the prince, King John assembled a large army at Oswestry, and, having been joined by many of the Welsh chieftains, his vassals, marched to Chester, fully resolved upon the extermination of the people of North Wales: from that city the English army advanced along the shores of the Dee and of the Irish Sea to Rhuddlan, and thence proceeded towards the mountains of Snowdon; but in a short time, after a harassing warfare, it was compelled to make a disgraceful retreat. On several subsequent occasions Flintshire was the scene of like invasions and retreats. About the year 1260, the castle of Dyserth, in the county, was taken from the English and destroyed by Llewelyn, Prince of North Wales; as was also that of Mold, a short time after, by Grufydd ab Gwenwynwyn. In 1277, Edward I., on his advance with a large army to effect the final conquest of Wales, encamped his forces for some time on Saltney Marsh, built or rebuilt the castle of Flint, more strongly fortified that of Rhuddlan, and at the same time bestowed much labour in making good roads for the movements of his troops. Llewelyn, Prince of North Wales, and his brother Davydd, having been reconciled to each other, afterwards concerted measures for a general insurrection against the power of the English, and Davydd opened the campaign by taking the castle of Hawarden by surprise, on the dark and stormy night of Palm Sunday, 1282. After this successful exploit, the brothers, joining their forces, invested the castles of Flint and Rhuddlan, the only fortresses then remaining in the possession of the English in this part of the principality, and soon gained possession of the former. These enterprises were regarded by the Welsh, in every quarter, as the signal for revolt. Edward, however, came to Chester with a large army, and having remained a fortnight in that city to refresh his troops, he commenced operations about the middle of June, 1282, by investing the castle of Caergwrle, which had been for some time in the possession of Davydd, but was almost immediately surrendered to the English monarch, on whose further advance the Welsh princes raised the siege of Rhuddlan Castle, and retreated slowly towards Snowdon. Seizing a favourable opportunity, Llewelyn put to flight a detachment of the English army, taking fourteen standards in the action; the Lords Audley and Clifford, and various other noblemen and gentlemen, were slain, and the king himself was forced to retire for protection into his newly-acquired castle of Caergwrle. In the middle of July we find Edward issuing orders from Rhuddlan; and in the following November he advanced to Conway.
In the reign of Henry III., John, surnamed Le Scot, Earl of Chester, having died without male issue, that earldom, to which the territory of Flint belonged, was given by the king to Simon de Montfort, the coheiresses of John Le Scot receiving other lands in exchange. On Montfort's death, in the year 1265, the earldom was annexed to the crown of England. In succeeding reigns, the eldest son of the reigning monarch, on being created Prince of Wales, received a grant of the earldom of Chester, including Flintshire, in which grants various items have been recapitulated in the following manner: with the earldom, all lands, viz., the castles of Chester, Beeston, Rothlam, Flint, and Hope, and also the manors of Hope, Hopedale, and Forsham, with the cantred and lands of Englefeld; together with the other estates in the counties of Chester, Flint, and elsewhere, belonging to the said earldom; "and the advowson of the cathedral church of St. Asaph, in Wales, and the avoidance, issues, and profits of the temporalities of the bishoprics of Chester and St. Asaph, aforesaid, together with all advowsons, pensions, portions, corrodies, offices, prizes, customs, liberties, franchises, lordships, comots, hundreds, escheats, forfeitures, and hereditaments, unto the said earldom belonging." By the Statutum Walliæ it was ordained, among other clauses, that the territory of Flint, though not disjoined from that of Chester, should be separately considered as to certain branches of jurisdiction. In this document we find the first mention of the viscomes, or sheriff, of Flint; and from this period it seems proper to date the origin of the present shire or county of Flint. In the rebellion under Owain Glyndwr, in the reign of Henry IV., great numbers of the men of Flintshire took up arms in favour of their valiant countryman, but on its suppression they were visited with no signal vengeance.
During the civil war of the seventeenth century, the county was several times the scene of violence, but never of much bloodshed. Hawarden Castle was seized by the parliamentarians, at an early period of the struggle; but, in 1643, was attacked and taken by a body of royalists, under LieutenantColonel Marrow, sent over from Ireland by the Duke of Ormonde, and who had landed at Mostyn. In this year also Flint Castle was closely besieged by the parliamentarian forces under Sir William Brereton and Sir Thomas Myddelton, to whom it was at last surrendered on honourable terms, when the garrison was reduced to extremity. In March 1645, after a month's close siege, Hawarden Castle was surrendered, by the king's order, to the parliamentarian commander, Major-General Mytton. The same officer, in July of the following year, after a short siege captured the castle of Rhuddlan, which until then had been held by the royalists; and in August retook the castle of Flint, which had again fallen into their hands.
Flintshire is in the diocese and archdeaconry of St. Asaph, and in the province of Canterbury: the total number of parishes is thirty-two, of which eleven are rectories, twelve vicarages, and the rest perpetual curacies. For purposes of civil government it is divided into the five hundreds of Coleshill, Maelor, Mold, Prestatyn, and Rhuddlan. It contains the city and newly-created borough of St. Asaph; the borough and sea-port towns of Flint and Rhuddlan; the newly-created boroughs and market-towns of Holywell and Mold; the boroughs of Caergwrle with Hope, Caerwys, and Overton; the market-town of Hawarden, and the large villages of Bagillt, Buckley, Cunnah's-Quay, Mostyn-Quay, Rhyl (a considerable bathing-place), Saltney, &c. One knight is sent to parliament for the shire, and one representative for Flint and the seven other boroughs conjointly: the county member is nominated and elected at Flint, as also is the member for the boroughs. The county is included in the Chester circuit, and the assizes and quarter-sessions are held in the shire-hall at Mold: the county gaol, and house of correction, or bridewell, are at Flint. There are twenty-four acting magistrates. It contains the poor-law union of Holywell, and parts of the unions of St. Asaph and Wrexham.
The principal portion of Flintshire, though its boundary towards Denbighshire is extremely irregular, approaches in form to a narrow parallelogram, stretching along the south-western side of the Dee river, on its near approach towards the sea. The detached part of the hundred of Maelor is somewhat similar in form, but is broader in proportion to its length: this division extends into the spacious and fertile plain which also occupies the northern parts of Shropshire, the whole of Cheshire, and the southern parts of Lancashire; yet, nevertheless, its surface is varied by several fine heights, commanding rich and extensive prospects in every direction. It was anciently called Maelor Saesneg, or "English Maelor," to distinguish it from the territory on the opposite side of the river Dee, called Maelor Gymraeg, or "Welsh Maelor," now included in the hundred of Bromfield, in Denbighshire. The main body of the county is much diversified in feature, but though frequently bold and striking, its scenery seldom assumes the character of wildness which prevails in other parts of the principality, where the mountains are of greater elevation. Some of the hills have on one side steep declivities; but they generally descend in gentle slopes into fertile vales, watered by pleasing meandering streams. From the shores of the Dee the country immediately rises in fine swells, overspread with rich corn-fields and pastures, to the distance of three or four miles. Beyond this fertile tract, in the vicinity of Halkin, and nearly parallel with the distant shores of the river, runs a mountainous ridge, the upper parts of which have a sterile and dreary aspect, though containing valuable minerals, while the lower parts are agreeably varied with well-wooded dingles, through which the mountain streams find their way into the Dee. The northwestern extremity of the county is flat and uninteresting, particularly towards the sea, but is highly productive of corn and grass. Eastward of the rich Vale of Clwyd, which extends north-eastward out of Denbighshire to the shore of this county, rises the elevated ridge of the Clwydian hills, the detached summits of which, named Moel Arthur, Moel Venlli, and Moel Vammau, are conspicuous objects at a very great distance. This chain commences at Dyserth, near the estuary of the Dee, and passes through the parishes of Cwm, Tremerchion, Bôdvari, and Ysceiviog, to the valley of Nannerch, beyond which, the hills increasing in altitude, it soon enters Denbighshire, but runs for several miles south-eastward along the border of Flintshire towards the head of the Vale of Clwyd, where it forms a junction with the Llandegla and Bryn-Eglwys hills. Heath, or ling, is the chief produce of the higher parts of these mountains; and the chain can only be crossed by means of the ravines, called bylchau, the roads through which ascend about two-thirds of the height of the mountains, except in the deep opening near Bôdvari, where the road from Holywell to Denbigh passes.
Strong and fertile argillaceous soils occupy those parts of the Vale of Clwyd which are included in this county; they occupy also the rich maritime districts in the northern part of Flintshire, and form some of the best wheat soils in North Wales, perhaps not inferior to any in Britain. The soil of the higher hills, the substrata of which are argillaceous, is shallow, and is composed of a mixture of clay and gravel, in which the former predominates. Light soils and free loams abound in various places, more particularly in the small valleys opening from the higher hills. Bordering on the great estuary of the Dee lies a considerable tract of sandy land; and the soils above-mentioned are in some places variously intermixed with each other. Below the limestone hills is an abundance of valuable marly soils, formed by the decay of that stone. A part of the Vale of Clwyd has its soils tinged by a reddish sandstone of loose texture.
In the mining districts agriculture is much neglected; but the fertility of the other parts of the county fully counterbalances this deficiency, and renders the agricultural produce of Flintshire adequate to its consumption. Upon light soils the Norfolk rotation of crops is most common; viz., first, wheat; second, turnips; third, barley; and fourth, clover: elsewhere the courses are very various. All the ordinary kinds of grain are cultivated: the wheat crops are most abundant in the maritime districts of Prestatyn, in the northern part of the county, where the returns average about nine or ten, and are occasionally fifteen, times the quantity of grain sown. Oats and barley are always mown, and occasionally wheat; the latter is most frequently cut with the sickle. Peas are occasionally grown, though not to the extent they were; turnips are sometimes cultivated, and potatoes commonly. The common artificial grasses are, red clover, rye-grass, and trefoil, the first kind sometimes for seed. Lucern is grown on about 200 acres of the low sandy tracts bordering on the estuary of the Dee, between Flint and Chester, and on a much smaller scale in several other situations; the produce in the first-mentioned part, when mown for fodder, is frequently very great. In the eastern parts of the county the grass lands are chiefly applied to the purposes of the dairy, the produce of which, in cheese and butter, is exported in large quantities to Chester; part of the cheese is like that of Cheshire, and the rest like that of Gloucester. The Vale of Clwyd, and the lands bordering on the Dee, in this county, comprise the greater part of the pastures of North Wales that are rich enough to fatten cattle. The artificial irrigation of meadows is generally practised, in convenient situations. The most common manure is lime, which is obtained in the greatest abundance in almost every part of the county, and is frequently burned in sodkilns on the field about to be manured: marl is also used near places where it is found. The kind of plough in most common use is the "Lummas plough," which much resembles the Rotherham.
The cattle of Flintshire are of a good size and superior kind, and of all varieties of colour; those bred in the maritime district, at its northern extremity, and thence along the borders of the Dee towards Cheshire, are remarkable for their aptitude to fatten. On the hills the sheep are of the common small highland breed; but in the inclosures are found various foreign breeds and crosses, more especially the SouthDown and Leicester sheep. In the dairy district the offal of the dairy, and the range of grass or clover fields, during summer support numbers of hogs, which, when they have cleared the stubbles after harvest, are sold off; they are generally of a middle size, have short ears, round and deep chests, and are commonly spotted, though sometimes all white. The draught horses of all kinds are for the most part bred within the county; they are generally either black or bay, strong, active, well made, and from fifteen to sixteen hands high.
Although the waste lands are still of considerable extent, more particularly on the hills of Buckley and Halkin, yet they have been greatly lessened by inclosures. Fens Heath, in the hundred of Maelor, on the border of Shropshire, and Threap Wood, an extra-parochial waste, also in the hundred of Maelor, on the border of Cheshire, still remain open. In the year 1732 an act of parliament was procured, enabling the mayor and citizens of Chester to recover and preserve the navigation of the Dee; and another act was passed in the year 1740, incorporating what has since been called "The River Dee Company," which body, under the said acts and former ones of the 17th and 26th of George II., received, as a recompense for recovering and preserving the said navigation, a grant of all the white sands, or such as were then unproductive of herbage, within the estuary of the Dee, from the walls of Chester to the extremity of Wirrall on the Cheshire side, and to the Point of Air on that of Flintshire. One of the first acts of this company was to purchase, from the lord and freeholders of the manor of Hawarden, 600 acres of waste marsh land, through which they cut a new channel for the Dee; and by means of this channel, and several embankments made in the years 1754, 1763, 1769, and 1790, they gained 3100 acres of the sands, which are now covered, even the inner sides of the embankments, with good crops of corn, and lucern and other grasses: the whole of this redeemed tract has been formed into the township of Sealand, in the parish of Hawarden. There are yet between 1000 and 2000 acres of uninclosed marshes on the estuary of the Dee, in this county, the principal portion of which is in the vicinity of the towns of Flint and Holywell, and consists of land of the richest quality.
Some of the chief inclosures have been, that of Saltney Marsh, containing 2200 acres, under an act passed in 1778; that of Hope, comprising 3500 acres, under an act obtained in 1791; that of Mold, containing about 4000 acres, under an act passed in 1792; that of Kîlken, containing 2400 acres, under an act in 1793; and that of Ysceiviog, Nannerch, and Whitford, comprising about 3500 acres. In the parish of Llanasaph, by an act passed in 1811, 1600 acres of peculiarly rich land have been inclosed, of which 1200 were recovered from the sea, by an embankment, at an expense of £4000, defrayed by the freeholders. The waste of Mynydd Tegeingl, in the parishes of Whitford and Ysceiviog, has also been inclosed. In 1807 the proprietors within the franchise of Rhuddlan obtained an act for the inclosure of their portion of the rich tract called Rhuddlan Marsh: this great level, lying near the town of Rhuddlan, between St. Asaph and the sea, contains about 27,000 acres of a rich sandy loam, and extends westward into the adjoining county of Denbigh. The sea having made some destructive encroachments on Tywyn Abergele, a neighbouring waste, the proprietors of Rhuddlan Marsh, to secure their own lands from inundation, at the end of the last century and the commencement of the present, under the provisions of an act of parliament, formed an embankment varying in height and breadth, according to the force of the tide which it was designed to resist: 500 acres were appointed by the act to be sold, towards defraying the expenses incurred in making the embankment, which it was estimated would cost, together with drainage, as much as £13,500. Coal, obtained from its own mines, is the common fuel of this county; but peat is burned in some places, and that which is obtained in Fens Moss, in Maelor, is so soft as to require to be cast in moulds before it can be used: when it has dried and hardened, it becomes highly inflammable, and the moulded pieces are sold by the hundred, chiefly to the people of Whitchurch and Wem, in the adjoining county of Salop. Various extensive plantations of timber-trees occur in different parts of the county, and these are sometimes of remarkably flourishing growth: some of the oak, sycamore, elm, ash, and bay trees in the woods near the seats Bôdryddan, Mostyn, and Downing, in the northern part of the county, are of uncommon size and magnificence.
The mineral productions of Flintshire are of great variety and importance, when compared with the small extent of its surface, and consist chiefly of coal, lead-ore, and calamine, with limestone, freestone, and various other kinds of stone. By far the greater part of it is included in the limestone tract of North Wales, the northern portion of which enters the parish of Mold from the eastern part of Denbighshire, and in its progress north-westward occupies the western parts of Flintshire, and passes by Kîlken, Halkin, Ysceiviog, and Caerwys, to the east of Tremerchion and Cwm, and to the west of Holywell, Whitford, and Llanasaph; including the whole of the parishes of Newmarket, Gwaenyscor, and Meliden, and terminating on the sea-shore, at Dyserth, in a bold promontory facing the north-west. To the east and north of the limestone tract are valuable cOAL measures, the geological position of which is over the calcareous beds, from which they dip, first eastward, towards the plain of Cheshire, and afterwards north-eastward, under the estuary of the Dee, forming what the miners call a trough, and rising again on the Cheshire side of that river, in the peninsula of Wirrall. The coal tract extends from the parish of Llanasaph, near the point of Air, southeastward through the parishes of Whitford, Holywell, Flint, and Northop, into that of Hawarden, opposite to Chester. The thickness of several of the coal seams is remarkably great, being surpassed by none in the kingdom, except those near Wednesbury in Staffordshire; and few places in the island possess so great a quantity of coal within the same distance of the surface. A pit at Bychton, near Whitford, six hundred and fourteen feet deep, is sunk through twenty-seven different strata, of which twelve consist of coal varying in thickness from one to fifteen feet. The first of these is of the kind called cannel, which is also found in the Mostyn and Leeswood pits: at Bychton it is three feet thick, and rests immediately upon a bed of common coal, six feet thick: a stratum of the same species, fourteen inches thick, occurs at the depth of about three hundred and fourteen feet: the aggregate thickness of the whole series of seams is sixty-four feet eight inches, being equal to about one foot of coal in every nine feet depth. The dip of the strata of the whole formation is very considerable, varying from one yard in four to two yards in three. Although the thickest seam, towards the north-western extremity of the district, is as much as fifteen feet, yet at Hawarden, near Chester, it is only twelve feet. The strata alternating with the beds of coal consist chiefly of freestone and a darkcoloured shale, the latter of which decomposes on exposure to the atmosphere.
The collieries of the county are mentioned in an official document so early as the reign of Edward I. At a subsequent period they supplied Dublin and the northern coasts of Ireland, but the demand in that quarter afterwards much diminished. This change in the trade was attributable to the opening of numerous pits in Cumberland and Lancashire, more conveniently situated for the approach of ships; for the Dee, which had been navigable close to the shore of the parish of Whitford, changed its deep channel to the opposite side of the estuary, and until lately only sloops and small brigs could approach within two miles of the same place. Probably 70,000 tons are now sent annually to Ireland from Flintshire, but the coal is for the most part consumed at the different works on this coast, and by the inhabitants of the more distant parts of North Wales. The principal coal-mines are in the vicinities of Northop, Mold, Hawarden, Flint, Bagillt near Holywell, and Mostyn in the parish of Whitford.
The calcareous strata of the south-western side of the county afford limestone that burns into lime of excellent quality, and in many places assume the appearance of marble of different kinds, susceptible of a high polish: a variety of the latter, of a deepgrey colour, when calcined and mixed with a certain quantity of common lime, forms a good cement for works under water. On the eastern side the limestone strata change into a mixed siliceous stone, of various degrees of fineness, called chert; beyond this occurs a dark-coloured friable shale, and, afterwards, freestone of excellent quality for building, with subjacent coal strata: the chert is used in the manufacture of porcelain and delft-ware, some of it being sent to the Staffordshire and Shropshire potteries. The change in the nature of the strata is more particularly abrupt and remarkable in the Vale of Nannerch, one side of which is formed by limestone rocks, and the other by ledges of shivery shale; also in the dingle to the south of the mansion of Talacre, where the coal measures end, one side being freestone of the finest quality, and the other chert and limestone, the metalliferous strata of the country. The chert is seldom above forty yards deep, but the limestone is of unknown depth; and both, in common with the shale, abound with ores of lead, calamine, and another combination of zinc, which, in some processes, serves as a substitute for calamine, and is called by the miners "black-jack."
Flintshire produces nearly two-thirds of the leadore raised in the whole of Wales, and about oneseventh part of the ore raised in the whole of the United Kingdom; the lead-mines in the county yield about 11,500 tons of ore annually, and those in the rest of the principality about 6500 tons. Most of the works are called "rakes," and they are carried to various depths, from twenty to one hundred and fifty yards. The veins run in opposite directions, from north to south, and from east to west; but the ore obtained from those running in the former direction is of inferior quality, as it contains no silver, or so small a quantity as not to be worth extracting. The ores are of various kinds: the common lamellated "potters' ore," so called because it is used in glazing earthenware, yields, on an average, from fourteen to sixteen hundred-weight of lead per ton; the brown, or grey, lapideous ore, called by the miners caulk, yields from five to eleven hundred-weight per ton. What is called "gravel ore" is of nearly the same quality as the potters' ore; it is found in flats, that is, loose strata of sand and stones, and consists of pieces, rounded by attrition, of various sizes, from that of a hazel-nut to masses weighing several tons. The quantity of silver contained in these different ores is very various; when, on assaying, they are found to contain ten ounces per ton, the quantity is considered worth the trouble and expense of extracting; sometimes the produce is sixteen ounces per ton. Some of the richest and most productive mines are, those in the vicinities of Halkin, Kîlken, and Mold; the mine called the Holywell Level; and Milwr mine, to the east of Holywell: Talar Gôch mine, at Dyserth, which belongs to the see of St. Asaph, &c., affords rich ores of both lead and zinc. The working of two large and valuable lead-mines at Llyn-yPandy, near Mold, has been greatly obstructed by the waters of the river Alyn, in the subterraneous part of its course. Near the sites of ancient smelting-hearths, fragments of lead-ore have been collected, to the amount of many tons. According to an accurate statement lately published, the following quantities of lead-ore were raised from the chief mines in the county, in 1847; Fron-fownog, 1219 tons; Hendre, 1160 tons; Maes-y-Safn, 1136 tons; the Westminster mines, 1040 tons; Talar Gôch mine, 964 tons; Penrhynblas, 936 tons: Dingle and Deep Level, 688 tons; Jamaica, 602 tons; Belgrave, 328 tons; the Mold mines, 190 tons; &c. The total produce of the county, as already observed, was about 11,500 tons of ore.
Lapis calaminaris is raised in large quantities, particularly in the eastern part of the limestone district, being generally found in a matrix of limestone, or chert, more especially the former, in which it is peculiar to the kind called "flummery stone." Its colour is various, yellow, green, red, brown, and black; it is also of various texture and solidity, some being reticulated like corroded bones, and one kind resembling indurated wax. The other ore of zinc, called sulphate of zinc, blende, or black-jack, is also very abundant, and is sometimes raised for the making of ingots and bell-metal, or to be reduced to speltre, or regulus of zinc: it has naturally a blueish-grey metallic appearance. A vein running north and south through the parishes of Mold and Kîlken, and consisting chiefly of fluor spar, breaks every vein that it crosses, without being itself interrupted or deranged by any; for which reason the miners have given it the name of the "gallop-hell vein." Barytes, united with vitriolic acid, occurs at Meriadog, near St. Asaph, and with carbonic acid, between St. Asaph and Holywell, where it is the matrix both of the sulphate of zinc and that of lead. Marl, which appears to be a deposit of dissolved limestone, abounds in all the valleys contiguous to the limestone tract: clayey marl is most abundant in the eastern part of the county, and that of an indurated quality near the centre of it, in the neighbourhood of Flint. Petroleum, or mineral oil, is often found in the limestone strata, and is used for medicinal purposes: by the Welsh it is called menyn y tylwyth têg, or "fairies' butter." Varieties of the carbonate of lime, such as regularly formed spars, stalactites, and coarse mineral agaric, are found at Fordden, near Caerwys; and amethystine spar exists on Halkin Mountain. The principal extraneous fossils are impressions of leaves of the fern species, found in the collieries of Leeswood, in the parish of Mold, and in the black shale incumbent on the coal in other works of the same kind. A great portion of the mineral districts, formerly constituting part of the royal possessions, was alienated from the crown, in the reign of Charles I., in favour of Sir Richard Grosvenor, who obtained a grant of all the mines, or rakes, of lead within the hundreds of Coleshill and Rhuddlan, which, prior to that period, had been divided into different lots, and let out on leases for a term of years. Although the surface of the extensive waste called Halkin Mountain is commonable land, yet its vast mineral treasures are, by virtue of this grant, the property of the present Marquess of Westminster, as descendant of Sir Richard.
A great part of the population of the county is engaged in raising its mineral treasures, whilst others are employed in manufacturing its metallic ores. Smelting is very largely carried on at Bagillt, in the parish of Holywell. The Flintshire lead-ore markets are held alternately at Flint and Holywell; they are the largest in Great Britain, and the Flintshire smelters manufacture one-half of the lead made in the united kingdom, large quantities of ore being imported into the county as well as raised within it. On the stream which runs from Holywell into the estuary of the Dee, were, until lately, extensive works for the manufacture of culinary utensils, and other articles of brass; and some copper-works, at which were manufactured copper plates, or sheets, for the bottoms of ships, and for exportation to China, to be used in the drying of teas, also copper bolts, nails, rudder-bands, braces, &c., and copper-wire. The copper used in these works was chiefly obtained from the Parys and Mona mines, in Anglesey; and numerous vessels were employed in the carriage of the raw and manufactured articles, the latter of which were shipped for Liverpool. Flintshire also contained four extensive cotton-manufactories, situated on the Holywell stream, and belonging to the "Holywell Cotton Company," in which about 1000 persons were employed: there is a fifth at Mold, still in operation. The manufactories for cotton, copper, &c., at Holywell, though unemployed, are not removed, and the stream is still as powerful as it was when the above manufactures were in a prosperous state. Near Coed-Eulo, in the parish of Hawarden, are extensive potteries, where are manufactured considerable quantities of coarse earthenware, which is chiefly sent coastwise, as far as Swansea, or exported to Ireland; also fire-bricks, tiles, and draining-pipes, from clunch, a species of indurated clay, which is here found in vast beds. Some of the bricks, called bearers, weigh from one to two hundred-weight, and are used for lining the lead-smelting furnaces, in which they are set, not in mortar, but in a cement formed of the same kind of fire-clay as that of which they are composed. The Nottingham brown earthenware, and other species of pottery, are made near Mold. At Bagillt, the manufacture of ropes for shipping, and for the use of the colliers and miners, is carried on. Ivoryblack is made at Saltney, and paper at Holywell.
Notwithstanding that the county possesses so considerable an extent of sea-coast, its harbours are small. At the mouth of the Clwyd is the port of Rhuddlan at the Vorryd, where vessels take in corn, timber, and other produce of the interior; and more grain is shipped at this place than at all the other ports of North Wales collectively. At Bagillt, on the estuary of the Dee, the vessels trading to and from the collieries and smelting-works there are loaded, or their cargoes discharged. Vessels also trade to Flint; and much business is done at SaltneyQuay, on the Cheshire border, to which large quantities of coal, iron, and other articles, are brought from Wrexham, Ruabon, and other parts, by the Shrewsbury railway; at Cunnah's-Quay, where tiles, fire-bricks, draining-pipes, coal, &c., are largely exported; and at Mostyn-Quay, in the parish of Whitford, another increasing coal-port. Great quantities of limestone, quarried in the hills about Caergwrle, are burned on the spot, and, for the most part, conveyed into Cheshire. Most of the wool produced in the county is sold, at Chester, to the clothiers of the north of England. The chief exports are, coal, lead, fire-bricks, &c., grain, butter, cheese, and bacon; the chief articles of importation are, lead-ore for smelting, and the ordinary shop-goods.
The principal rivers are the Dee, the Clwyd, and the Alyn. The Dee first touches the county in its course northward along the eastern confines of Denbighshire, where, for several miles, it bounds the detached portion of Flintshire on the west. Almost immediately below Chester it reaches the main body of the county, through a low marshy portion of which is carried its modern artificial channel, terminating within four miles of Flint, in the great estuary of the old channel. This estuary extends north-westward to the Irish Sea; it forms the north-eastern boundary of the county, and terminates between the extremity of Wirrall, in Cheshire, and the Point of Air in Flintshire. The river is navigable for vessels of considerable burthen up to Chester. At high water, the estuary forms a noble arm of the sea, but at the ebb dwindles into a narrow stream, winding its way through vast dreary wastes of sand and ooze. The Clwyd enters the western part of the county from Denbighshire, near Bôdvari, and, pursuing a northeastern course, soon reaches St. Asaph, immediately below which city it is joined, from the south-west, by the powerful stream of the Elwy. Hence, gradually increasing in breadth, it flows majestically through the rich marsh of Rhuddlan, by the ancient borough of that name, about two miles below which it falls into the Irish Sea, through a small estuary opening northward, bounded on the east by the north-western extremity of Flintshire, and on the west by the north-easternmost point of Denbighshire. This river is navigable up to Rhuddlan quay for flat-bottomed boats of about fifty tons' burthen, and at its mouth forms a port, which is frequented by larger vessels. The Alyn enters across the southern confines of the county, and takes a northern course in the vicinity of Mold, round which town it makes an extensive sweep; it then turns southward through Hopedale, and afterwards, pursuing an eastern direction, quits Flintshire near Caergwrle, in its further progress to the Dee. Near Mold this river has a subterraneous passage for the distance of rather less than a mile.
The great Chester and Holyhead railway, opened in the year 1848, enters the county near Saltney, where the Wrexham, Ruabon, and Shrewsbury line, belonging to the Chester and Shrewsbury Railway Company, branches off. It runs parallel with the river Dee, passing by Sandycroft, about two miles north-east of the town of Hawarden; and then by Queen's Ferry, where a station is fixed, not far distant from the river. About a mile beyond, is Cunnah's-Quay; after which, the line runs along the shore of the Dee estuary, by Kelsterton, to the Flint station. Further on, it passes by the rising town of Bagillt, to the Greenfield station, which is about a mile distant from the populous and important town of Holywell. It next passes over a large portion of land reclaimed from the estuary, and arrives at Mostyn-Quay, of late years a place of some importance; whence the line traverses Gwespyr Marsh, and runs near the Point of Air, by Talacre, at the mouth of the Dee estuary. The railway now pursues a western course, along the sea-shore; it has a station at Prestatyn, and, leaving the village of Meliden on the left, arrives at Rhyl, a thriving watering-place, where another station is fixed, situated thirty miles from Chester. Hence the line crosses the river Clwyd into Denbighshire. The Mold railway, for which an act was passed in 1847, commences in junction with the preceding line in the parish of Hawarden, and takes a course of ten miles and a quarter to the town of Mold. It will have a branch of half a mile to the Upper King's Ferry, on the Dee; and one of four miles to the Frith lime-works; making a total length of fourteen miles and three-quarters. This line was finally purchased by the Holyhead Railway Company in the early part of 1849, and the main portion of it was opened in the course of the year. Excellent materials for the making and repairing of roads being every where abundant, those of Flintshire are for the most part very good. The road from London to Holyhead, by Chester, enters the county from the latter city, and runs the whole length of it, passing through Northop, Holywell, and St. Asaph, to Abergele, in Denbighshire. From Northop a branch passes through Caerwys, and rejoins the main line at St. Asaph; while from Holywell is another branch through Newmarket and Rhuddlan, which again reaches the main road at Abergele: from Northop a third branch passes through Denbigh, and regains the main road at Conway.
This county contains numerous interesting relics of antiquity. Various remains of the Romans, such as coins, hypocausts, fibulæ, &c., have been found in the vicinities of Flint, Caergwrle, Caerwys, and Holywell. Near Flint and Caergwrle are found great quantities of scoria, supposed to be the refuse from Roman smelting-hearths. On the hill called Garreg, near the village of Whitford, on the estuary of the Dee, is a circular tower, conjectured to have been a Roman pharos, or lighthouse. In a field below the town of Caerwys was formerly a stone, bearing a Latin inscription; it was removed to the garden of Downing, but a tumulus yet remains near its former site, and there are other tumuli scattered in the vicinity. In the neighbourhood of Hope may be traced, in several places, the remains of two ancient roads, one pointing towards Hawarden, and the other towards Mold. Roman intrenchments are yet visible in the vicinity of Bôdvari, supposed by some to be the ancient Varis, and in one or two other places. Truman Hill, and several other heights in the neighbourhood of Hawarden, are crowned with British encampments; and on Moel Arthur, a lofty summit of the Clwydian hills, is a strong fortification of British construction. On an elevation opposite to that on which are situated the ruins of Caergwrle Castle is a British fortified post, called Caer-Estyn, formed by a ditch and rampart. In the parish of Whitford is a singular monument, consisting of an ancient sculptured obelisk, twelve feet high, called Maen Chwyvan, or "the stone of lamentation:" near it are several tumuli, called Y Gorseddau, or "the sessions." Another curiously ornamented column, of unknown antiquity, stands in the cemetery of Dyserth.
Various remains of Offa's Dyke are yet visible in the county, through the whole of which, with the exception of a short distance of about three miles, its course has been traced from the place where it enters, near Hope, to its termination near Prestatyn. Nearly parallel with this ancient line of demarcation extends a similar work, called Wat's Dyke, which also traverses the county, in a direction from northwest to south-east. From the shores of the Dee, below the abbey of Basingwerk, it passes through "the strand fields," near Holywell, and by Cevny-Coed, Nant-y-Flint, Coed-y-Llŷs, Bryn-moel, Northop mills, Monachlog near Northop, and Mynydd Sychdyn. It then enters Molesdale, near its lower extremity, and runs along the side of it by Hope church to Rhyddin, whence it almost immediately enters the eastern part of Denbighshire, across which it pursues a southern course, nearly parallel with Offa's Dyke. By all early historians these two lines of demarcation have been confounded with each other; and respecting the formation of Wat's Dyke there is no authentic record, and hardly even a conjecture.
At the time of the Reformation there were, at Basingwerk a Cistercian abbey; and at Rhuddlan a house of Black friars: the famous monastery of Bangor-Iscoed was entirely in ruins at the time of the Norman Conquest. There are yet extensive and curious remains of the abbey of Basingwerk. The most remarkable specimens of ecclesiastical architecture in the county are to be seen in the cathedral and parochial church of St. Asaph; in the church of Kîlken, which is chiefly interesting for its fine carved roof, lately restored in an admirable manner by public subscription; and in the churches of Hanmer, Mold, and Overton. An ancient and very beautiful chapel is built over St. Winifred's Well, at Holywell. In this border county, so often the scene of conflict between the encroaching power of England and the patriotic valour of the Welsh, the fortified residences were numerous. There are picturesque remains of the castles of Caergwrle, Dyserth, Eulo, Flint, Hawarden, and Rhuddlan. Mansions of rather ancient erection and antiquated appearance are numerous: the most remarkable are, Bôdryddan, Golden Grove, Gwasaney, Mostyn, Nerquis Hall, Pentre-Hobyn, Plâs Têg, and Rhual. Among the modern seats most worthy of notice are, Bôdelwyddan, Bronwylva, Brynbella, Bryn-y-Pŷs, Cevn, Downing, Emral, Gredington, Gwernhayled, Gyrn, Halkin Castle, Hanmer Hall, Hawarden Castle, Leeswood, Pengwern, Talacre, the Palace and the Deanery of St. Asaph, and the Vicarage-house of Northop. Most of the better class of houses are built of the freestone of the coal measures. Although farmhouses and their appendages upon improved plans are common, yet many of the farmhouses are extremely mean. The cottages are generally clean and comfortable, and built of the substantial materials of the district. The common fences are quickset hedges, for making which great quantities of hawthorn-sets are grown by nurserymen. The farmers and labourers generally enjoy superior family fare to that of the same classes in the other counties of North Wales. In those parts of Flintshire which adjoin Cheshire, servants hired by the year begin their term of service on the 1st of January; in other districts, on the 1st of May. At Rhuddlan, at the lower extremity of the Vale of Clwyd, labourers formerly met together on the Sunday morning, and were hired by the neighbouring farmers for the following week; but this is now done on the Monday morning, and the wages given at Rhuddlan regulate those of the two hundreds of Rhuddlan and Prestatyn.
On the banks of the river Alyn, in the domain of Rhyddin, near Caergwrle, are two saline springs, formerly much resorted to for the medicinal properties of their waters, which were considered particularly efficacious in the cure of scorbutic affections. At the bottom of the hill on which stands the town of Holywell is St. Winifred's Well, one of the most powerful springs in the island. The stream issuing from it enters the estuary of the Dee at a marshy spot, at the distance of one mile and 234 yards from its source; having in that short course given motion, some years ago, to eleven mills of complex machinery. The supposed efficacy of this spring for healing all diseases, arising from its pretended miraculous origin, formerly attracted numerous pilgrims to Holywell; and the legend connected with it is related in the account of that place.
FLORENCE (ST.), a parish, in the hundred of Castlemartin, union and county of Pembroke, South Wales, 4½ miles (W. by N.) from Tenby; containing 396 inhabitants. This place is beautifully situated on a gentle eminence in the centre of a fertile vale, sheltered on one side by the northern declivity of the Ridgeway between Pembroke and Tenby. The parish is bounded on the north by the parishes of Carew and Redbarth, on the south by Manorbeer, on the east by Gumfreston, and on the west by Nash and Lamphey. It comprises by admeasurement 2470 acres of land, which is chiefly in pasture, and appropriated to dairy-farming, the produce of the parish being principally butter and cheese; the soil rests, in some places, on clay, and in others on limestone, and varies in its quality from great richness and fertility to absolute barrenness. The surface is broken into valleys and hills, and a small brook, flowing through the district to Tenby, diversifies and improves the scenery, which, throughout the whole locality, is highly picturesque and beautiful. Near the village, which forms one of the most cheerful and interesting objects in the delightful ride from Tenby to Pembroke, is situated Ivy Tower, a commodious modern residence, containing a good antiquarian and classical library; and the vicinity of which is ornamented with some ash and elm trees. Many of the cottages, to which large gardens are attached, and which are grouped in pleasing clusters around the church, are of ancient appearance, and coeval with the castles in the vicinity, having been built by the first generations of the Flemings, who settled in this part of the principality, in the reign of Henry I., by permission of that monarch, when driven from their own country by an inundation of the sea. There are some limestone-quarries, and a few hands are employed as masons in marblework.
The living consists of a rectory and a vicarage; the former a sinecure, rated in the king's books at £16. 12. 1., and in the patronage of the Master and Fellows of St. John's College, Cambridge: the vicarage, which is discharged, is rated at £4. 18. 4., and is endowed with £400 royal bounty; patron, the Rector. These livings, which are at present totally distinct, are in future to be consolidated. The rectorial tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £160, with a glebe of twenty acres, valued at £35 per annum; and the vicarial for a rent-charge of £80, with a glebe of ten acres, valued at £20. The church, dedicated to St. Florence, is a very ancient, massive, cruciform structure, in the early style of English architecture, with a lofty belfry tower, containing four fine-toned bells; the edifice measures seventy-two feet in extreme length, and twenty feet in breadth, and will accommodate about 200 persons with sittings. On the north side of the altar is a mural tablet of brass, with a Latin epitaph, in choriambic verse, to the memory of Robert Rudd, A.B., formerly archdeacon of St. David's, who was ejected from his benefice for his adherence to the cause of Charles I., and died in October, 1648. There is a place of worship for Independents. A Sunday school is held in the village schoolroom in the morning, and in the vicarage-house in the evening; but no day school is supported here, the National school at Redbarth, an adjoining parish, being designed for the children of St. Florence also. The remains of antiquity in and about the village are considerable: in 1835, a small silver cross, inscribed with Saxon characters, was found in the vicarage-garden.
FORCHAMMAN (FFORCH-AMMAN), a hamlet, in the parish of Aberdare, borough and union of Merthyr-Tydvil, county of Glamorgan, South Wales, 6 miles (S. W. by S.) from MerthyrTydvil; containing 150 inhabitants. This hamlet takes its name from the Amman stream, which falls into the river Cynon.—See Aberdare.
FORD, a chapelry, in the parish of Hayscastle, union of Haverfordwest, hundred of Dewisland, county of Pembroke, South Wales, 7 miles (N.) from Haverfordwest: the population is included in the return for the parish. This chapelry comprises a small tract lying at the north-eastern extremity of the parish, on the western bank of the Cleddy river, where it is joined by another small stream, and on the high road between Haverfordwest and Fishguard. The living is a perpetual curacy, endowed with £1200 royal bounty; net income, £70; patron, W. E. Tucker, Esq.
FORDEN, a parish, and the head of an incorporation, in the Lower division of the hundred of Cawrse, county of Montgomery, North Wales, 5 miles (S.) from Welshpool; containing 827 inhabitants. The Danes are said to have stationed themselves in this neighbourhood in the year 894, and to have been driven from it by the Saxons, after a long siege and severe conflict: their encampments are still visible on the Long Mountain and near Buttington. This mountain, called by the Welsh Mynydd, or Cevn Digoll, is partly included in the parish, and is remarkable as the scene of the last struggle of the Welsh for independence. After the death of Llewelyn, the inhabitants of North Wales rallied under the banner of his illegitimate son, Madoc, who assembled a considerable army, and obtained signal victories over the invaders, at Carnarvon, near Denbigh, at Knockin, and again in the Marches: at length, having ventured hither to engage with the united forces of the lords marcher, his troops were routed, after an obstinate conflict, in 1294. Upon the same mountain, Henry, Earl of Richmond, afterwards Henry VII., mustered his partisans from Shropshire and North Wales, and found every man who had promised to support him true to his appointment; on which account the Welsh have called it Digoll, signifying "without loss."
The parish is situated on the road from Montgomery to Welshpool. By the latter place it is bounded on the north, on the south by Montgomery, on the east by Worthen and Chirbury in the county of Salop, and on the west by Berriew. The soil is a shallow earth resting on clay, and the produce consists of wheat, oats, barley, and some turnips. The grounds lie on the acclivity of the Long Mountain, and the scenery is beautifully picturesque, embracing the Severn and Kemlet rivers, which run through the parish, and fine views of Welshpool and Montgomery, with the vales in their vicinity: the mansions within the parish are Nantcribba, Gunley, and Edderton. There is a quarry of stone of the trap species. The sessions for the Lower division of the hundred of Cawrse are held at the Church House at Forden, twice a year.
The House of Industry for the united district of Montgomery and Welshpool is situated in the parish. This district, which is about eighteen miles square, comprises the parishes of Montgomery, Welshpool (except the township of Cyvronnydd), Berriew, Llandyssil, Llanmerewig, and Forden; the townships of Cletterwood and Hope, in the parish of Buttington; those of Leighton and Trelystan, in the chapelry of Wolstonnyend, otherwise Wolston; that of Aston, in the parish of Lydham; and that of Castlewright, in the parish of Mainstone; all in the county of Montgomery; and the parishes of Worthen and Chirbury, in the county of Salop, and of Churchstoke, in the counties of Montgomery and Salop. These places were united and formed into one entire district, for the better relief and employment of the poor, under an act passed in the 32nd of George III.; and certain persons described therein were incorporated, by the style of "The Guardians of the Poor of the parishes of Montgomery and Pool, and the parishes, chapelries, and townships united therewith, in the counties of Montgomery and Salop." Some of the body were appointed directors, and regulations were established for effecting the purposes of the act: additional powers were granted to the corporation in the 36th of George III., and again in the 5th of George IV. The management of the interests of the establishment is vested in twenty-four directors, chosen from the body of guardians, eight of whom retire annually, and are succeeded by others: there are also honorary directors, besides the mayors of the boroughs of Montgomery and Welshpool. The domestic concerns are managed by a steward and matron, under the superintendence of a committee, which meets once a week: there are also a chaplain, treasurer, clerk, and other officers. The building, which is capable of affording accommodation to 1000 persons, is a plain substantial edifice of brick, erected in 1795, at an expense of upwards of £12,000; it stands within a plot of ground covering thirty acres, and occupies three sides of a square, of which the front is 360 feet in length. There is a neat chapel, in length fifty-seven feet and a half, and in breadth thirty-six feet, with a burial-ground attached. The male inmates able to labour were generally employed in husbandry, upon a farm belonging to the institution, and the females in knitting; but the farm was given up about twenty years ago, and a new system of relieving the paupers in their own houses was adopted, keeping in the workhouse here only such as are unable to labour: there is a school for the children.
The living is a perpetual curacy, endowed with £400 private benefaction, and £900 parliamentary grant; net income, £119; patrons and impropriators, the Master and Wardens of the Grocers' Company, whose tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £462. 13. The church, which is situated about half a mile west of the road from Welshpool to Montgomery, is in the ancient English style of architecture. It consisted of a nave only, until an addition was made, in 1830, of an aisle built at right angles with the body of the church; the latter measures sixty-three feet by twenty-eight, and the former nineteen by twenty-four: the edifice contains 400 sittings. The font, which is of marble, and of an oval form, was presented to the parish, in 1794, by Richard Edmunds, Esq., at whose expense also the arms of England, exquisitely carved in wood, coloured and gilt, were put up on the north side of the chancel. This church, during a period of three or four centuries, was the burial-place of the family of Devereux, Viscounts Hereford. There is a place of worship for Independents. Edward Lewis, in 1675, devised £20 per annum, arising from an estate in the adjoining parish of Chirbury, in Shropshire, for the instruction of children of that place and Forden, and about six boys from this parish attend the school at Chirbury, which, however, is too far distant to be of general advantage. A Sunday school was established in connexion with the Church, in 1827. The sum of £100 was given by a member of the Devereux family, for apprenticing two children annually; but after having been recovered, in 1748, from Lord Hereford in whose hands it had been placed, together with £30 interest, it was lent on bond to a person who died in embarrassed circumstances, and the principal and interest were lost to the parish. The only benefaction now secured arises from a portion of Mrs. Hannah Lloyd's charity in the parish of CastleCaer-Einion, producing £2. 18. per annum, which, with the interest of £35, the produce of timber cut on the property, is expended in the purchase of coats for decayed persons.
There are various remains of antiquity in the parish. In the township of Thornbury, near the banks of the Severn, are vestiges of a Roman rectangular encampment, called the Gaer, from which the course of an ancient road may be traced, in the parishes of Llandyssil, Llanmerewig, Newtown, and Penstrywed, to Caer-Sws, probably a Roman city, in the parish of Llanwnnog. That ancient line of demarcation, Offa's Dyke, passes through the townships of Hem and Wropton; and within 200 yards of it, near Nantcribba, on the road from Welshpool to Montgomery, rises a vast conoidal rock, upon which, on clearing away the surface, about the middle of the last century, the remains of a fort were discovered. The fort appeared to have been of a square form, perhaps with a round tower at each angle, as part of one still remains at the south-east angle; the walls are about three feet high, and seven feet seven inches in thickness, and the area within is nine feet in diameter. The base of the rock is surrounded by a trench, cut through it, leaving only a narrow entrance to the fort. The history of this place is involved in total oblivion: it was probably a fortification of considerable importance, the site commanding the line of Offa's Dyke, and the vales of Severn, Montgomery, and Chirbury. At a short distance from it is another intrenchment.
FOREST, a hamlet, in the parish and hundred of Tàlgarth, union of Hay, county of Brecknock, South Wales, 10½ miles (S.) from Hay; containing 168 inhabitants. This hamlet consists of the southern portion of that elevated range, called the Black mountains, which separates Brecknockshire from Monmouthshire and a detached district of Herefordshire. Tàlgarth mountain, in the hamlet, is 2445 feet above the level of the sea; and upon another elevated hill near it, termed Y Gader, or the Chair, are loose stone circles, evidently Druidical, shaped as an irregular triangle, with a large stone for an apex, the whole about sixty feet in circumference. Other similar constructions are found within a short distance on the southern declivity of this mountain. The remains of Dinas Castle are also situated in the hamlet: they occupy the summit of a detached and conical hill at the foot of the Black mountains, and consist at present of little more than the foundations, the castle having been destroyed, as is supposed, by the natives of Sir David Gam's party, in opposition to those of Owain Glyndwr's. The hamlet is wild and dreary in its aspect, affording, in general, only scanty herbage to the mountain sheep.
FOREST, a hamlet, in the parish of Llanycrwys, union of Lampeter, Upper division of the hundred of Cathinog, county of Carmarthen, South Wales, 4 miles (E.) from Lampeter; containing 248 inhabitants. There are traces still discernible, in two places near the small river Twrch, of the Roman road called Sarn Helen, which passes through this hamlet, at a short distance from the church, in a direction from Loventium, now Llanio, in Cardiganshire, to the station at Llanvair-ar-y-Bryn, near Llandovery.
FOREST, a hamlet, in the parish of Llandingat, union of Llandovery, Higher division of the hundred of Perveth, county of Carmarthen, South Wales, 3 miles (N.) from Llandovery; containing 240 inhabitants. It is situated on the left bank of the Towy, and occupies part of the district lying between that river and the Brân. A bridge crosses the Towy here, and the road from Llandovery to Trêgaron passes along its left bank. The hamlet is in general well wooded.
FOREST, a hamlet, in the parish and union of Merthyr-Tydvil, hundred of Caerphilly, county of Glamorgan, South Wales, 5 miles (S. S. E.) from Merthyr-Tydvil; containing 888 inhabitants. It forms a mountainous and partially wooded district between the river Tâf and the river Bargoed Tâf, the latter a tributary of the former. Parallel with the Tâf, within the hamlet, run the Merthyr-Tydvil and Cardiff road and the Tâf-Vale railway; and on the other side of the same river, without the limits of the hamlet, passes the line of the Glamorganshire canal. Part of Forest is included in the parliamentary borough of Merthyr-Tydvil, created in 1832.
FREYSTROP, a parish, in the union of Haverfordwest, hundred of Rhôs, county of Pembroke, South Wales, 2½ miles (S. by E.) from Haverfordwest, on the road by Pembroke ferry to Pembroke; comprising the divisions of Higher and Lower Freystrop, and containing 671 inhabitants. In this parish is situated Clareston, an elegant modernised mansion, originally the residence of the family of Powel, and which is pleasantly situated in grounds well laid out. The area of the parish is 1592 acres; the lands are almost entirely in a state of cultivation, and the soil is tolerably fertile. Culm is found in abundance, and much of it is shipped for the supply of the neighbouring districts, at Hook Quay, on the river Cleddy. The living is a discharged rectory, rated in the king's books at £5. 13. 9., endowed with £200 royal bounty, and in the patronage of the Lord Chancellor: the tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £121. 10.; and there is a glebe of eighteen acres, valued, with appendages, at £41. 18. per annum. The church is not distinguished by any remarkable feature. Here is a place of worship for Independents, with a Sunday school held in it; and a day school in connexion with the Established Church is supported by subscription. A spring here, the water of which crosses the turnpike-road, is strongly impregnated with iron, and is called by the villagers the Red Water, from the colour of its deposit.