A Topographical Dictionary of Wales. Originally published by S Lewis, London, 1849.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
GELLY, a hamlet, in the parish of Vainor, union of Merthyr-Tydvil, hundred of Pencelly, county of Brecknock, South Wales, 2¾ miles (N. by E.) from Merthyr-Tydvil; containing 268 inhabitants. This hamlet, the name of which signifies "the grove," is situated on the right bank of the Tâf Vechan river, and exhibits some pleasing and wellwooded scenery. The parochial church is situated within its limits; and there is a rustic bridge called Pont Sarn, crossing the river, over a chasm thirty feet in height.
GELLYGAER (GELLI-GAER), a parish, in the union of Merthyr-Tydvil, hundred of Caerphilly, county of Glamorgan, South Wales, 7 miles (S. E. by S.) from Merthyr-Tydvil; containing 3215 inhabitants. This extensive parish derives its name, signifying "the fortress of the hazel grove," from an ancient fortification within its limits. By some writers the camp is supposed to be of Roman origin; and this opinion is in a great degree confirmed, not only by the form of it, but also by numerous remains of masonry, and other vestiges of Roman occupation, which may still be discerned near the spot. Though apparently of considerable importance in ancient times, little is known of the history of this place, prior to the Conquest. Soon after that period, the Norman settlers upon whom Robert Fitz-Hamon had conferred the various tracts of country which he wrested from the Welsh in this part of the principality, attempted to extend their possessions; for which object, about the close of the eleventh century, they invaded the province of Gower, expecting to make an easy conquest of it. To oppose this aggression, the Welsh rose in great force, and, encouraged by some previous successes, gave the invaders battle, and gained a decisive victory over them. The Normans, defeated in this attempt, and intimidated by the increasing numbers of the Welsh, had recourse at once to England for assistance; and being reinforced by Roger de Montgomery, Earl of Shrewsbury, and other English commanders, they returned to the attack. The Welsh, feigning a retreat, drew the enemy into the interior of the country, where the mountainous inequality of the surface gave them a decided superiority; and turning round upon the Anglo-Norman forces, at Gellygaer, defeated them with prodigious slaughter, and compelled the few that escaped from the field of carnage to seek shelter in their fortresses.
The parish is situated at the eastern extremity of the county, bordering on Brecknockshire and Monmouthshire, from which it is respectively separated, on the north-east and east, by the river Rumney or Romney, which forms its boundary on those sides. On the west and north-west it is bounded by the rivers Bargoed-Tâf and Clydach, by which it is separated from the parish of Merthyr-Tydvil. It extends nearly fourteen miles in length, and is almost four miles broad, comprising about 30,000 acres: on the south-west a small portion of it is intersected by the turnpike-road from MerthyrTydvil to Caerphilly. The surface is for the most part boldly varied with abruptly rising hills, skirted with woods of stately and luxuriant growth, and numerous rocks of precipitous elevation; the southern extremity of it is flatter. Though occupying an elevated situation, the parish is, notwithstanding, surrounded by mountainous ridges of greater elevation, and of diversified appearance. Its scenery is strikingly varied, combining features of picturesque beauty and romantic grandeur; and the views from the higher grounds, though limited by the circumjacent mountainous ranges, embrace many interesting objects. The prevailing soil is gravelly; the lands are but very partially inclosed, and only a small part of them is arable, the farmers relying more upon the feeding of sheep, and the increase of their live stock, than upon agriculture. There are numerous extensive tracts of waste land, comprising some thousands of acres, which are common to the parishioners, for pasturing their flocks; and many acres of peat, which supply them with fuel.
Gellygaer abounds in different places with ironore, coal, and slate. In the hamlet of Brithdir are the Bute Iron-Works, so named from their being situated on the estate of the late Marquess of Bute. They are very extensive, and the buildings have been considered superior to any of the kind in Europe; the furnaces and engine-houses are faced with stone curiously wrought and dressed: the expense of erecting the works is estimated to have been £80,000, and not less than 300 men are employed in the various processes and departments of the manufacture. Behind the works are inexhaustible mines of iron and coal, which latter is procured chiefly for the supply of the company's works: in these mines from 400 to 500 men are employed. There is likewise a valuable slate-quarry, in full operation, affording employment to a considerable number of men. Facilities are afforded for the conveyance of the produce of the various works, to their several destinations, by two tramroads; one of which, passing along the Vale of Rumney, continues its course to the sea at Newport in Monmouthshire; and the other, from the collieries on the west side of the parish, extends a distance of nearly three miles, to the Glamorganshire canal and the Tâf-Vale railway. The coalmines in the parish are numerous, but the majority of the colliers live in the adjoining parish of Llanvabon.
The parish is divided into five hamlets, which jointly maintain their poor. The living is a rectory, with the chapelry of Brithdir annexed, rated in the king's books at £20. 7. 11.; patrons, the Stuart family, Marquesses of Bute: the tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £669. 3. 1.; and there is a glebe-house. The church, dedicated to St. Cadocus, is a neat plain structure, with a square tower, and contains a font of the eleventh century. There are places of worship for Particular Baptists and other dissenters. Edward Lewis, Esq., of Cilvach-Vargoed, in this parish, in 1715, made a valuable bequest for the establishment of a school here of twenty boys, to be educated and clothed, and afterwards apprenticed out; for the general benefit of the poor; and for the endowment of a lectureship in the parishes of Bedwelty and Mynyddyslwyn, in the county of Monmouth. To effect these objects, he devised certain tenements and lands, under which coal was subsequently obtained in great abundance, so that their value is much increased. In support of the school he bequeathed the lands of Crossvane Isâ and Uchâ, containing together three hundred and eight acres, producing £80 per annum, and under which coal is found; also the farm of Tir Trosnant, comprising above fourteen acres, paying a rent of £12. 12., and which, it has been calculated, contains eighty-four thousand tons of coal. This farm is charged under Mr. Lewis's will with the payment of £5 per annum to the poor of Bedwelty. Crossvane Isâ and Uchâ also contain extensive woods and coppices, from which timber was cut at one period, worth £374; with this sum, and the other profits of these lands, a fund was created of £1050, which, having been lent on mortgage, now produces £52. 10. per annum. The total income for the support of the school, &c., amounts to £140 annually; and to this is to be added the dividend on £166. 18. 6. three per cent. consols.
The poor's lands consist of a farm called Wain-yrArglwys, containing fifty-five acres and a half, yielding a rent of £28, and under which the extent of coal is calculated at three hundred and thirty-three thousand tons; also a farm named Gworthonar Uchâ, comprising sixty-eight acres and a half, at a rent of £26, and estimated to contain three hundred and forty-two thousand tons of coal. There is likewise a rent-charge of £10 payable by Capel Hanbury Leigh, Esq.; making the total income applicable to the poor of Gellygaer as devised by Mr. Lewis, £64 per annum. Towards the support of the lectureship he devised the farm of Gworthonar Isâ, comprising nearly forty-four acres, let at £17 per annum, and supposed to contain beneath its surface twentysix thousand tons of coal; likewise a farm called Tiry-Bont, of forty-seven acres and a half, producing a similar amount of rent, and from under which three thousand tons of coal have been raised, leaving, according to estimation, twenty-eight thousand tons capable of being worked to advantage. On this latter property also are a stream of water, and a cottage lately erected, which produce a rent of £8 per annum; and timber to the value of £42. 10. has been cut on it. The total income appropriated to the support of the lectureship is £42 per annum.
The fund of these charities at present amounts to above £250 per annum, and has every prospect of being vastly increased as the working of the coalmines proceeds. A lease of the coal-mines under Tir-y-Bont, Gworthonar Uchâ and Isâ, Tir Trosnant, and Wain-yr-Arglwys, for fifty years, was granted in September 1833, under the sanction of one of the masters in Chancery. The lessees engage to pay a galiage of 7d. per ton on all the coal raised, and to pay for thirty tons a day at the least, for three hundred days in each year, so that the minimum rent must amount to £337. 10. per annum; and a further sum of 1d. per ton is payable for all coal carried over the ground by the lessees from other mines contiguous, which is estimated to produce nearly £100 in addition. It was also stipulated that the lessees should work simultaneously both the upper and lower strata of coal, by which agreement it has been calculated that the charity funds will gain to the extent of £9000, as the lower strata are expected to produce two thousand tons of coal per acre.
The school connected with the charity is situate in the village of Gellygaer, with a good schoolroom in the lower part, and a residence above for the master, who has a salary of £50 a year, with a garden, and a supply of coal. The books used in the school are those sanctioned by the National Society, but the scholars are allowed to attend the Sunday schools and places of worship selected by their parents. The children of parishioners are admitted on the written recommendation of two parishioners, for four years; the scholars have a suit of clothes annually, and on quitting the school are apprenticed with a premium of £8, a further sum of £5 being given to the apprentice on his producing from his master a certificate of good behaviour at the close of his term. There are now thirty boys in the school. Of the poor's fund, a sum of £1. 5. is weekly distributed among sixteen persons who have not received parochial relief; and the £5 annually payable to the poor of Bedwelty are distributed every fourth Sunday. Besides the above school, there is a day school for both boys and girls, in the parish, commenced in 1843; also six Sunday schools, one of them in connexion with the Established Church.
There are some remains of the ancient camp of Gellygaer, from which the parish takes its name, consisting of a redoubt of earth and stones, inclosing a quadragular area, and commanding the avenue leading to the village. Roman bricks, tiles, domestic utensils, fragments of pavement of considerable size and of artificial materials, and other relics of antiquity, have been dug up at this place. On the mountains are two upright stones, about nine feet in height, supposed to have been originally placed there as landmarks to some cairns in the vicinity, the stones formerly composing which are now scattered, and the stone coffins which they covered exposed to view. One of these stones is near Brithdir chapel, and the other on the side of the mountain-road to MerthyrTydvil: the latter bears an inscription, now nearly obliterated, but which when entire was read Deffro da i ti, "a joyous or blessed resurrection to thee." Llancaeach, in the parish, was the residence of Colonel Prichard, an officer in the parliamentarian army, who is said to have entertained Charles I. here, when that monarch, travelling through this part of the country, lost his way between Trêdegar and Brecknock. It is now, together with other estates formerly belonging to that family, partly the property of Lord Dynevor, and partly that of J. M. Richards, Esq., through descent by marriage with the daughters and coheiresses of Colonel Prichard, and by purchase.
GENOL, a hamlet, in the parish of Llansawel, union of Llandilo-Vawr, Lower division of the hundred of Cayo, county of Carmarthen, South Wales, 10½ miles (N.) from Llandilo-Vawr; containing 337 inhabitants. This hamlet comprises the middle and eastern portions of the parish, where the Vale of the Cothy expands into a somewhat level tract.
GEORGE (ST.), in the county of Denbigh, North Wales.—See Kegidock.
GEORGE'S (ST.), a parish, in the union of Cardiff, hundred of Dinas-Powys, county of Glamorgan, South Wales, 5 miles (W. by N.) from Cardiff; containing 218 inhabitants. This parish is principally distinguished for some slight remains of an ancient castle, which, together with the manor and lordship of St. George, was granted by the Norman Fitz-Hamon to Sir John Fleming, one of the knights who assisted him in the subjugation of this part of the principality. In the reign of Henry VII. the lordship escheated to the crown on the death of John Malefant, the representative of the Flemings, without issue; and the king then granted it to Jasper, Duke of Bedford, on whose death it again reverted to the crown. Edward VI. bestowed it upon William, Earl of Pembroke, with whose descendants it remained until about the middle of the last century, when it was purchased by the family of Llewelyn. The parish is bounded on the north by the river Ely, on the south by the parishes of St. Lythan's and St. Nicholas', on the east by St. Fagan's, Michaelston-super-Ely, and Wenvoe, and on the west by St. Nicholas'. It comprises 980a. 3r. 8p., of which 310 acres are arable, 727 pasture, and 43 wood. The southern portion of the land lies on a ridge of mountain limestone, and the northern in the Vale of Ely, where the soil is a good loam resting on gravel, and well adapted for agricultural purposes. The village is pleasantly situated on the southern banks of the river, and northward of a wide and elevated tract of common land, called St. Lythan's Down, which commands one of the most richly varied prospects in South Wales. Near it is Coedriglan, the seat of the Rev. John Montgomery Traherne (who is lord of the manor and principal landed proprietor), a spacious and substantial mansion, erected between the years 1821 and 1825. The house is situated on the declivity of a steep eminence, in the centre of an extensive lawn; the surrounding scenery is strikingly beautiful, and the views from the eminence on which the house is built are very extensive.
The living is a discharged rectory, rated in the king's books at £7. 5. 7½.; present net income, £140, with a glebe-house; patron, the Rev. John Montgomery Traherne. The church is a small cruciform structure, with a tower rising from the intersection, having four gables, and ornamented with crockets. The nave and south transept are in the later English style, and the roof of the former is covered with bosses of carved oak; the east window of the chancel is in the early English style, and is enriched with the armorial bearings of the present Bishop of Llandaf, executed in stained glass, together with those of Traherne, Dioc, and Llewelyn. The tower, in the centre of which is a vane of gilded copper, representing St. George and the Dragon; the north transept, and the roof of the chancel, are all new, having been erected in 1838, at the cost of the Rev. Mr. Traherne, who also at his own expense repewed the church, which contains accommodation for 200 persons. A day and Sunday school is supported chiefly by the family at Coedriglan. The Rev. Theodoret Bassett, in 1576, gave a silver chalice, and bequeathed £140 for the relief of labourers and poor housekeepers not receiving parochial aid; but the greater part of this sum is now lost, having been lent to persons who became insolvent, and the only portion preserved is a sum of £29. 6., deposited in the Cardiff savings' bank, and paying an interest of 19s. per annum.
GILESTON, a parish, in the union of Bridgend and Cowbridge, hundred of Cowbridge, county of Glamorgan, South Wales, 6 miles (S. by E.) from Cowbridge; containing 43 inhabitants. This place, which is situated on the shore of the Bristol Channel, is said to have derived its name from the family of Giles, the former possessors of the manor; but as the church is dedicated to St. Giles, it is equally probable that it has taken its name from this latter circumstance. The parish is traversed by the branch turnpike-road leading from Cowbridge to the port of Aberthaw, and is bounded on the north, east, and west by the parish of St. Athan's. It comprises by admeasurement 343 acres, nearly the whole of which is comprehended in the lordship; about 188 acres are arable, 134 pasture, and 21 sea-beach. With the exception of the latter portion, the soil is in general a clayey loam, producing wheat, barley, and turnips, and occasionally oats, which, however, are very seldom sown. The scenery is interesting, the ground being undulated, and well wooded with elm, sycamore, ash, and various kinds of firs, of which those of the Scotch class thrive better than the others; the view of the Channel, and of the opposite coast of Somersetshire extending from the Quantock hills to below Porlock, is exceedingly beautiful. The coast here is particularly dangerous, and the sea frequently assumes an appearance of terrific grandeur, forming a striking contrast to the rural tranquillity of this sequestered spot. Limestone, which is principally used for agricultural purposes, is found in every part of the parish, and is extensively quarried; the lime of that obtained from the sea-beach is the strongest, and is commonly known by the name of Aberthaw lime, being in great repute for making cement.
The living is a discharged rectory, rated in the king's books at £5. 13. 6½., and endowed with £200 private benefaction and £400 royal bounty; present net income, £80; patrons, the Edwardes family, who, by marriage into the family of Willis, successors to that of Giles, are proprietors of the manor, and owners of Gileston manor-house. The church is a small and very ancient structure of stone, forty-six feet and a half long and sixteen broad, with a tower which projects curiously beyond the line of the nave, and appears to have been built subsequently to the rest of the edifice. It is kept in the best repair, and the churchyard forms part of the ornamented grounds of the ancient manor-house, erected about 150 years ago, and delightfully situated within half a mile of the sea, of which, together with the opposite coast of Somersetshire, it commands an extensive view; the grounds are laid out with great taste, and the church forms a picturesque feature in the scenery. The old rectory-house, which stood at the back of the church, having become dilapidated, was taken down by the incumbent some time since.
GLADESTRY, a parish, in the union of Kington, hundred and county of Radnor, South Wales, 4 miles (W. by S.) from Kington; containing 366 inhabitants. This parish, comprising by admeasurement 3220 acres, 2 roods, and 20 perches, is situated on the river Gwyddel, and intersected by a crossroad from Hay to the borough of New Radnor. The old inclosed lands are in a good state of cultivation: in 1810, an act of parliament was obtained, in conjunction with the parish of Colva, for the inclosure of a common lying partly within the limits of each. The living is a rectory, rated in the king's books at £12. 19. 4½., and in the patronage of the Crown; present net income, £308. The church, dedicated to St. Mary, is a small neat edifice, consisting of a nave, chancel, and one aisle, with a tower surmounted by a low spire, and having five bells. A day and Sunday school in connexion with the Church was commenced in 1835, and there is also a Sunday school belonging to the Baptists, who have a meetinghouse here. Mrs. Cassandra Davies, in 1744, bequeathed a rent-charge of £10 per annum, of which she devised £2 to the poor of this parish not receiving parochial relief; and the sum of £50, secured upon the Bredwardine and Whitney turnpike trusts, was also bequeathed by an unknown benefactor for the relief of poor housekeepers.
GLAMORGANSHIRE, a maritime county of South Wales, bounded on the north by Brecknockshire, on the east by the English county of Monmouth, on the south by the Bristol Channel, and on the west and north-west by the bay and county of Carmarthen. It extends from 51° 23' to 51° 48' (N. Lat.), and from 3° 7' to 4° 17' (W. Lon.); and comprises an area, as estimated by Mr. Cary in his Communications to the Board of Agriculture, of 660 square miles, or 422,400 acres. The number of houses in the county inhabited is 32,718, uninhabited, 1468, and building, 530; and the population amounts to 171,188, of whom 87,869 are males, and 83,319 females. In 1801 the population was only 71,525. The annual value of real property assessed to the property and income tax, for the year ending April 1843, was as follows: lands, £258,470; houses, £219,165; mines, £61,237; iron-works, £19,848; canals, £17,475; railways and tramways, £17,222; tithes, £12,351; quarries, £999; other property, £10,630: total annual value, £617,397.
The territory now constituting Glamorganshire, during the remotest periods of its known history, formed an important part of the province first called Gwent, and then Essyllwg (the latter name being subsequently softened by the Romans into Siluria), which, in the opinion of most antiquaries, also comprehended the whole of Monmouthshire, and parts of the counties of Gloucester, Hereford, and Brecknock. The names Gwent and Essyllwg, which are nearly synonymous, and signify a beautiful and agreeable region, seem, indeed, to have been both in use at the period of the Roman invasion and conquest. The ancient British rulers of the district were held in high respect by their contemporaries, and were repeatedly called to the command of the confederated armies of the island, on its becoming necessary, for mutual defence, to unite against foreign invaders. But their history is involved in great obscurity until the invasion of Britain by Julius Cæsar, when the reigning prince of the territory appears to have been Llŷr Llediaith, who was succeeded by his son Brân ab Llŷr, whose principal residence was at Dindryvan, now Dunraven, on the coast of this county. Publius Ostorius Scapula, who succeeded to the command of the Roman forces in Britain in the year 50, having secured all the country to the east of the Severn, directed his operations against the Silures (for so these invaders called the inhabitants of Essyllwg), who for nine years successfully opposed the Roman power, under the command of the son of Brân, the celebrated Caradawg, Caradoc, or Caractacus. This intrepid leader, whose astonishing bravery and military skill stemmed for a while, amid numerous difficulties, the advancing tide of Roman conquest, at length removed the seat of war to the country of the Ordovices, including nearly the whole of North Wales, and the western portions of Shropshire; and was defeated by Ostorius in a decisive battle, in which his wife and daughter were taken prisoners. In consequence of this defeat his brothers soon after surrendered themselves to the Roman commander, overawed by whose power, Caractacus himself was shortly delivered up by the queen of the Brigantes, to whose court he had fled for refuge. According to a manuscript preserved in the Harleian Collection at the British Museum, Brân ab Llŷr also shared the captivity of his family, and was conveyed with them to Rome, where he was detained as a hostage for the peaceable conduct of the valiant Caractacus, who is said to have been permitted, with his wife and daughter, to return immediately to Britain. After remaining at Rome for seven years, Brân at length received permission to return to his native country; and having, it is said, during his stay in Italy, been converted to Christianity, he was the means of introducing pure religion into Britain, and on that account was called Vendigaid, or "the Blessed:" he died about the year 80.
On the fall of Caractacus, the Silures were subjected, with little further opposition, by Julius Frontinus, who employed himself in constructing military posts in every part of their country, and connecting them by roads. The principal of these roads was that crossing the county from east to west, and called, after Julius Frontinus, the Julia Strata, or Via Julia, to which latter appellation is sometimes added the adjunct Maritima, to distinguish it from a more northern branch of the same great line of communication, called, from the more elevated regions which it traverses, the Via Julia Montana. The chief Roman stations contained within the limits of Glamorganshire were, Tibia Amnis, supposed by some to have been situated on the bank of the Tâf, at or near Cardiff, but by others at the village of Caerau, three miles westward from that town; Bovium, supposed to have been at or near the present village of Boverton, to the south of Cowbridge; Nidus, at Neath; and Leucarum, at Loughor. Caerphilly has been erroneously conjectured to be the site of the Bullæum Silurum of Ptolemy. Almost the only record concerning this part of Britain, under the Roman dominion, that has been transmitted to us, is a confused list of the names of the native princes, or reguli, whom the conquerors allowed to hold an authority little more than nominal, but to whom reverted the entire dominion on the final withdrawal of their forces from the island. Of these, Tewdric flourished towards the middle of the fifth century, and is said to have erected the first church at Llandaf. In his efforts to maintain the independence of his territory, he defeated, on several occasions, parties of invading Saxons; in a conflict with whom, near Tintern, he was at length mortally wounded, and expiring near the field of battle, was interred on the spot, where a church was afterwards built, according to his previously expressed desire; the place being called, after his name, Merthyr Tewdric, since corrupted into Mathern. His son and successor, Meurig ab Tewdric, a man of great valour and wisdom, was the father of that Arthur who is now regarded by Welsh writers as the hero so distinguished in the British annals for his exploits, and who succeeded Meurig in his dominion.
About the year 517, Arthur was elected by the states of Britain to exercise sovereign authority over them, as other princes had been in times of danger; and by his superior abilities and bravery he continued successfully to oppose the encroaching power of the Saxons, until discord arose between him and his nephew Mordred, and, in the civil war which ensued, both these chieftains were slain in the battle of Camlan, in the year 542. Arthur was succeeded in the government of Siluria, or Gwent, by his son Morgan, a wise, generous, and humane prince. Morgan at first held his court at Caerleon, the ancient capital of his little dominions, situated in the modern county of Monmouth; but the Saxons, after Arthur's death, making frequent irruptions into the country, the prince, for the sake of greater security, removed the seat of government westward, residing sometimes in the vicinity of Cardiff, and sometimes at Margam, both in this county. In consequence of this, the western part of the ancient Siluria, which was still governed by Morgan in person, received the appellation of Morganwg, signifying "the country of Morgan;" and the ancient designation of Gwent became restricted in its application to the eastern portion of this little principality, over which Morgan placed one of his sons, as lieutenant, or viceroy. Morganwg also was, and still is very often, by its native inhabitants, designated by the synonymous appellation of Gwlad-Vorgan, or Gwlad-Morgan, of which the present name of Glamorgan is a corruption. The ancient Gwlad-Vorgan was bounded on the east by the river Usk, and on the west by the Nedd, or Neath; and although the present limits of Glamorganshire were fixed by the act of union passed in the 27th of Henry VIII., yet that part of Monmouthshire lying westward of the Usk is even still popularly understood to form part of Glamorgan, while, in like manner, the western part of the present Glamorganshire (the ancient Gwyr, or Gower) is regarded as being included in Sir Gaer, the modern Carmarthenshire. Rhŷs, son of Arthvael, one of the princes who succeeded Morgan in the sovereignty of Morganwg (according to an ancient manuscript formerly in the possession of Mr. Thomas Truman, of Pantlliwydd, near Cowbridge, a transcript of which is inserted in the Appendix to Williams' History of Monmouthshire), built many castles and ships, and obliged every one that had land in the Vale of Glamorgan to sow corn on one half of it, and every one that had land on the mountains, to sow corn on a quarter of the same; while all the land that neither grew corn nor was grazed by cattle was to be forfeited to the king, unless it was wood or forest. This law caused Glamorgan to become distinguished above all districts for its fruitfulness.
Notwithstanding the advantages arising from this circumstance, the territory became subject, with the rest of South Wales, to the authority of Roderic the Great, Prince of Gwynedd, by the marriage of this sovereign with Angharad, the daughter and heiress of Gwgan, King of Caredigion, or Cardigan, to which territory was attached the supreme authority over the other principalities of South Wales. On the death of Roderic, it became for a time part of the kingdom of Caredigion, or South Wales, under the sway of his son Cadell, and subsequently of the son of Cadell, Hywel Dda, who united all the three great sovereignties of Wales under his own dominion. The reigns of none of the petty princes of Glamorgan, after this period, exhibit in the Welsh annals any feature of historical interest, until that of Morgan Ab Owain, known also by the names of Morgan Hên, Morgan Mawr, and Morgan Mwynvawr, who lived about the middle of the tenth century. The country was at that time greatly infested by marauding parties of Saxons and Danes, who plundered the inhabitants, and demolished the churches and other religious edifices; and these enemies Morgan repeatedly vanquished. The other military operations of this chieftain were, for the most part, directed against the princes of the house of Dynevor, who had invaded the district of Ewyas, in the Vale of Usk, and that of Ystrad-Yw: this affair, according to the Welsh Chronicle, was referred to Edgar, the Saxon monarch of England, who decided in favour of the Prince of Glamorgan, and forbade the further progress of the invaders. Eineon, son of Owain, Prince of South Wales, or Dynevor, taking advantage of the distractions which then prevailed throughout Wales, soon after invaded Gower, and, under pretence of opposing the Irish and the Danes, twice devastated that district. It was during the reign of Morgan Hên that a question arose, whether the tribute of the petty princes of South Wales should be paid to the King of North Wales, or to the King of England, as lord paramount, which was finally determined, in 962, by the appearance of Edgar, with an armed force, at Caerleon, who bound the princes to the payment of it to the English crown. In 987, the Danes landed on the coast of this county, in which they committed great ravages, burning the churches of Llanilltyd and Llandaf, with other sacred buildings.
As Morgan Hên advanced in years, he resigned the government to his sons, of whom Owain and Ithel are expressly mentioned in the Welsh annals, as reguli of the country during the lifetime of their father. Ithel, surnamed Ddû, or "the Black," from the colour of his hair, lived occasionally at YstradOwain, and had a summer residence at a place called Ton Ithel Ddû, a few miles to the north of Bridgend. He survived Owain, and about the year 990, his territories were attacked and ravaged without mercy by Edwin, son of Eineon, who, in alliance with Meredydd, sovereign of all Wales, and aided by parties of Saxons and Danes, entered them from Carmarthenshire through Gower. Hywel, however, the younger brother of Ithel, exasperated to heroic exertion by the depredations which these invaders everywhere committed, suddenly raised the country in their rear, and, having assembled an immense multitude, armed with the first weapons they could obtain, fell upon them on their return, at a place called Cors Eineon, in the parish of Llangyvelach, routed their forces with great slaughter, and recovered the plunder which they were carrying away. Ithel died in 994, and was succeeded in the government of Glamorgan by his son Gwrgan, who is described as an enlightened and a peaceable prince. He gave to his subjects a large common on the northern border of the county, for the pasturing of cattle and sheep, and the cultivation of grain, which has ever since been called Hîrwaun Wrgan, or "Gwrgan's Long Meadow." He died in 1030, prior to which, according to Caradoc of Llancarvan, he had associated with him in the government his uncle Hywel, the third son of Morgan Mawr; to whom he left his entire dominion, in preference to his own son Iestyn, whose profligacy had rendered him universally abhorred. Iestyn, however, succeeded to the government at Hywel's death, in 1043; and having espoused Denis, daughter of Bleddyn ab Cynvyn, Prince of Powys, he built a castle a few miles to the west of Cardiff, which he called Denis Powys, after her name; or, as some with more reason say, Dinas Powys, "the city of Powys," in reference simply to her father's principality: this latter designation is still preserved, as that of one of the civil divisions of the shire. Iestyn's son Rhydderch usurped the sovereignty of South Wales, on the death of its prince Llewelyn; and his sons Rhydderch and Rhŷs also laid claim to it, a few years after the death of their father; they raised a powerful army in Glamorgan, in support of their pretensions, and encountered Grufydd, who had subjected all the rest of Wales to his sway, in a sanguinary but indecisive battle. Soon after this event, some of the partisans of Caradoc, son of Rhydderch ab Iestyn, passed from Gwent and Glamorgan into the present county of Carmarthen; and having there formed an alliance with some of Grufydd's discontented subjects, attacked the possessions of his friends, and put some of them to death; but Grufydd soon punished his rebellious vassals, by laying waste their estates in Dyved, Ystrad-Tywi, and Gower. In 1056, Rhŷs, brother of Grufydd, led an army into Glamorgan and Gwent, and committed great devastations; but the inhabitants, rising in their own defence, drove him towards the Marches, and taking him prisoner, cut off his head, and sent it to the English monarch, Edward the Confessor, who was then at Gloucester. Shortly after, Caradoc, son of Rhydderch ab Iestyn, having raised a large army in Gwent and Glamorgan, prevailed on the Saxon chieftain, Harold, afterwards King of England, to join him with a powerful force; and their united army defeated Grufydd in a great battle, in which that chieftain was slain. In calling the English to his assistance, Caradoc had calculated on obtaining for himself the principality of South Wales; but Harold, after the death of Grufydd, banished him from the country, and gave the sovereignty to Meredydd ab Owain. Caradoc, however, in 1069, profiting by the important change which had taken place by the death of Harold, and the elevation of William of Normandy to the throne of England, engaged in his cause a considerable body of Norman soldiers, with whom he marched into South Wales, and defeated and slew Meredydd near the confines of this county; but dying the year following, in consequence of a wound received in battle, he was succeeded in his government of South Wales by his son Rhydderch, who was afterwards treacherously slain by a kinsman.
Rhŷs Ab Tewdwr, Prince of Dynevor, in the year 1080, invaded the territories of Iestyn ab Gwrgan of Glamorgan, and sacked the castles of Dinas-Powys, Llanilltyd, and Dindryvan, belonging to the latter; but he had no sooner withdrawn his troops, than Iestyn retaliated by ravaging Carmarthenshire and Brecknockshire, where he obtained valuable booty. Eineon ab Collwyn, one of the leaders of an unsuccessful rebellion against Rhŷs, fled for refuge to the court of Iestyn, who entered into a negotiation with him, according to which Eineon was to receive the hand of Iestyn's daughter, and the lordship of Meisgwn, now called Miskin, if he could succeed in engaging for the service of the latter some of the Norman knights with whom he had formerly served abroad under William of Normandy. Accordingly, Eineon departed for London, and easily prevailed on Robert Fitz-Hamon, a near relative of the Conqueror's, to come to Glamorgan, with such other knights as he should choose to engage under his command. On the arrival of these auxiliaries, consisting, besides Fitz-Hamon himself, of eleven knights, and three thousand men-at-arms, Iestyn took the field, and commenced active hostilities against Rhŷs, whom he defeated, with the loss of nearly all his troops, on Hîrwaun Wrgan, the extensive common before-mentioned, at the foot of a high mountain about two miles north of the present village of Aberdare. The Welsh Chronicle, contrary to the opinion of Mr. Theophilus Jones and some other writers, states that Rhŷs, fleeing from the field of battle to Glyn Rhonddû, a sequestered valley some miles to the south, was taken by Iestyn and beheaded, from which circumstance the spot is said to have been since called Penrhŷs. According to Mr. Jones, Rhŷs survived the battle, and fled in safety with the small remains of his adherents to the territory of his brother-in-law, Bleddyn, Prince of Brycheiniog. His son Goronwy fell in the slaughter; and Conan, son of Goronwy, escaping with a few troops, was drowned, in his flight towards Carmarthen, in the lake of Cremlyn, now an extensive marsh, situated between Briton Ferry and Swansea. Iestyn rewarded his Norman auxiliaries conformably to his engagements, paying them in gold, on a common three miles west of Cardiff, which has ever since been called "the Golden Mile." They then marched towards the coast, with the view of embarking for England: but, Iestyn refusing to fulfil his promises to Eineon, the latter hastened in quest of the Norman commander, and, after stating the treacherous conduct of Iestyn, represented to him how easy it would be to obtain possession of the country for himself and his followers. Fitz-Hamon, with his knights, immediately retraced his steps, and was shortly joined by some of the native chieftains, who were exasperated at the tyrannical and unprincipled conduct of Iestyn. The latter was wholly unprepared to oppose so formidable a confederacy; he hastily collected what forces he could, and awaited the adverse troops on a common in the neighbourhood of Cardiff, where, after a short engagement, his army was totally defeated, and himself obliged to seek safety in flight. Thus was annihilated the British kingdom of Glamorgan; and the overthrow of Iestyn leaving Fitz-Hamon entire master of the country, that leader proceeded to apportion it among his followers and some of the principal Welsh chieftains, reserving for himself the towns of Cardiff, Kenvig, and Cowbridge, with the surrounding domains.
The lordship of Glamorgan, thus established by Fitz-Hamon, was a lordship marcher, or royal lordship, the possessors of which owed obedience only to the king of England, and exercised within its limits jura regalia, that is, the trial of all actions, both real and personal, with pleas of the crown, and authority to pardon for all offences except treason. Besides the body of the lordship, which formed a county of itself, containing eighteen castles and thirty-six knights' fees and a half, with a great number of freeholders, and in which the lord had his chancery and exchequer at the castle of Cardiff, there were eleven lordships, members of the head lordship, in each of which jura regalia were exercised; except that, in case of wrong judgment being given in any of the courts of the said members, it should be reversed by a writ of false judgment in the superior county court of Glamorgan, holden at Cardiff; also that all matters of conscience, happening in debate in any of the members, should be heard and determined in the chancery of Glamorgan, before the chancellor thereof. Fitz-Hamon, who was afterwards created Earl of Gloucester, and raised to the office of lord of the privy chamber to William II., after he had allotted their several portions to his knights, proceeded to abrogate the ancient laws and customs of the country, and to introduce in their stead the feudal system which had been already established in England. But the native landholders, many of whom still retained their estates, could ill brook the servitude by which the feudal tenures bound them to the lord, and embraced the first opportunity of emancipating themselves from so galling a yoke. In 1094, while the Norman settlers were invading Gower, and pushing their conquests on the west, the people united in great force, and, headed by Payne Turberville, of Coyty, near Bridgend, one of Fitz-Hamon's retainers, who had married a native heiress, the granddaughter of Iestyn, took several of their castles, and put the garrisons to the sword. Turberville then led the insurgents to Cardiff, where he besieged Fitz-Hamon in his castle; and the latter, being unprepared to resist so powerful a force, thought it prudent to enter into terms, by which he restored to the people their ancient rights and customs.
The success of this insurrection encouraged the Welsh, a few years after, to attempt the expulsion of their invaders, who, being defeated by them in a pitched battle, were under the necessity of sending for reinforcements from England. Being joined by the Earl of Arundel and other Norman leaders, FitzHamon and his knights, in their turn, assumed the offensive: the Welsh retreated into the interior, where the hilly nature of the country gave them the advantage over the heavy-armed troops of their enemies, upon whom they suddenly turned round, defeating them with prodigious slaughter near Gellygaer, and compelling the few that escaped, to seek refuge in their castles. This desultory warfare, though it procured for the native population some immunities, which the Norman settlers for their own safety deemed it politic to concede, obtained for them few permanent advantages of any importance; and the succours which Fitz-Hamon and his successors were able to procure from England, on every emergency, gave them at length the entire mastery of the country, and enabled them to reduce it to complete subjection. The district of Gower was wrested from the sons of Caradoc ab Iestyn, about the end of the eleventh century, by Henry Beaumont, Earl of Warwick, who established in it a colony of English and Flemish settlers, whose descendants yet remain there, distinguished by their language and manners from the more ancient native population. FitzHamon was a firm supporter of Henry I., in opposition to the claims of that monarch's elder brother, Robert, Duke of Normandy, who was committed to his custody at Cardiff, by Henry, after he had become his prisoner.
On the death of this nobleman, in 1107, he was succeeded in his estates and honours by Robert, the natural son of Henry I., by Nêst, daughter of Rhŷs ab Tewdwr; to whom that monarch gave in marriage Fitz-Hamon's daughter Mabel, or Mabli. After attaining possession of the lordship of Glamorgan, Robert attempted to enforce the feudal laws which his predecessors had failed to impose on the native landowners; this again roused the spirit of the Welsh; and Ivor ab Cadivor, also called Ivor Bâch, or Ivor the Little, who was lord of Senghenydd, and resided at Morlais Castle, on the confines of the present county, led the insurgents against the castle of Cardiff, which they took by storm, making prisoners of the Earl of Gloucester and his wife Mabel. Negotiations for their release were entered into with the English monarch; and they were at last liberated by Ivor, the king having guaranteed to the Welsh of Glamorgan, by oath, the unmolested enjoyment of their ancient usages. A few years subsequently, Grufydd, son of Rhŷs ab Tewdwr, late Prince of South Wales, entered Gower with a large body of native troops; and, failing in an attack on the castle of Abertawe, or Swansea, set fire to the suburbs of that place, ravaged the adjacent country, and returned into Carmarthenshire, loaded with booty. In the following year he again entered Gower in like manner.
A Welsh prince, named Cadell, towards the middle of the twelfth century, made repeated incursions from the castle of Carmarthen into the territories of the Norman settlers in the neighbourhood, more particularly into Gower, in which district, in 1150, his brothers Rhŷs and Meredydd took the castle of Aberllychwr. Soon after, Madoc ab Meredydd, Prince of Powys, led a powerful force into Glamorganshire, where he devastated the lands of Morgan ab Caradoc ab Iestyn, and destroyed his castle of Aberavon. Morgan and his followers took sanctuary in the churches and monasteries, and placed themselves under the protection of William, Earl of Gloucester, and lord of Glamorgan, who had succeeded to the titles and possessions of his father Robert, in 1147, and who, after the demise of his only son, constituted Prince John, a younger son of Henry II., his heir. This prince, having married Isabel, the youngest daughter of Earl William, enjoyed these possessions until his divorce from that lady, after his accession to the throne of England; they were then given as her dower to the Earl of Essex, whom she next married, and afterwards to Hubert de Burgh, her third husband. On the death of Isabel, the family title and possessions fell to Almaric, the son of her eldest sister Mabel, who died young and without issue; after which, the whole of them passed to Richard, Earl of Clare, who had married the only surviving daughter of Earl William, and in whose family they remained until the early part of the fourteenth century. Early in the thirteenth century, Glamorgan was invaded from the west by the Welsh chieftain Rhŷs ab Grufydd, who succeeded in taking all the castles of Gower, besides several other very strong ones, including that of Senghenydd, subsequently called Caerphilly.
After the death of Gilbert de Clare, in 1230, Richard, his eldest son, being then in his minority, the Earl of Pembroke, his maternal uncle, obtained the custody of the honour of Glamorgan, by paying 500 marks to the crown of England. In 1244, this Richard was engaged in hostilities against the Welsh, who had attacked his possessions in Glamorgan; and in 1257, when King Henry III. meditated an attack on North Wales, he was invested with the command of all the forces in Glamorgan and other parts of South Wales. By the death of his descendant, another Gilbert de Clare, who was slain in the battle of Bannockburn, in 1314, and left no issue, the family honours and estates devolved on Eleanor, eldest sister of the latter, who transferred them by marriage to the younger Hugh le Despencer, the favourite of Edward II. In 1315, a formidable rebellion was excited in Glamorgan by Llewelyn Bren, who with 10,000 men assaulted and took the castle of Caerphilly; but it was soon suppressed by John Gifford, lord of Bronllŷs, who had been appointed custos of the lands of Gilbert, the late Earl of Clare, in Glamorgan, and Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford, general of the forces in this expedition; and the Welsh chieftain and his two sons were taken prisoners, and sent to the Tower of London. In consequence of this rising, however, the Welsh inhabitants of Glamorgan obtained a considerable alleviation of some of the most oppressive of the old feudal services.
At this period the violent proceedings of the younger Spencer, with a view to the extension of his possessions in Glamorgan, threw the whole country into a state of the greatest disorder. The circumstances, according to Carte, were as follows: William de Breos, Lord of Gower, had two daughters, the elder of whom, Aliva, was married to John de Mowbray; the younger, to James de Bohun, of Medherst: William, therefore, by a special deed, granted to John de Mowbray and his wife, and their heirs, the honour and lands of Gower; whilst to Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford, he gave the rest of his estates. By virtue of this grant, Mowbray entered upon the lands without any license from the king, of whom it was held in capite, and this served Spencer as a pretext for prosecuting him, in order to procure a sentence of forfeiture: but Mowbray and the Earl of Hereford both alleged that the entry was made according to the customs of the Marches, and insisted upon their rights; and, as these were questions affecting the tenure of all similar domains, the lords marcher were unanimous in resisting an inquiry, at the same time exclaiming loudly against the rapacity of Spencer. Seeing they had no remedy but force, they demanded of King Edward, in open arms, that that favourite should either be banished the realm, or imprisoned and brought to trial; and finding these efforts unavailing, they committed terrible ravages upon Spencer's lands in Glamorgan, as also in the western parts of Wales, slaying and imprisoning his servants, and pillaging, burning, and destroying his castles. The insurgents then entered into a strict league with the Earl of Lancaster, and thus became sufficiently powerful to enforce that sentence of banishment against the obnoxious favourite, which was soon afterwards rendered null by Lancaster's defeat and death. Queen Eleanor and the young Prince Edward having seized Bristol, and hanged its governor, the elder Spencer, before the castle of that city, within sight of his son and the king, the latter made their escape in a small vessel, purposing to retire to the little island of Lundy, in the Bristol Channel. After combating, however, with adverse winds for eleven days, they were at last constrained to land on the Glamorganshire coast, and take refuge in Caerphilly Castle. From that place the king issued divers commissions to his military tenants in the county palatine of Pembroke, and other parts of South Wales, and to the vassals of the lordship of Glamorgan, enjoining them to take arms in his defence; but being disappointed in his expectations of military aid, he sought an asylum in the abbey of Neath, leaving Spencer in Caerphilly Castle, where he was soon besieged by the queen's forces, who compelled the garrison to surrender. Spencer made his escape and rejoined the king, with whom he was shortly after taken prisoner at Llantrissent, in this county; he was then conveyed to Hereford, where he was tried and executed by the queen's party, and his estates escheated to the crown.
Hugh Spencer, however, his eldest son, the third Hugh Spencer, was received into favour by Edward III., and restored to all, or most, of the manors and castles which had belonged to his father in the county; and in the seventeenth of that reign we find him styled lord of Glamorgan. On his death he was succeeded by his brother Edward, whose grandson, Thomas le Despencer, succeeded in obtaining the restoration to his family of the title of Earl of Gloucester, and of the remainder of the forfeited estates of his great-grandfather. This nobleman, on the accession of Henry IV., was deprived of all his honours and estates, and, after he had been put to death by the common people of Bristol, was declared a traitor, and his estates confiscated; but his lands in Glamorgan were afterwards granted to his widow, and passed by descent to his daughter Isabel, who was first married to Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Abergavenny, afterwards created Earl of Worcester, and, on his death, to Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick. The Earl of Warwick's son Henry by this his second wife, succeeded to the family estates of the Spencers, which, after his death and that of his daughter, were transferred to his sister Anne, then wife of Richard Neville, Earl of Salisbury, who was shortly after created Earl of Warwick, and who so highly distinguished himself in the wars of the Roses. After the death of this nobleman, at the battle of Barnet, in 1471, his countess was deprived of all her estates, which were conferred on her two daughters, one of whom had been married to George, Duke of Clarence, and the other to Richard, Duke of Gloucester, to the latter of whom descended the Welsh possessions. The daughters of the Earl of Warwick being dead, Henry VII., in the third year of his reign, restored to the countess, by act of parliament, the estates that had belonged to her husband, the whole of which, in the same year, probably in consequence of a previous understanding, she made over to that monarch: the lordship of Glamorgan is enumerated among the possessions thus conveyed. Henry gave the lordship to Jasper, Duke of Bedford; but, as this nobleman died without issue, it again reverted to the crown. In the succeeding reign, when the independent authority of the lords marcher was abolished, the territory of Glamorgan was erected into a separate shire, with its present limits, and subjected to the laws and judicature of England. In the reign of Elizabeth, the greater part of the manors and subordinate lordships was sold to individuals; and the remainder, in subsequent reigns, changed owners in like manner, the paramount lordship itself being converted into a lordlieutenancy, similar in all respects to the lieutenancies of the English counties.
About the end of September, 1642, the Marquess of Hertford, with a party of royalists, escaping at Minehead, in Somersetshire, on board of some coalvessels, from the pursuit of the Earl of Bedford, passed over to the Welsh coast, and secured possession of Cardiff Castle. The marquess having announced his intention of seizing all property belonging to the Earl of Pembroke, who had espoused the cause of the parliament, the inhabitants of Glamorganshire assembled, attacked him at Cardiff, and killed about fifty of the royalists. In June 1647, this fortress being then in the hands of the parliament, the gentry and people of the county, to the number of 1000 or upwards, took up arms and assembled at Llandaf, to resist the proceedings of the parliamentary committee at Cardiff. They sent to the governor of the latter place a declaration that they had risen not to oppose the parliament, but for selfdefence. The Monmouthshire committee threatened them with military execution; but the matter seems to have been settled by negotiation, and a declaration was published in the following July, entitled, "The Heads of the present Grievances of the County of Glamorgan, declaring the cause of their late rising and taking up of arms, published for the satisfaction of all other counties of England and Wales who groan under the same, or the like, burdens of oppression and tyranny, &c." After the termination of the first civil war, an order had been issued by the parliament for disbanding the different bodies of militia in the principality; but some of the commanders, among whom was Major-General Stradling, of St. Donatt's, in this county, who had now quitted the republican army, contrived, on various pretences, to retain a considerable number of troops under arms, which, as circumstances permitted, they increased, by the addition of recruits favourable to the royal cause. These forces assuming a rather formidable appearance, Colonel Horton was sent into Wales with a small army, which Cromwell himself was following with reinforcements, to intimidate the leaders of the movement, and to enforce the order for disbanding the original levies. Col. Horton, having stationed his forces at St. Fagan's, near Llandaf, was there attacked, on the 8th of May, 1648, by the Welshmen, amounting to nearly 8000, whom, after an obstinate conflict of about two hours, he totally routed with much slaughter, though his troops were scarcely more than a third of the enemy's number. This victory was deemed by the parliament of such importance, that a day of public thanksgiving was appointed; and so great was the destruction of the royalists, that, during the next harvest, a sufficient number of labourers could not be procured in the county, and the produce of the soil was, in a large measure, gathered in by the women. In the same month in which the battle of St. Fagan's was fought, Cromwell passed through the county in his way to the siege of Pembroke. Since this period no events of historical importance have occurred in the county.
By the act 6th and 7th of William IV. (1836) c. 77, the whole of this county is now in the archdeaconry and diocese of Llandaf, in the province of Canterbury: it comprises the deaneries of Llandaf, Groneath, and Gower; and the total number of parishes is 121, of which 52 are rectories, 47 vicarages (four of which are endowed with the great tithes), one a donative, and the rest perpetual curacies. For purposes of civil government, it is divided into the ten hundreds of Caerphilly, Cowbridge, Dinas-Powys, Kibbor, Llangyvelach, Miskin, Neath, Newcastle, Ogmore, and Swansea. It contains the small and unimportant city of Llandaf; the borough, market, and sea-port towns of Aberavon, Cardiff, Neath, and Swansea; the borough and market towns of Cowbridge, Llantrissent, and Merthyr-Tydvil; the small borough and sea-port of Loughor; the borough of Kenvig, the market-towns of Bridgend and Caerphilly, the sea-port of Porthcawl, and the very populous villages of Aberdare and Newbridge. One knight was formerly returned to parliament for the shire, and one representative for Cardiff and the rest of the boroughs collectively, with the exception of Merthyr-Tydvil, which is a newly-created borough. By the act of 1832, for "Amending the Representation of the People," the different boroughs within the county were formed into electoral districts, each sending one member to parliament: namely, Cardiff, Cowbridge, and Llantrissent, the member for which is elected at Cardiff; Swansea, Loughor, Neath, Aberavon, and Kenvig, the member for which is elected at Swansea; and the newly-created borough of Merthyr-Tydvil and Aberdare, the member for which is elected at Merthyr-Tydvil. Under the same act the county now sends two representatives to parliament: the county member was formerly elected at Bridgend, but that distinction has been transferred to Cardiff, the shire town: the polling-places in elections for the county are, Cardiff, Bridgend, Merthyr-Tydvil, Neath, and Swansea. Glamorganshire is included in the South Wales circuit: the assizes are held at Cardiff and Swansea alternately, the Epiphany quarter-sessions at Cardiff, the Easter quarter-sessions at Cowbridge, the Midsummer sessions at Neath, and the Michaelmas sessions at Swansea: the county gaol, and the house of correction for the eastern part of the county, are at Cardiff, and the house of correction for the western part of the county at Swansea. There are about eighty acting magistrates. It comprises the poor-law unions of Bridgend and Cowbridge, and Swansea, the greater part of those of Cardiff, Merthyr-Tydvil, and Neath, and a small part of those of Llanelly and Newport.
The entire surface of the county is diversified by hills, or rising grounds, excepting only the neighbourhood of Cardiff, which is composed of a fertile level tract of considerable extent. All the northern portions of it are occupied by barren mountains, some of which are isolated, but most of them extend in chains from north to south, separated by deep, broken, and romantic valleys, along which the principal rivers pursue their turbulent course to the Bristol Channel. The loftiest summits are MynyddLlangeinwyr; Pen-craig-llyn-mawr, in the parish of Glyn-Corwg; that of the mountain which rises above Ystrad-Dyvodog, directly north of Bridgend; and that of Mynydd-y-Gwair, about twelve miles north of Swansea. These hilly regions are naturally separated from the rest of the county by a chain of elevations running from east to west through its centre, from Ruperrah, on the confines of Monmouthshire, by Lantwit-Garth, Llantrissent, Mynydd-yGaer, Mynydd-Brombill, the Gnoll, &c. From the foot of these mountains to the sea extends the rich and fertile vale, or rather plain, of Glamorgan, popularly denominated "The Garden of South Wales," which, although its elevation is small, compared with the mountains, and its surface for the most part simply of an undulating character, is yet marked by numerous sudden declivities, succeeded by equally sudden and remarkable ascents. On the west it is separated by Swansea bay from the similar tract called Gower, forming the south-western extremity of the county. Bro Miskin, or the Vale of Ely, bordering on the river Elai, or Ely, from the vicinity of Hensol eastward to Penarth Harbour, is more particularly distinguished, in the great Vale of Glamorgan, for its luxuriant fertility. The limestone cliffs which overhang the entire coast excepting only the inner recesses of Swansea bay, rise in most places to the height of 100 feet. In the Bristol Channel, off the coast of Glamorganshire, and to the south-west of Penarth harbour, are situated the islets of Barry and Sully. The lakes are small, and few in number; the principal one is Kenvig Pool, near the ancient borough of Kenvig, between Margam Park and the sea-coast; it is of small extent, and lies near the shore, in the midst of sands. Besides this, are several among the mountains, the most remarkable of which is Llyn-Mawr, situated immediately below the high peak of Pen-craig.
Few tracts in Britain present so great a variety of scenery as Glamorganshire. Although its mountains do not attain an elevation equal to those of the more northern counties, their extreme abruptness, increasing their apparent height, forms a bold and romantic background to the scene of gentle richness presented by the Vale; while, on the other hand, the fine sweeps of the coast, more particularly round the bay of Swansea and the peninsula of Gower, afford many pleasing and varied marine prospects. Of the valleys above referred to as stretching from north to south, the Vale of Neath is especially celebrated for its romantic scenery. The level portions of the county contain little wood; but this picturesque ornament abounds on the banks of the Tâf, the two Rhonddas, and the Cynon; and the "woody hilles" of Glamorgan, mentioned by Spenser, are still to be found in the wilds of Aberdare and Ystrad-Dyvodog, and in the magnificently clothed, as well as more plentifully wooded, heights of Margam, Baglan, Briton-Ferry, and the Vale of Neath. The more level tracts, near the sea, are also diversified by several narrow, woody, and sequestered dells, the sides of which decline very abruptly from the ordinary level.
The climate of the Vale of Glamorgan and of the peninsula of Gower (tracts lying open to the Bristol Channel on the south, and sheltered on the north by mountains) is remarkably mild and salubrious, and the inhabitants are distinguished for their longevity. It is, nevertheless, extremely changeable, the temperature being known to vary twenty degrees in the space of twenty-four hours. It is also very moist, owing to these districts being exposed to vapours wafted by westerly or south-westerly winds from the great Atlantic, and attracted by its high hills, those winds prevailing at least one-half of the year. This humidity is a source of great perplexity to the farmer, during the hay and corn harvests, and also causes considerable damage to various agricultural crops, by the abundant natural grasses which in consequence spring up, and which, on the deep gravelly soils, it is found almost impossible to eradicate from the arable lands; for even when the ground is well fallowed and apparently cleared, small portions of roots of various kinds of grasses, chiefly of the couch species, are still left undestroyed, and, penetrating into the deep gravelly subsoils beyond the reach of the plough, soon also recover possession of the surface. On the other hand, these frequent rains are highly favourable to the production of all green crops; and when properly managed, the crops of turnips are little inferior to those of the best-cultivated English counties. Although the climate of the Vale is so mild that the myrtle, arbutus, and other tender exotics, which in most parts of Britain require to be kept under cover in the winter, do not here suffer from exposure to the air during the whole of that season; and snow seldom lies long on the ground, generally disappearing from the vicinity of the coast in forty-eight hours after it has fallen; yet the atmosphere of the mountains is cold and tempestuous, the winters being severe and frequently of long duration: fogs hanging upon their summits are deemed by the inhabitants of the Vale a certain presage of rain. The hay harvest commences in the Vale about the middle of June: artificial grasses are often cut in the first week of this month, but the natural meadows are not generally mown until the latter part of it, or the beginning of July. The wheat harvest commences about the first week in August, and in some situations in the Vale this grain ripens almost as early as in any part of the kingdom; but it is a general practice to allow it to stand longer before it is cut than in the English counties. In Gower, owing to the prevalence of cool sea-breezes, the harvest is later than in the Vale of Glamorgan: in the hilly district it seldom commences before September, and often continues to a very late period in the autumn.
The soils of this county are of various qualities. The surface of a large portion of the mountainous districts, especially in the hollows, consists of black peat, varied in drier situations by a brown gravelly earth; but, from the prevalence of clayey substrata in those districts, cold and springy soils are by far the most abundant. These, in their natural state, consist generally of a mixture of sand with a black peaty earth, from four to eight inches thick, resting upon a yellowish, blueish, or light brown clay, from one to four, or even more feet in depth; and owing to this substratum containing siliceous particles, the soils are capable of great amelioration by judicious systems of agriculture. In the mountain valleys is found a brown fertile loam, suited to all the purposes of agriculture, and yielding abundant crops of corn and grass. The Vale of Glamorgan, and the lands of Gower, are excellently adapted for both pasture and tillage. In the former state the soil naturally produces grasses of the sweetest kind, and in great abundance; but its quality varying in every parish, and almost on every farm, it is best calculated for a mixed system of husbandry, combining both tillage and pasture. In some places it is light, and even sandy; but towards the coast it becomes stronger and richer. Along the sea-shore from Penarth to Lantwit and Newton, and inland to the vicinity of the main road from Cardiff to Swansea, it is for the most part clayey, though consisting in some places of a brownish fertile loam of good staple and moderate tenacity, in others of a marly loam, while in another it is composed of rather shallow and springy clays, which are seldom to be got in good tilth, being either too wet or too dry. The soils best adapted in all seasons for the alternate culture of turnips, barley, clover, wheat, &c., lie in the several parishes of Aberavon, St. Bride's, Caerau, Cardiff, St. Fagan's, Llandaf, Llansannor, Margam, Michaelston, Peterston, Roath or Rhâth, Radyr, and Whitchurch, and in the Vale of Neath: in all these places is a proportion of good gravelly soils, having an occasional admixture of strong loam, or good marl, and in some cases of a sandy soil, on which turnips and barley are cultivated with success; but the wheat is not of so fine a quality as that produced on the clayey lands. The substratum of the whole of these fertile tracts is limestone.
Though a large portion of the county is arable, yet its produce of grain, owing to the number of persons employed in its iron-manufactures and various commercial pursuits, is insufficient for the supply of its own population. The common corn and pulse crops are wheat, barley, oats, beans, and peas. The introduction of Scotch farm-bailiffs by some gentlemen in the Vale, and by the iron-masters among the hills, and also of some English farmers, has greatly assimilated the systems of husbandry pursued on the principal farms to the most approved English and Scotch methods. On these, the chief part of the gravelly land is farmed in a four or five years' course of turnips, barley, clover, and either grass or wheat; but the ordinary diversity of soil on the same farm prohibits the use of any one peculiar system. Moreover, such is the disposition of the gravelly soils to produce grasses, that a summer fallow is found to be absolutely necessary after two courses to clear them of weeds, and give them a dressing of lime; and on all the tenacious soils, summer fallows limed form part of the ordinary system of tillage, being succeeded first by barley, next by clover, then probably by wheat, and lastly by a summer fallow again. Oats, beans, and turnips are occasionally grown on the latter, but after no regular system.
The Wheat grown in the Vale is chiefly of the white Lammas species; but on the gravelly soils, in Gower, and among the hills, the red Lammas is also sown; and other varieties, such as the Winslow, the Talavera, the cone or bearded wheat, and the Cape spring wheat, are occasionally cultivated, though not on nearly so large a scale as the two first-mentioned varieties. Thirty bushels per acre is considered an ample produce, though thirty-five and forty have been reaped in some instances; but the average even on the best farms, is seldom twenty-five bushels per acre. Notwithstanding that the humidity of the climate is unfavourable to the perfection of the wheat ear, the soils of the Vale produce wheat of the best quality. The crops in that fertile district are chiefly cut by strangers from the English side of the Severn, by Irish reapers, and by Cardigan men, engaged only for the harvest; the natives of the country, although good labourers in other respects, are from habit slovenly reapers, and consequently seldom employed for this purpose by the principal farmers. The Cardigan men cut the wheat down, or bogg it, with a large heavy hook, which they use like the Hainault scythe, except that they have no crook in the left hand. Barley after turnips sometimes produces from forty to fifty bushels per acre, but the average is much below that amount; and when it succeeds wheat, which is commonly the case, the average does not exceed thirty bushels per acre. This grain is mown like hay, and seldom bound into sheaves. Oats are chiefly cultivated in the poorer soils, on the clays, in Gower, and in the hilly districts; while on the more valuable lands, scarcely sufficient for the consumption of the respective farms is grown. On the best soils the white potato oat is the most productive; but on all others, the black, or Polish oat is grown. After being mown, this species of grain is bound into sheaves, like wheat: the produce varies from twenty-five to fifty-five bushels per acre. Beans, although the climate is unfavourable to their production, are partially grown on the strong soils of the Vale; the cultivation of Peas, owing to the adverse influence of superabundant moisture, has been almost entirely abandoned. Potatoes have of late years been grown to a very considerable extent, a ready market being found for them in the coal and iron works in the hilly district: the produce varies, under field culture, from five to eight tons per acre. Turnips are generally cultivated, except on the most tenacious clays; and being sown on the Northumberland system, when the land is properly prepared the crop seldom fails. Mangel-wurzel is a common agricultural crop, and is grown under the same management as turnips, except that the land is better prepared, and the seed sown earlier: some crops of this root, grown near Cardiff, have weighed fifty tons per acre of bulb. It is chiefly given to milch-cows, in lieu of turnips, to which it is preferable for this purpose, as it does not impart to their milk any disagreeable flavour. Vetches, the culture of which is much favoured both by soil and climate, are occasionally sown as a substitute for clover. The principal artificial Grasses are, white and red clover, trefoil, rye-grass, and sainfoin, with some lucern. Some of the land bordering on the coast, in the neighbourhoods of Fonmon, Newton-Nottage, &c., being composed of a shallow soil on an immediate substratum of limestone, produces excellent crops of sainfoin, the cultivation of which has greatly enhanced its value. Even some of the driest gravels produce tolerable crops of sainfoin, but it soon becomes choked with natural grasses.
The grass lands are of about equal extent to those under tillage. The south-eastern extremity of the county, from the Romney river on the east to the border of the Vale of Miskin, including the fertile banks of the Tâf and the Ely, is more particularly distinguished for the richness of its pastures; as also is the tract from Lantwit-Major, by Boverton, Gileston, and Fonmon Castle, to the mouth of the Ely near Penarth harbour. Here the natural pastures produce grasses of the sweetest kind, and are well adapted to the rearing of stock. Their produce, however, is seldom large in quantity, owing to the soil not being of sufficient depth to retain moisture in dry summers, and the limestone substrata being of so porous a nature as soon to absorb the latest rains, in consequence of which the ground cracks and opens in wide fissures. But around Cardiff, along the banks of the Ely and Ddaw rivers, and in some other valleys, where the soil is deeper, the quantity is much more abundant, though often coarse, for want of proper drainage, and liable to damage from mud and gravel deposited in times of flood by the neighbouring streams. In a considerable portion of the rest of the Vale of Glamorgan, and of Gower, the sward is every where fine and close, but not so rich, owing to the extremely dry and porous nature of the limestone substrata. All the pastures, both rich and poor, are much overrun with the pretty but useless plant called crow's-foot. So many of the streams are employed in giving motion to the machinery of the iron and other works, that irrigation is little practised: it is most common in Gower and the Vale, though not universally adopted even in situations where easily practicable. The dairies are not so large as they formerly were; but their produce in cheese and butter is of good quality, and finds a ready market among the manufacturing population. Much of the cheese is made with an admixture of sheep's milk, which gives it a shortness and tartness of taste not always agreeable to strangers; but it is of a rich quality, and much esteemed by the natives. The best cows'-milk cheese is mild, and equal to what is made in any part of England. In the Vale is occasionally made a peculiarly rich cheese, which, after being kept a sufficient length of time, assumes a blue colour, and in this state is highly esteemed. Buttermilk cheese, provincially called caws sûr, is sometimes made, to be eaten fresh with bread and butter, most of the natives esteeming it a great delicacy.
The principal manure employed in this county, and a kind not commonly used in every part of Britain, is lime, which, owing to the abundance of limestone, and of coal for burning it, is here applied in greater quantities perhaps than in any other part of the kingdom, 200 bushels per acre being the general proportion, and this application being repeated in many instances every four years, without much attention to the different properties of the various species here obtained. The old custom of burning lime in sod kilns on the fields to be manured with it, has given way to the more approved practice of burning it in kilns made of solid masonry. Judging from the large and ancient marl-pits still remaining in various parts of the county, more especially in the gravelly districts, it is presumed that marl must, at some remote period, have been very generally used as a manure, probably before lime was applied, or its good qualities known. Braes, or ashes and coal-dust, the refuse of the coking-hearths, where coal is charred for the use of the blast furnaces, and ashes of all kinds, are also used in situations where they can be conveniently procured. Paring and burning are not generally practised in the Vale, but are constantly resorted to in the hilly districts and in Gower, as a preparation for wheat. Water-ponds of stone and mortar, on a basis of puddled earth, gravel, and sand, are found necessary for supplying the cattle with water, in the dry limestone tracts of Gower and the Vale, where the brooks are few, and frequently disappear in the above-mentioned swallows, or fissures, in the substrata. The old long wooden ploughs, formerly in common use, are now only occasionally to be seen on small farms among the hills, having been superseded by ploughs made of iron, on the Scotch plan, which are now in more common use than any other sort, being well made by the smiths of the county. Drags, scufflers, and horse-hoes of the most approved construction are used on the principal farms, and various kinds of drills are common. Some thrashing machines have also been erected. The teams for the plough consist generally of two horses, or six oxen; and for the road, of wagons with three horses, and carts with two. The shovels and rakes used are of very peculiar construction: each of the former consists of an oval iron-plate, sharp at the point and steeled, and having a long curved handle; the rakes appear awkward to a stranger, on account of their handles not being joined to the heads at right angles, but obliquely. The ancient British customs of husbandry, so long preserved in this county, are now nearly obsolete: the principal remains of them are, the practice of milking ewes for the purpose of making cheese of their milk, which is done by women, who receive oneseventh of the milk for their trouble; and that of shearing lambs in the first summer.
The native breed of cattle, naturally large, fine, and delicate, was greatly neglected during the late war. Owing to the high price of corn, tillage then made rapid progress over the best pastures; and the attention of the stock farmer being for the most part confined to the improvement of his breed of sheep, the cattle were driven to the poor wet soils, where they soon degenerated. Another cause of their being neglected was the great demand for hay in the iron and coal works, which still continue to draw from the Vale all the hay of the best quality. Formerly they were in request among the English graziers, but these have long neglected them, in favour of the Hereford and short-horned breeds, as they are now very slow feeders, and do not arrive to proper maturity under the age of about six years. In the fertile parishes of St. Athan's, Gileston, and Lantwit, they were at one time remarkable for their large size, some of them weighing, when fat, no less than 400 lb. per quarter. These native cattle are still hardy, and possess good points: in all parts of the county, the cows are highly esteemed for the dairy, and the oxen for working; and, when fat, their beef is of superior quality. They have been crossed with the Hereford and short-horned breeds, thus being much improved in form and aptitude to fatten, but deteriorated for the purposes of the dairy; and also with various kinds of Scotch cattle, especially with the Ayrshire breed, which renders them more hardy, and more profitable for the dairy, both objects of great importance. In the hilly districts, and in Gower, the native cattle are more hardy and compact than elsewhere within the limits of the county: the Highland and Kyloe breeds, and various crosses with the native stock, also thrive in these more exposed regions.
The Vale was formerly distinguished for a native breed of large sheep, having long legs, flat sides, and wool of a good combing quality, with fine-grained flesh; but these are now nearly extinct: a few still remain in the vicinity of Lantwit-Major. The native sheep of the hilly districts are small, hardy, lively, and active, with short wool, having an admixture of hairs, termed by the natives syth-vlew, and which greatly lessens its value to the cloth manufacturers. In the Vale the prevailing kinds of sheep now are the Cotswold and the Leicester, of which valuable flocks are found in all the lower parts of the county, much attention being paid to their improvement. Newton Down, the Golden Mile, St. Mary Hill, and other dry and open commons, were formerly stocked with an excellent though a small breed of sheep, having wool of a fine clothing quality; but this breed was afterwards neglected, owing to the price of the wool only equalling that of the long coarse wool of the larger breed, which has almost entirely superseded it, as the fleeces of the latter are nearly double the weight of those of the former. In all parts of the county it is customary to milk the ewes throughout the summer, from about the middle of May to the middle of September, their milk being made into cheese, for which purpose it is most commonly mixed with nearly an equal quantity of skimmed cows' milk. Shearing twice a year is sometimes practised, first about the end of May, and the last early in October. The native breed of hogs is white, of large size, having flat sides and long legs; the animals are slow feeders, and when fat weigh from twenty-five to thirty score lb., the bacon being of excellent quality: a good sort is obtained by an intermixture of these and the Berkshire and Chinese breeds. The horses are of various kinds. The old breed of the county is extinct in the Vale, and those by which it has been superseded are chiefly distinct breeds of the cart and saddle kind: the former are generally black, and though not heavy, are strong and active; the latter are crosses from blood horses brought into the county, and generally small, but active. Many horses bred in Glamorganshire are sold, when about three years old, to be taken to the English markets. In the hilly districts is a good breed of ponies, very hardy, and capable of sustaining the greatest fatigue.
In the valleys of this county, the climate being mild and genial, vegetables, fruit, and flowers are produced as early and in as great perfection as in any part of England; and the gardens are neat and well cultivated: the cottage-gardens have a pleasing mixture of the various ordinary productions of the garden and orchard, and scarcely one of them is without a proportionably large bed of leeks. The market-gardens in the neighbourhood of Llandaf and Cardiff are extensive and productive, and supply the manufacturing districts with vegetables. At one time the orchards were much more extensive than they now are, and numerous remains of them, in various places, testify that the soil is well adapted for the growth of the apple, and that this branch of rural economy has been greatly neglected of late years, compared with its former flourishing state: almost every large farm had a cider-mill, but at present there is scarcely one in the county.
Several parts of Glamorganshire are well wooded, the growth of all kinds of timber being here as flourishing as in any part of Britain; but the extent of many of the woodlands has been greatly diminished, to supply the demand for their produce at the iron-works. The natural woods of the high part of the county, which are more particularly extensive in Glyn-Ogwr, and the parishes of Ystrad-Dyvodog, Llanwonno, and others situated at a distance from the iron-works, consist chiefly of oak, ash, and alder; interspersed in smaller proportions with birch, mountain-ash, wild cherry, &c., in the uplands; and with wych elm, aspen, sycamore, maple, linden, crab, &c., in more sheltered situations. The dry sandy soils of the same part also produce beechwood, which, where preserved on the lowland gravelly soils, in Kibwr, Miskin Vale, Llandaf, &c., grows to a very great size. Some of the largest timber-trees are produced on the northern border of the Vale of Glamorgan, and of Gower; and the limestone soils of these two tracts themselves, though little favourable to the spontaneous growth of wood, have various plantations of fine timber-trees, enriching the larger of the estates: the elm, which here sometimes attains an extraordinary size and is very common, is frequently made into various implements of husbandry, or supplies the use of oak in building, and for the bottoms of ships. Among the most extensive plantations are those of Clasemont and Margam; there are many of smaller extent, and a great proportion of all of them consists of firs of various kinds.
The waste lands amount to about 100,000 acres, and may be divided into two classes; first,—the wastes, commons, or downs, of the southern limestone tracts in the Vale of Glamorgan and in Gower, which, together with some warrens and sand-banks, on the sea-coast, comprise about 14,000 acres. Many of these wastes, more especially those of St. Mary Hill in the Vale of Glamorgan, and Cevn-y-Bryn hill in Gower, are clothed with the sweetest herbage, and are chiefly depastured by sheep; their surface is generally level, and their size from twenty to several hundred acres. The remaining 86,000 acres are on the hills and mountains of the northern parts of the county, where some large parishes contain not less than 8000 or 10,000 acres of waste land each: these wastes are for the most part appropriated to the support of sheep and cattle, the tenants of the neighbouring farms generally possessing an unlimited right of pasture upon them. The common fuel throughout the county is coal, with which it is abundantly supplied from its own mines. The Glamorgan Agricultural Society, one of the most respectable institutions of the kind, was established in 1770, and holds its general meetings at Cowbridge.
The mineral productions of the county are various and of great importance, consisting chiefly of coal, iron, lead, and stones of different kinds; and its geology is of the most interesting character. It comprises by far the larger portion of the rich mineral basin of South Wales, which includes all the northern part of the county, from a line drawn from the vicinity of Risca, on the river Romney or Rumney, by Castell Côch, Llantrissent, and Newton Down, to the sea-shore below Margam; whence, crossing Swansea bay to the Mumbles, the line continues across Gower to Carmarthen bay, near the mouth of Burry River. This great field belongs to the independent COAL formation, and is entirely contained in strata of limestone, which, cropping-out to the south of the coal, occupies the rest of Glamorganshire from the line before mentioned, southward, and contains valuable ores of lead. The deepest part of the basin extends from its centre, in the vicinity of Neath, in this county, to Llanelly in Carmarthenshire, where the lowest strata of coal are nearly 700 fathoms below the out-crop of some of the superior strata in the mountains occupying the northern parts of the county. The bed of coal lying nearest the surface, in the vicinity of Neath, is, at its greatest depth, sixty fathoms below it, and rises to it in every direction, extending in breadth, from north to south, about a mile, and several miles in length, from east to west. In a similar manner do the inferior beds rise to the surface all round the out-crop of the superior stratum, and between it and the limestone which borders it, on every side: thus, from a line drawn from east to west, through the centre of the field, all the beds of coal on the north crop-out on the northern side, at distances proportioned to their depth beneath the surface; and all those on the south, in like manner, appear southward. Twelve of the beds of coal are from three to nine feet thick, and eleven others from eighteen inches to three feet, making together ninetyfive feet of coal capable of being worked, besides numerous other beds from six to eighteen inches in thickness. The coal obtained from the southern side of the mineral basin, and also from the northern measures east of the Neath river, is principally of a bituminous or binding quality, and for the most part adapted for conversion into coke for the use of the blast furnaces. The north-western part of the county is wholly occupied by the anthracite or stone coal, which is devoid of bitumen, and burns without smoking, flaming, or caking: in Welsh this is commonly called glo caled, "hard coal." The large kind of it is used in drying malt and hops, and the small in burning lime; latterly, also, this stone-coal has been very extensively used for smelting iron-ore, in that (north-western) part of the county where it is found. The quantity of sulphur contained in these coals is in neither of the species very great; less, however, appears in the stone than in the binding sort. In many instances the strata are dislocated by "dykes," or "faults," which take great ranges through the interior of the basin, chiefly in a direction from north to south, and often elevate or depress the whole of the strata, from forty to a hundred feet, for hundreds of acres together: these dislocations are not generally discernible by any appearance on the surface. From the Neath river westward to Carmarthen bay, the strata of the southern series are more regular than those opposite to them on the north: but eastward of that line the case is reversed.
The lower beds of the coal deposit inclose parallel strata of IRON-ORE, in some places as many as sixteen in number, accompanied with irregular balls or lumps of iron-ore, called "balls of mine." The strata of the ironstone commonly vary from one to five inches in thickness; and the balls are of various sizes, from two to sixteen and twenty lb., or upwards, even to three cwt.: both kinds are poorer in metal than the iron-ore of the North of England, but their contiguity to such an extent of coal, and their abundance, make ample amends for the comparative poverty. This ore is principally of the kind denominated by Kirwan "common upland argillaceous ironstone," and is chiefly found contiguous to strata of aluminous schist, called "cleft, clunch," &c., and to coal, freestone, or fire-clay. The mountains being intersected by deep valleys, offer much facility for working the coal and iron together, by means of levels. The iron-ore is in great abundance on the northern side of the county, from the neighbourhood of Merthyr-Tydvil and Aberdare westward towards the upper part of the Vale of Tawe, where it yields thirty per cent. of metal. The same argillaceous ironstone is found in large quantities in the hills lying to the south-west of Aberdare, towards the coast; blackband, or carboniferous ironstone, also, was discovered here in 1843, at Cwmavon, Maes Têg, &c., and a vast increase in the iron-trade in this part of the county was the immediate result, as iron can be produced from blackband at a much diminished cost. More recently this kind of ironstone has been discovered at Ystalyfera, in the Vale of Tawe; where, however, it is not yet wrought, the argillaceous description being still exclusively smelted in the important works there.
The strata of the limestone of the Vale of Glamorgan, and of Gower, for the most part undulate with the surface of the country, and are of several varieties. The White limestone, which occupies the whole of Gower and much of the Vale adjoining the coal tract, is so denominated, not from the colour of the stone in its natural state, which is for the most part a dark grey, but because it burns to a perfectly white lime, of the very best quality as a manure. On some of the rising grounds of this limestone tract are deposits of fine white sandstone, as on St. Mary Hill, near Cowbridge; Cevn-y-Bryn, in Gower; Cevn-y-vai, near Bridgend; and on the northern part of Newton Down. It has besides several beds of tufa freestone, resembling Purbeck stone, and of calcareous freestone, especially of the latter, in the parish of St. Fagan's, where it resembles Portland stone. The white limestone is extremely cavernous, and some of its cavities contain considerable quantities of lead-ore, some calamine and manganese, and strings of copper. Lead-ore has been obtained in the islets of Barry and Sully, and at Llantrythid, Coychurch, Merthyr-Mawr, Newton, Coed Lai, Maenllwyd, about three miles east of Caerphilly; All Slade mine, in the parish of Bishopston, in Gower; Tewgoed mine, in the parish of Llangan, near Cowbridge; and Park mine, about a mile to the south of Llantrissent: but at none of these places is this metal now worked. Calamine is found in the greatest quantity at Maenllwyd; manganese in the peninsula of Gower, and at Newton, Twynau Gwynion, and other places.
Lias limestone is in this county commonly called "Aberthaw limestone," from the name of a village on the coast, in the neighbourhood of which it more particularly abounds, and from which great quantities of it are shipped coastwise. The blue, or flag, lias limestone, which is used for flooring, tombstones, &c., occupies the eastern end of the Vale of Glamorgan, and is washed by the sea from Sully Island to the mouth of the river Ely, a distance of about four miles: another tract appears a little further westward, extending from the sea-shore, between Barry and Porthkerry, to the Cowbridge road. From Porthkerry the grey, or rag, lias occupies the sea-coast westward to beyond Dunraven Castle, a distance of about fourteen miles, and extends inland about six miles: several detached deposits of this kind of stone are also found in conjunction with the white limestone, in different places. The lime of the lias stone is of a buff colour, and not only makes the very best mortar for the purposes of ordinary building, but also forms a valuable cement for works under water: for agricultural purposes, however, it is of inferior quality. A kind of bastard lias, in substance between the true lias and the white limestone, is found in a tract about four miles long and one broad, between Cowbridge and St. Marychurch; and again in the parish of Tythegston, to the west of Ogmore. To the north of the white limestone, and on the verge of the coal tract, is an imperfectly stratified bed of a calcareous pudding-stone, which takes its course from Ruddry, on the Romney, about seven miles north of Cardiff, to Caerphilly Down, and through St. Fagan's, Llanhary, Coyty, &c., to Cevn-Cribwr: its lime, of a dusky brown colour, is bad for mortar, but excellent for manure. This, in some places, rests upon the southern edge of the coal strata.
Of these various kinds of stone, the principal used in building are, the calcareous freestone of the white limestone tract; siliceous freestone, obtained from quarries in the grey lias, more particularly from those bordering on the coal district; the freestone of the coal measures; the white and lias limestones; and firestone for ovens, which is found in a limestone tract several miles square, at Sully, Cadoxton, Barry, Maes-y-Velin, Pencarreg, &c. The limestone tracts of the southern side of the county afford excellent specimens of Marble, some of which are beautifully variegated with yellow and light liver colours, others with four colours, resembling the brocatello of the lapidaries, while others again are of a liver colour, slightly variegated. In Gower is obtained a marble, variegated with white, yellow, and liver colours, besides some of a dark colour beautifully streaked with white, which is sawed and polished in the vicinity of Swansea. Near Merthyr-Tydvil, and at Bwa Maen, near Pont-Neath-Vaughan, is found a marble of a darker colour, in conjunction with mountain limestone. Gypseous alabaster, the "compact gypsum" of Kirwan, is discovered in large quantities, and of the best quality, at Penarth, Leckwith, Lavernock, and other places, chiefly in a hard clay, or marl, under the blue lias limestone. It is exported to Bristol and other places in the West of England, to be worked into vases and other ornamental articles, and when burned into plaster of Paris, to be formed into cornice mouldings, &c. In the parish of Llansannor is found a thin stratum of a flinty stone, used by the country people to strike fire from steel; as are other strata of the same kind at Newcastle, near Bridgend; and at Merthyr-Mawr millstone burrs, freestone, and micaceous schist, here called pennant, occur on the line of separation between the southern coal strata and the limestone of the Vale of Glamorgan. Grindstones and scythe-hones are made at Llangonoyd, Coyty, Pyle, Caer-Bal, St. Hilary, &c.; and millstones at Merthyr-Mawr, Twynau Gwynion, Rhôsilly, Pen-y-Vai, Caerphilly, Cevn-yBryn, Newton Down, and a few other places. The "fire-clay" which, in beds of various thicknesses, pervades the greater part of the coal tract, is manufactured into fire-bricks for the use of the ironworks, for lime-kilns, &c.; in their composition the clay is mixed with quartz and other stones, pieces of old bricks, &c., ground down between iron cylinders. The limestone strata contain numerous impressions of various marine exuviæ, petrified shellfish, vertebræ, &c. &c. The beds of ironstone and clunch, lying contiguous to the coal strata, mostly exhibit vegetable impressions.
The manufactures and commerce, owing to the abundance of mineral treasures in the county, and its maritime situation, far exceed in extent and importance those of any other county in the principality. Their increase has been especially remarkable within the last few years. The chief branch of manufacture is that of IRON, which is principally carried on at Merthyr-Tydvil, where forty-six furnaces for smelting the ore were in operation in 1847. In the same year there were about fifteen furnaces in blast in the Glamorgan part of the Vale of Tawe, of which the port of Swansea forms the outlet; ten furnaces in the Llynvi valley, whose outlet is Porthcawl; eight at Aberdare, near Merthyr-Tydvil; seven at Cwmavon, near the port of Aberavon; several at the Bute works, in the parish of Gellygaer; four in the Vale of Neath; two at Pentyrch, in the Vale of Tâf. In addition to these, which were within the limits of the county, there were several blast furnaces in operation at Yniscedwyn, at the head of the Vale of Tawe, in Brecknockshire; four furnaces at Hîrwaun, and others at Beaufort, Clydach, &c., in the same county; sixteen in the Amman and Gwendraeth vales, in Carmarthenshire; and about fifty in the English county of Monmouth. The total number of furnaces connected with the iron-trade of South Wales and Monmouthshire was about 188, of which Glamorganshire contained about half: the total quantity of iron made was about 880,000 tons. At first, the iron-trade of the county was almost confined to the Merthyr and other districts connected with the port of Cardiff; but afterwards, new fields were opened in the Swansea and Neath valleys, and in the valleys of which Porthcawl and Aberavon are the outlets. From Cardiff the exports of iron consist of bars, while at Porthcawl and Swansea pig-iron is the kind exclusively shipped. The county contains numerous foundries, forges, and rolling-mills, for manufacturing the rough metal into bar and rod iron, and for moulding it into all kinds of articles in cast-iron. There are extensive works at Newbridge, in the Vale of Tâf, for the manufacture of chaincables, and the iron-work of suspension bridges, chain-piers, &c.; and others carried on at the same place, for the manufacture of "patent wrought-iron railway-plates." At Neath Abbey are made all kinds of steam-engines; and latterly, iron steam-boats: the establishment at this place has furnished most of the South American mining-companies with their powerful engines. Some of the principal articles of the iron manufacture, besides those abovementioned, are, tram-rails, tram-wagons, mouldboards for ploughs, bolts, sheets for the tinners, roofs for buildings, bridges, canal boats, hand-barrows, gates, hurdles, &c. About 170 persons are employed in nail-making.
Next in importance to the manufacture of iron is that of copper, the Swansea valley forming the chief seat of the copper-trade in Great Britain. In 1847 there were eight works in the Swansea valley, namely, the White Rock, Middle Bank, Hâvod, Upper Bank, Morva, Landore, Rose, and Forest works; two works at Neath; three in the vicinity of Aberavon; and three works in Carmarthenshire, two of them at Llanelly, and the other at Spitty, to the east of Llanelly. At these works, which comprise all that are carried on in South Wales, immense quantities of ore are smelted. There are also large copper-rolling establishments, and a silver-mill. The ore is brought for smelting, from Cornwall, Devonshire, Ireland, &c.; also, latterly, in large quantities, from South America and Australia. The Cornish ore yields about eight per cent. of fine copper.
Of the tin-works in the county, the principal are at Treforest, near Newbridge; at Melin-Griffith, near Llandaf; at Aberavon; at Ynys-pen-llwch, about eight miles from Swansea; and at Cwmavon: the first-mentioned are said to be on the largest scale of any in the kingdom. At Swansea is an extensive manufacture of fine earthenware, much of the produce of which is shipped to various parts of England: a similar manufacture was established, soon after the commencement of the present century, at Nantgarw, in the parish of Eglwysilan, among the mountains to the north of Cardiff; but the manufacture has been discontinued there some years, and the premises converted into a pipe manufactory. Chemical works and zinc-works are carried on in the Swansea valley, and chemical works also in the neighbourhood of Neath, and at Cwmavon. At Bridgend was formerly a woollen manufacture, chiefly of scarlet shawls, in imitation of the provincial garment called the "Gower whittle:" and although it has been abandoned many years, others of the same kind are still carried on in different parts of the county, particularly at Caerphilly, where also both narrow and broad cloths are made. There is a manufactory for Welsh woollens at Maes Têg, in the parish of Llangonoyd. A considerable quantity of flannel, which forms the chief clothing of the peasantry, is made in many parts of Glamorganshire; and coarse cloth is manufactured in small quantities, by individuals who carry it for sale to the fairs and markets. Numerous hides and skins are dressed here for sale at Brecknock, and at the Bristol and other English markets: those of the Glamorgan Vale cattle are the thinnest hides known, and are excellently adapted for coach and cart harness.
The oyster-fishery at the Mumbles gives employment, in the height of the season, to upwards of 400 persons; a fleet of sixty or eighty boats is engaged in it, and each boat is manned by four men. The beds extend from off the Mumbles headland, where the boats are moored, almost to the Worm's Head, at the other extremity of the Gower coast. The season commences on the 1st of September, and closes at the beginning of May. Immense quantities of the oysters, which are of excellent quality, are sent to Bristol, Liverpool, London, and other great markets, through the factors at Swansea: sometimes a boat dredges from 18,000 to 20,000 in a single week. Lobsters, and other fish of the most valuable kinds, also abound on the coast of Gower; the lobsters are uncommonly large and fine. In other parts of the county are fisheries of salmon and sewin, which latter fish is found only in those rivers flowing from the north or east to the south or west; the Ogmore is, or until lately was, celebrated for the abundance and fine flavour of its fish of both these species. Among the produce of the coast must also be enumerated, samphire, called in Welsh corn carw'r môr, or "sea buck-horn," which grows on rocks and cliffs not overflowed by the tide, is gathered when out of blossom, boiled, and preserved, and is much esteemed as a pickle; and laver, or sea liver-wort, which vegetates on rocks and stones in the creeks overflowed by the tides, and, when gathered and boiled, is put into jars, with the addition only of a little salt, and occasionally sent as a rarity to distant places: thus prepared, it is called in Glamorgan bara lawr, and by the English "black butter."
The chief exports of this county are, vast quantities of coal and culm, from Cardiff, Swansea, Neath, Porthcawl, and Aberavon, to the western and southwestern coasts of England, the western coasts of Wales, and to Ireland; iron, also in immense quantities, to various parts, from the same places; copper, from Swansea, &c.; tin-plates, from Cardiff, Aberavon, Swansea, and Neath; fire-bricks, chiefly from Neath, to the coasts of Devonshire and Cornwall; earthenware and marble, from Swansea; much lime and limestone of the lias kind, from Aberthaw, on the sea-coast south of Cowbridge; and great quantities of limestone, from the shores of Gower, to Devonshire, Carmarthenshire, &c. Part of the produce of the coast, viz., samphire, laver, turbot, &c., and some of the river fish, are sent to England; besides the vast quantities of oysters above-mentioned. The chief extraordinary imports are, copper-ore and tin; potters'-clay, flint, and chert, for the potteries at Swansea; iron-ore from Lancashire, to be blended with that of the county; and bricks. Glamorganshire is said not to produce sufficient grain to supply the consumption of its own inhabitants, whose number has greatly increased in the manufacturing districts by emigration from the neighbouring counties, more especially those of Carmarthen and Cardigan; yet a portion of the corn grown in the lower part of the Vale, for want of a direct line of communication with the populous but barren hilly district, is exported to Bristol, from which city it is often returned, in flour or malt, to Cardiff, to be forwarded to Merthyr by the Glamorganshire canal or Tâf-Vale railway.
The principal rivers are the Tâf, the Tawe or Tawy, the Nedd or Neath, the Lychwyr or Loughor, and the Rhymni, Rumney, or Romney. The banks of these, and of the numerous smaller streams of the mountains, are in most places distinguished for the grandeur or rich beauty of their scenery. The romantic Tâf is formed by the junction, on the northern border of the county, near Coedycummer, of two streams, called respectively the Tâf Vawr and the Tâf Vechan, the Greater and Lesser Tâf, which descend from the highest mountains of South Wales, the Beacons of Brecknockshire. Thence, taking a south-south-eastern direction, the river flows, two miles lower, through the town of MerthyrTydvil; and at Quaker's-Yard, which is several miles below Merthyr, is joined from the east by the mountain stream called the Bargoed Tâf. Still lower, it is joined from the west by the Cynon, which descends from the parish of Penderin, in Brecknockshire; and a few miles further the Tâf is augmented, from the same side, by the united waters of the two Rhonddas: hence, flowing nearly southward, it passes by Llandaf and Cardiff, and falls into the Bristol Channel, through the inlet of Penarth, after a course of about thirty-three miles. This river is navigable for vessels of small burthen to Cardiff, which is as far as the tide flows. Its stream, in dry weather, is very scanty; but, in case of sudden rains and thaws, the waters of this, as of the other mountain rivers, roll over their rocky bed in an impetuous torrent. The Tawy enters from Brecknockshire, a little below Ystrad-Gunlais, and taking first a southwestern and then a southern course, is joined from the west by the small but romantic streams of the Upper and the Lower Clydach, and empties itself into the bay of Swansea, at the town of that name, after a course of about twenty-five miles. This river is navigable for ships of considerable burthen to a distance of two miles from its mouth, and for small sloops one mile further to Morriston, where the flow of the tide is checked by a weir. The Neath also descends from the mountains of Brecknockshire, and flows south-westward along one of the most picturesque and interesting valleys of South Wales. The principal of its tributary streams, some of which form beautiful cascades, is the Dulas, which joins it about three miles above the town of Neath; and from this junction, flowing nearly southward by that town, the Neath pursues its course to Swansea bay, into which it falls about four miles eastward of Swansea, after a course of nearly twenty-two miles. This river is navigable for vessels of 350 tons' burthen, at spring tides, as high as Neath; but the chief resort of shipping is Briton-Ferry, lower down. The Loughor, which has its source in the parish of Llandilo-Vawr, in Carmarthenshire, bounds the county of Glamorgan for a considerable distance on the west, and falls into the creek of Loughor, near the ancient borough of that name. This inlet, or estuary, being joined by a petty stream from Gower, called the Burry, is designated Burry River; and, sweeping round to the west, joins the bay of Carmarthen opposite the projecting north-western extremity of Gower: it is navigable for small vessels up to the town of Loughor. The little stream of the Burry is noted for its trout. The Romney rises near the north-eastern extremity of the county, and, giving motion to the machinery of different coal and iron works, forms throughout its course the boundary between Glamorganshire and the English county of Monmouth. It flows in an irregular southern direction, and falls into the Bristol Channel through a small estuary, a little north-eastward of Penarth harbour. The other principal streams are, the Elai, or Ely, which descends from the barren hills of the coal tract to the north of Llantrissent, afterwards flows south-eastward along the rich Vale of Ely, or Dyfryn-Miskin, and, after a course of about twentyone miles, contributes, with the Tâf, to form the safe and spacious harbour of Penarth; the Ddaw, or Dawon, celebrated for its trout, which in a short course of nine miles flows through Cowbridge to the sea at Aberthaw, where it forms a small harbour; the Ewenny, which has a similar course from the coal tract north of Llanilid, through the flat Vale of Coychurch, to the mouth of the Ogmore, near the ruins of Aber-Ogwr, or Ogmore Castle; the Ogmore, a large stream of remarkably soft water, which, rising among the mountains, flows southward through the town of Bridgend, and, after a course of about fifteen miles, being joined by the Ewenny, falls into the Bristol Channel through a broad estuary; and the Avan, or Avon, which descends from near the source of the Ogmore, and, after a course of about fifteen miles, falls into the Channel at Aberavon: it is navigable for a short distance. Almost the only stream in Gower, besides the Burry, is the Pennarth Pill, which falls into Oxwich bay.
The conveyance of the mineral productions of Glamorganshire to its different sea-ports is greatly facilitated by the canals by which portions of it are traversed. Of these the oldest and the most important is the Glamorganshire canal, sometimes called the Cardiff canal, which was originally commenced, under the authority of an act of parliament, in 1791, and was opened in 1794, its formation having cost upwards of £100,000: it was subsequently extended under the provisions of a second act of parliament, and was completed in 1798. It extends from Merthyr-Tydvil to the sea near Cardiff, a distance of twenty-six miles, through a mountainous and romantic country; and has a fall of no less than 576 feet, by fifty locks, eighteen of which occur about the middle of its course, within the space of a mile. Here also it crosses the river Tâf by a handsome stone aqueduct, and is received into a spacious basin, surrounded by commodious wharfs, where the canal company's business is transacted, and their principal agent resides. On reaching Cardiff, it passes under the turnpikeroad to Newport by a tunnel of considerable length, emerging from which, at the distance of half a mile from its egress, it falls into a basin that communicates with the sea at Penarth Roads, by means of a tide-lock. This basin admits vessels of 240 tons' burthen, which ascend as high as Cardiff; but above the town the canal is navigable only for barges of twenty-five tons' burthen. At the basin near the aqueduct above-mentioned, it is joined by a canal from Aberdare, completed in 1811, and seven miles long, with only two locks; this canal runs parallel with the river Cynon, and is joined at the Aberdare works, at its head, by a tramroad, six miles long, from the Hîrwaun works within the confines of Brecknockshire.
The Neath canal extends from the navigable channel of the river Neath at Briton-Ferry, north-eastward, up the valley of that river, to Aber-Gwrelych, near Pont-Neath-Vaughan, on the confines of Brecknockshire, a distance of about thirteen miles, in which it has sixteen locks. It was originally constructed under an act of parliament obtained in 1791, and extended under another act passed in 1798. Connected with it are various tramways, the principal of which is one uniting it to the Aberdare branch canal. The Swansea canal extends from the harbour of that town, up the valley of the Tawe, in a direction nearly north-by-east, to Pen-Tawe, whence the communication is continued to Hên-Neuadd, within the limits of Brecknockshire, by a short tramway. The total length of this canal is about seventeen miles, in which it has a fall of 373 feet, by means of thirtysix locks. It was completed and opened in 1798, and is navigable for barges of twenty-five tons' burthen. The produce of the neighbouring mines is conveyed to its banks by means of numerous tramroads, two of which are each about two miles in length; one of these branches from near YnysTawe to coal-mines, and the other to coal-mines and lime-works near Bryn Morgan. A portion, about a mile and a half in length, of that part of the canal nearest to Swansea, is of older construction than the rest, having been cut by the Duke of Beaufort, who still receives the tolls of it. The small cut called the Penclawdd canal, in the northern part of Gower, constructed about the year 1812, was formerly the means of conveying excellent bituminous coal to vessels lying in the Burry River, but is now disused. The following canals are private property. The "First Neath," the "Briton," or the "Cremlyn" canal, now called the Neath and Swansea Junction canal, was constructed about the year 1789, and forms an inland medium of communication between Briton-Ferry and Swansea, branching from the Neath canal at Aberdulas, crossing the river Neath by a handsome aqueduct of eleven arches, and extending a distance of nine miles without a single lock, except that by which it communicates with the eastern side of Swansea harbour, at a place called Port-Tennant, from the name of the spirited individual by whom the whole was constructed. The First Swansea canal, or Llansamlet canal, extends from the village of Foxhole, above Swansea, on the eastern side of the River Tawe, to the collieries of Gwernllwynwydd, near Llansamlet.
The Bute ship-canal, at Cardiff, completed in 1839, at the sole expense of the late Marquess of Bute, forms one of the greatest commercial works in the principality. The portion called the float consists of a safe basin, entered by sea-gates, and occupying an area of about an acre and a half, capable of accommodating vessels to the amount of 1200 tons. North of this outer basin is the main entrance lock, 152 feet long, 36 feet wide, and calculated to admit ships of 600 tons. The inner basin is entered from this, and extends towards the town above 1400 yards, having a width of 200 feet and a depth of 19 feet, with accommodation for between 300 and 400 vessels of all classes: its quay walls are most massive, admirably fended and coped with gigantic blocks of tooled granite. This splendid dock is in direct communication with the Tâf-Vale railway, of which it forms the water-side terminus.
The railways in the county are of great importance. The Tâf-Vale railway, partially opened in 1840, and completed on April 12, 1841, was originally single, but the traffic, which is enormous, has obliged the company to lay down double rails for the greater part of the distance. It is twenty-four and a half miles in length, extending from the port of Cardiff to Merthyr-Tydvil, nearly parallel with the river Tâf and the Glamorganshire canal. Soon after leaving Cardiff, the line takes a north-western direction, passing the city of Llandaf on the left; the tin and iron works at Melin-Griffith and Pentyrch are next passed, then the Taf's-Well station, and, some miles further on, the Newbridge station. Here the river Rhondda, a tributary of the Tâf, is crossed by a fine bridge, and the line changes it course by taking a northern direction; the river Clydach is afterwards crossed, shortly after which the trains arrive at an inclined plane at Navigation-House, nine miles from Merthyr. At Quaker's-Yard, nearer Merthyr, is a viaduct over the Tâf, 100 feet high and 600 feet long. The works of the line also embrace two short tunnels. The Aberdare railway, opened in the month of August 1846, commences in junction with the line just described, at Navigation, and after a course of nine miles and a half, terminates at Aberdare, to the west of Merthyr. Another important line is the Llynvi-Valley railway, formerly called the Dyfryn-Llynvi and Porthcawl railway, which commences at Blaen-Llynvi, at the head of the valley, and terminates at the harbour of Porthcawl, in the parish of Newton-Nottage, having a branch of several miles from near Cevn-Cribwr to the flourishing town of Bridgend. Its length, exclusively of the Bridgend branch, is seventeen miles. This line was originally laid down as a tramroad, but an act was lately passed for its conversion into a locomotive railway: considerable extensions, also, are projected.
The chief line, however, in the county, is the South Wales railway, which will run through its entire length. It appears that a railway through this part of the principality had been several times proposed, before the date of the present line. In 1824, a prospectus was issued for the construction of a railway from Swansea through Gloucester to the metropolis, for the purpose of conveying coal and other minerals to the London market, as well as passengers at coach speed: the plan, however, was considered to be visionary. Twelve years afterwards, a company was formed at Gloucester for the construction of a South Wales line through Swansea; and this scheme was followed by another, which excited some attention, entitled the England and Ireland Union railway, being a more northern line, with a terminus at Fishguard, in Pembrokeshire. Mr. Brunel was appointed to make surveys for the Gloucester company, but the panic of 1837 blighted the project, and it was not till the year 1844 that the formation of a railway through South Wales seemed likely to prove a reality. The scheme now proposed received the warm support of the Great Western railway company, and being placed in the hands of Mr. Brunel, soon assumed a high rank in public estimation. The petition for the necessary bill was introduced into the house of commons on February 26th, and the bill received the royal assent on August 4th, 1845. The capital of the company was fixed at £2,800,000, divided into 56,000 shares of £50; and the act gave the Great Western company power to subscribe the sum of £560,000 towards the capital. Under this act and two subsequent acts passed in 1846 and 1847, the length of the line and its branches was to be as follows: from Hagloe, in Gloucestershire, where it joins the Gloucester and Dean-Forest line, to Fishguard, on the coast of Pembrokeshire, 155 miles, 3 furlongs; the Pembroke branch, 19m. 4f.; the Haverfordwest branch, 5m. 1f.; the Monmouth branch, 22m. 5f.; the Swansea branch, 1m. 4f.; and the Briton-Ferry branch, 1m. 5f.: total, 205 miles, 6 furlongs. In the autumn of 1847, Capt. Claxton, R.N., was employed to survey the Irish Channel minutely, for the purpose of ascertaining the best route across to the Irish coast, and the elaborate survey then made appears to have led to the abandonment of Fishguard as the terminus, and the adoption of Abermawr, a few miles distant from Fishguard in a western direction. The distance to Abermawr, however, does not differ materially from that to Fishguard, the line in this part of its course running northward. The railway has now passed into the hands of the powerful Great Western company, and the capital has been increased to £3,000,000, with power to borrow £1,000,000 more if necessary: the average cost of works has been estimated by Mr. Brunel, on experience obtained from contracts, at £8800 per mile.
The course of the railway may be described, generally, as from east to west, along the northern shore of the Severn estuary, and the southern coast of Wales. Commencing in Gloucestershire, it passes by the river-side and through some heavy cuttings towards Chepstow, in Monmouthshire, where it will be carried across the river Wye a little below the present bridge. The line then follows the western side of the Wye until the high ground at its back recedes; and thence the gradients are easy over Caldicot Level to Newport, in which neighbourhood, for a distance of about three miles, the works are remarkably difficult and expensive. An embankment a mile in length and twenty feet high leads to the Usk here, across which a wooden bridge, 700 feet in length, was nearly completed in May 1848, when it was destroyed by fire. The railway is carried across the Monmouthshire canal by a wooden bridge, near which a tunnel of three-quarters of a mile commences; the line then runs over Wentloog Level, and crossing the Romney by another wooden bridge, 230 feet in length, enters the county of Glamorgan. It passes a little south of Cardiff, between the Bute docks and the old town, and, about two miles to the west, crosses the mail-road, near the village of Ely; then runs through St. Fagan's parish, and bending towards the north-west, passes not far from Llantrissent, along the borders of the hill-country. The river Ely is crossed seven times on stone-bridges, and much fine scenery is opened up in this portion of the line. After sweeping a little to the southwest, it passes close to Bridgend on the north-east, afterwards crosses the Llynvi-Valley railway, and runs within half a mile of Pyle. The route originally projected for this part was by Ogmore and NewtonNottage, close to the coast, but it being apprehended that the sea-sand would be unfavourable, the present deviation was sanctioned. Leaving Pyle, the line follows the edge of marshes for several miles, and passing Aberavon, arrives at Neath, where the Neath river is crossed. Beyond this town the gradients are steep; and some heavy works, comprising a tunnel, cuttings, and vast embankments, carry the line into the Swansea valley, which it will cross at Landore, by a stupendous viaduct, including a bridge over the Tawe. In this valley and at Loughor, a few miles further on, will be some rather heavy tunnels; and at the latter place, Burry River is to be crossed by a long bridge, a little below the present Loughor bridge. Here the line enters Carmarthenshire, where it will prove of incalculable benefit to the towns of Llanelly and Carmarthen. In Pembrokeshire, which it next enters, will be branches to the towns of Pembroke and Haverfordwest, the chief places in that county. The principal feeders of the railway will be, the Gloucester and Dean-Forest, the Llynvi-Valley, the Vale of Neath, the Swansea-Valley, and the Tenby and Saundersfoot railways. According to the report presented to the proprietors of the company, at the close of the year 1848, it appears that £1,333,605 had been expended on the line up to that time, and that the portion between Newport, in Monmouthshire, and Swansea, will be opened, if possible, at the beginning of 1850. Most of the foregoing particulars of the line are derived, in an abridged form, from Mr. Cliffe's "Book of South Wales."
The Vale of Neath railway will commence at Neath, in junction with the South Wales line, and pass up the river-valley in a north-eastern direction, near Cadoxton, Lantwit, Aberpergwm, and PontNeath-Vaughan. It will then leave the river, and proceed in an eastern course, north of Aberdare, to its terminus at Merthyr-Tydvil. Two acts have been obtained for the line; one in 1846, authorizing the construction of a main line of twenty-two miles fifty-nine chains, with branches of five miles forty chains; and the other in 1847, authorizing four miles of branches. Cameron's Coalbrook Steam-Coal and Swansea and Loughor railway, for which an act was procured in 1846, will commence at the Coalbrook collieries, near the town of Loughor, and proceeding eastward, terminate at Swansea. The Swansea-Valley railway, authorized in 1847, will extend from Swansea, up the valley of the river Tawe, and nearly parallel with the Swansea canal, into Brecknockshire, where it will terminate, at Abercrave, in the parish of Ystrad-Gunlais. Its length will be seventeen miles; exclusively of three branches, in all less than a mile and a half. The Swansea and Amman Junction, also authorized in 1847, will extend from the preceding line at Ynis-y-Mond, in the parish of Cadoxton, to Nantmelyn, in the parish of Llangyvelach, its length being nearly four miles and a half, exclusively of about two miles of branches.
Glamorganshire is also intersected by a great number of good common roads, which afford easy and convenient communication between the different towns and villages, but are of little comparative importance in a commercial point of view. The agriculturists of the lower part of the Vale are subject to considerable inconvenience from the want of good inland communication, in conveying to market the produce of this fertile tract; in consequence of which, the best markets of the county are supplied in a greater degree than might be expected with Irish and other foreign grain. Farmers living near an Irish out-port can send their corn to the manufacturing district of which Merthyr is the centre, almost as easily as can those about Aberthaw, St. Athan's, Bonvilston, St. Donatt's, Gileston, Lantwit, Monknash, Penmark, &c. Although great improvements have been made in the roads, at very considerable expense, yet not one of the improved lines, with the exception of the New Mill road, are calculated to benefit the agriculturist; they all extend from east to west, and afford no direct communication between the barren manufacturing district of the northern and the fertile agricultural tracts of the southern side of the county. The bridges presented no remarkable feature until about the middle of the last century, when the celebrated bridge over the Tâf, consisting of one arch 140 feet in the span, called New Bridge, or Pont-y-Pridd, was at length completed, after two failures, by the self-taught architect, William Edwards, who, in conjunction with his son, afterwards built several others over the principal rivers of the county, all of which are distinguished for their beauty and excellence. The bridges are more numerous in this than in most other counties, chiefly on account of its greater commercial importance, and the abundance of materials for their construction. The road from London to Cardiff, Carmarthen, Haverfordwest, &c., enters from Monmouthshire at Romney bridge, and, running the entire length of the county from east to west, passes through Cardiff, Cowbridge, Aberavon, Neath, and Swansea, and quits it for Carmarthenshire by crossing the river Loughor.
The remains of antiquity are very numerous, and of great diversity of character. On a mountain towards the north-western extremity of the county is a circle of rude flat stones, in the centre of which is a cist-vaen, or stone chest, about five feet long: this monument is called Carn Llêchart. About two miles eastward from it, on Mynydd-y-Gwyryd, is another monument of the same class, consisting of three concentric circles of flat stones, the outermost of which is about twenty yards in diameter: in the centre of this also is a cist-vaen, vulgarly called "the altar." On Drummau mountain, in the vicinity of Neath, are other Druidical remains, comprising the relics of a cist-vaen, and a large stone fixed upright in the ground, which, being on the highest ridge of the hill, forms a conspicuous object from many parts of the surrounding country. Near Dyfryn House, about a mile south of the village of St. Nicholas', between Cardiff and Cowbridge, is an extraordinary cromlech, said to be the largest in the kingdom, forming a rectangular apartment, about seventeen feet in length and thirteen in width. Three sides of it consist of large flat stones placed upright in the ground, while the roof is formed by one large stone, twenty-four feet long, varying in breadth from ten to seventeen feet, and computed to contain as many as 324 square feet. In an adjoining field is a similar erection of much smaller dimensions, called Llêch-yVilast, a name common to these monuments in various parts of Wales, but of unknown origin. Near St. Donatt's is one, called by the people of the neighbourhood "the Old Church;" and on Cevn-y-Bryn, a mountain in Gower, one called "Arthur's Stone," the supporting stones of which are of small dimensions, while the inclining stone, though not equal in superficial area to that of the cromlech near Dyfryn, is very much thicker. This far-famed monument of the Druids, which tradition has referred to King Arthur, is about eleven feet and a half high; and notwithstanding that large portions have at different times been broken off, the covering stone is still of above twenty tons' weight. On a hill above New House, to the north of Bridgend, is one of the largest and most ancient British encampments in South Wales.
The chief Roman road which crossed this county, namely, the Via Julia, or Julia Strata, is supposed to have entered it on the east, near the present bridge over the Romney, to the east of Cardiff, and to have passed through the vicinity of that town, and nearly in the line of the present western road, to Ewenny. It thence ascended almost in a direct course to the Newton Downs, where some vestiges of it are still to be seen; and proceeded, by Kenvig and Neath, across the western boundary of the county, near the station Leucarum, at Loughor. From this road branched several vicinal ways: one of these, now called the Sarn hîr, from Cardiff, passed northward by Caerphilly, to which place its course has not yet been traced, but beyond which it may be seen running towards Pont-yr-Ystrad, on the river Romney, which it crosses into Monmouthshire in its further progress towards the great station now designated Caer-Bannau, in Brecknockshire. Another, called in the present day the Sarn Helen, branched from the Via Julia at Neath, and, taking a northeastern direction, may be traced from the border of the marshes above the town until it enters Brecknockshire, in its course to the great station in that county before mentioned: large portions of this way remain entire. Besides these, an ancient road of unknown date, but in a state of excellent preservation, commences at a large and strong encampment on the most elevated summit of the mountain of Mynydd-yGwair, called Pen Cae'r Clawdd, about twelve miles to the north of Swansea. It passes first southward, and afterwards inclines a little westward until it joins the road from Swansea to Llandilo-Vawr in Carmarthenshire, which proceeds along it in a straight line for about two miles, beyond which, in the county of Carmarthen, it may again be traced singly. In the vicinity of this road, and on an eminence overlooking the western boundary of the county, called Pen Trê'r Castell, is situated a very strong fort of earth and stones, of an oval shape, and the longest diameter of which is about 100 yards.
The principal Roman encampments are, a very strong one at the village of Caerau, about three miles west of Cardiff, which occupies the entire summit of a gentle eminence, and comprises about twelve acres; a smaller one, about three miles westward of this, near the village of St. Nicholas', called Cae'r Gaer; another small one, about two miles from Cowbridge, close to the common called the Golden Mile, near which is a tumulus, and besides which are vestiges of an encampment on the other side of the Golden Mile; another on the sea-coast, at a place called the Castle Ditches, about two miles east from Bonvilston; at the same distance from this again, another in a similar situation; and two small encampments, situated on a common about two miles eastward from Loughor. Stones bearing Latin inscriptions are preserved at Swansea, Margam, Port-Talbot, and Kenvig. There are several tumuli, or barrows, in different parts of the county, of which those situated near the line of the Julia Strata, near Bonvilston, are more particularly worthy of mention. Roman coins have been found in different places, more especially at Pengwern, in the parish of Ilston, in Gower; in the parish of Llansamlet, near Swansea; at Cowbridge; in the vicinity of Bonvilston; near St. Athan's; a few miles eastward from that village; and in the vicinity of Loughor; and various other minor relics of the same people have been discovered in the county. On the surface of the mineral district are frequently found heaps of scoria, termed by the English "Roman cinders."
A Benedictine priory, a house of Grey friars, and another monastery, at Cardiff; a monastery at Llancarvan, one at Lantwit-Major, and one at Llangennith, were destroyed long before the Reformation. At that period there were, at Margam a Cistercian abbey; at Neath, a Cistercian abbey; and at Ewenny, a Benedictine cell. Remains yet exist of the monasteries of Ewenny, Margam, and Neath, and of other monastic buildings at Lantwit-Major and near Llantrissent. Some of the more remarkable specimens of ecclesiastical architecture in the county are to be seen in the ruined cathedral of Llandaf, now undergoing restoration; and in the churches of Ewenny; Llanblethian, near Cowbridge; LantwitMajor, which, with its churchyard, contains numerous ancient monuments and tombstones; and Margam. St. John's church, Cardiff, is worthy of notice for its elegant tower and some other interesting features. In Swansea church is a very fine monumental brass. The church of Aberdare is remarkable for the rustic simplicity of its architecture, and may be regarded as a characteristic specimen of the edifices of this class in the mountainous parts of the county.
This part of the principality is particularly distinguished for its remains, in some places very extensive, of the numerous fortresses that were necessary for the protection of the early owners of the soil. Those castles of which ruins are yet in existence are, Caerphilly; Cardiff; Castell Côch, or "the red castle," to the north of Llandaf; Coyty, about a mile to the north-east of Bridgend; Dinas-Powys, or Denis-Powys, about two miles south of Michaelston-le-Pit; St. Donatt's; Landymor, or Bovehill, near Cheriton; Llanblethian, near Cowbridge; Llantrissent; Loughor; Marcross, near St. Donatt's; Morlais, near Merthyr-Tydvil; Neath; Newcastle, at Bridgend; Ogmore, at the junction of the small rivers Ogmore and Ewenny; Oystermouth, a fine fortress, on Swansea bay; Oxwich, on Oxwich bay; Penllyne, near Cowbridge; Penmark, near the village of Penmark; Pennarth, near that of Oystermouth; Penrice; Swansea; Tàlavan, or Tàl-y-Van, a few miles north of Cowbridge; Weobley; and Wrinchstone, near the village of Wenvoe. There are also small remains of ancient fortresses at Peterston-superEly, and St. George's, both near the banks of the river Ely; and near the village of St. Athan's. The ruins of the castle of Caerphilly are among the most extensive and magnificent in the island. The ancient mansion-houses are very numerous, but most of them have been either deserted, or converted into farmhouses: among those still inhabited are, Aberpergwm, Cevnmabley, Dyfryn, Dyfryn-Clydach, Fonmon Castle, the Gnoll, Hênsol, and Llandough Castle near Cowbridge. There are some remains of the ancient castellated mansion of the bishops at Llandaf, and of a castellated mansion at St. Fagan's, near that place. Among the antiquities of this county may likewise be enumerated a considerable number of very old and spacious barns, many of which are of peculiar construction.
The principal modern seats of the nobility and gentry are, Briton-Ferry, Cardiff Castle (adjoining the remains of the ancient castle), Coedriglan, Cowityrala, Coytrehene, Cyvarthva Castle, Dunraven Castle, Ewenny Abbey, Green Meadow, Llanharen, Margam Park, Penllergare, Penrice, Rheola, Singleton, Sketty Park, Stout Hall, and Wenvoe Castle. The farmhouses and offices in the county are in general good and commodious, substantially built of stone, and roofed sometimes with thatch, and sometimes with the stone tiles of the country; but the out-buildings are smaller and fewer than in most other districts. The cottages are mostly built in the same substantial style, and some of them are remarkable for their commodiousness and comfort; they are almost universally thatched with wheat straw, with uncommon neatness, and many exhibit features of great antiquity. In situations where they can be conveniently procured, fern, rushes, sea-reeds, and broom are occasionally used for thatching them. Their most striking peculiarity, however, is their being white-washed, externally and internally, as are also the walls of gardens, &c.: this custom of whitewashing has always distinguished the people of Glamorgan, being adverted to by the ancient Welsh bards; and the light and pleasing appearance of some of the habitations is still further increased by their having the appendage of a productive garden, and by their walls being also shaded by fruit-trees, sweetbrier, privet, or jessamine. When situated on the side of a hill, they frequently have a remarkably picturesque appearance. Some of the meanest cottages are found among the mountains. Stiles of stones and mortar are very general in the Vale and in Gower. The common bread of many of the inhabitants consists of the white wheat of the Vale, ground and kneaded, without the bran being separated from the flour. The household fare of the agricultural labourers is generally good; and, in the lower part of the Vale, the men employed to cut the corn have the privilege of renting out the gleaning, or leasing, on the wheat stubbles, for which they get more per acre than they are paid for reaping. Old Welsh names, though common throughout the principality, appear to be more prevalent in this than in any other county. Among those of early British note still used promiscuously as christian names, or as surnames, are Owain, Madoc, Caradoc, Hywel, Rees or Rhŷs, Llewelyn, Arthur, Cadwgan, Grufydd, Morgan, Llywarch, Ivor, Tudor, Taliesin, Merlin, Meredydd, Traherne, and Cadwaladr. The ancient Welsh custom for the son to take for his surname the christian name of his father is much more commonly retained in the mountains of Glamorganshire, and of the adjoining counties of Brecknock and Monmouth, than in any other part of Wales. The descendants of the Flemish settlers in Gower present some peculiar characteristics.
The only mineral spring of any celebrity, or at all resorted to, is Fynnon Tâf, situated on the river Tâf, a few miles above Cardiff, on the road from that town to Merthyr-Tydvil: the water is tepid, and is successfully applied in relieving rheumatic complaints. There are, however, chalybeate or sulphureous springs at Swansea, Llandyvodog, Llantrissent, and other places in the coal district. In the calcareous rocks along the coast, the waves have worn many large and magnificent caverns, ornamented with stalactites and crystallized spars of great beauty, in which rise several intermitting springs. Bones and other curious remains have been found in some of the caves of Gower. In the Vale of Neath are two beautiful waterfalls, one at the village of Aberdulas, near Cadoxton, and the other some miles higher, at Merlin Court.
GLÂSBURY, a parish, in the poor-law union of Hay, partly in the hundred of Tàlgarth, county of Brecknock, and partly in that of Painscastle, county of Radnor, South Wales, 4 miles (W. S. W.) from Hay, on the road to Brecknock; comprising the hamlets of Pipton, Velindre, Tregoed, Cwmbach, and Kilturch; and containing 1377 inhabitants, of which number 838 are in the main portion of the parish, included within the limits of Radnorshire. The mesne manor of Glâsbury formerly belonged to the Clifford family, by exchange with the monks of Gloucester, in 1144; afterwards to the Giffards; and accompanied the possession of Bronllŷs Castle, until it became vested in the crown, when it was granted to Sir David Williams. In the 5th of Henry VIII., Richard Cornwall and Ralph Hakluyt, Esqrs., were appointed seneschals of the manor during their lives. The parish comprises 6400 acres, of which 1185 are common or waste land. It is intersected by the river Wye, the banks of which here exhibit some of the most picturesque and luxuriant scenery in South Wales, or in the kingdom. The heights on both sides of the stream afford extensive, varied, and beautiful prospects, where the sublimity of mountain grandeur blends, through richly wooded hills, with the soft luxuriance of delightful vales. The well-defined forms of the pyramidal Beacon range, the massy columns of the black mountain barrier, the intervening hills, either barren or variously cultivated, the meanderings of the river Wye, and the rich fertility which marks its course, seen from different points of view and in different lights, combining exquisite colouring with admirable outlines, dividing into picturesque landscapes or spread out as a splendid whole, exhibit a range of scenery so exquisitely attractive, that strangers are held in admiration, and those who inhabit the locality perpetually discover some new beauties.
The scene is enlivened and embellished with numerous elegant villas and genteel houses, among which rises conspicuously Maesllwch, or Maeslough Castle, the princely residence of the De Winton family, the erection of which was commenced in 1829, from a design by Mr. Lugar. It is a beautiful specimen of the Norman and later English styles of castellated architecture, exhibiting, to the south, a rustic embattled front, upwards of 250 feet in length. The principal tower, which is circular, is at the northeastern angle. At the west end are the family apartments, flanked by four towers of unequal dimensions, alternately round and octagonal; in the centre rises a lantern, under which is the principal entrance. The carriage entrance is on the northern side, under a magnificent Norman porch, opening by a vestibule into the great hall. The portion appropriated to the servants, situated to the east of, and somewhat lower than, the family apartments, is terminated by two square towers, from which extends a long wall, perforated with embrasures, and having at the extremity an elegant little building, resembling a chapel. Below the terrace in front is a beautiful lawn, commanding much of the richly varied scenery that here adorns the banks of the river; and at the back rises an eminence, wooded to its very summit. Some of the finest prospects in the Vale are obtained from the seat called Pen-y-Làn, looking downward from which are seen the wooden bridge at Glâsbury, surrounded by the most beautiful natural objects; much of the wood that enriches the scene consists of apple, pear, and cherry trees, which, when in blossom, form features of great beauty and richness. The view upwards consists of a long reach of the Wye, the village of Llŷswen, and the abrupt ascent to Craiglai. Tre'r-Coed, corruptly Tregoed, the seat of Viscount Hereford, is situated within the parish, but has no claim to particular description.
The soil on the banks of the Wye, at this place, is perhaps the richest in the county, and is appropriated to feeding vast numbers of cattle and sheep for the markets of Brecknock and Hay. To the south there are no pastures, all the land being devoted to tillage: this part is terminated by barren mountains. The system of husbandry practised in the lowlands is exceedingly good, and no where excelled in this part of the principality. The bridge across the Wye has been rebuilt at different periods: the first, which was of wood, fell in 1738, and was succeeded by a similar structure, which stood about forty years. A beautiful stone bridge was then built, in 1777, which was swept away by a flood in February 1795, in consequence of some defect in the foundations, and the present wooden bridge was erected in 1800: it is supported at each end by a stone pier, with thirteen intervening wooden trestles. That part of the parish which is situated on the southern bank of the Wye is principally in Brecknockshire, though a considerable extent of ground on this side of the river forms part of the county of Radnor. The village is situated on the northern bank of the Wye, being separated by the river and by the Hay and Brecon turnpike-road from the church, which is about a quarter of a mile distant. Another cluster of houses, on the southern side of the river, and bordering on the high road, contains the post-office, the principal shop, and an extensive establishment for sorting wool, in which about sixty persons are employed: the windows of all the apartments in which this apparently simple operation is carried on, open to the north, to avoid too strong a light; and the different qualities are appropriated according to the staple, to the uses of the clothier, hosier, hatter, &c. The tramroad from Hay to Brecknock passes through the parish. The Radnorshire portion of Glâsbury, forming the chief body of it, is usually distinguished from its Brecknockshire townships of Velindre, Tregoed, and Pipton, as "Glâsbury Radnorshire," the rest being designated "Glâsbury Brecknockshire." The petty-sessions for the hundred of Tàlgarth are held here.
The living is a vicarage, rated in the king's books at £10, and in the patronage of the Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol, as owner of the rectory; the appropriate tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £400, and the vicarial for one of £470. The advowson is said to have been granted in the year 1088, by Bernard Newmarch, the first Norman conqueror of the soil, to the monastery of St Peter's, at Gloucester, and the 29th of June is still the local feastday. That establishment was suppressed on the 2nd of January, 1540, and its privileges being transferred to the king, Henry conferred the living of Glâsbury upon the Bishop of Gloucester, whose successors in the see have ever since presented to it, with the exception of a solitary instance, in which the patronage lapsed to the crown. The earliest church of which any memorials exist stood near the present confluence of the rivers Llyvni and Wye, and its site is still marked by a few hawthorn-trees. Among the papers of the late Rev. John Hughes, of Glâsbury, is a petition presented about the year 1661 to William, Bishop of St. David's, in consequence of the destruction of a large part of the church by a sudden and violent inundation of the Wye, and the imminent danger of the remaining portion, requesting his lordship to empower and command the churchwardens to secure the ruin, in order to apply the materials to the erection of a new church. This request being granted, another edifice was erected on a new site, and consecrated on the 29th of June, 1665, by Bishop Lucy, which, having become dilapidated and too small for the population, was taken down in 1836, and replaced by the present structure, opened in May 1838. The building, dedicated to St. Peter, occupies a steep bank on the southern side of the road leading to Hay, and is encompassed by the ancient and venerable yew-trees of its burialground: the number of sittings is 690. Both the church and vicarage-house are situated in Radnorshire, but the former is on the southern, and the latter on the northern, side of the Wye. There are three places of worship for dissenters, namely, one for Baptists at Pen-yr-heol, near the Black Mountain, one for Independents at Maes-yr-onen, and one for Wesleyan Methodists at Cwmbach.
In the churchyard is a neat Sunday schoolroom, built in 1824, by subscription; and at a short distance above the churchyard stands a respectable building, surmounted with a small cupola and vane, and comprising a master's residence, together with a spacious schoolroom. The schoolroom was erected in 1816, at the sole expense of the late Miss Bridget Hughes, of Glâsbury House, at a cost of £210: the master's house was built subsequently by voluntary contributions, amounting to £179, of which Sir Charles Morgan, Bart., contributed £80; and occupies a site granted, together with about a quarter of an acre of garden-ground, by Colonel Wood, lord of the manor. In this schoolroom are held a National school for boys and girls, and a boys' Sunday school; while in the schoolroom built in 1824 is held a Sunday school for girls. At Cwmbach the Wesleyan Methodists hold a Sunday school.
There are some small benefactions for charitable purposes. Walter Meredith, citizen of London, by will dated March 26th, 1605, bequeathed a rentcharge of £4 upon four houses in Fleet-street, of which, the land-tax being deducted, the sum of £3.4. is paid annually, alternately to six aged and eight young persons, of both sexes; the object of its bestowal on the latter being to fit them out for service. Sir David Williams, Knt., in 1612, bequeathed part of the tithes of the parish of Gwenddwr, directing the profits to be annually applied in the following manner; namely, £4 towards repairing Glâsbury bridge, 10s. for an annual sermon, 30s. to be bestowed in bread among the poor of the parish of Glâsbury, 20s. towards repairing the road from Velindre to Tyle-Glâs; 10s. for a sermon on the anniversary of the testator's funeral, to be preached in St. John's church at Brecknock, and 40s. in bread to the poor of St. John's parish; 10s. for a sermon on Whit-Sunday in the parish church of YstradVelltey; 30s. in bread to the poor of Aberllyvni and Velindre, the latter place in Glâsbury parish; and £5 to the distressed poor near Gwernyvet, in Glâsbury parish, either in food or clothing. All these sums have been augmented, after a suit, under a decree of the Court of Chancery, in proportion to the increased value of the tithes; that appropriated to the repair of the bridge now amounting to £16. 8., that to the poor of Glâsbury parish to £6. 8. 6., &c. John Havard, of Tregoed, in 1728, gave £10 for the poor of Bronllŷs parish and the Brecon part of this parish; Thomas Lewis, described on his tombstone as an "honest lawyer," bequeathed a rent-charge of £4, in 1730, to the poor of the parish, of the dissenting persuasion; Mrs. Sybil Williams, of Trevithel, in 1761, gave 20s. a year to be distributed among the poor of Pipton; and Mrs. Seagood gave £100 for the benefit of the poor of the entire parish, now vested in the public funds, and producing £3. 16. 4. per annum.
On an eminence to the south-west of the church are some intrenchments, which formerly surrounded a British camp, called the Gaer. Of the ancient mansion of the Solers family there are no remains, but a farmhouse and a few cottages near its site are still called Pente Solers, or Solerville. Sir Humphrey Solers, the founder of the family at this place, was one of the Norman knights who accompanied Bernard Newmarch in his successful expedition: having settled here, he acquired large possessions, which his descendants continued to enjoy until the middle of the seventeenth century. The next distinguished residents in point of antiquity were the Powels, descended from Rhŷs Gôch, of Ystrad-Iw, one of whom came from Glamorganshire in the fourteenth or fifteenth century, and was married to Joan, daughter and heiress of Tyle-Glâs. A singular instance of the ferocity of one of the female descendants of the Vaughan family is preserved in an old MS. pedigree:—"Ellen Gethin (or the terrible) of Hergest, a devilish woman, was cousin-german to John hir ab Philip Vychan, who was killed by the said Ellen at St. David's church, for that he before killed her brother, David Vaughan, at Llynwent in Llanbister, Radnorshire."
Glâscomb, or Glâscwm (Glâs-Gwm)
GLÂSCOMB, or GLÂSCWM (GLÂS-GWM), a parish, in the union of Kington, hundred of Colwyn, county of Radnor, South Wales, 8 miles (E.) from Builth, on the road to Kington; comprising the hamlets of Vainor and Drewern, and containing 561 inhabitants, of whom 303 are in the former, and 258 in the latter hamlet. This parish is bounded on the west by the river Edw, or Edwy, famous for its trout; and comprises an area of about 7000 acres, of which nearly 5000 are inclosed, and the remainder waste, applied to the pasturage of sheep, of which great numbers are fed upon it. The surface is for the most part hilly, and the soil rather barren; some parts are adorned with wood, and present an agreeable contrast to the barren mountains that surround them. In the village stands Glâscomb Court, the picturesque residence of Samuel Bevan, Esq., who, having succeeded by marriage to the considerable estates of the late Thomas Lewis, Esq., in this district, has given much attention to the embellishment of the neighbourhood. The village and mansion are situated at the extremity of a little dingle, in a verdant spot planted with evergreens, from which circumstance they have derived their present appellation, signifying literally "the green dingle." The whole, as it bursts suddenly upon the view, after climbing an arduous ascent, has almost the effect of enchantment, contrasted with the dreary and naked steeps of the surrounding mountains.
The living is a vicarage, rated in the king's books at £13. 6. 8., with the parochial chapelries of Colva and Rulen annexed, and in the patronage of the Bishop of St. David's, as owner of the appropriate rectory. The tithes in Glâscomb payable to the bishop have been commuted for a rent-charge of £206, and there is a glebe of eleven acres and a half attached; the vicarial tithes of Glâscomb have been commuted for a rent-charge of £135, with a glebe of one acre and a half, and a glebe-house. The church, dedicated to St. David, is a large plain edifice, with little pretension to architectural character, consisting simply of a nave and chancel, without either tower or spire, but possessing two bells. The entire length of the edifice is 100 feet, of which the chancel forms precisely one-third; the windows of the chancel are in the later style of English architecture. Under the communion-table is a stone-coffin, found in repairing the church. The inhabitants of Colva and Rulen, prior to the erection of their respective chapels, had their appropriate seats near the altar, which still remain and are considered to belong to them. Giraldus Cambrensis relates an absurd story concerning the miraculous powers of a portable bell, in his time preserved in this church. There is a place of worship for Baptists, under the patronage of Mr. Bevan. John Evans, in 1620, bequeathed £40, and David Davies, in 1777, left £60, for the benefit of the poor not receiving parochial relief; these sums are now deposited in the hands of Mr. Bevan, who, besides their annual interest of £5, pays to the parish a rent-charge of £1, out of the estate of Cwm-mawr, situated within its limits. Some other benefactions have also been made, but they are now lost.
The parish contains several interesting remains of antiquity, but no historical notice of them has been preserved. Among these are four large stones, situated at a place called the Little Hill, and stated by tradition to have been erected in commemoration of some great battle fought near the spot. On the banks of the Edwy, just within the western confines of the parish, are vestiges of a small fortification, which probably constituted the castle of some of the British or Norman lords of the surrounding territory. They comprise an area of about half an acre, defended by a rampart nearly perfect, to the northwest of which is a moated tumulus, on which the keep may have stood; and adjoining to this, within the inclosed area, is a moderately elevated piece of ground, which may have formed the site of the inner road. Just without the inclosure is a large erect stone, which, together with another now removed, is supposed to have been raised in commemoration of some conflict. Near the source of the river Edwy, in the higher part of the parish, are two remarkable mineral springs, called Blaen-Edwy Wells, situated on the property of the Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas Frankland Lewis; and adjacent is a respectable house, capable of accommodating about twenty visiters, with a small cold bath attached. The waters of these springs have both the same properties, being strongly impregnated with sulphur, and highly efficacious in the cure of cutaneous diseases. They have been much frequented, but the scarcity of lodgings, and the dreary and uninviting character of the surrounding scenery, operate powerfully to retard their rising importance; they continue, however, to sustain high reputation, and are resorted to by those patients whose habits and circumstances render retirement and economy desirable. In 1806, a shepherd boy observing something glittering in a newly-formed molehill, on an eminence to the north of the village, carried it to his master, who, recognising its value, made a search on the spot, and discovered a number of gold and silver coins of a few preceding reigns, sufficient to purchase a small farm.
GLYN, a chapelry, in the parish and hundred of Devynock, union and county of Brecknock, South Wales, 4 miles (W. by S.) from Brecknock; containing 245 inhabitants. It is situated on the western declivity of elevated ground, to the south of Pen-Pont Park, near the source of the Camlas brook, and on the left bank of the river Tarrell. The area is 2260 acres, of which 50 are common or waste land. The living is a perpetual curacy, endowed with £800 royal bounty; net income, £80; patron, the Vicar of Devynock, who receives a third of the amount for which the tithes here have been commuted, namely £133. 10. 6., the other two-thirds being divided between the Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol and the impropriator, who receive £44. 10. 2. each. The chapel is dedicated to St. Illtyd, and sometimes gives the name of Llan-Illtyd to this division of the parish. On an adjoining eminence, near a pool, are two large stones, placed six feet asunder, at each end of a small tumulus, which is called Bedd Gŵyl Illtyd, or "the grave of St. Illtyd's eve," from the ancient custom of watching there on the eve of the festival of that saint, who was supposed to have been buried here.
GLYN, a hamlet, in the parish and union of Llanelly, hundred of Carnawllon, county of Carmarthen, South Wales, 4½ miles (N. N. W.) from Llanelly; containing 908 inhabitants. It is situated at the western declivity of Mynydd Sulien, and the tramroad from the coal-pits on Mynydd Mawr to Llanelly passes in the vicinity: coal abounds also in this district. A chapel dedicated to St. John stands here.
GLYN, a hamlet, situated in the parish of Llannon, union of Llanelly, hundred of Carnawllon, county of Carmarthen, South Wales, 12 miles (S. E. by S.) from Carmarthen: the population is returned with the parish. A branch of the Gwendraeth-Vawr river passes through the hamlet, the inhabitants of which are chiefly engaged in agriculture.
GLYN, a hamlet, in the parish of Llansawel, union of Llandilo-Vawr, Lower division of the hundred of Cayo, county of Carmarthen, South Wales, 9 miles (N.) from Llandilo-Vawr; containing 162 inhabitants.
GLYN, a hamlet, in the parish of Llangendeirn, hundred of Kidwelly, union and county of Carmarthen, South Wales, 4½ miles (S. S. E.) from Carmarthen; containing 634 inhabitants. A branch of the Gwendraeth-Vâch flows through this hamlet, which forms the western portion of the parish. The mansion of Glyn Abbey is supposed to have been formerly a monastery; but, in consequence of various alterations, no traces of such a building are now discernible.