A Topographical Dictionary of Wales. Originally published by S Lewis, London, 1849.
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WALTON, with Womaston, a township, in the parish of Old Radnor, liberties of the borough of New Radnor, union of Kington, county of Radnor, South Wales, 3 miles (E.) from New Radnor; containing 210 inhabitants. This township is situated at the junction of the roads from Kington to New Radnor, Presteign, and Knighton; and a tributary of the Somergill brook flows through it.
WALTON (EAST), a parish, in the union of Haverfordwest, hundred of Dungleddy, county of Pembroke, in South Wales, 7 miles (N. N. E.) from Haverfordwest; containing 274 inhabitants. This parish constituted a part of the ample possessions of the commandery of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, at Slebech, to which establishment it was given by its Norman proprietor, Walter de Wale, from whom it derived its name, Wale's town, or Walton. The scenery, though by no means rich, is less dreary than that in some other parts of the county; and Penty Park, the property of a branch of the Philipps family, of Picton Castle, forms a pleasing and ornamental feature in the landscape. The living is a perpetual curacy, endowed with £600 royal bounty, and £200 parliamentary grant; net income, £60; patron and impropriator, Lloyd Philipps, Esq., whose tithes have been commuted at a rent-charge of £170. The church, dedicated to St. Mary, is a very small rude edifice, consisting only of a nave, without tower or spire. The sum of £5 per annum, subsequently reduced to £3, and now discontinued, was left in 1734 by James Philipps, Esq., of Tenby, chargeable on his estate of Penty Park, for the education of seven children of the parish. A day school is held, unconnected with any particular religious body; and the Calvinistic Methodists have a Sunday school.
WALTON (WEST), a parish, in the union of Haverfordwest, hundred of Rhôs, county of Pembroke, South Wales, 6 miles (W. by S.) from Haverfordwest; containing 544 inhabitants. This parish is situated upon the coast of St. Bride's bay, by which it is bounded on the west; the adjacent country is destitute of beauty, but the view over the bay is very fine, and enlivened by the passing and repassing of vessels. On the shore is the small watering-place of Broadhaven, much frequented in summer, celebrated for the extent and hardness of its sands, and well supplied with fish of different kinds. The living is a discharged rectory, rated in the king's books at £6. 13. 4., and endowed with £400 royal bounty; patron, the Rev. Robert Ferrier: the tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £134. 15.; and there is a glebe of one acre, valued at £1. 10. per annum. The church is not entitled to architectural notice. Here are two places of worship for dissenters, and two Sunday schools are held, one of them in connexion with the Established Church.
WALWYN'S-CASTLE, a parish, in the union of Haverfordwest, hundred of Rhôs, county of Pembroke, South Wales, 6 miles (S. W. by W.) from Haverfordwest; containing 338 inhabitants. This parish, which is situated near St. Bride's bay, is called by the Welsh Castell-Gwalchmai, a name probably derived from the tradition that Gwalchmai, cousin of King Arthur, and a warrior of gigantic stature, having been driven from his inheritance in Galway, was wrecked off this coast, and interred here: his remains are said to have been found in the reign of William the Conqueror. The living is a rectory, rated in the king's books at £7. 13. 4., and in the patronage of the Lord Chancellor; present net income, £270, with a glebe-house. The church, dedicated to St. James, is an ancient edifice, not remarkable for any architectural details. A day school and a Sunday school are held, in connexion with the Established Church. A tumulus near the church is supposed to mark the site of an ancient castle, but no particulars of any fortress are known; there are no vestiges of buildings of any kind, and the artificial mound may be only a sepulchral memorial raised over the remains of Gwalchmai, or some other chieftain.
WARREN, a parish, in the hundred of Castlemartin, union and county of Pembroke, South Wales, 4 miles (S. W.) from Pembroke; containing 117 inhabitants. This parish is situated in the southern part of the county, and bounded on the north by Monkton, east by St. Twinnel's, west by Castlemartin, and south by the mouth of the Bristol Channel, the view over which is fine and extensive. It contains by admeasurement rather more than 1000 acres, whereof 600 are arable, about 200 pasture, and 200 waste, cliff, down, and game-covers. The soil consists of a red rab, with a substratum of limestone, and produces excellent and abundant crops of wheat, barley, oats, turnips, and potatoes, with clover, hay, &c. There are limestone-quarries worked, one being attached to each of the four farms that constitute the parish, and they yield a sufficient supply of stone for burning into lime not only for the agricultural wants of the immediate locality, but also for the neighbouring places, if necessary. Within its limits is a small village named Morrian. The living is a discharged vicarage, rated in the king's books at £4. 8. 1½., and endowed with £400 royal bounty, and £200 parliamentary grant; net income, £83; patron, the Bishop of St. David's: the tithes have been commuted for £170, of which £120 are payable to the bishop, and £50 to the vicar, who has also a glebe of four acres, valued at £12 per annum. The church, dedicated to St. Mary, is an ancient building with a square tower, surmounted by a spire of stone, supposed to have been erected by the Norman or Flemish settlers in the reign of Henry I., and forming a conspicuous object on this part of the coast. Including the chancel, it is seventy-eight feet long by eighteen wide, with twelve regular pews, more than sufficient for the accommodation of the inhabitants. In the churchyard is the pedestal of an old cross, in which is inserted the head of one of the circular kind. Here is a self-supporting agricultural school, under the patronage of Earl Cawdor.
According to tradition, there was a religious house on a farm called Warren; but no remains of it are now visible, and the only records of its existence are the names of several places in the immediate neighbourhood, which would appear to have been derived from such an establishment. Vestiges of a British fortification, of circular form, and still in good preservation, may be seen on an elevated spot east of the church. It was defended by a triple rampart, having an entrance on the west side, and seems to have been of great strength: the area within the inner rampart, which is the most entire, is about one acre in extent. It appears to have formed a link in a chain of fortifications by which the south-western coasts were protected from the piratical incursions of the Saxons and Danes.
WELSHPOOL, a borough, market, and assize town, in the county of Montgomery, North Wales, 7½ miles (N.) from Montgomery, and 175(N. W. by W.) from London: the parish of Welshpool comprises the Upper, the Middle, and Lower divisions, and the township of Cyvronydd; and contains 4626 inhabitants, of which number 4549 are in the several divisions, and the remaining 77 in the township. The original name of this place, written "Trellyn," from the Welsh "Trê 'r Llyn," was derived from its situation near a pool or lake of very great depth. From this circumstance, also, it obtained its English appellation of Pool; and in order to distinguish it from the town of Poole in the county of Dorset, it has long been generally called Welshpool. The lake, which is now within the park of Powis Castle, is nearly three hundred feet in depth, and, from the dark colour of its waters, has obtained the designation of Llyn Dû, or "the black lake," since corrupted into Llyndy Pool.
The town is of ancient origin. The first notice of it occurs in the Welsh annals of the year 1109, when Cadwgan ab Bleddyn ab Cynvyn, a powerful chieftain of Powys, having succeeded, even during the state of anarchy prevailing at that time, in reducing his territories to some degree of order and tranquillity, by a rigid and impartial administration of justice, repaired to this place, and began to erect a castle, which he intended to make his principal residence, and the seat of his government. But this virtuous prince, whom Camden dignifies with the epithet of the "renowned Briton," was suddenly attacked during his abode here, by his nephew Madoc, a lawless chieftain of North Wales, at the head of a numerous band of desperate and profligate followers, who, taking Cadwgan by surprise, murdered him before he had time either to defend himself, or to take measures for his escape. On the death of Cadwgan, the castle which he had begun was left unfinished; but the work was resumed and completed by Gwenwynwyn, who succeeded his father Owain Cyfeiliog, in the government of the southern part of Powysland. In the year 1191, in resentment of various depredations which had been committed by the Welsh on the English vassals in the Marches, Hubert Archbishop of Canterbury, in the absence of Richard I. in the Holy Land, besieged this castle with a powerful force. The garrison made a determined resistance, and held out till the walls were undermined, when they surrendered on honourable terms. Having taken possession of the fortress, Hubert repaired the damage it had sustained during the siege, strengthened the defences, and, placing in it a strong garrison, returned into England. Gwenwynwyn, its rightful owner, being determined to use every effort for the recovery of the castle, which was the most important fortress in his dominions, laid siege to it in 1197, and soon compelled the English garrison to surrender it to him, upon the same terms as had been granted to his own soldiers. At this time the castle was distinguished by the appellation of "Gwenwynwyn's Castle at the Pool," and became the chief residence of that prince and his successors.
In the reign of King John, Gwenwynwyn having consented to become a vassal of the English crown, and to hold his territories in capite under that monarch, his son and successor Grufydd, on his accession to the government, did homage to the English king, and by his tenure was bound to aid and assist him in his endeavours to subjugate the principality to the authority of the English government. Llewelyn ab Iorwerth, Prince of North Wales, incensed at the defection of Grufydd from the interests of his countrymen, in the year 1233, attacked and dismantled his castle at Pool, called at that time, from the colour of the stone of which it was built, Y Castell Côch, or "the red castle;" an appellation it still retains among the native Welsh. Upon this occasion Llewelyn banished Grufydd, and gave his territories to Grufydd ab Madoc, Prince of Upper Powys, and lord of Dinas Brân. Owain ab Grufydd, grandson of Gwenwynwyn, still, under the protection of the English, appears to have retained possession of his father's territories as an English vassal; and at his death he bequeathed them to his only daughter and heiress, Hawys, who was surnamed Gadarn, or "the hardy."
After her father's decease the title of Hawys to the principality of Powys was disputed by her four uncles Llewelyn, John, Grufydd Vychan, and David, all alleging the ineligibility of a female to succeed to that dignity. Under these circumstances Hawys appealed to Edward II., the reigning English monarch, who gave her in marriage to John de Charlton, whom the king ennobled by the title of Baron Powys, and in whose descendants the proprietorship of the castle and its dependencies remained for several generations. It was probably at this period that the fortress first obtained the appellation of Powys, now changed to Powis, Castle. By marriage with Jane, eldest daughter of Edward, Lord Powys, the barony and castle were conveyed to Sir John Grey, of Heton, who was slain at the unfortunate battle of Baugée, in 1421; and in the reign of Elizabeth, Edward Grey, an illegitimate son of Edward Grey de Powys, who had inherited the estates by virtue of a settlement on his mother, sold them to Sir Edward Herbert, second son of William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke. Sir Edward, on his death, was interred in the church of Welshpool, where is a handsome monument to his memory; and was succeeded in his titles and estates by his son William, who was made Knight of the Bath at the coronation of James I., and by Charles I. created Lord Powys.
On the breaking out of the civil war of the seventeenth century, Piercy, Lord Powys, declared himself an advocate of the royal cause, fortified his castle, and placed in it a strong garrison, of which he took the command in person. It was soon afterwards besieged by a strong body of the parliamentary forces, under Sir Thomas Myddelton; and its outer walls having been materially damaged by the artillery of the assailants, it was at length reduced; the noble commander of the garrison was made prisoner, and the place was given up to pillage. Upon this event the castle and lordship were confiscated; but according to the general orders issued at the time, the proprietor of the estate was allowed to compound with the parliament, by which means he regained possession of them. It appears by a manuscript in the library at Powis Castle, that this fortress and that of Montgomery, with their outworks, were ordered to be demolished: in a decree of the council, however, dated April 28th, 1660, it is stated that the "Red Castle in Wales" did not belong to the government, and that the owners and proprietors thereof having given security that it should not be employed or made use of to the disturbance of the peace of the nation, or prejudicial to the parliament and commonwealth, "it is commanded that the former order made for demolishing the above-named castle shall be null and void, so far as regards the Red Castle, with the exception only of the outworks, and the making of some breaches in the walls, in order to render it indefensible in case of any future insurrection against the government and authority of the parliament." After these injunctions had been carried into effect, it was delivered into the possession of its legitimate proprietors, with whose descendants it still remains, the Right Hon. the Earl of Powis being the present owner.
This TOWN, which Leland in the reign of Henry VIII. describes as being "the best market in Powys," still retains that superiority; in addition to which, it may be justly regarded as the modern capital of the county. It is situated for the greater part in a hollow tract opening towards the river Severn, and extending up the acclivity of an eminence towards Powis park and castle; and consists of two towns, called respectively Pool town and Welsh town, but which are now so entirely united as to form one. It is large and populous, well lighted with gas, and comprises one long and wide street, intersected at right angles by another of similar character, and by several streets of smaller extent, all well paved, and the town amply supplied with water. The houses are handsomely built of brick, and with an unusual degree of regularity for this part of the country; and the whole presents a cheerful and prepossessing appearance, having more the aspect of an English than of a Welsh town. This impression, which strikes the stranger on his entrance, is strengthened both by the prevailing language and the manners of the inhabitants, the Welsh language being spoken by few, except such as come from the upper part of the country upon business.
Welshpool was for a long period the principal mart for the sale of the flannels made in the manufacturing district of North Wales; but its flannel-market has of late years been quite superseded by that of Newtown, and is no longer holden. A considerable trade is carried on in malt, for the making of which there are several kilns in the neighbourhood; there are likewise some tanneries upon a large scale, and at the extremity of the town are quarries of excellent stone, near which is a military depôt for 1000 stand of arms. The river Severn is navigable to Pool Quay, within a short distance of the town; and the Montgomeryshire canal, which passes close to it, joins the Ellesmere canal near Oswestry, affording a facility of communication with the neighbouring parts. The market, which is amply supplied with provisions of every kind, is on Monday. Fairs occur on the Monday next before the second Wednesday in February, on the second Monday in March, the third Thursday in April, June 5th, the first Monday after the 10th of July, on September 12th, the Monday next before the second Wednesday in October, and on November 16th, for horses, cattle, and pedlery; on the day preceding each of which, a fair is held for the sale of sheep and pigs. A fair also takes place on the first Monday after the 20th of September, exclusively for the sale of butter and cheese; and there is a great cattle-market on the first Monday after St. Hilary, and also on the Monday before Christmas-day. The flannel-market was held every alternate Thursday, in a spacious room appropriated to that purpose in the town-hall, and was attended by numerous dealers and manufacturers from Llanidloes, Newtown, &c.: the average quantity sold at these markets was a thousand pieces, of which the finer sort generally measured about a hundred and twenty yards in length. Welshpool is supplied with coal from Denbighshire and the north-western parts of Shropshire, by means of the canal.
The inhabitants received a charter of Incorporation at a ery early period, from the lords of Powys, who invested them with various privileges and immunities, which were subsequently confirmed by a charter granted by James I., in the twelfth year of his reign, and confirmed and enlarged by Charles II. Under this charter the corporation consisted of two bailiffs, and an indefinite number of aldermen and burgesses, with a high steward, recorder, town-clerk, coroner, two serjeants-at-mace, two yeomen, and other officers. By the act 5th and 6th of William IV., c. 76, however, the corporation, now styled the "Mayor, Aldermen, and Burgesses," consists of a mayor, four aldermen, and twelve councillors, together forming the council of the borough. The council elect the mayor annually on November 9th out of the aldermen or councillors; and the aldermen sexennially from among the councillors, or persons qualified as such, one-half going out of office every three years, but being re-eligible: the councillors are chosen by and out of the enrolled burgesses, on November 1st, one-third retiring annually. The aldermen and councillors must have each a property qualification of £500. A recorder is appointed by the council: two auditors and two assessors are elected annually on March 1st, by and from among the burgesses; and the council appoint a town-clerk, treasurer, and other officers on November 9th.
This was originally one of the contributory boroughs which, with Montgomery, returned a member to parliament under the statute of the twentyseventh of Henry VIII.; and the right of election, vested in the burgesses of the town, continued to be exercised from that time till the year 1728, when the borough was disfranchised by a resolution of the House of Commons. This resolution, however, being in direct opposition to a previous resolution in 1680, by which the right had been confirmed, the burgesses were empowered, by an act of the twentyeighth of George III., to assert their claim to vote for a member for Montgomery before any future committee of the House, and to enter an appeal against any future decision, within twelve calendar months; but no measures were ever taken to regain the privilege. By the act of 1832 "to Amend the Representation," Welshpool was again invested with the franchise, being made contributory with Llanidloes, Llanvyllin, Machynlleth, Montgomery, and Newtown, in choosing a member. The right of election is now in every person of full age occupying, either as owner, or as tenant under the same landlord, a house or other premises of the annual value of not less than £10, provided he be capable of registering as the act directs; and the present number of such tenements within the electoral limits of the borough, which are less extensive than the ancient municipal boundary, is about 300.
The jurisdiction of the municipal borough embraces a circumference of about sixty miles, extending over the parishes of Pool and Buttington; the hamlets of Gungrog-Vechan, Trêlydan, and Trêvnant-Vechan, with parts of those of Garth, Hendrehên, Llan, Trawscoed, Llanerchrochwell, Tîrymynach, and Varchwel, in the parish of Guilsfield; the hamlets of Gaer, Sylvaen, Trêv-Helyg, and Trêvnant, with parts of those of Cwm and Castle, in the parish of Castle-Caer-Einion; and the hamlet of Brithdir, in the parish of Berriew. The mayor and justices hold a court every alternate Tuesday, for determining on all petty offences committed within the borough; and the spring assizes for the county, and the petty-sessions for the hundreds of Pool and Cawrse, are also held in the town: the quartersessions for the county are held here and at Newtown alternately. The powers of the county debt-court of Welshpool, established in 1847, extend over part of the registration-district of Montgomery, and a small part of that of Llanvyllin. The town-hall, erected at the expense of a few gentlemen residing in the vicinity, to avoid increasing the county rate, which was previously overcharged, is a handsome building of brick, in the centre of the principal street, with a colonnade in front. Its basement story is appropriated to the use of the corn-market, with an ample space for the sale of various articles of merchandise, and a spacious court-room for holding the assizes, the borough sessions, and other courts. In the upper story is a commodious room, originally sixty-two feet in length, twenty-five wide, and eighteen high, but enlarged in 1824, for the holding of a grand Eisteddvod, and now 102 feet long, in which public meetings take place, the business of the corporation and the county is transacted, and balls are occasionally given.
The Parish is bounded on the east by Buttington, south-east by Forden, south by Berriew, southwest by Castle-Caer-Einion, north-west by Llangyniew, and north by Guilsfield. It contains by computation 6500 acres, of which 2000 are arable, 3300 meadow and pasture, 600 wood, and about 600 acres gardens, roads, water, &c. The surface presents mountain, and good arable upland, with woody dells, and extensive meadows and rich pastures on the banks of the river Severn: the soil on the lower grounds is a rich loam, in other parts rather shaly, and produces wheat, barley, oats, and hay; the prevailing timber consists of oak, ash, and elm.
Pool is a vicarage, rated in the king's books at £13. 5. 2½.; present net income, £273; patron, the Bishop of St. Asaph. The tithes of the parish, including the township of Cyvronydd, have been commuted for £643. 17., of which a sum of £476 is payable to the Dean and Chapter of Christ Church, Oxford, who have also a glebe of four acres and a half; £165. 12. to the vicar, who has a glebe of nine acres, and a house; and £7. 13. to the parish-clerk. The church, dedicated to St. Mary, and, with the exception of the chancel and the tower, rebuilt in 1774, is a spacious and handsome structure, consisting of a nave, chancel, and north and south aisles, with a lofty square embattled tower: it was enlarged with galleries in 1824. The ceiling of the chancel is divided into compartments, embellished with rich carved work; and from the roof of the north aisle grows some pendant ivy, which has a very singular appearance. The nave is eighty-five feet long, by fifty wide, and the chancel twenty feet by ten; and there are about 400 free sittings, some of which are occupied by the children of the National schools. Among the communion-plate is a chalice of fine gold, capable of containing one quart, and valued at £170: engraved on it is a Latin inscription, stating it to have been presented by Thomas Davies, Governor-General of the English colonies on the western coast of Africa, in gratitude for the preservation of his life during his residence in that unhealthy clime. There is a gradual ascent from the flat part of the town to the church, which stands at the base of a loftier eminence; so that the cemetery, which lies on the acclivity, is in some parts higher than the building itself, and commands a fine view of the town beneath. The late Earl of Powis was buried in the church, in January 1848. A handsome church, in the Anglo-Norman style, was lately erected at the upper end of the town, to commemorate the coming of age of Lord Clive, now Earl of Powis; the late peer gave the site, and a sum of about £6000 was subscribed for the building. It consists of a nave and north and south aisles, with clerestory windows; the length of the nave is eighty feet, and the width fifty. This church is dedicated to the Holy Trinity, and the living is in the gift of the Earl of Powis. There are places of worship for Baptists, Independents, and Calvinistic and Wesleyan Methodists.
A National school for children of both sexes, founded in 1821, and supported by subscription and school-pence, is held in a building situated a short distance from the town, on the road to Newtown, a handsome stone edifice, occupying three sides of a quadrangle, and consisting of commodious and spacious schoolrooms. Connected with this school is the Belan school, about two miles distant from the town, and intended to afford preparatory instruction to the young children of the neighbourhood, who cannot reach the National school: divine service is held in the schoolroom on Sunday. The funds of these schools have latterly been increased by the income of a small endowment of £9 per annum, originally intended for the support of a grammar or Latin school for twenty boys, natives of the town, but never so applied for the last fifty years. A dame's-school in the town is aided, under the will of Richard Tudor, Esq., by the sum of £1.16. per annum, directed to be paid "to a petty schoolmaster or mistress for teaching ten poor children;" and there are altogether six Sunday schools in the town and parish. Mr. Tudor also left £80, the produce to be appropriated to the apprenticing of one poor boy annually.
In 1761, an act of parliament was obtained for inclosing and allotting Pool Common, in the parishes of Pool and Guilsfield, on which the burgesses of the town possessed the right of pasturage for their cattle, under a charter by John de Charlton, lord of Powys, in the seventeenth of Edward II. After the passing of the measure, the common was accordingly divided by the commissioners appointed for the purpose, when lands consisting of eleven fields and a small wood, containing in the whole seventy-five acres, at present yielding a rent of £136. 15. per annum, were awarded to the corporation. By a provision of the act, the rents and profits were to be for the benefit of poor burgesses, after part had been applied to building, enlarging, and beautifying public edifices; and in 1824 the corporation, under this clause, borrowed £300 to be appropriated towards the enlargement of the town-hall, and in the year after a further sum of £500, employed in the erection of a more commodious court-house for holding the assizes. Near the church is an almshouse, founded by the late Mr. Parry, which consists of eight rooms, each occupied by an aged female who is a decayed housekeeper: a small endowment of 10s., payable to each, has been discontinued since 1799. About £19. 5. are distributed on the 1st of January among the poor in small sums; chiefly arising from £10, the rent of an estate consisting of a house and 31 acres of land, purchased with a bequest of £100 by Elijah Phillips in 1755; and from the interest of £90 left by Miss Elizabeth Lloyd, of £50 by Joseph Pursell, and of a similar sum by Robert Tudor. Besides these charities, there is a rent-charge of £4, by Thomas Langford, for supplying clothing to eight persons on the first Sunday in November; and a dispensary has been established, which is well supported by subscription. The town is included in the incorporation of Forden.
Powis Castle, the seat of the Earl of Powis, a stately but irregular pile of building, of great extent, and venerable for its antiquity, is pleasantly situated in a well-wooded park, at the distance of a mile from the town, on the right of the road leading to Montgomery. It occupies an elevated and commanding position on a ridge of rock overlooking a vast tract of richly diversified country, the greater part of which was formerly subject to its lords. The edifice is built of red-sandstone, from which circumstance it derived the appellation of Castell Côch, a name it still retains among the Welsh. The damage it sustained during the parliamentary war has been amply repaired, and the whole edifice fitted up in a style of grandeur. The late earl effected much improvement in its external appearance, by removing the sash windows inserted more than a century ago, and restoring others of the original shape, more in conformity with the prevailing style of architecture; also by a considerable addition to the height of the tower on the east side.
The entrance is by an ancient gateway, flanked by two massive circular towers, into an extensive paved area, round which the principal apartments are ranged. The ascent to these is by a magnificent staircase embellished with paintings by Lanscroon: the walls on each side are adorned with mythological and allegorical subjects, among which are representations of Neptune, Amphitrite, Apollo, and Venus, and emblematical personifications of Poetry, Painting, Music, the Fates, and other subjects; the ceiling is painted with the coronation of Queen Anne. In the lower part of the hall is a painting of Aurora, and near it a marble figure of Cybele, in a sitting posture, about three feet high, on a pedestal of marble, exquisitely sculptured, which was brought from Herculaneum; and on the upper landing of the staircase is a cast of the Apollo Belvidere. This staircase leads to a gallery, one hundred and seventeen feet in length, and twenty feet wide, adorned with family and other portraits, and in which are ranged busts of the twelve Caesars, brought from Italy, two mosaic tables from Rome, and four small figures in marble, of very great antiquity. The walls of the gallery are of panelled oak, enriched with armorial bearings of different branches of the family; and the ceiling is an ancient relic of the elaborately ornamented style in plaster. One end of the gallery communicates with the state bed-room, which is preserved in the same order as when prepared for the reception of Charles I., who was expected to sleep here on his route to Chester. Her present Majesty slept in the apartment in August 1832, when, as Princess Victoria, she visited Powis Castle accompanied by her royal highness the Duchess of Kent. The dining-room, saloon, and library, are all splendidly decorated, and contain some beautiful and valuable antiques, among which are some exquisite sculptures from the ruins of Herculaneum. The ceiling of the dining-room is highly embellished with painting, in which the daughters of William, second Marquess of Powys, are represented in various characters, and with appropriate attributes. In the drawing-room are a full-length portrait of Roger Palmer, Earl of Castlemaine, ambassador at Rome in the reign of James I., in the costume of his day; and numerous family portraits by the best masters. In the library is a manuscript history of the life of Lord Herbert. The ball-room, of the same dimensions as the gallery, and containing a fine collection of paintings by the first masters, was formerly connected with the main structure by a part of the castle, which was destroyed by fire about 140 years ago, so that it is now detached from it: many of the original windows in that portion of the building are still remaining, though almost concealed by the ivy with which they are overspread. At the end of the ball-room is a billiard-room, the walls of which are ornamented with glass cases, containing an elegant variety of stuffed birds, and other curiosities.
On the south side of the castle are terraces in the rock on which it is built, rising in succession above each other, and laid out in flower-gardens, with green and hot houses, comprising a choice collection of rare and valuable plants. The lower terrace leads to a delightful walk, shaded with trees of every variety; and from the south-east angle of the castle is a terrace, most probably formed by the excavation of the rock for the stone with which the castle is built, and commanding a fine prospect of the Vale of Severn, with the town of Welshpool, beyond which appears the 'Rallt and Moel-y-Golva, and the Breiddin hills, and an extensive tract of the surrounding country. The park is very large, and richly wooded; it lies on the acclivity of a hill, of which the summit is two miles distant from the castle, and from which, in clear weather, may be viewed the mountains of Plinlimmon, Cader Idris, Snowdon, the Arans, the Arenigs, and various others. A winding road through the park leads to the castle, which is frequently lost to the spectator on his approach, and is seen emerging again from the luxuriant foliage by which it had been concealed. The park is ornamented with numerous rustic seats, and the walk through these delightfully varied grounds, which are open to the public, is a source of much enjoyment to the inhabitants of the town. Among the gentlemen's seats in the neighbourhood is Llanerchydôl, a modern castellated mansion of stone, beautifully situated on the acclivity of a hill rising gradually from the town, from which is an ascent by a winding road, commanding magnificent prospects; the grounds are tastefully laid out, and comprehend much picturesque scenery. The following may also be mentioned: Garth, the seat of the Mytton family, built after the style of the Pavilion at Brighton; Nantcribba, a seat of Viscount Hereford's; Glansevern, built for the late Sir Arthur Davies Owen; and Vaynor, a handsome Elizabethan structure, on a finely-wooded eminence.
At a short distance from the town was the ancient monastery called Monachlog Ystrad Marchell, or Strata Marcella, instituted in 1170, by Owain Cyveiliog, son of Grufydd, for monks of the Cistercian order; or, according to other authorities, by Madoc, another son, to whom Tanner attributes the refounding of it, though, by his charter, he appears only to have granted to it a portion of land on which to establish a cell. In the early part of the reign of Edward III., the Welsh monks were removed to England, and English ones introduced into this monastery, which was made subject to the abbey of Buildwas, and flourished till the Dissolution, when its revenue, according to Dugdale, was £64. 14. 2., and according to Speed, £73. 7. 3. There are no remains of the edifice; and the only memorial of it is preserved in the site, which is still pointed out. At a short distance to the east of the town are the remains of a British encampment, in a good state of preservation; and on the summit of the mound which it comprises are some stately elm-trees.
Dr. William Morgan was appointed vicar of the parish in 1575. He was afterwards removed to Llanrhaiadr-yn-Mochnant, and, in 1595, preferred to the see of Llandaf, from which he was translated in 1601 to that of St. Asaph, where he died in 1604. He had a principal share in the translation of the Welsh Bible printed in 1588, which, revised by Dr. Parry, Bishop of St. Asaph, in 1604, with the assistance of his chaplain, Dr. John Davies, and reprinted in 1620, is, with some slight variation, the version now in general use.
WEN, a hamlet, in the parish of Llansawel, union of Llandilo-Vawr, Lower division of the hundred of Cayo, county of Carmarthen, South Wales, 9½ miles (N.) from Llandilo-Vawr; containing 301 inhabitants. This hamlet forms the northern and higher portion of the parish; it is chiefly hilly, and in many places the sides of the glens are well planted with timber.
WENVOE, a parish, in the union of Cardiff, hundred of Dinas-Powys, county of Glamorgan, South Wales, 6 miles (S.W. by W.) from the town of Cardiff; containing 485 inhabitants. The ancient Welsh name of this place is supposed to have been "Gwynva," or "Gwynvai," of which the present is a Norman modification. The parish is situated in the south-eastern part of the county, and comprises a large extent of inclosed arable and grazing land, and some portions of common affording good pasturage for sheep. The total area is 2955 acres. Here was formerly a castle, which is noticed by Leland as in a ruinous state even in his time, consisting only of one tower and some fragments of the walls; within a quarter of a mile of which, the same writer describes a well, from whence issued a stream called Silly brook. The modern Castle, the seat of Robert Francis Jenner, Esq., erected by the late P. Birt, Esq., maternal grandfather of the present proprietor, is a stately mansion, consisting of a centre and two wings. Its principal front, facing the south, extends three hundred and seventy-four feet in length, and is three stories in height, exclusively of the basement and the attics; the wings, which, according to the original design, were to have formed two magnificent conservatories, terminate at each extremity in a square tower, and the intervals between the towers and the centre are partly concealed by trees, with a view to relieve the flatness of such a length of masonry. The grounds are laid out with much taste, and comprehend some rich and beautifully varied scenery; but the view from the house, though pleasing, is neither grand nor extensive. Wenvoe village is neat, and of prepossessing appearance. The soil is a damp clay, but the air is salubrious, and the parish registers afford several instances of longevity, among which are the ages of three late incumbents, each of whom held the living for half a century.
The living is a rectory, rated in the king's books at £13. 7. 1.; present net income, £326, with a glebe-house; patron, Mr. Jenner. The church, dedicated to St. Mary, is a handsome structure, in the later style of English architecture, with a square embattled tower. It is kept in excellent order, and contains some good mural monuments to the several proprietors of Wenvoe Castle. The churchyard is pleasingly laid out, and the graves are decked with various odoriferous plants; near the church grows a remarkably fine yew-tree, in excellent preservation, which is said to be one of the oldest in the county. The parsonage-house, built by the late Mr. Birt, is a spacious edifice. There are places of worship for Baptists and Calvinistic Methodists, with a Sunday school held in each of them; and a day and Sunday school in connexion with the Established Church is held in a house in Wenvoe Park. Elizabeth Thomas, in 1701, bequeathed £20; Sir Edmund Thomas, Bart., in 1721, £40; Mary Thomas, in the same year, £10; William Morgan, £5; and the Rev. John Hodges, rector in 1777, £45, to the poor of the parish. The income arising from these sums, amounting to £6, is annually distributed according to the intentions of the benefactors.
WEPPRE (WEPRE), a hamlet, in the ecclesiastical district of St. Mark, parish of Northop, union of Holywell, Northop division of the hundred of Coleshill, county of Flint, North Wales, 4 miles (S. E.) from Flint; containing 432 inhabitants. This hamlet, anciently held by William de Malbedeng, under the church of Chester, is noticed in Domesday-book as possessing a wood a league and a half long, and having two villeyns and two boors; and in another place as containing one villeyn and a radman, having been in the possession of Ernui, a freeman. It is situated on the estuary of the Dee, and comprises a portion of its sands, which are dry at low water, and may probably at some future period be brought into cultivation. The fishery affords employment to many of the inhabitants, who share in the advantages of the stone pier at Golvtyn, erected by the River Dee Company, for the protection of vessels proceeding to Chester.
WESTON-MADOC, a township, in the incorporation of Forden, in that part of the parish of Churchstoke which is in the Lower division of the hundred of Cawrse, county of Montgomery, North Wales, 1½ mile (S.) from Montgomery; containing 97 inhabitants. It is included in the manor of Cawrse, which belongs to the Earl of Powis; and is situated near the border of the English county of Salop, in which part of the parish is comprised. The tithes, with those of Brompton and Riston, in Salop, have been commuted for £257, of which £255 are paid to the warden of Clun Hospital.
WESTVA (WESTFAE), a hamlet, in the parish and union of Llanelly, hundred of Carnawllon, county of Carmarthen, South Wales; containing 907 inhabitants. Here was an ancient chapel, which has fallen into ruins.
WEYTHEL (GWYTHEL), a hamlet, partly in the parish of Gladestry, hundred of Radnor, and partly in the parish of Old Radnor, within the liberties of the town of New Radnor, in the union of Kington, county of Radnor, South Wales, 3 miles (S. E. by S.) from New Radnor: the population is included in the return for the respective parishes. The Weythel brook, on which are several mills, and which is crossed by the road from Kington, flows through the hamlet, in a narrow vale exhibiting various detached plantations.—See the article on Radnor, Old.
WHITCHURCH, county of Denbigh, North Wales.—See Denbigh.
WHITCHURCH, a parish, in the union of Cardiff, partly in the hundred of Caerphilly, and partly in that of Kibbor, county of Glamorgan, South Wales, 3 miles (N. N. W.) from Cardiff; containing 1356 inhabitants. This parish is situated on the turnpike-road leading from Cardiff to Merthyr-Tydvil, and comprises the Upper and Lower divisions, the former of which, by a decision of the county magistrates at the quarter-sessions, in April 1831, is now in the hundred of Kibbor. It includes an extensive tract of uninclosed arable and pasture land, part of which is an allotment of Cardiff heath, on its inclosure many years ago. The soil is in general fertile, and favourable to the production of wheat and other grain; Whitchurch is said to be the best barley parish in the Vale of Glamorgan, and the scenery is agreeably enlivened by some handsome seats. Green Meadow is a spacious and handsome modern mansion, in the later style of English architecture, delightfully situated above the river Tâf, and under the declivity of a lofty mountain; the grounds are tastefully laid out, comprehending a rich variety of scenery, and embracing a fine prospect to the north, of the picturesque ruins of Castell Côch, built by Ivor ab Cadivor (called also Ivor Bâch) to defend the pass up the valley of the Tâf. Velindra, the pleasant and picturesque seat of Thomas William Booker, Esq., high sheriff of the county in 1848, commands some delightful views of the Tâf and its adjacent scenery; the gardens and grounds are extensive, and very beautiful. The iron and tin-plate works of Melin-Griffith, of which Mr. Booker is the proprietor, form a large establishment here; about five hundred persons are constantly employed, and on an average about 30,000 boxes of tin-plates, and 4000 tons of sheet-iron, are annually manufactured, the conveyance of which to their destination is facilitated by the Glamorganshire canal and the Tâf-Vale railway. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the gift of the Bishop of Llandaf; income, £80: the tithes have been commuted for £493. The church, dedicated to St. Mary, is a neat and substantial edifice, in good repair. There are places of worship for Baptists and Calvinistic and Wesleyan Methodists, with a Sunday school held in each of them. Joan Williams, in 1707, bequeathed £20, and Thomas Lewis, in 1724, £5, for the benefit of the poor; which sums having been expended many years since for parochial purposes, the interest, £1. 5., is distributed from the rates, on Good Friday. There are an encampment supposed to be of Roman construction, and a lofty tumulus; but nothing is known of their origin.
WHITCHURCH, a parish, in the union of Haverfordwest, hundred of Dewisland, county of Pembroke, South Wales, 12 miles (N. W. by W.) from Haverfordwest; containing 1120 inhabitants. This parish, which contains the small sea-port town of Solva, described under its own head, is situated upon the coast of St. Bride's bay, and on the turnpike-road from Haverfordwest to St. David's. It comprises 3200 acres, of which 400 are common or waste land; the surface is abruptly varied, and the scenery being diversified with hill and dale, is in some parts, especially near the town, highly picturesque. The inhabitants are employed in agriculture; in the burning of lime, for which there are some kilns near the entrance of the town of Solva; and in the trade of the port. The living is a discharged vicarage, rated in the king's books at £5. 15. 7½., and endowed with £200 royal bounty, and £800 parliamentary grant: the tithes have been commuted for £292, of which a sum of £146. 13. 4. is payable to the Dean and Chapter of St. David's Cathedral, who are patrons of the benefice, £48 to the Subchanter and Vicars-choral, and £97. 6. 8. to the vicar. The church, dedicated to St. David, is not remarkable for any architectural details of importance. In the town and parish are places of worship for Baptists, Calvinistic and Wesleyan Methodists, and Independents; a disused schoolroom licensed as a chapel of ease; a British school, and six Sunday schools. Caervoriog, in the parish, was the birthplace of Adam Hoton, Bishop of St. David's, at one time ambassador to the Court of France, and Lord High Chancellor of England.
Whitechurch, or Eglwys-Wen
WHITECHURCH, or EGLWYS-WEN, a parish, in the union of Cardigan, hundred of Kemmes, county of Pembroke, South Wales, 8 miles (S. by W.) from Cardigan; containing 395 inhabitants. This parish is supposed to have derived its name from the white colour of the stone of which the original church was built. It is situated in a retired part of the county, at a distance from any turnpikeroad, and comprises a considerable tract of inclosed arable and grazing land, a portion of mountainous common affording pasturage for sheep, and some good turbaries, from which the inhabitants are supplied with fuel. The total area is 2481 acres; the soil is various, and the population is principally employed in agriculture. The stone in this part of the country contains a great proportion of quartz, which is found in abundance within the parish. Whitechurch is a discharged rectory, rated in the king's books at £6, and endowed with £200 royal bounty; patron, Thomas Lloyd, Esq.: the tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £140. The church is dedicated to St. Michael. There are places of worship for Baptists and Independents; a British school, and two Sunday schools. John Jones, of Pantyderri, in 1729, bequeathed rent-charges of £1 and ten shillings respectively, to the poor of this parish and that of Llanvair-Nantgwyn adjacent; with other small charges to a few contiguous places.
WHITFORD, a parish, in the union of Holywell, Holywell division of the hundred of Coleshill, county of Flint, North Wales, 3 miles (N. W. by W.) from Holywell; containing 4034 inhabitants. This parish rises for the most part gradually into hills of considerable elevation, from the shore of the wide estuary of the Dee, by which it is bounded on the east and north-east; it comprises an extent of 6859 acres, and contains a lake called Helig, of about fifty acres. The soil of the lower parts is stiff and clayey; that of the upper, thin, light, and dry, resting on limestone, with occasional beds of gravel. A tract of waste land, consisting of 3500 acres, lying in the parishes of Whitford, Ysceiviog, and Nannerch, was allotted and inclosed some years ago, pursuant to two acts of parliament obtained for that purpose. The village is of small size, but contains several neat houses; it is pleasantly situated at no great distance from the Chester and Holyhead road, and near the head of a small valley, which, deepening in its course, stretches towards the sea, having its sides beautifully fringed with woods. The surface of the parish is ornamented with several gentlemen's seats.
Mostyn Hall is the property and residence of the Hon. Edward M. Lloyd Mostyn, to whom it was bequeathed by the late Sir Thomas Mostyn, Bart., whose name he assumed. It has descended from their ancestor, Ievan Vychan (a descendant of Tudor Trevor, Earl of Hereford), who obtained it by marriage, in the reign of Richard I., with Angharad, heiress of Howel ab Tudor ab Ithel Vychan, of Mostyn, who derived his descent from Edwyn, lord of Tegengle, or Englefied. The mansion is situated in a beautifully undulated park, clothed in some parts with fine oaks and magnificent beeches, and was formerly approached by a venerable avenue. It is an irregular edifice, erected at successive periods: the oldest portion was built probably so early as the reign of Henry VI.; a large part of the house was erected in 1631, and the present proprietor has made very considerable alterations and additions, in the Elizabethan style, under the superintendence of A. Poynter, Esq., architect, of London. The apartments contain many good paintings and portraits, the latter chiefly of members of the family, and are likewise adorned with antique busts. In the library, together with a valuable collection of books and manuscripts (the latter mostly on vellum, and many of them richly illuminated), are numerous elegant Roman antiques, and other rare relics of former ages, among which are, a cake of copper found at Caerhên, in Carnarvonshire; the silver harp which Queen Elizabeth gave to Thomas Mostyn, in 1568, to bestow upon the most skilful bard at the Eisteddvod held at Caerwys, in the above year; and a golden torques, dug up near Harlech Castle, in 1692. The Mostyn testimonial, presented to the Hon. Mr. Mostyn by his numerous friends and admirers in 1843, is a massy silver candelabrum, four feet four inches in height, weighing upwards of 1750 ounces; it is of the purest silver, and is accompanied with an exquisitely wrought silver frame, on which are engraven the names of the subscribers. In this mansion, Henry Earl of Richmond was concealed, whilst planning the overthrow of the house of York; and the place of his retreat having been discovered by Richard III., a party of armed men was despatched to apprehend him; but Richmond contrived to escape through a hole in the back part of the building, which is still called "the King's." He was subsequently joined at the battle of Bosworth Field by Richard ab Howel, then lord of Mostyn, to whom, after the victory, he presented, in token of gratitude for his preservation, the belt and sword he wore on that day, which were long kept here. In the parliamentary war, the house was garrisoned by Sir Roger Mostyn, who also repaired the castle of Flint, and raised an army of 1500 men at his own charge, in support of the cause of his royal master.
Downing, in the hamlet of Edenowain, was the birthplace and residence of the distinguished antiquary and naturalist, Thomas Pennant, whose descendant has conveyed it by marriage to Lord Fielding. It is a good mansion in the form of the Roman letter H, with the wings terminating in gables, and is seated on the slope of a narrow valley, well sheltered by the finely-wooded grounds which surround it: the name is a corruption of that of the township. The present house was built in 1627, and, together with the grounds, received great improvement from the late owner, of literary celebrity, who conducted the extensive walks, with the greatest taste and judgment, through the deep and darkly-wooded dingles, to the more elevated points, commanding noble views of the estuaries of the Dee and the Mersey, and of the distant hills of Westmorland and Cumberland: these varied walks exceed three miles in length. The library, a room forty feet in length, built in the year 1814, contains a large collection of books and papers, among which are great numbers of valuable manuscripts, drawings, &c.; and in the different rooms are numerous pictures, consisting chiefly of subjects in natural history, and of family portraits: there is likewise a cabinet of fossils and minerals. In the grounds are several oaks of great age and girth, of which the most remarkable is called "the Fairy Oak;" also a deserted water-mill, skilfully altered by the late proprietor, so as to exhibit the appearance of a monastic ruin. Bychton, an old house built in 1572, in an adjacent township of the same name, was the original seat of the Pennant family, which had been settled here ever since the tenth century, and a younger branch of which removed to Downing early in the seventeenth, on his marriage with the heiress of that house, whose descendant bequeathed it to David, father of Thomas Pennant. Downing Ucha is a respectable mansion; and Mertyn is also situated in the parish.
The minerals found in the parish consist of valuable beds of coal, limestone, and petrosilex, or chertz, and of rich and extensive veins of lead-ore and calamine: some copper-ore, and, not uncommonly, black jack, or sulphate of zinc, have also been found. The parish comprises a large portion of the coal-tract of North Wales, and the richness of the strata in this part will be best shown by a notice of those through which a pit has been sunk at Bychton, to a depth of 614 feet: the total number of strata here composing the measures is twenty-seven, and the following are of coal, viz.—the fourth, which is of the peculiarly inflammable species called "cannel," found also at Mostyn; it is three feet thick, and rests on a bed of common coal, six feet thick, making a total of nine feet: the sixth, which is two feet three inches thick; the eighth, fifteen feet; the tenth, nine feet; the twelfth, cannel coal, fourteen inches; the fourteenth, common coal, one foot; the sixteenth, six feet; the nineteenth, seven feet; the twenty-first, three feet; the twenty-second, three feet nine inches; and the twenty-fifth and twentyseventh, each also of the same thickness: making in all sixty-four feet eight inches of coal, and being equal to about one foot of coal in every nine feet depth. The thickest seam in the parish is found at Mostyn, and is sixteen feet thick; the dip of the strata varies from one yard in four to two in three.
The coal-mines of Mostyn and Bychton have been worked for a very great length of time, having been discovered in the reign of Edward I., by whom they were granted to the abbot and convent of Basingwerk. Throughout the seventeenth century, Dublin and the eastern coast of Ireland were supplied from the Mostyn colliery; but from the year 1710, the accumulation of sand upon this coast was so great as to prevent vessels of even sixty tons' burthen from coming within two miles of the shore, until the formation of a channel and basin by the late Sir Thomas Mostyn; in addition to which, the increased operation of the mines at Whitehaven and Workington, in Cumberland, tended to withdraw the export trade from this place. The Mostyn collieries only are now wrought; they are in a very flourishing state, and produce about 300 tons daily, the coal being chiefly sent coastwise to the more distant parts of North Wales. Here are nine separate beds of coal, varying in thickness from three-quarters of a yard to upwards of five yards, the latter being 210 yards below the sea, and worked for nearly a mile under it: a large steam-engine has been erected upon the sands, which raises the water from the mines. Five hundred persons are constantly employed. In the year 1847 the coal-mines of Mostyn, which had previously been worked by other parties, fell into the hands of the Hon. Mr. Mostyn, the proprietor, who is at present opening up the mines still more extensively, by sinking two additional pits, and erecting machinery capable of raising a much larger quantity of coal than has ever been got before. The Chester and Holyhead railway passes close to the works; and the facilities thus afforded for conveying coal to all parts of the country, as well as the advantages which Mostyn possesses of shipping coal to Ireland and other distant markets, leave no doubt that the proprietor will eventually be amply reimbursed for his outlay. The district, also, will be greatly benefited by the additional means of employment which this extension of the works will give.
Mines of lead and calamine have been wrought in the hilly part of the parish, from time immemorial, until of late years, when the latter were discontinued, owing to the low price which the article bore in the market. The Llanerch-y-Môr reverberating furnaces, for smelting and refining lead-ore, erected in 1750, on the site of some very ancient lead-works, smelt sixty tons of ore per week, exclusively for the Manchester market, and afford employment to fifty persons. Some time ago, copper-ore was obtained to a limited extent; but though diligent search has been made, none has since been found. Beds of sandstone and freestone exist in the lower parts of the parish, and in the higher are strata of limestone and petrosilex, a great quantity of the last of which has been conveyed of late into Staffordshire, where it is made into a coarse stone ware, or formed into stones for grinding and pulverizing burnt flints.
The cliffs in the hamlet of Mostyn present a singular appearance, being vitrified throughout their whole extent, as if emitted in a melted state from a volcano. This phenomenon is ascribed to the conflagration of some pyritical matter, which has destroyed the appearance of the regular strata of shale and sandstone, and converted the substance into an unbroken semivitrified mass, partially porous, but of the hardness of flint, and in some places of a beautiful vermilion colour, but in most of a mottled red and blue. The transformation is not confined to the face of the cliff, but extends generally through the rock, though diminishing gradually toward the interior, which at some distance from the side appears only discoloured. In forming a new line of road, a perpendicular face of rock has been laid bare to a considerable extent, and seems more compact than near the surface. The same cause extended its operations under the sea, entirely consuming the coal throughout its progress; and the miners have been employed in penetrating through this indurated substance, at the depth of forty-eight feet beneath the bed of the Dee. The rock is procured in large masses, to form breakwaters, and to repair the roads, for which it is peculiarly adapted by its extreme durability.
The mineral productions of the district are shipped at Mostyn-Quay, where a pier and suitable warehouses, wharfs, and basins, have been some time constructed; and a steam-packet for the conveyance of passengers and goods sails to Liverpool regularly, by which, and the frequent trading-vessels, an uninterrupted intercourse is maintained with that port. Mostyn-Quay has of late years become a place of considerable importance; the Chester and Holyhead railway has a station here, twenty miles distant from the Chester terminus, and a new inn has just been completed in lieu of the former Mostyn Arms.
The living is a discharged vicarage, endowed with one-fourth part of the corn-tithes, and onefourth of the small tithes throughout the parish, rated in the king's books at £9. 11. 5½., and in the patronage of the Bishop of St. Asaph; present net income, £359, with a good residence, and about six acres of glebe-land. The bishop also presents to the sinecure rectory, which is rated at £28. 17. 6., and is of the net annual value of £739, with a house called the Parsonage, and some land. The church, dedicated to St. Mary, and situated in the hamlet of Trê Lan, was lately rebuilt. In the interior is a small elegant monument, by Westmacott, to the memory of the distinguished antiquary, Thomas Pennant, who died at Downing, on December 16th, 1798, aged seventy-three, and was interred here: it consists of an upright pillar of white marble, bearing on its front a medallion profile of the deceased, and surmounted by a Grecian vase; at the base kneels the Genius of Cambria, lamenting the loss of her able and ingenious tourist. This monument was removed from the old edifice, which contained an aisle built by one Bleddyn Drow, of the house of Mostyn. At Mostyn-Quay is the incumbency of Christ-church, in the Bishop's gift; income, £150. The church was built in 1845, by the munificence of the families of Mostyn of Mostyn, and Pennant of Downing; and occupies a delightful situation, on a rural eminence above the estuary of the Dee. It consists of a nave and chancel, of admirable proportions, and will accommodate about 500 persons. The design was furnished by Mr. Poynter, architect, already mentioned. There are places of worship in the parish for congregations of Calvinistic Methodists, Wesleyan Methodists, Independents, and Baptists.
A school was built in the village in 1711, by Mr. Pierce Jones, who endowed it with £45, and bestowed it on the inhabitants, directing them to appoint a master, to teach gratuitously twelve children to read. To this number fifteen were added in 1745, by Mrs. Mary Bradshaw, who gave for their instruction £140, whereof £100 were lost on the Halkin turnpike-trust; the residue of the amount is in the Mostyn family, and produces an annual interest of £2. 1. Mr. John Davies also, by will, dated October 10th, 1802, left £300 for the education of nine boys. Mary ap Rogers bequeathed £10, the interest to be applied to the use of the school: Mrs. Catherine Jones, and Mrs. Sidney Edwards, gave £20, the interest for teaching two children; and Jane Ball, in 1763, £10, the interest for one. The present income from charities is £16. 11. per annum, which is paid to the master of the school, who, in consideration of the endowment, teaches a number of children gratuitously. There are also some scholars who pay a quarterage, and twelve scholars who are taught at reduced terms in consideration of a subscription paid by the Hon. Mr. Mostyn. In the same village of Whitford is a National school for girls, built and supported by Viscount Fielding, in lieu of a school established by the late Lady Emma Pennant. That lady also established schools at Pantasa and Limebank, which are now supported by Viscountess Fielding; and at Mostyn is a school in connexion with Christ-church, supported partly by the viscount, and partly by the Hon. Mr. Mostyn. There is a British school at the same place, and the parish contains nine Sunday schools.
Poor persons of the parish annually receive clothing to the amount of £35, arising from part of the interest of legacies of £100, £600, and £300, bequeathed respectively by Mrs. Sarah Pennant, David Pennant, Jun., Esq., and Louis Gold, the faithful servant of Thomas Pennant. Some of the aged poor are also clothed out of the rental of lands, amounting to £45 per annum, in the parish of St. Asaph, purchased under the will of Mr. William Pennant, at the beginning of the seventeenth century; and children and others are supplied with stockings, blankets, &c. Twelve persons annually receive certain articles of clothing to the amount of £12, from the rental of a farm called Pant, in the parish: the gift is supposed to be derived from bequests by Hugh and Thomas Edwards in 1624 and 1719. Margaret Vaughan bequeathed a rent-charge of £4, in 1707, for apprenticing a child, and another of £1. 10. for annual distribution on the 4th of December among sixty poor people; and a similar class receive £20 worth of flannel on St. Thomas's day from the agent of Mr. Mostyn, said to arise from a grant of £250 by Peter Griffith, of London. The parish is also entitled to receive £2 per annum, for the benefit of one child, from the Rev. George Smith's charity at Northop, in the county.
There are various relics of antiquity in the parish, the most interesting of which is Maen Achwynvan, or "the stone of Saint Gwyvan," an elegant cross, situated on the plain near the hill of Garreg, adjoining Pen-yr-Allt. It is composed of an entire stone, twelve feet high from the ground, two feet four inches in breadth at the bottom, and ten inches in thickness, with a circular top, containing on each side the figure of a Greek cross, in alto-relievo. About the middle of the pillar, on the east side, is a St. Andrew's cross, beneath which is carved the rude naked figure of a man, holding in his right hand a staff, or spear; and near that, on the next side, is the representation of some animal. The other parts of the pillar, on every side, are chequered with fretwork, or adorned with various wreathings, or knots, and running foliage, in high relief, and of exquisite workmanship. The base is fixed in a pedestal buried beneath the surface of the ground. At what time or for what purpose this monument was erected, is a matter of uncertainty. Mr. Pennant considers it to have been a sacred pillar, before which penances were concluded by weeping and such like signs of contrition, and instances the weeping-cross near Stafford; whilst Bishop Gibson, in his annotations on Camden, mentions a supposition, that it had been set up as a memorial of some great battle fought on the spot, and notices the existence of numerous large tumuli in the parish, some of which, on being opened, were found to contain funeral urns of baked clay, celts, and arrow-heads made of flint.
On the summit of Garreg, the loftiest eminence in the parish, are the remains of a circular tower, hitherto considered to have been a Roman pharos, or lighthouse, erected to guide mariners along the estuary of the Dee. It is built of rude limestone, imbedded in hard mortar, and is twelve feet six inches in diameter within the walls, which are four feet four inches in thickness, and of considerable height. To the basement story are two entrances, exactly opposite each other, and over each is a square funnel, resembling a chimney, which opens on the outside, about half-way up the building: above this story appear to have been two floors. A few feet from the ground are three circular openings through the wall. A staircase within led to an upper story, in the walls of which were eight small square holes, cased with freestone, and separated by wooden panels: within these partitions were placed the lights. The building was surrounded by an intrenchment, and approached by a raised road, which may still be traced. The summit of this hill commands a varied and extensive prospect, including Snowdon, the promontory of Llandudno, part of the Isle of Anglesey, and the bay of Llandulas, with the estuaries of the Dee and the Mersey, and occasionally, the fells of Cumberland and Westmorland, and the Isle of Man.
Clawdd Offa, or Offa's Dyke, intersects the western part of the parish, but in some portions can be traced only with considerable difficulty. It enters from the parish of Caerwys, and passes on the west of Llyn Helyg, and through the plantations of Peny-Gelli, where it is quite perfect, and ten feet high. The Dyke then crosses the fields to Green Lane, where it is connected with a very large carnedd, and thence, proceeding to Newmarket gate, continues on the right of the turnpike-road to Trê Abbot, where it crosses the road, and is found nearly perfect on the left, there forming the boundary between Whitford and Llanasaph, and afterwards between the latter parish and Newmarket. It then re-crosses the road to Marian, and, passing on the east of Newmarket, separates the parishes of Llanasaph and Gwaenyscor, and terminates on the shore near Talacre, in Llanasaph parish. Previous writers have fixed its termination at Tryddin, in the parish of Mold, in the southern part of the county. Near Orsedd, in the hamlet of Edenowain, stood Castell Tŷ Maen, a seat of Ednowain Bendew, or "Owen the strongheaded," lord of Tegengle in the eleventh century, and one of the fifteen tribes of North Wales; there are no remains of this extensive pile, except the lofty mound on which it stood, now covered with a thriving plantation. The hamlet of Trê Abbot owes its name to its having been the summer residence of the abbots of Basingwerk, to the society of which place Edward I. made considerable grants of lands and mines in this parish, including the woody tract called Gelli, which has for ages been stripped of its sylvan features, the monks having received permission from that monarch to cut down the wood. The name Gelli is now confined to a farmhouse, formed out of a chapel belonging to the abbots. Trê Abbot subsequently became the property of the family of Davies, one of the members of which, named Miles Davies, distinguished himself as the author of "Athenæ Britannicæ," &c., and as a poet of some note. According to a manuscript account of the civil war in North Wales, preserved in the Wynnstay library, in the year 1643 "ther landed 2000 Welsh and English from Ireland at Moston (Mostyn), at whose coming the Parlmt. fledd away, after they had for a fortnight possessed themselves of Mailor and a greate part of Flintshire, without any resistance at all."
WHITTON, a parish, in the union of Presteign, hundred of Kevenlleece, county of Radnor, South Wales, 4 miles (W. N. W.) from Presteign; containing 130 inhabitants. This parish, which is situated on the river Lug, comprises by computation 1200 acres of land, partly hilly and partly flat; the soil is light, and the inhabitants are principally employed in agriculture, in which they pursue the same improved system that is practised in the adjoining county of Hereford. The surrounding scenery, though not strikingly varied, is ornamented in some places with patches of wood; the village lies in a long and narrow valley, and has an air of pleasing seclusion and retirement. Petty-sessions for the hundred were formerly held here occasionally. The living is a discharged rectory, rated in the king's books at £4. 7. 11.; patron, the Bishop of St. David's. The tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £141; there is a glebe-house, and the glebe comprises six acres, valued at £14 per annum. The church, dedicated to St. David, a small ancient edifice, consists only of a nave and chancel, with a low tower, and is not distinguished by any architectural details of importance.
A school, held both daily and on Sundays, was founded in the parish, under the will of Dame Child, of Kinlet, in the county of Salop, who in 1703 left £500, with which sum and its accumulations lands were purchased in 1730, now producing more than £100 per annum. It is designed for the gratuitous instruction of poor children of Whitton and Pilleth parishes, and for apprenticing one child yearly from each, to which latter purpose the sum of sixteen guineas from the endowment is annually appropriated. A new room, capable of containing between 60 and 70 scholars, was erected in 1835, out of the funds of the charity, at a cost of £92. The master receives the whole produce of the charity, subject only to the £16. 16. apprentice fees, the travelling expenses of one of the trustees, who is non-resident, and acts as visiter, and the repairs of the premises; he is also allowed a rent-free house, containing seven rooms, with out-offices, and several acres of ground, and is permitted to take payscholars.
WICK, a parish, in the union of Bridgend and Cowbridge, hundred of Ogmore, county of Glamorgan, South Wales, 5½ miles (S.) from Bridgend; containing 337 inhabitants. It is situated on the coast of the Bristol Channel, and intersected by a road from Lantwit Major to St. Bride's Major; the surface is rather flat, with very little timber, and the soil partly a stiff clay or rich loam, capable of producing wheat, barley, and turnips. The living is consolidated with the vicarage of St. Bride's Major: the church, dedicated to St. James, is a plain edifice, supposed to have been erected about the year 1300, and measuring sixty feet in length and twenty-five in breadth. There are places of worship for General Baptists and Calvinistic Methodists; a day and Sunday National school, and two Sunday schools connected with the dissenters. Anthony Patch bequeathed £5, Thomas Williams a small rent-charge, and two unknown benefactors the respective sums of £14 and £10, for the relief of the poor; but all these charities, which, in 1786, produced £1. 16. per annum for distribution, have been since lost, and nothing has been received out of them for the last twenty or thirty years.
Near the church are the ruins of an extensive building covered with ivy, by some supposed to have been a religious house, though there is no record of any establishment of the kind; and by others thought to have been one of the ancient halls so frequently to be met with in the county, in which the lords marcher held their courts, and which were subsequently converted into schools and almshouses, and were generally known by the appellation of "church houses." But it has now been clearly ascertained that the building is nothing more than a large "cattle fold," which is indeed the literal meaning of its name, Y Buarth Mawr; a simple fact, which presents a striking instance of the insecurity of property in these parts in former days. Almost all the villages around are built about the churches as centres, with a spacious area within the circle for folding the cattle and other stock of the district, which were driven to these places of security at nightfall, and carefully guarded from the depredations of the evervigilant foe, who hovered about the coast, and in his light craft was ready to make a descent on the unwary or negligent inhabitants, carrying away, not only their goods and chattels, but frequently their persons into captivity. All along this coast are innumerable traces of the fierce contests between the former inhabitants and their harassing spoilers. Every natural eminence was taken advantage of, and rudely converted into some kind of fortification. Every combe or cwm bears evident traces of having been the scene of a deadly struggle; and the size and strength of the building above referred to, evince that it was no easy task to repel the attacks, it being furnished with embrasures and loop-holes, and the porch or great entrance being defended on each side like the outer port of a castle.
Wigvair (Gwîg Fair)
WIGVAIR (GWÎG FAIR), with Meriadog, a township, in that part of the parish and union of St. Asaph which is in the hundred of Isdulas, county of Denbigh, in North Wales, 2 miles (S.) from St. Asaph; containing 586 inhabitants, of whom 257 are in Wigvair. This township is situated on the left bank of the Elwy, and near that river is a beautiful and romantic dingle, in which is a fine spring, called Y Fynnon Vair, or the Well of Our Lady, discharging about 100 gallons of water per minute, and strongly impregnated with lime. It is inclosed in a richly-sculptured polygonal basin, which was formerly covered by a canopy supported by ornamental pillars, and was then much resorted to as a cold bath. Adjoining the well are the ruins of a cruciform chapel, in the decorated and later English styles, parts being overgrown with ivy. Prior to the Reformation, this was a chapel of ease to St. Asaph, and was served by one of the vicars of that church: even after its desecration, a lingering feeling of sanctity hovered about the spot, and marriages were still from time to time celebrated within these ancient walls, and, says tradition, baptisms also. The river Elwy, the banks of which are finely wooded, is here crossed by a majestic bridge, called Pont-yr-Allt-Gôch, of one arch, eighty-five feet in span. An account of the ruins and the adjacent scenery is given in the Archæologia Cambrensis for July 1847. Wigvair was formerly assessed in conjunction with the hamlet of Meriadog for the separate support of the poor, but it is now included in the general assessment of the parish.
WILLIAMSTON, a chapelry, in the parish of Begelly, union and hundred of Narberth, county of Pembroke, South Wales, 4 miles (N. W.) from Tenby; containing 495 inhabitants. It is situated on the high road between Pembroke and Carmarthen. Coal is obtained here. The chapel is a rude edifice, without tower or spire.
WILLINGTON, a township, in the parish of Hanmer, poor-law union of Ellesmere, hundred of Maelor, county of Flint, North Wales, 8 miles (N. N. E.) from Ellesmere; containing 375 inhabitants. It is situated on the high road from Whitchurch to Wrexham, and contains some respectable residences, among which is Willington Hall. The tithes have been commuted for £285. 2., of which a sum of £238. 16. is payable to the impropriators, and one of £46. 6. to the vicar of Hanmer, who has also a glebe here of two acres, valued at £3 per annum.
Wiston, or Wizton
WISTON, or WIZTON, a borough and parish, in the union of Haverfordwest, hundred of Dungleddy, county of Pembroke, South Wales, 5 miles (E. N. E.) from Haverfordwest, 15 (N. by E.) from Pembroke, and 259½ (W.) from London; containing 775 inhabitants. This place, the Welsh name of which is Castell Gwys, derived that appellation from its earliest Norman or Flemish possessor, Gwys, or Wiz, who constituted it the head of his barony of Daugleddau. The daughter of his grandson Sir Philip Gwys, married Gwrgan ab Bleddyn, a native chieftain, from whom descended the family of Wogan, in whose possession the place remained till the present century, when, in default of male issue, the ample estates of this ancient family were divided among the coheiresses; and the castle and borough of Wiston were subsequently purchased by Earl Cawdor. The castle, founded by the original Norman proprietor, and a place of great strength, was frequently connected with the military events of which the ancient province of Pembroke was the scene, in the continual conflicts between the Welsh and the Norman invaders of their country. In 1146 the three sons of Grufydd ab Rhŷs, joined by Hywel ab Owain Gwynedd, having assaulted the fortress with stones thrown by machines invented for that purpose, and with battering-rams, succeeded, after an obstinate defence, in gaining possession of it. In 1193 it was attacked by Hywel ab Rhŷs, who took Philip de Gwys and his wife prisoners, and carried them off; and in 1220, Llewelyn, Prince of North Wales, in resentment of the violation of a treaty by which the settlers in this part of the country had sworn allegiance to him, attacked the castle, which he razed to the ground, and put the garrison to the sword. From this time the fortress never recovered its former strength, which, indeed, became unnecessary, as the Welsh, after the marriage of their countryman Gwrgan with the daughter of Philip de Gwys, appear to have left this chieftain and his family in the undisturbed possession of the place.
The parish lies a short distance north of the main road from Narberth to Haverfordwest, and is of very considerable extent: the land is generally poor; the chief portion of tolerably good soil is about 600 acres near the church. The houses are scattered throughout, scarcely any where forming a group: a few in the vicinity of the church approach nearest to the character of a village; and one of these is the old manor-house of the Wogans, a part of which, and the only part now occupied, is inhabited as a farmhouse. A market formerly held here has long been discontinued; but a fair still occurs annually on October 20th.
This place, which is supposed to have been once the county town, appears to be a borough by prescription, for no vestige or notice of any charter is now preserved. A mayor is still elected annually, being presented by the jury of the court leet of the manor and borough, which must consist of burgesses and suitors of the manor; but he is usually some poor man who is appointed as a method of conferring relief, he being entitled to the tolls of the fair, amounting to £8, £10, or £12 per annum. For a year after the mayor has vacated his office he bears the title of alderman, and there is a tradition that the borough had once a more permanently constituted aldermanic body. There is still a townclerk. The burgesses are presented by the jury of the court leet, which is held once or twice a year, and in which the only business connected with the borough consists in the appointment and swearing in of the mayor, burgesses, and constables. The constables act only for the parish of Wiston, and this circumstance tends to show that the borough is co-extensive with its limits, which is the more general opinion; some, however, consider that the borough is as large as the manor, which not only comprehends the whole parish, but extends a distance of two miles and a half to the north, and a quarter of a mile to the south, of its boundary. Wiston was formerly contributory with Pembroke and Tenby only, in the return of a parliamentary representative, and the right of election was vested in all the burgesses, resident and non-resident, in whom it was confirmed by a resolution of the House of Commons, in 1712. Under the act of 1832, Milford was added to the district of boroughs, and the right of voting was restricted to the resident portion of the old burgesses, and extended to the £10 holders, duly registered: the number of qualifying tenements is fifty-eight, of which eight are of the value of £10 per annum exclusively of the land held with them.
The living is a perpetual curacy, endowed with £800 royal bounty; net income, £164; patron, Earl Cawdor: the tithes have been commuted for £360, of which a sum of £275 is paid to his lordship, and £85 to the perpetual curate. The church, dedicated to St. Mary, is a plain Norman edifice, with a small tower, and, from its retired position in the bosom of a plantation, by which it is partly concealed, has a pleasing and picturesque appearance. There are places of worship for Baptists and Calvinistic Methodists; a day school, in connexion with the Established Church; and two Sunday schools, belonging to the dissenters. The remains of the ancient castle, occupying an elevated site, are very inconsiderable, consisting chiefly of a portion of the keep, on the summit of a conical hill, surrounded by a deep moat. From the appearance of the site, the castle seems to have been originally of great extent; and from the thickness of the walls in some parts of the family mansion of the Wogans, which, according to tradition, formed part of the ancient fortress, it must have been a place of great strength. The mansion of the Wogans is at present let to a farmer, who, however, as already noticed, occupies only part of it: from its windows and from the ruined keep of the castle are obtained prospects of remarkable extent and beauty.
Wolston, or Weston-Ny-End
WOLSTON, or WESTON-NY-END, a chapelry, in the parish of Worthen, incorporation of Forden, Lower division of the hundred of Cawrse, county of Montgomery, North Wales; containing 152 inhabitants. This place is composed of the two townships of Trêlystan and Rhôsgôch, and is sometimes also called Stoney-end, from its comprising a long and not very productive eminence, on the border of Shropshire, England. The chapel, which is situated at Trêlystan, is dependent on the mother church of Worthen, in Shropshire. The tithes of Wolston and the township of Leighton, have been commuted for a rent-charge of £292. 10.
WOMASTON, with Walton, a township, in the parish of Old Radnor, and within the liberties of the borough of New Radnor, union of Kington, county of Radnor, South Wales, 4 miles (E.) from New Radnor; containing 210 inhabitants. It is situated in a fertile district on the banks of the little river Somergill: Womaston is a good house, occupying a pleasant position. In this vicinity are the Stanner Rocks, forming an exquisite landscape, and having their clefts full of wild flowers.
WORTHENBURY, a parish, in the union of Wrexham, hundred of Maelor, county of Flint, North Wales, 7 miles (E. S. E.) from Wrexham; containing 620 inhabitants. This parish is situated on the banks of the river Dee, and on the road from Wrexham to Malpas in the county of Chester. It is entirely agricultural, and principally divided between the proprietors of the estates of Emral and Broughton, which constitute nearly the whole of the parish. The soil of the higher lands is in general good loamy clay, producing superior crops of wheat, and rich pasturage; that in the lower, which is subject to partial floods from the river and some tributary brooks, consists of alluvial earth. The river Dee forms the boundary of part of the parish on the north-west, where it also separates the counties of Denbigh and Flint. Emral is at present the seat of Sir Richard Puleston, Bart., whose ancestors, originally of Norman descent, have resided here in uninterrupted succession since the reign of Edward I. The first of the family who settled at this place was Sir Roger de Puleston, a great favourite of that monarch, who, after his conquest of Wales, appointed Puleston collector of the taxes which he had imposed on the Welsh, for carrying on the war against France, and also made him sheriff and keeper of the county of Anglesey for life. The Welsh, exasperated by the levying of taxes which they had not previously been accustomed to pay, seized Sir Roger, at Carnarvon, and hanged him on the spot. Edward, incensed at the violence committed on his lieutenant, severely punished the insurgents, and also chose Roger's son, Richard de Puleston, sheriff of the county; and in the second parliament to which the shire and the borough, after the incorporation of the latter, returned members, the former elected John and the latter Robert de Puleston for their representatives, as if to atone to the descendants for the outrage committed upon their ancestor. In recent times, in 1806, Sir Richard, the late proprietor of Emral, had the honour of introducing into Wales his Majesty George IV., when Prince; in commemoration of which event his Royal Highness signified his approbation that Sir Richard, as a testimony of his esteem, should bear as a crest an oak-tree, with an escutcheon pendant therefrom, charged with three ostrich feathers within a coronet. Sir Richard Puleston died in May 1840, and was succeeded by his son, the present baronet. Broughton is also a spacious mansion, to which are attached extensive grounds, and is likewise an ancient family residence.
This parish was formerly a chapelry to BangorIscoed, from which it was severed under the provisions of an act of parliament for uniting and dividing parishes, in the year 1658: the living was, however, taken possession of by Dr. Bridgeman, rector of Bangor, in 1661; but was ultimately again separated, and Worthenbury made a distinct parish, by an act obtained in the 2nd of William and Mary. The living is a rectory, rated in the king's books at £19. 13. 4.; patron, Sir Richard Puleston. The tithes, which have been commuted for a rent-charge of £400, formerly belonged to the family of Puleston, subject to a small payment to the incumbent of Bangor. Judge Puleston, being desirous of establishing a resident minister here, erected a good house near the church, in 1657, and endowed the living with £100 per annum, upon condition that his chaplain, Philip Henry, who had entered his family as tutor in 1653, would undertake the cure of souls. This offer being accepted, Mr. Henry resided in the house, and performed the duties of the incumbency till 1661; he was then suspended from his charge for non-conformity, and in the following year quitted the parish. During the insurrection of the inhabitants of the county of Chester, in 1659, some of Lambert's forces came to this church, to attend the ministry of that celebrated preacher. The church, dedicated to St. Deiniol, is a handsome modern edifice of brick, with a lofty tower ornamented on the summit with urns and crosses alternately. A day school in connexion with the Established Church is held here.
Thomas Puleston, Esq., in 1734, bequeathed £150 for building a school-house in the churchyard for the gratuitous instruction of poor children, and for six small houses to be let rent-free to decayed tenants on the Emral estate; but this charity was never carried into effect. From the benefaction-table it appears that a sum of £46 was left by several unknown donors to the poor, which was in the hands of the Rev. Dr. Puleston; and the equivalent is supposed to be a distribution of six twopenny loaves of bread on Sunday, in the church, to as many old persons, at the charge of Sir Richard Puleston. Sir John Puleston, of Emral, was chamberlain of North Wales in 1554; and John Puleston, one of the judges of the Common Pleas, was born at Emral.
WREXHAM, a market-town, a parliamentary borough, the head of a union, and a parish chiefly in the hundred of Bromfield, county of Denbigh, in North Wales, 26 miles (S. E. by E.) from Denbigh, 18 (E. S. E.) from Ruthin, and 187½ (N. W.) from London; comprising the townships and chapelries of Bersham and Minera, the township and ecclesiastical district of Brymbo, and the townships of Abenbury-Vawr, Abenbury-Vechan (the latter township in the hundred of Maelor, county of Flint), Acton, Bieston, Borras-Hovah, Broughton, Esclusham Above, Esclusham Below, Gourton, Stansty, Wrexham-Abbot, and Wrexham-Regis; and containing 12,921 inhabitants, of whom 5818 are in the townships of Wrexham Abbot and Regis, forming the town. This place, which is of remote antiquity, is noticed in the Saxon Chronicle under the names of Wrightesham and Wrightelesham, from which its present appellation is most probably derived. From its situation on the eastern side of Clawdd Offa, or Offa's Dyke, it was enumerated among the towns of the Saxon kingdom of Mercia; but at a subsequent period it was included in the district called Welsh Maelor. Edward I. granted the town, together with the lordship of Bromfield and Yale, within which it was comprised, to John, Earl Warren; but scarcely any thing of historical importance appears to have distinguished it. In the reign of Henry VIII. it was noticed by Leland as a trading town, having some merchants and good buckler-makers. During the civil war in the time of Charles I., the church was converted into a temporary prison; and it is recorded that in March, 1646, some of the parliamentarian soldiers here mutinied for their pay, seized Colonel Jones, the treasurer, and others of the commissioners, and compelled Colonel Mytton, who had just entered the town, to make a hasty retreat to Holt Castle. The following notices in reference to this period are taken from a manuscript account of the civil war in North Wales, preserved in the Wynnstay library, and printed in the first number of the Archæologia Cambrensis: "The king came to Salop the 20th day of September, 1642; from thence hee went to Chester, and in his return he came to Wrexam, and vywed the trayn bands of Bromffield and Chirke [two hundreds in the county of Denbigh], 27th September. The king came again from Salop to Wrexam ye 3d of October, and vywed the traine bands of the hole county, who weare to marche the morrowe after to Shrewsbury for a gard to the Prince." "The 9th day of November, 1643, Holt-brige was taken by Sir Tho. Midleton and Sir Wm. Brerton, who presently entred Wrexam; and shortly after, Hawarden Castle was delivered to them."
The town is pleasantly and advantageously situated at the junction of the Shrewsbury, Welshpool, Oswestry, and Chester roads; on the line of the Shrewsbury and Chester railway; at the distance of little more than eleven miles from the latter place, and in the centre of the mining and manufacturing districts of the eastern part of Denbighshire. It consists of several spacious streets intersecting each other at right angles, the houses in which are in general neatly and substantially built; the town is paved, and lighted with gas, and the inhabitants are plentifully supplied with water. A small theatre is occasionally opened for dramatic performances; and races are annually held early in October, on a course a little north-west of the town, on the right of the road to Mold.
No particular branch of trade or manufacture is carried on in the town; but the parish, which is about twelve miles in length, and two and a half in breadth, abounds with mineral wealth, and extensive works of various kinds are conducted in different parts of it. There are some large paper-mills, situated on the banks of the river Clywedog. In the township of Minera are lead-mines and collieries: the working of the former, however, is suspended, owing to the great influx of water, notwithstanding the united power of several steam-engines, that were employed to draw it from the mines. The coalworks in this township, and also those in Broughton, Brymbo, Esclusham Above, and Minera, are upon a large scale, the city of Chester being principally supplied with coal from these places, and large quantities being exported from the railway-port of Saltney, on the river Dee. In the township of Brymbo are also important iron-works, established by the late John Wilkinson, Esq. The coal-mines generally vary from a hundred to a hundred and twenty yards in depth, and in some parts they are sunk to the depth of two hundred yards; the strata of coal vary from eighteen inches to fifteen feet in thickness. The ironstone of the district is found in detached nodules, in beds intermediate with and below the coal strata, and is of the usual kind of argillaceous ore, containing from thirty to thirty-five per cent. of metal; it is often smelted with a small portion of the richer hæmatitic ore from Ulverston, which is brought hither for that purpose, and is thought to improve its quality, being much prized for its peculiar tenacity. The iron-works in the parish had latterly been long in a neglected state, and appeared to be superseded by those in Ruabon and Gresford adjoining; but, as the ores both of lead and iron are rich and abundant, and the railway affords great facility of carriage, the works are again brought into active operation. A foundry for cannon was established at Bersham by the late John and William Wilkinson, Esqrs., from which not only our own Government, but some of the continental states, particularly Russia, were formerly supplied; these works are now in ruins, the only tenable part having been converted into a corn-mill. When the Ellesmere canal was projected, it was in contemplation to construct a branch from Pont-yCysylltau to Chester, through Broughton, Brymbo, &c.; but the plan was abandoned, owing to the want of water sufficient for a high level, and other circumstances; and before the construction of the railway, the only mode of conveyance was by land carriage to Chester. The railway has a branch to Minera, &c.
Markets are held on Thursday and Saturday, the former being the principal; and fairs take place on the Thursday after the second Wednesday in January, on March 23rd, Holy Thursday, June 16th, the Thursday after the second Wednesday in August, on September 19th, the third Thursday in October, and the Thursday after the second Wednesday in December. The March fair, which was the greatest in North Wales, commences on the 23rd, and lasts fourteen days. For the accommodation of the various dealers attending it, five extensive areas used to be fitted up with shops and booths: one of these commercial halls confers twenty-eight votes for the county upon its proprietors, who are principally inhabitants of Huddersfield. The fair used to be attended not only by those of the neighbouring district, but by tradesmen from distant parts of the kingdom. The chief commodities brought to it by the Welsh were, flannels of various qualities, linsey-woolseys, coarse linens, horses, cattle, and sheep; the dealers from remote places exposed for sale Irish linens, Yorkshire and other woollen cloths, and every variety of Birmingham, Sheffield, and Manchester manufactures. Of late years, however, the greater facilities for communication with the interior of Wales by improved roads, have caused this fair gradually to fall off, and comparatively few tradesmen now attend it. A commodious covered market has been recently erected on the north side of the High-street, in front of which is a large room intended for a cornexchange; the façade, in the Elizabethan style, is very imposing, and gives importance to the street and town.
By the act of 1832, to "Amend the Representation," Wrexham was made contributory with Denbigh, Holt, and Ruthin, in the return of a parliamentary member; the borough to consist of the two townships of Wrexham Abbot and Regis, with a very small detached portion of that of Esclusham Below, situated within the town. The elective franchise is vested in every person of full age occupying, either as owner, or as tenant under the same landlord, premises of the annual value of ten pounds or upwards, provided he be capable of registering as the act directs; the number of such tenements is 376. Wrexham is also one of the polling-places in the election of knights for the shire; and is under the jurisdiction of the county magistrates, who hold pettysessions in it every week. The county debt-court of Wrexham, established in 1847, has jurisdiction over part of the registration-district of Wrexham, and a small part of that of Ellesmere. This court and the petty-sessions are held in the town-hall, a large brick building at the top of the High-street; where formerly the courts of great sessions were held. There is a county bridewell or house of detention for prisoners before their commitment to the county gaol at Ruthin.
The living is a vicarage, rated in the king's books at £19. 9. 9½.; net income, £626; patron, the Bishop of St. Asaph; impropriator, Sir W. W. Wynn, Bart. The church, dedicated to St. Giles, is a spacious and venerable structure, in the later style of English architecture, deservedly regarded as one of the finest ecclesiastical edifices in the principality. The steeple of the original structure was blown down in 1331; and in 1457 the entire church was burnt. In order to promote the rebuilding of it, an indulgence of forty days, to be continued for five years, was granted to every one who contributed to the work; and the present edifice was erected, about 1472, the glass used in the windows having been brought from Normandy: the tower, however, was not finished till about the year 1506, as appears by a date on the building. Of late years, no fewer than 1550 sittings have been added, of which 900 are free, the Incorporated Society for erecting and enlarging churches and chapels having given the sum of £200 towards that purpose.
The exterior of the church is embellished with grotesque sculpture; and the tower, which is very lofty and highly enriched, consists of several successive stages, panelled throughout, and decorated with numerous statues of saints (among which is that of the patron, St. Giles) in canopied niches, elaborately wrought. From the loftiness of its elevation and the light open-work turrets by which it is crowned at the angles, the tower forms a conspicuous and very interesting object, as seen from any part of the surrounding country. The body of the church consists of a nave, chancel, and north and south aisles; the nave separated from the aisles by pillars and pointed arches, and lighted by a fine range of clerestory windows; the roof of carved oak richly ornamented, and supported by springers resting on embellished corbels. The chancel is divided from the nave by a curiously wrought iron railing, and is octangular at the east end; the roof appears to be of more ancient date than the roofs of the nave and aisles, and on one side are three stone stalls elaborately sculptured. The fine brazen eagle formerly used as a readingdesk, purchased for the parish by John ab Grufydd ab Davydd, of Ystiva, in 1524, is still preserved, and is occupied by the clerk during the performance of the communion service. Extensive alterations and embellishments have been made in the chancel within the last eight years. The east window, which had been filled up with an incongruous Grecian screen, within which was a painting of the Last Supper, presented by Elihu Yale, of Plâs Gronow, has been re-opened, and, with the smaller windows on the sides, filled with beautifully stained glass by Evans, of Shrewsbury: the two side windows contain fine figures of St. Peter and St. Paul. The old screen is replaced by one of correct pointed design, executed by Jones, of Chester, in Bath stone. Elihu Yale also gave to the church a painting of David playing on the Harp.
Among the most ancient of the monuments is that of a knight in complete armour: at the feet is a dog, and beyond it a dragon, with the point of the tail terminating in a serpent's head; on the shield is a lion rampant, and around it an inscription of which only the words "Hic jacet" are legible. In the chancel is an altar-tomb, on which is a recumbent effigy of Dr. Bellot, successively Bishop of Bangor and of Chester, in his episcopal robes: he died at Bersham, in the parish, in 1596; his funeral was celebrated at Chester, but his body, according to particular request, was interred here. Nearly opposite to this tomb is an exquisite and highly interesting monument, by Roubilliac, to the memory of Mrs. Mary Myddelton, of Chirk Castle, in which she is represented rising from the tomb in all the freshness of youth and beauty; above is a shattered pyramid, with a cypress-tree, and near it an angel with a trumpet. At the corner of the aisle is a monument, also by Roubilliac, to the Rev. Thomas Myddelton and Arabella his wife; their profiles are finely executed on medallions, with a curtain, partly drawn aside, the drapery of which is exquisitely sculptured. There are also monuments of very good design and elaborate execution, to William Lloyd, Esq., and his son; to the Fitz-Hughs, the Pulestons, the Longuevilles, and others; with a superb monument near the organ, of Bath stone, and of pointed design, executed by Jones, of Chester, to the memory of Sir Foster and Lady Cunliffe, who lived together in this neighbourhood upwards of fifty years. In the churchyard is the tomb of Elihu Yale, governor of Madras, whose singular epitaph represents him as born in America, bred in Europe, to have travelled through Africa, and to have been married in Asia: of other tombs deserving of notice, one, bearing a curious inscription, records the interment of Daniel Jones, parish-clerk of Wrexham, who died in 1668. At Bersham-Drelincourt, Brymbo, and Minera, are separate incumbencies. There are places of worship for Wesleyans, Baptists, Independents, Calvinistic Methodists, and Presbyterians, and a Roman Catholic chapel, in the parish.
The Free grammar school was instituted in 1603, by Valentine Broughton, alderman of Chester, who endowed it with £10 per annum, afterwards increased by a rent-charge of £3 from Mrs. Gwen Eyton, and by £5 interest from a bequest of £100 by Ralph Weld. The income thus amounts to £18 per annum, of which £14 are paid to the master on condition of his teaching six boys gratuitously, on their being nominated by the trustees. He is allowed to take pay-scholars, and to receive boarders; the present school-buildings comprise an excellent residence, with a garden adjoining, for the master, and two schoolrooms capable of accommodating 190 scholars. A free school for boys and girls was founded and endowed by Lady Dorothy Jeffreys, who by will dated 1728 left £400 for the purpose, with which, and a sum of £120 previously bequeathed by her daughter Margaret for a similar object, and an accumulation of interest on both sums, an estate was purchased for £822 in the parish of Holt, containing 69½ acres, and now yielding a rent of £100. The boys' school was until lately held in an indifferent building that had been originally a barn, but recently this has been demolished, and the site thrown into the cattle-market; and a new schoolroom, much more spacious and convenient, has been erected in lieu of it. The girls' school is held in a large and commodious apartment, built in the year 1817: both schools are conducted on the National plan. In Brook-street are very excellent schoolrooms in the Elizabethan style, built in 1844, at an expense of £1200, on land the gift of A. W. Thornely, Esq.: the schools are for boys and girls, and are taught on the system of the British and Foreign School Society. There is another British School in Chester-street, for boys only, with an endowment of £35 a year from Dr. Daniel Williams's charity. Other schools are supported in the town and parish, and about thirty Sunday schools are held in this populous district: two new schools and master's houses were built in the year 1849, from the designs of Mr. Penson, architect, of Oswestry. On the Mold road, a handsome infirmary and a savings'-bank, both in the Grecian style, have been erected within the last ten years.
There are considerable funds, arising from bequests and donations, for distribution among the poor of the parish; to whom have been left lands containing 12½ acres, now producing £14 per annum, (partly, however, for the benefit of the poor of Holt,) by Gerrard Barber, in 1660; a similar bequest by Elizabeth Jones, in 1663, yielding £3 per annum; a most liberal bequest in the same year by John Hughes of Rhos Ddû, of the lands of Eythen Ddû in the township of Bieston, comprising about 63½ acres, worth £124 a year; and a grant made by Jane Eyton, of above 14½ acres of land in the parish of Holt, paying a rent of £24, but £2 of which she directed to be paid to the poor of Ruabon. In addition were various consolidated gifts, with which two purchases of land were made, that now yield a rental of £46 per annum. The total amount of all these charities is £204, the distribution of which for the use of the poor and the purposes of the parish is regulated by the vestry, generally at Christmas. Connected with the Presbyterian communion is a grant by Elizabeth Roberts, sister and heiress of the above Dr. Williams, who in 1752 advanced £175, with which six cottages and their appurtenances were bought in the town, now producing a rental of £37. 14., divided among widows and others of the Presbyterian denomination. The same lady created an annual rent-charge of £60, which is allotted to ministers of different congregations, except £2 given to the clerk of Chester-street chapel, Wrexham, and a like sum to its poor. In 1812 a munificent bequest was made by Mr. Joshua Hughes, a native of this place and a merchant of Jamaica, who gave £2000, the interest to be annually divided among six of the poorest housekeepers: the principal is vested in the three per cent. consolidated Bank annuities, the yearly dividends amounting to £82. 8. 9.; and three persons are selected from the town, and three from the rural district, to enjoy the gift. In 1815, Ann Roberts left £100, the interest to be distributed on Christmas-day among twenty widows of Wrexham parish. The parish is also entitled to receive £2 annually for the benefit of a child, from the Rev. George Smith's charity at Northop.
The poor-law union of which this town is the head, was formed March 30th, 1837, and comprises the following fifty-six parishes and townships; namely, the townships of Bangor (parish of Bangor-Iscoed) and Abenbury-Vechan (parish of Wrexham), the chapelry of Tryddin (parish of Mold), the extra-parochial district of Threapwood, and the parishes of Erbistock, Hope, and Worthenbury, in the county of Flint: the townships of Eyton, Pickhill, Ryton, and Sesswick, in the parish of Bangor-Iscoed; of Allington, Borras-Riffrey, Burton, Erddig, Erlas, Gresford, Gwersylt, Llay, and Merford with Hoseley, in the parish of Gresford; of Cacca-Dutton, DuttonDifieth, Dutton-y-Brân, Holt, Ridley, and Sutton, in the parish of Holt; the chapelries of BershamDrelincourt and Minera, and the townships of Abenbury-Vawr, Acton, Bieston, Borras-Hovah, Broughton, Brymbo, Esclusham Above and Below, Gourton, Stansty, Wrexham-Abbot, and Wrexham-Regis, in the parish of Wrexham; and the parishes of Marchwiel and Ruabon; all in the shire of Denbigh: and the townships of Agden, Bradley, Chidlow, Chorlton, Cuddington, Malpas, Newton-juxta-Malpas, Oldcastle, Overton, Stockton, Wichaugh, and Wigland, in the parish of Malpas; and of ShocklachChurch and Shocklach-Oviatt, in the parish of Shocklach; all in the county of Chester. The union is under the superintendence of sixty-one guardians, and contains a population of 39,542, of whom 36,751 are in the Welsh portion.
Offa's Dyke is to be traced in various parts of the parish: it is plainly visible in Esclusham, which, in reference to it, is divided into Esclusham above and Esclusham below Dyke; it also intersects the township of Broughton, and, in every part of the parish in which it appears, is in a very perfect state, but particularly in the grounds of Pentre Bychan and Plâs Power. Wat's Dyke passes along the western boundary of the town of Wrexham, and, taking a northern course, is continued through the township of Stansty to the river Alyn, near which it enters Llay, in the parish of Gresford. The remains of two Roman baths were discovered in the town, in the year 1806.
In the vicinity are numerous gentlemen's seats, for which, even in the time of Churchyard the poet (celebrated as the author of the "Worthiness of Wales," &c., and who died early in the seventeenth century), it was peculiarly distinguished. Among the seats in the more immediate neighbourhood are, Pentre Bychan, Plâs Power, Cevn, Acton Park, Erddig, and Brymbo Hall. Acton Park, once the seat of the family of Jeffreys, and the birthplace of the notorious judge of that name, is a spacious mansion delightfully situated in extensive grounds, richly diversified with picturesque and romantic scenery, and commanding views over the town and the adjacent country, which abounds with features of interest. The hanging woods in the domain of Erddig are deservedly the theme of general admiration: the mansion, which is approached from the Ruabon road, has been considerably enlarged and modernised; in the saloon and other apartments are many fine paintings, and the library contains a large number of Welsh manuscripts, including the valuable Seabright collection. Brymbo Hall, said to have been from a design by Inigo Jones, is a fine specimen of domestic architecture, and embraces the most extensive prospect in the neighbourhood. There are several other seats in the adjoining parishes, in the accounts of which they are respectively noticed. In the vicinity of the town are also the remains of many old mansions, now occupied only as farmhouses; among which are, Cadwgan; Havod-y-Wern, formerly the residence of the Pulestons; and Esclusham Hall, also a seat of that family.
Mr. Edward Randles, organist at Wrexham, towards the close of the last and early in the present century, although blind, was one of the most skilful performers on the harp in the kingdom; and his daughter, Elizabeth, was an unexampled prodigy of juvenile proficiency in music; having had the honour, when only three years and a half old, of performing on the piano-forte before the royal family.
WYGVAIR, in the county of Denbigh, North Wales.—See Wigvair.