A Topographical Dictionary of Wales. Originally published by S Lewis, London, 1849.
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BARRY, a parish, in the union of Cardiff, hundred of Dinas-Powys, county of Glamorgan, South Wales, 10 miles (S. W.) from Cardiff; containing 104 inhabitants. This parish is situated on the shore of the Bristol Channel, by which it is bounded on the south; and comprises a small tract of country, pleasingly diversified, and richly ornamented with woods of luxuriant growth, and thriving coppices of underwood. The views, extending over the Channel and the adjacent country, are interesting and extensive. The soil of Barry, though resting upon a tenacious clay, is in general fertile, producing chiefly wheat of good quality. The manor is in the possession of William, John, Edward, Henry, Charles, and Frederick Romilly, Esqrs., the six sons of the late Sir Samuel Romilly. The living, which has lately been united to the rectory of Porthkerry, is a rectory not in charge: the church is dedicated to St. Nicholas; it is sixty feet long, and twenty-two broad, and contains about eighty sittings. The only memorial of the ancient castle that stood here, is its gateway, which still remains.
BARRY ISLAND, in the parish of Barry, union of Cardiff, hundred of Dinas-Powys, county of Glamorgan, South Wales, 9 miles (S. W. by S.) from Cardiff: the population is returned with the parish. This small islet, situated in a sandy bay of the Bristol Channel, is separated from the main land only by a narrow isthmus, which is dry at low water. It is about one mile and a half in circumference, and comprises about 300 acres of land, let as one farm, but chiefly in a wild state of heath and warren, abounding with rabbits, and producing only a scanty herbage for a few sheep and cattle. Lead-ore and calamine are stated to have been formerly obtained among the limestone of which the island consists. Barry is supposed to have derived its name from St. Baruch, a disciple of Gisalch, who was interred here in the year 700. In later times, it was in the possession of the family of Barri, one of the most distinguished members of which was Giraldus de Barri, otherwise Cambrensis, who was born at Manorbeer, in the county of Pembroke, where the remains of their castle may still be seen: some of the descendants of this family afterwards settled in Ireland, and became ennobled. Leland describes it as bearing "very good corne, grasse, and sum wood;" and says, "Ther ys no dwelling in the isle, but ther is in the midle of it a fair litle chapel of S. Barrok, wher much pilgrimage was usid." Since his time a house has been erected, for the farmer, which is fitted up in summer for the reception of persons desirous of enjoying in retirement the benefit of sea-bathing.
On the western side of the island, opposite to the ruins of Barry Castle, are faint vestiges of a similar structure, and of two ancient chapels, in one of which the hermit St. Baruch was interred. Towards the southern side, at a place called Nell's Point, is a well, much resorted to on Holy-Thursday by females, who, having washed their eyes with the water, each drop a pin into it, the memorial of some ancient custom, or offering to the presiding saint. Giraldus Cambrensis, in his description of the island, gives an account of a small cavity in a rock near the entrance to it, from which, on applying the ear, proceeded a noise resembling that of blacksmiths at work, the blowing of bellows, strokes of hammers, grinding of tools, and roaring of furnaces. He is at a loss to conjecture its cause, as the same sounds were heard at low water as at the ebb and flow of the tide, which might produce this effect by the influx of the waters under the rocky cavities. Modern writers, however, have not been able to discover any cavity whence these subterraneous noises issue; and the phenomenon, if it ever existed except in a fanciful imagination, exists no longer.
BATTLE, a parish, in the hundred of Merthyr-Cynog, union and county of Brecknock, South Wales, 2¾ miles (N. W. by W.) from Brecknock; containing 176 inhabitants. This place, though traditionally said to have derived its name from a battle, in which the last of the Brechinian princes, Bleddyn ab Maenyrch, was defeated and slain by Bernard de Newmarch, is, with greater probability, supposed to have been so called in honour of Battle Abbey, in the county of Sussex, to which the monks of Brecknock, who owned the whole or greater part of the parish, were subject. Previously to the fourteenth century, it was a hamlet in the parish of St. John the Evangelist, in Brecknock; and the inhabitants have still a chapel in St. John's church, to which they resorted for divine service prior to the erection of their own church, and in which they still occasionally bury their dead. The village is situated near the river Yscir, which falls into the Usk at Aberyscir; and the neighbourhood, in which are several neat villas and handsome seats, abounds with beautiful and richly varied scenery.
Pennoyre, the seat of John Lloyd Vaughan Watkins, Esq., is a modern residence, surrounded by a very extensive demesne, laid out with much taste: the approach is by an avenue of great length. The views from the house comprehend a wide expanse of scenery. Through a small vista on the east appear the village of Llanthew, and Peytyn Gwyn, the latter, in the early part of his lifetime, the residence of the celebrated Sir David Gam; in the distance are seen the Black mountains, in the direction of Talgarth. On the west is a fine view of the Vale of Usk and the grounds above Penpont, beyond which is Abercamlais, skirted behind by the mountains of Llywel and Devynock. The view towards the south is richly magnificent; nearly opposite to the house is the knoll of Venni-Vâch, luxuriantly clothed with wood, and further south the precipitous and majestic summits of the Beacons lift their aspiring heads. The appearance of the Beacons, which from this spot are seen to great advantage, is always interesting, though varying according to the state of the atmosphere: in fine weather the whole outline may be distinctly traced, in all the irregularity of its extent; and in cloudy or rainy weather, the clouds, which are continually hovering over, or breaking on, their summits, assume an appearance indescribably beautiful.
The living is a perpetual curacy, endowed with £600 royal bounty and £200 parliamentary grant; net income, £73; patrons and impropriators, the Trustees of the late John Browne, Esq. The tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £135. The church, dedicated to St. Cynog, is supposed to have been built by the prior and convent of St. John's, Brecknock, at the commencement of the fourteenth century, when Battle first became parochial. It is a small unadorned edifice, situated on an eminence above the Yscir, commanding a fine view of one reach of the Usk, with the wood of VenniVâch in front, and the beautiful plantations of Penpont and Abercamlais, fringing the slopes down to the very margin of the river, in the western horizon. The east window, for the repair of which the sum of 12d. was bequeathed in 1573, is in the later style of English architecture: the sacramental cup, on which the letters W. P. D. and the date 1576 are engraved, is supposed to be the oldest in the county. Here is a day school, supported by Mr. Watkins, from whom the master receives a salary of £20, in addition to about £8 from the scholars in fees.
In the neighbourhood are several objects the names of which are supposed to allude to the battle before mentioned: these are, Heol y Cymry, "the Welshman's lane;" Cwm gwŷr y gâd, "the wood of the vale of battle;" &c. Near Fynon Pen Rhŷs, or "the well of Rhŷs' head," the unfortunate Rhŷs ab Tewdwr, who had just escaped from the battle of Hîrwaun Wrgan after being defeated by Robert Fitz-Hamon, is said to have lost his head. There is a maen hîr, or long upright stone, situated to the south of the church; and the remains of a Roman encampment, where fragments of military weapons and several coins have been found, are discernible.
BAUSELEY, a township, in that part of the parish of Alberbury which is in the lower division of the hundred of Deythur, in the union of Atcham, county of Montgomery, North Wales, 8 miles (N. E. by E.) from Welshpool; containing 371 inhabitants. This township is situated on the border of Shropshire. It separately maintains its own poor; and the impropriate tithes, belonging to All Souls' College, Oxford, have been commuted for a rentcharge of £126. Two benefactions of £10 each, by William Barrett and John Asterley, were left to the poor, among whom the interest is still distributed.
BAYDEN, a chapelry, in the parish of Llangonoyd, union of Bridgend and Cowbridge, hundred of Newcastle, county of Glamorgan, South Wales, 4½ miles (N. W. by N.) from Bridgend; containing 337 inhabitants. This chapelry, also called Lower Llangonoyd, contains some wellwooded inclosures on the southern declivity of an extensive common. The chapel, which is supposed to have been a private one, is now in ruins. There is a small bequest for such poor persons as do not receive parochial relief. Bayden separately maintains its own poor.—See Llangonoyd.
BAYVILL, a parish, in the union of Cardigan, hundred of Kemmes, county of Pembroke, South Wales, 3 miles (E. N. E.) from Newport; containing 130 inhabitants. This small parish is situated in the northern part of the county, within a short distance of the coast, and is intersected by a stream, which rises to the north of the church, and falls into the river Nevern near its influx into the sea at Newport bay. The living is a discharged vicarage, rated in the king's books at £5, and endowed with £800 royal bounty, with the perpetual curacy of Moylgrove consolidated; net income, £224; patron, the Lord Chancellor. The impropriate tithes of Bayvill have been commuted for a rent-charge of £110, and the vicarial tithes for one of £15: the impropriate glebe comprises 12 acres, valued at £6 per annum. The church is dedicated to St. Andrew. There is a place of worship for Independents, with a Sunday school held in it.
BEAUMARIS, a sea-port, borough, market-town, and chapelry, having exclusive jurisdiction, and jointly with Bangor the head of a union, in the parish of Llandegvan, locally in the hundred of Tyndaethwy, county of Anglesey, in North Wales, 8 miles (N. N. E.) from Bangor, and 247 (N. W. by W.) from London; containing 2308 inhabitants. This place, which is the county town of Anglesey, was anciently called Porth Wgyr: it derives its present name from its situation in a fine open flat, formerly marshy, but now a fertile plain, on the western shore of the Menai strait, near its junction with the Irish Sea, where it expands into a good roadstead, called Beaumaris bay. For some centuries prior to the erection of the present town, which owes its origin and progress to the castle built here by Edward I., Beaumaris had attained a considerable degree of importance, and was distinguished as one of the three principal ports of the Isle of Britain. In 818, a sanguinary engagement took place in the immediate neighbourhood, between the Welsh and the West Saxons, the latter led by their king, Egbert, who, having subdued the country as far as Snowdon, took possession of the Isle of Mona, which was henceforward called by the English Angles-ey, or Anglesey, signifying "the Englishmen's Isle." But the Welsh sovereign, Mervyn Vrych, continually on the alert to recover his possessions and repel the invaders, carried on a desultory and successful warfare; and Egbert and his Saxon forces, unable to contend with that valiant chieftain and with the severities of a hard winter, abandoned the island, and returned into their own country.
In 1096, Hugh Lupus, Earl of Chester, and Roger de Montgomery, Earl of Shrewsbury, entering into a confederacy, carried slaughter and devastation through the whole of North Wales; and, having landed a powerful army at Cadnant, advanced against this town, of which they made themselves masters. To secure their conquests, they erected, in the immediate neighbourhood, the fortress of Lleiniog, or Aberllienawg; by means of which, in conjunction with the castle of Bangor, they commanded the whole of the Menai strait, and reduced the islanders to the lowest state of vassalage and degradation. But their career of usurpation and tyranny was interrupted by the unexpected arrival of Magnus, son of Harold, King of Norway. The landing of this chief was opposed by the confederate earls; but Magnus placing himself on the prow of his ship, and calling to his side an expert archer, both discharged their arrows at the Earl of Shrewsbury, who, in complete armour, was standing on the shore; and an arrow entering his brain through the eye, which was undefended by the vizor of his helmet, he fell dead on the spot. The Earl of Chester was soon afterwards driven from the island, and compelled to retreat to Bangor, where he for some time fixed his abode, carrying on a desultory warfare with the inhabitants of Anglesey, whom he annoyed with frequent aggressions, which led to slight skirmishes.
After this period nothing of historical importance is recorded of the place, till the time of Edward I., who, having reduced the whole of Wales under his authority, and in part erected the splendid castles of Carnarvon and Aberconway, found himself still unable to retain quiet possession of his newlyacquired dominions, and exposed to continual insurrections of the bold and warlike chieftains. The Isle of Anglesey was now the principal rendezvous of all the native chiefs, who, notwithstanding their formal submission to the authority of Edward, were constantly endeavouring to throw off the English yoke. Llewelyn, Prince of North Wales, was, indeed, no longer alive to lead his countrymen; but Madoc, his illegitimate son, made this isle the theatre of an insurrection; and Edward saw the impossibility of peace while Anglesey, without an English garrison, afforded such facility for combinations which threatened the stability of his government in Wales. He therefore determined to erect a castle, equal in strength and importance to those which he had previously founded at Carnarvon and Aberconway, and to place in it a formidable garrison, to counteract the efforts of the unsubdued spirit of the Welsh. For this purpose he selected Porth Wgyr, which at that time had acquired the appellation of Bonover; a situation peculiarly adapted to command the island. From the low site on which he built the castle, the king conferred upon it the name of Beaumaris; and the ground being private property, he gave the owners other lands in exchange, of equal or superior value. Its situation on a flat on the sea-shore afforded the opportunity of surrounding the castle with a deep fosse, which might at any time be filled from the sea, and of cutting a canal by which vessels might deliver their cargoes under the very walls.
This fortress was completed in the year 1296, and in the same year Edward incorporated the inhabitants of the town by charter, investing them with valuable and important privileges, and appointing the constable of the castle to be also captain of the town. Most writers state that the town owes its origin to the erection of the castle; but, from reference to the records of the corporation, it appears that it must have attained some degree of importance prior to that era. Probably Edward, who, after the completion of the fortress, surrounded the town with walls and made considerable additions to it as a fortified place, may, from that circumstance, have been regarded as its founder. The first governor appointed to the command was Sir William Pickmore, a Gascon, with an annual salary of forty marks, subsequently increased to £40; and according to the Calendar of the patent rolls in the Tower, published by the commissioners of the public records, the custody of the castle was granted for life, by Richard II., to Gronow ab Tudor. In the reign of Henry IV. it was granted, together with the whole county and dominion of Anglesey, to the renowned Henry Percy, surnamed Hotspur. The garrison, which usually consisted of twenty-four men, was frequently involved in disputes with the inhabitants of the town, and in the reign of Henry VI., a sanguinary conflict took place between them, in which Davydd ab Evan ab Howel and many others were killed. The maintenance of the castle was found extremely burthensome to the country, and, in consequence of continued complaints of the general misconduct of the men, the garrison was withdrawn in the reign of Henry VII., with the exception only of the governor, Sir Rowland Villeville, who was continued in his office of constable of the castle.
From this time the castle was without a garrison, till the year 1642, when Thomas Cheadle, deputy of the Earl of Dorset, then constable, placed in it a body of men and supplies of ammunition, in order to retain possession for the king during the civil war, which now threatened to become general. The year following, Thomas Bulkeley, Esq., soon after created Lord Bulkeley, succeeded to the governorship of the castle; and his son, Col. Bulkeley, and several gentlemen of the county, held it for the king till 1646, when it was surrendered on honourable terms to General Mytton. Charles's subsequent captivity produced, in 1648, together with partial insurrections in other parts of the country, that general revolt of the inhabitants of Anglesey, which is more fully noticed in the article on the county, and which gave rise to the parliamentary expedition for the reduction of the island. As soon as the parliamentary forces, under the command of General Mytton, appeared on Penmaen Mawr, the greatest demonstrations of defiance were made by the inhabitants of this place, by whom they were descried from Beaumaris Green; but, after a slight skirmish near Cadnant with Major Hugh Pennant's troop of horse, General Mytton advanced with his forces, without further opposition, to Orsedd Migin, where they held a rendezvous the morning after their landing, and whence they marched immediately upon Beaumaris, by way of Red Park, drawing up in order of battle upon the hill. The islanders, commanded by Col. Bulkeley and Col. Roger Whitely, drew up in the fields below the hill, assisted by the town's company, commanded by Captain Sanders. The parliamentary forces, beginning the attack, were resolutely repulsed by the town's company, and at the same time charged by the cavalry; but the other infantry on the king's side soon fled in disorder, and the remainder of the royalists being overpowered by numbers, and the town being closely pressed, the islanders were dispersed, and the royalist commanders, with most of the officers, retired into the castle. Captain Lloyd, of Penhênllŷs, who had been ordered to defend the church, locked his men within it, and ran away, taking the key with him; the men, notwithstanding, climbed upon the roof and the steeple, and, firing upon the assailants, killed a considerable number, among whom were three of the parliamentarian officers. General Mytton, having at length entered the town, despatched a messenger to the castle, to demand the persons of Colonels Bulkeley and Whitely, threatening, unless they were given up to him, to put to death all the prisoners he had taken in the course of the day, about four hundred in number. These officers, to prevent the effusion of blood, immediately surrendered themselves, and remained prisoners at the Old Place, in Beaumaris, the seat of the Bulkeley family, till they were ransomed. The garrison, unable to withstand the superior force of the enemy, soon afterwards capitulated on honourable terms; and Mytton, who was appointed governor by the parliament, made Captain Evans his deputy-constable of the castle, and lieutenant-governor of the town.
After the death of General Mytton, the constableship was given to Hugh Courteney, who was succeeded in that office by Colonel John Jones, a zealous puritan, and one of the parliamentary commissioners for the reduction of the island. His successor, Sir John Carter, of Kinmel, in the county of Denbigh, who received his appointment from General Monk, held it till the Restoration, when Viscount Bulkeley, who had been ennobled in reward for his sufferings and attachment to the royal cause, was appointed to that office, which was held by his descendants till the death of the last Viscount Bulkeley, in 1822.
The town consists of several streets, of which that leading to the castle is spacious, and contains some excellent houses. Considerable improvements have been made within the last twenty or thirty years, among which may be noticed the levelling, widening, and paving of the streets, and the erection of several handsome buildings, both in the town and neighbourhood; rendering Beaumaris one of the most elegant towns in the principality. A line of road, leading from Bangor ferry to Beaumaris, was constructed in 1805, by Viscount Bulkeley, which, passing through the woods and plantations of Baron Hill, above the shores of the Menai, and continued for nearly five miles, forms one of the most picturesque drives in the country. This road was thrown open to the public in the following year, and was afterwards extended to the Menai bridge at one extremity, and connected at the other with a new entrance into Beaumaris. The ancient walls by which the town was defended still remain entire in several parts, but on the side towards the sea, a large portion was taken down during the summer of 1831, in order to furnish materials for building a new hotel, and for completing other improvements. In front of the town is the fine open bay called Beaumaris Roads, formed by the bold curvature of the Menai strait, and the shores of which are here composed of a fine, firm, level sand, affording a pleasant promenade, much frequented by the inhabitants. Warm and cold baths have been erected, and bathingmachines are ranged along the beach. The delightful situation of the town, the salubrity of the air, and the numerous objects of grandeur, beauty, and interest, which impart to the surrounding scenery a charming variety, and combine in forming a splendid and richly diversified landscape, have made Beaumaris the favourite residence of many families during the summer season, and contributed to render it one of the most fashionable bathing-places in North Wales. Its advantages are considerably enhanced by its proximity to the Chester and Holyhead railway, to which there is a constant communication, and from which it is distant about five miles. Parties leaving London in the morning will find themselves safely located in this agreeable spot early in the evening, having in their transit passed over a most interesting portion of Wales. The view from the Green here is among the most extensive and magnificent in the principality. It embraces the Irish Sea, the noble estuary of the Menai strait, Beaumaris Roads, the city of Bangor, Port-Penrhyn; the village, church, and waterfall of Aber; the stately castle, park, and grounds of Penrhyn; Puffin Island; Penmon Point; the priory of Penmon, and the friary of Llanvaes; Great Orme's Head, the summit of Penmaen Mawr, and the other stupendous mountains of Carnarvonshire; the castles of Beaumaris and Lleiniog; Baron Hill, with its luxuriant plantations, and numerous other objects, which contribute to enrich and beautify the scene.
A considerable portion of the bay is left dry when the tide is out. This tract, which extends for several miles along the opposite coast, is called the Lavan sands, and is supposed to have been inhabited, prior to its being inundated by an encroachment of the sea, in the sixth century. Its ancient name, Traeth Lavan, or Traeth Wylovain, of which the present is a contraction, signifies "the place of weeping," and seems to have reference to the lamentations of the inhabitants when their lands were overwhelmed. Over these sands is a ferry to Aber, in Carnarvonshire, a distance of four miles. It originally belonged to the crown; and in the reign of Edward II., an order was given to Robert Power, chamberlain of North Wales, to inspect the state of the boat, which was then out of repair, and either to repair it, if practicable, at the expense of the bailiwick, or to build a new boat, at the expense of the king. It appears that the inhabitants paid annually into the Exchequer the sum of thirty shillings, for the privilege of this ferry, which was granted to the corporation by charter of Elizabeth, in the fourth year of her reign. The sands, at low water, are firm, and safely passable on foot; but during certain intervals of the tides, they are extremely hazardous, and consequently great precaution is necessary. The passage may be effected in the interval between two hours before, and two hours after, low water; at other times it is attended with difficulty and danger, and several persons have perished in the attempt. During foggy weather, the great bell of Aber is rung to direct passengers to the point of their destination, from which they would be otherwise in danger of wandering.
The port has jurisdiction over those of Conway, Amlwch, and Holyhead; and other harbours in this part of the principality are creeks within its limits. Its situation is extremely advantageous, but the port carries on but little commerce. Its central position with respect to the whole of North Wales, its intimate connexion with Liverpool and the principal manufacturing districts, and its proximity to the Irish coast, afforded it every facility of extending its trade; but, since the growth and increase of Liverpool, its commercial importance has materially declined, and at present its chief trade arises from the importation of the supplies requisite for this part of the island. The principal articles of importation are coal, timber, and general merchandise; and the chief exports, marble and slates. A regular and expeditious communication by steam-packets has been established between Beaumaris and Liverpool, Carnarvon, and, in the summer months, Dublin. The harbour is accessible, at low water, to vessels of four hundred tons' burthen, and the bay affords good anchorage and secure shelter to vessels during the severest gales. There are many accommodations for facilitating the business of the port; and within the last few years a fine pier has been erected by the town council, for landing passengers and goods from the steamers that ply upon this station: for access to this pier as a promenade, a small sum is required from each person, or general admission for families is issued for an annual subscription. The custom-house, which is situated near the water's edge, is a new and commodious building. The market, which is abundantly supplied with corn and provisions, at a very moderate price, is held on Saturday; and four fairs for cattle and various articles of general merchandise, are held annually on February 13th, Holy-Thursday, September 19th, and December 19th. About a mile from the town is a quarry of hard stone called China rock, which is not at present wrought, but from which great quantities have been raised and shipped to Whitehaven, Runcorn, and other parts, to be converted into chinaware.
The inhabitants received their first charter of incorporation in the same year in which the castle was completed, from Edward I., who conferred upon them considerable privileges, and assigned to the corporation the estates of four of the principal proprietors of land, whom he removed by exchange, on the erection of the castle; the estates to be held by them in capite. Among various immunities, he granted them permission to elect two bailiffs every year on the feast of St. Michael, liberty to have a free prison, and a guild of merchandise with a hanse, and freedom from toll and custom throughout the dominions of the crown, with descent of property to their heirs, whether they died testate or intestate. The charter of Edward I. was confirmed by the crown in the 5th of Edward III., 2nd of Richard II., 9th of Henry IV. (a charter by Henry, Prince of Wales), 4th of Henry VI., 8th of Edward IV., 1st of Richard III., 18th of Henry VII., 1st of Henry VIII., and 1st of Edward VI. It was extended, also, by Queen Elizabeth, whose charter continued to be the governing one till the passing of the Municipal Corporations' Act.
By this charter the corporation was permitted to assume the title of "the Mayor, Bayliffes, and Burgesses of the burrough of Bewmares," and the government was vested in a mayor, two bailiffs, a recorder, coroner, town-clerk, two serjeants-at-mace, a water-bailiff, a clerk of the market, two burleighmen, six constables, two town-stewards, two sidesmen, and twenty-one chief burgesses and councillors. The mayor, who was chosen annually by the late mayor, the bailiffs, and the head burgesses, was, like the bailiffs and the recorder, a justice of the peace; he was also the presiding magistrate at the court of quarter-sessions, and one of the justices empowered by the charter to hear and determine pleas at the civil court of record. The bailiffs, recorder, coroner, town-clerk, treasurer, and the inferior officers, were appointed in a similar manner to the mayor; the town-stewards, and their sidesmen, were chosen by the borough magistrates; and the twenty-one chief burgesses themselves filled up any vacancies that occurred in their body either by death or removal. The mayor, bailiffs, and chief burgesses possessed the amplest powers for the enactment of bye-laws and the enforcement of their authority, and also had the liberty, according to the charter of Elizabeth, of returning a member to serve in parliament. The police consisted of the two serjeants-at-mace, and six constables.
By the act 5th and 6th of William IV. c. 76, the old charters were repealed and annulled, and the corporation, under the style of "Mayor, Aldermen, and Burgesses," now consists of a mayor, four aldermen, and twelve councillors, constituting the council of the borough. The council elect the mayor annually on November 9th, out of the aldermen or councillors; and the aldermen triennially on November 9th, out of the councillors, or persons qualified as such, one-half going out of office every three years, but being re-eligible: the councillors are chosen annually on November 1st, by and from among the enrolled burgesses, one-third going out of office every year. Aldermen and councillors must possess a property qualification of £500, or be rated at £15 annual value. The burgesses are, the occupiers of houses and shops who have been rated for three years to the relief of the poor. The council choose a townclerk, treasurer, and other officers annually on Nov. 9th; and two auditors and two assessors are elected on March 1st, by and from among the burgesses. The limits of the borough comprehend the chapelry of Beaumaris, and parts of six other places, stretching inland to the north-west about two miles, along the shore to the north-east about a mile and a half, and to the south-west above a mile. The chapelry comprises 327 acres, chiefly consisting of pasture land.
The corporation are lords of the manor by virtue of a grant by Queen Elizabeth, recorded in her charter, of the borough and other ample possessions, comprising, besides much property of undefined extent, lands of the specified extent of above 1556 acres, which yielded at that early period a considerable rent, but of which the only remnant at the present day consists of a field containing about eighteen acres, and a few small portions of waste near the town. The grant was principally made with a view of affording to the inhabitants the means of repairing the walls and sea-defences of their town, which had by floods and tempests been much injured; but there does not appear to be any trace of the erection of a pier or the execution of other renovations. The income of the borough for the year 1833 amounted to £556. It was principally derived from the rents of houses, and was subject to a payment of about £190, being the interest of a debt of £4200, incurred by the corporation mainly by the erection of some handsome and substantial houses upon the Green, at a cost of £4475.
The elective franchise was conferred in the 27th of Henry VIII., and the first return was made in the 33d of the same reign, in conjunction with Newborough, to which town the assizes and sessions for the county had been removed in the reign of Henry VII., upon a false representation to this monarch, after having been held at Beaumaris for 250 years. In the 2nd of Edward VI., Newborough was exempted from contributing to the support of the parliamentary representative, the privilege thus becoming limited to Beaumaris; and by statutes of the 2nd and 3d of the same monarch, the great and quarter-sessions, together with the county court for Anglesey, were removed back to this town, after they had been held at Newborough for forty-five years. The burgesses of Newborough, nevertheless, still claimed a share in the return of the member for Beaumaris, which, however, they do not seem to have exercised. In 1790, it was decided by the House of Commons, that the right was in the mayor, bailiffs, and capital burgesses of Beaumaris only. By the act for "Amending the representation of the people in England and Wales," passed in 1832, the newly-created boroughs of Amlwch, Holyhead, and Llangevni now share with Beaumaris in the return of one member to parliament. The right of election is vested in every male person of full age occupying, either as owner, or as tenant under the same landlord, a house or other premises of the annual value of not less than ten pounds, providing he be capable of registering as the act demands. There are, within the town, about one hundred and ten houses of the annual value of not less than ten pounds, and some more within the out-borough of Beaumaris, of which the commissioners appointed about the time of the Reform act, for ascertaining the boundaries of boroughs, were unable to obtain the exact number. The total number of voters, including the contributory boroughs, is about 350; and the mayor is the returning officer.
The town-hall, erected in 1790, and situated in Castle-street, nearly in the centre of the town, is a commodious and handsome building, containing on the basement story the public office, shambles, and market-house, above which are a noble room and other apartments, appropriated to the borough sessions and the transaction of municipal business, and occasionally to the holding of assemblies: the great room is the most splendid ball-room in North Wales. Since the decline of Newborough, Beaumaris has been the county town of Anglesey, as it more anciently was; and the assizes and general quarter-sessions for the county, and the election of knights for the shire, still take place here. The county-hall, erected in 1614, is a small edifice without any pretensions to architectural character, but recently much improved in its adaptation to the holding of the assizes and sessions, and the transaction of the public business of the county. The borough gaol, and house of correction for the county, forming one large building, erected in the year 1828, comprise twenty-three wards, six day-rooms, and six airingyards; but the number of prisoners tried at the assizes and sessions is very inconsiderable, not amounting to more than four or five annually.
The living is a perpetual curacy, annexed to the rectory of Llandegvan. The chapel, dedicated to St. Mary, is a spacious structure in the decorated and later styles, embellished in 1825 at a considerable expense, and comprising a nave, chancel, and north and south aisles, with a lofty square embattled tower crowned with crocketed pinnacles. It measures, in the nave, sixty-eight feet by fifty, and in the chancel, forty-two by twenty-two. Each of the aisles is separated from the nave by an elegant range of lofty clustered columns and gracefully pointed arches; the windows of the chancel have round arches: the east window is of elaborate design, and the roof of the chapel is formed of richly-carved oak. The north aisle is called St. Mary's chapel, and the south St. Nicholas'. In the former is a very handsome statue of the late Mrs. Williams Bulkeley, daughter of Lord Dinorben, who died in 1829, the year before the succession of her husband, R. B. Williams Bulkeley, Esq., to the baronetcy. In the vestry is a beautiful altar-tomb, bearing recumbent figures of a knight and his lady, in white alabaster, removed from the priory of Llanvaes, on the dissolution of that house, and placed in St. Mary's chapel here, whence it was removed some years ago to its present position: the tomb is decorated with diminutive figures of monks and knights, finely sculptured, and with shields of armorial bearings; but the latter are so obliterated, that they afford no means of ascertaining the persons whose memory the tomb was intended to perpetuate. On the south side of the altar is a tablet to the memory of Sir Henry Sidney, Lord-Deputy of Ireland, who died in 1586; Sir Anthony St. Leger, also Lord-Deputy, and others: and above it is a mural monument, of black marble, in memory of Thomas, sixth son of Sir Julius Cæsar, Master of the Rolls, who was rector of Llanrhyddlad, in this county, and died in 1632. Near the castle was situated an ancient chapel or oratory, dedicated to St. Meugan, of which no vestiges remain. There are places of worship for Baptists, Independents, and Calvinistic and Wesleyan Methodists.
The Free Grammar school was founded in 1609, by David Hughes, of Woodrising, in the county of Norfolk, who gave a house which he had lately built at Beaumaris, for the use of a grammar school, and endowed it with all his lands in the county of Anglesey, for the payment of the master and usher, for the maintenance of the scholars, and for keeping the building in repair. He directed his trustees to appropriate the surplus in placing one or two of the scholars in either of the universities of Oxford or Cambridge, and in erecting an almshouse for eight persons, three to be chosen from the parish of Llantrisaint, where the founder was born, two from that of Ceidio, two from that of Llêchcynvarwydd, and one from the chapelry of Gwredog. After providing for these, if any thing remained, the founder directed that it should be distributed among the poor of Llantrisaint. The founder's intentions respecting the forwarding of boys to the university, with other regulations, were carried into effect by the trustees, who paid £20 with every scholar that entered there, and also apprenticed several others, according to the state of the funds, till the year 1826, when the affairs of the charity were carried into the Court of Chancery, and the exhibitions and apprentice-fees were for some years suspended. The present income of the estates is about £700 per annum, out of which the master's salary of £100, the usher's of £70, and the writing-master's of £21, are paid. The master has a residence free of rent and taxes, as has also the usher; the head master also receives £10 per annum, and the usher £5, from the fund of the benevolent Dr. Lewis's extensive charities. There are about twenty-five boys, who are all instructed in the classics, and in writing and arithmetic, except six, who are allowed to receive elementary instruction in English only, in consideration of their inability to afford books for the classics. The scholars are eligible to one of two fellowships founded in Jesus' College, Oxford, by Dr. Henry Rowlands, Bishop of Bangor, in 1616; to certain exhibitions, of £10 per annum each for four years, founded by Dr. Lewis; and to others founded by Dr. Meyrick, in Jesus' College. The almshouse, consisting of eight rooms under one roof, is of quadrangular form, with an archway leading into the interior, and having a stone placed over it marked "D. H. 1613;" the building is situated in the parish of Llanvaes, about a mile from the town of Beaumaris. The almsmen each receive an allowance of six shillings a week, five pounds of beef at Christmas, and six yards of frieze annually on St. Thomas's day; the whole provided out of the endowment assigned by David Hughes for a grammar school and almshouse, &c.
A National school was founded in 1816, the schoolrooms, with the house for the master and mistress, being built by subscription, at an expense of £550, on a plot of ground given by the late Lord Bulkeley, by whom, during his lordship's lifetime, the school was chiefly supported. Since his decease in 1822, it has been chiefly maintained by voluntary contributions, the principal of which at present is an annual donation of £30 by Sir R. B. Williams Bulkeley, Bart. It is conducted in a most praiseworthy manner, and affords instruction to about eighty boys and sixtyfive girls, each of whom pays one penny a week. There are also three Sunday schools in the town, taught gratuitously by dissenters.
The other charities comprise a bequest of a rentcharge of £2. 12. by Lewis Owen, of Middlesex, in 1623, which is distributed in bread on Sundays; two benefactions for a similar purpose amounting to £1.6. per annum, by Ellen Nicholas and Tabora the Black, in 1736 and 1743 respectively; and a like distribution of bread on Christmas eve, to the amount of £3. 10., arising from a gift of £20 by George Robinson, £20 from Lucy Morris, of London, in 1799, £20 from T. Cross, and £5 each by two other persons. Elizabeth Gould, in 1780, bequeathed £50, the interest to be annually divided among aged widows, decayed housekeepers of Beaumaris: this sum is secured by the payment of a rentcharge of fifty shillings, out of a house built by the corporation with this and other funds of their own. John de Courcy, Esq., of Dublin, in 1820, bequeathed £30 for the use of the poor, which is lodged in the Anglesey savings' bank, and the interest, £1, is distributed among them. Mary Roberts, in 1804, left £10; Mrs. Jones, of the Green, a similar sum; and there are two rent-charges, one of £1 by Rice Price in 1782, and the other of 8s. on Plâs Gwŷn; the produce of all which is disposed of in like manner. Lastly, William Hughes, in 1833, bequeathed £15, which is deposited in the savings' bank at Carnarvon, and the interest divided in the proportion of two-thirds among poor aged females, and one-third among aged men. Of the benevolent societies formed in the town, the most remarkable for the extent of its benefactions is the Society of Ancient Druids, established in 1772, and patronised by many of the principal nobility, clergy, and gentry of the neighbourhood. It consists of an Arch-Druid and Sub-Druid, annually elected, and an unlimited number of brethren, who celebrate their anniversaries in September, and upon those occasions vote various sums of money for benevolent purposes. The principal of these are donations to the hospitals, infirmaries, and dispensaries in the neighbouring counties both of Wales and England; premiums for apprenticing poor boys; and rewards for humane and meritorious exertions in saving from destruction the lives and property of shipwrecked seamen.
The site and remains of the once important castle of Beaumaris were purchased from the crown in 1816, and are now the property of Sir Richard B. Williams Bulkeley, who has made great improvements in the grounds, by laying out walks, plantations, and shrubberies, and has thrown them open to the public as a promenade. The splendid remains of the castle, though less conspicuous from the lowness of their situation than those of Carnarvon and Conway Castles, prove that it was scarcely inferior in beauty and extent to either of those structures. It consisted of two courts, the outer comprehending a spacious quadrilateral area defended by fourteen circular towers, of which those at the angles are much larger than the rest, and having the principal entrance towards the sea, flanked by two strong round towers, between which is a pointed archway with a portcullis. Near this entrance is a long, narrow, advanced work, with a platform, called the Gunners' Walk, which was carried over the moat by a lofty arch, still remaining, and near which is one of the iron rings anciently used for mooring the vessels that delivered their supplies under the castle walls. Within the outer wall, and equidistant from it in every part, is the inner quadrangle, 190 feet in length and nearly the same in breadth, surrounded by the chief range of buildings, which are much loftier than those of the outer court, and defended by ten circular towers, of which those at the angles are in nearly a perfect state, being more massive than those in the centre. In this quadrangle are the principal state apartments. On the north-west side is the great hall, seventy feet in length and twentyfour in width, of lofty dimensions, and lighted by a noble range of five windows, embellished with tracery. To the east is the chapel, an elegant structure in the early style of English architecture, nearly perfect. Its roof is elaborately groined, and supported on arched ribs, springing from clustered pilasters richly ornamented. The walls are embellished with a series of twenty-one canopied niches, between which are lancet-shaped windows of peculiar delicacy, and behind them are recesses in the thickness of the walls, probably appropriated to the principal officers of the garrison, or to persons of rank residing at the castle. A narrow corridor, formed in the walls, is carried nearly round the whole building, with the exception of the north-west side, affording communication with the principal state apartments, which, though not equal in splendour to those of Carnarvon and Conway, display abundant evidence of departed grandeur. Within the area are a tennis-court and a bowling-green, open to the public; and the pleasantness of the situation, and the taste with which the grounds have been laid out, render the place a favourite resort of the inhabitants. In August, 1832, a congress of bards, or royal eisteddvod, was held in the inner quadrangle of the castle, under the patronage of Sir Richard Bulkeley; it was attended by most of the gentry of the neighbouring counties, and honoured with the presence of Her Majesty, then Princess Victoria, and Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Kent, who had been residing in the neighbourhood during the summer months.
Baron Hill, the seat of Sir R. B. Williams Bulkeley, was originally built in 1618, by Sir Richard Bulkeley, a distinguished personage in the reign of James I., and was much enlarged and improved by its late possessor, under the superintendence of Mr. Samuel Wyatt, architect. The house is beautifully situated on an eminence above the town, to which it is open in the front; it has an extensive lawn, and is sheltered in the rear and on each side by woods of luxuriant foliage. The view from the mansion is justly esteemed one of the finest in the principality, extending over the bay of Beaumaris with the grand opening of the Menai strait, bounded by a noble range of rocks and mountains, rising in the form of a vast amphitheatre, and including some of the principal mountains of Snowdon, whose summits of varied form soar in romantic grandeur above the surrounding heights, and whose verdant and well-cultivated bases slope gradually to the margin of the water. The great promontory of Penmaen Mawr, and the vast rock of Llandudno, or the Great Orme's Head, of barren and rugged aspect, form a striking contrast to the milder features of the scenery in the neighbourhood of Baron Hill, and aid in producing that variety which constitutes its superior beauty. Within the grounds is the stone coffin in which the Princess Joan, daughter of King John, and wife of Llewelyn, Prince of North Wales, was interred in the priory of Llanvaes. This relic, on the dissolution of that establishment, was removed, and, after lying neglected on a farm near the spot for many years, was bought by the late Lord Bulkeley, and placed under a temple which that nobleman erected in the park, in honour of her memory. The covering slab of the coffin is of very elegant workmanship, bearing a semi-effigy of the princess, peculiar for the head-dress and ornament of the neck, and especially for having the hands lying open on the breast, towards the spectator. The lower part of the slab is filled with beautiful foliated branches, exactly corresponding in style with the illuminated manuscripts of the period: the stem is seized by the mouth of a winged dragon. An engraving of this early monumental effigy is given in the Archæologia Cambrensis.
Among the other seats in the neighbourhood may be enumerated Red Hill, the Friary, Plâs Llangoed, Cadnant, and Hênllŷs, anciently the seat of Gweirydd ab Rhŷs Gôch, one of the fifteen tribes of North Wales, and of his posterity until the conquest of Wales by Edward I., who removed them to Bôdlewyddan, in the county of Flint, by an exchange of property, granting the estates belonging to them and other freeholders to the corporation.
Beeston, or Biston
BEESTON, or BISTON, a township, in the parish and union of Wrexham, hundred of Bromfield, county of Denbigh, North Wales, ¾ of a mile (S. W.) from Wrexham; containing 101 inhabitants. It is assessed separately for the maintenance of its poor, according to a regulation entered into in 1830. The impropriate tithes of Beeston and Gourton have been commuted for a rent-charge of £165. 19.: a rent-charge of 5s. is paid to the vicar of Wrexham.
BEGELLY (BUGELI), a parish, in the union and hundred of Narberth, county of Pembroke, South Wales, 5 miles (S. by E.) from Narberth, on the road to Tenby; containing, with the chapelry of Williamston, which supports its own poor, 1159 inhabitants. The substratum in this parish is coal, of excellent quality, and in great request for the drying of malt and hops by the proprietors of breweries and distilleries. It is principally procured by a company under Lord Milford and J. M. Childe, Esq., who are the chief proprietors of the soil, and receive one-sixth part, as their share of the produce: there are some smaller proprietors, who exact one-fifth, and even one-fourth part from those who work only on a limited scale. A tramway from the mines leads over King's Moor to Saundersfoot, in the parish of St. Issels, and greatly contributes to promote the interests of the neighbourhood, which will be further enhanced by the Tenby, Saundersfoot, and South Wales railway company, formed under act of parliament in 1846. Iron-ore is also found, both above and below the coal, and, during the existence of the Penbrey Iron Company, was procured in great quantities; but since the stoppage of the company's works, the search for it has been discontinued. It seems likely, however, to be again wrought extensively. The shale which is found with the coal exhibits many interesting specimens of the fern and reed plants, and pyrites of iron has been discovered.
The living is a discharged rectory, rated in the king's books at £12. 19. 2.; present net income, £216, with a glebe-house; patron, Lord Milford. The church is an ancient structure in the early style of English architecture, with a lofty tower, and is pleasantly situated near Begelly Hall, by the trees surrounding which it is partly concealed. The chapel of Williamston is a rude structure without a tower, standing in the hamlet of that name. The rectoryhouse is situated on part of a stratum of coal, which has been wrought all round it: if the excavation had been continued, it would have endangered the stability of the building. Here is a place of worship for Calvinistic Methodists. From fifty to sixty children are instructed in a Church day school, chiefly supported by subscription; and there are two Sunday schools conducted gratuitously, in one of which, in connexion with the Church, are about eighty children, and in the other, belonging to the Calvinistic Methodists, about forty. Near the parsonagehouse are the remains of a cromlech, which has been thrown down; and in its vicinity is a tumulus, raised probably to the memory of some chieftain.
BEGUILDY (BUGEILDY), a parish, in the union and hundred of Knighton, county of Radnor, South Wales, 6½ miles (N. W. by W.) from Knighton; comprising the upper and lower divisions, and containing 1051 inhabitants. This place is situated on the road leading from Knighton to Newtown, and on the river Teme, which separates it from the county of Salop. It is bounded on the north and east by the parishes of Bettws and Llanvair-Waterdine, in Salop, on the south-east by the parish of Heyop, on the south by Llangunllo, on the southwest by Llanbister and Llanano, on the west by Llanbadarn-Vynydd, and on the north and north-west by Kerry in Montgomeryshire. It comprises between 7000 and 8000 acres, of which about 1250 are arable, 600 woodland, and the rest pasture. The surface is in general greatly diversified by hill and dale, mountains and valleys, abrupt precipices and gentle declivities; in the midst of which is a long narrow tract of great fertility, affording pasturage for cattle: on the hills are fed vast numbers of sheep, which form the principal dependence of the farmers. The neighbourhood abounds with pleasing and picturesque scenery, ornamented in many parts with plantations of oak and ash; and the higher grounds, comprising the Black mountain, and the Beacon and Cavysty hills, command extensive and finely varied prospects over the counties of Radnor, Montgomery, and Salop. The soil is dry and light, and produces very good oats, which are much more cultivated than wheat or barley; potatoes and turnips have also been much grown during the last few years. There are several quarries from which good building-stone is obtained; and two mills for grinding corn. Part of the borough of Cnwclas, or Knucklass, is within the parish, the remainder being in that of Heyop; and the courthouse in which the burgesses of that place are elected, is situated in the township of Beguildy. The parish contains the hamlets of Velindre, Beguildy, Crûg-yByddar, Mudwalledd, and Pennant; which are distinct as regards the collection of the county stock and the repair of the roads, but are united for the maintenance of the poor.
The living is a discharged vicarage, rated in the king's books at £7. 15. 7½.; patron, the Bishop of St. David's; impropriators, the Dean and Chapter of St. David's. The vicarial tithes of the Church township have been commuted for a rent-charge of £190, and the glebe comprises ten acres, valued at £18 per annum; with a glebe-house. The church, dedicated to St. Michael, is in the early English style, and consists of a nave and chancel, but is not remarkable for its architectural character; it is eighty feet in length and twenty-five in breadth, and contains 350 sittings. At Velindre is a place of worship for Wesleyan Methodists. A free school was endowed by Lord Robert Wharton, with a rent-charge of £10 on an estate called Maesgwynne, formerly the property of the noble family of Harley, but sold by the late Earl of Oxford. The Rev. John Davies, in 1741, bequeathed £100 to poor housekeepers of the parish; and the Rev. Vavasour Griffiths, in the same year, bequeathed £20: these sums are now secured on the tenement of Pant-y-Garragl, and produce a rentcharge of £4. 16., which, together with £2. 6. an overplus of the rent-charge payable to the schoolmaster, is divided shortly before Christmas among the poor who have not received parochial relief within the year. Here are the remains of an ancient British fortification, said to have been occupied by the renowned Uthyr Pendragon; and at the foot of a hill is a place called the Bloody Field, where a battle is said to have been fought. On the south-western border of the parish is the site of Knucklass Castle, on the summit of a conical artificial mound.
BERRIEW (ABER-RHIW), a village and parish, in the union of Forden, partly in the hundred of Cawrse, liberties of the borough of Welshpool, but chiefly in the lower division of the hundred of Newtown, county of Montgomery, North Wales, 5 miles (S. S. W.) from Welshpool; containing 2259 inhabitants. This village derives its name from being situated near the junction of the river Rhiw with the Severn, from which point it is distant about three quarters of a mile, on the banks of the Rhiw, on the road between Welshpool and Newtown. The parish consists of about 12,000 acres, and is wholly inclosed, the waste lands, amounting to some thousands of acres, in the manor of Cedewain, having been allotted pursuant to an act obtained in 1796. Flannel is manufactured to a limited extent. The Montgomeryshire canal passes through the parish, and is carried over the Rhiw, near the village, by an aqueduct of four arches. The high grounds, especially the Byrwydd, about three miles north-west of the village, command very extensive and richly-diversified prospects of the fertile vales of Severn, Montgomery, Salop, and Manavon, studded with numerous villages and mansions; and of the principal mountains in North Wales, Salop, &c.
The village presents a cheerful and pleasing appearance, containing several good houses and neat white-washed cottages: a daily mail to and from London passes through it. The ancient mansion of Vaenor occupies an elevated situation in a park tolerably well wooded. It formerly belonged to the family of Price, an heiress of which being married to George Devereux, Esq., in the seventeenth century, it became the property of the Viscounts Hereford: the estate is now in the possession of John Lyon Winder, Esq., nephew of the late John Winder, Esq., who has rebuilt the house in the most magnificent manner, preserving the old Elizabethan style of architecture. The gardens, and particularly the terrace, are much admired. There are several other genteel residences in the parish, namely, Glàn Severn, a handsome stone edifice, situated in grounds beautifully laid out, through which the river Severn pursues a winding course; Bôd Heilin, occupying a romantic situation on the slope, and near the summit, of a well-wooded hill, which commands a delightful view of the vales of Severn and Montgomery; the house of Rhiwport; Garthmael Hall; Pennant; Bryncwmysir; Brithdir Hall; and Rhiwbank, or Lower Vaenor. The petty sessions for the lower division of the hundred are held at Berriew on the first Saturday in every month.
The living is a vicarage, rated in the king's books at £13. 6. 8.; patron, the Bishop of St. Asaph; impropriator, Lord Sudeley. The great tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £793, and the vicarial for one of £445, with a glebe of 1½ acre, and a glebe-house; the tithes of the parish-clerk produce £12 per annum. The church, dedicated to St. Beuno, is a neat modern structure, with a square tower surmounted with pinnacles. There are places of worship for Baptists and Wesleyan Methodists. Humphrey Jones, Esq., of Garthmael, by will dated February 26th, 1652, devised to trustees, for the foundation and endowment of a free school at Berriew, the rectory of Bettws, and certain lands and tenements, called Cwm Madoc Ucheldre, in the parish of Trêgynon, which he held as a security for the sum of £400 advanced on mortgage. In the event of the mortgage being redeemed, the testator directed that the sum should be invested in the mortgage of other premises. This having taken place, the sum of £400 was expended in 1754, together with £50 arising from a bequest by Rees Evans and belonging to the poor, in the purchase of an estate called Penarth, in the parish of Llanvair, now consisting of nearly 146 acres, 15½ of which are woodland, and an allotment of 43¼ acres subsequently added under an inclosure act; the whole producing £72 per annum to the charity. The old school-house, being in a dilapidated state, was pulled down in 1819, and a neat and substantial stone structure was erected as a National school, at an expense of £1580, defrayed partly from the funds of the charity, which had accumulated during a suspension of the school, and partly by subscription. Both boys and girls are taught, but the mistress derives her salary from subscriptions, and not from the endowment, which appears to be exclusively applied towards the support of the boys' department. The master receives a salary of £40, and is allowed to take private scholars; the mistress receives £20, and they have a house and garden rent-free. The children pay a small sum weekly, to form a fund for fuel and repairs. Several Sunday schools are supported by the dissenters.
Various bequests have been made for the benefit of the poor, to be applied in the distribution of bread and clothes, and in apprenticing children. The most considerable of these, are, a gift of £200 by the above-mentioned Humphrey Jones for apprenticing poor children, the proceeds of which, £9, are so employed, in premiums not exceeding £5 each; an annual sum of £6. 5. 7. for the poor, received from Hannah Lloyd's charity at Castle Caer-Einion; and the interest of £86. 17. 7., being the proportion of this parish for timber cut on the property of the charity, applied to the above fund for putting out apprentices. With Mrs. Lloyd's charity for the poor are placed a charge of £2 by Anne Morris, another of 10s. by Morris Thomas, a gift of £50 by Viscount Hereford, and one of £20 by Ann Higgins; producing, with the £6. 5. 7., a total sum of £11. 15. 7. for distribution among the poor at Easter and Christmas. Besides these, a rent-charge of £1 by Oliver Rees, and one of £3 by Edward Edwards, are appropriated in clothing; and the poor receive from the parties on whose properties they are charged, a rent-charge of £3 by Mrs. Margaret Corbet, and another of £2 by Rees Jones. A benefaction of £2. 12. per annum, the rent of a tenement bequeathed by Mrs. Bridget Devereux, is distributed in bread on every second Sunday: a few other small charities have been lost. This is one of the parishes incorporated, by an act passed in the 32nd of George III., for the maintenance of their poor in a house of industry at Forden.
In the township of Allt, between the canal and the road leading to Welshpool, is a tumulus; and on the top of Cevn-yr-Allt are the remains of a British encampment: there is also an encampment in the township of Frith, near the road from Berriew to Castle Caer-Einion. Maen Beuno, a stone pillar bearing the name of the patron saint of the church, is still standing in the township of Berriew, between the Welshpool road and the river Severn.
BERSHAM-DRELINCOURT, a chapelry, in the parish and union of Wrexham, hundred of Bromfield, county of Denbigh, North Wales, 2 miles (W. by N.) from Wrexham; the township of Bersham containing 1716 inhabitants. In or near this chapelry are extensive paper-mills, situated upon the river Clywedog; and the whole district abounds with valuable mines of iron and coal. The township comprises 1901 acres. The living is a perpetual curacy, endowed with £16 per annum private benefaction, £600 royal bounty, and £600 parliamentary grant; net income, £90; patron, the Bishop of St. Asaph. The vicarial tithes of the township, payable to the incumbent of Wrexham, have been commuted for a rent-charge of £240; and the impropriate, for one of £174. 10. The chapel, known by the local name of "Capel Madam," is situated at the southwestern extremity of the township of Broughton. Attached to it is a school for the instruction of twenty poor girls, founded in 1762, by Anne, Dowager Viscountess Primerose, who endowed it with lands, &c., under the superintendence of trustees, including the Bishop of St. Asaph, the Governors of Queen Anne's Bounty, and others. All the children are clothed, and half of the number lodged and maintained, at the expense of the charity, which is open to the parishes of Wrexham and Llanvair-Dyfryn-Clwyd. At Bersham is a well-built school, established in 1842 by the Harris family, by whom considerably more than half the expenses are defrayed, the remainder being met by school-fees and subscriptions. That celebrated relic of Anglo-Saxon antiquity, Wat's Dyke, passes in the vicinity, nearly in a direction from south to north, and is perfect throughout the whole of its course here. The inhabitants of the township are assessed separately for the maintenance of their poor, pursuant to an arrangement made in 1830.
BERWICK, a hamlet, in the parish and union of Llanelly, hundred of Carnawllon, county of Carmarthen, South Wales; containing 981 inhabitants. An ancient chapel here having fallen into ruin, was lately rebuilt.
BERWYN, with Croes, a hamlet, in the parish and union of Trêgaron, upper division of the hundred of Penarth, county of Cardigan, South Wales, 3½ miles (E. by S.) from Trêgaron. In this wild and mountainous district is Llŷn Berwyn, a small lake, from which issues a stream called the Berwyn, which, after joining the Croes, falls into the Teivy a little below the town of Trêgaron.
BETHGELART (BEDD-GELERT), a parish, in the union of Festiniog, partly in the hundred of Eivionydd, Eivionydd division, and partly in that of Isgorvai, Arvon division, of the county of Carnarvon, and partly in the hundred of Ardudwy, county of Merioneth, North Wales, 13 miles (S. E. by S.) from Carnarvon; containing 1397 inhabitants. This extensive parish, anciently called Llan-Ybor, contained a priory, founded, according to some writers, about the year 1198, by Llewelyn the Great, in gratitude for the preservation of his infant son from the attack of a wolf, which, during the absence of the family upon a hunting excursion, had entered the house, and which his favourite greyhound Gelert had killed, while attempting to seize the child in its cradle. According to the well-known legendary story, Llewelyn, on his return from the chase, perceiving the mouth of the dog stained with blood, hastened to the nursery, and finding the cradle overturned, and the floor streaming with blood, rashly concluded that his son had been killed by the hound, and instantly drew his sword and stabbed the faithful animal. But on removing the cradle, he found his child unhurt, and sleeping quietly by the side of the wolf, which the watchful Gelert had killed. Stung with remorse, Llewelyn erected a tomb over the dog's grave, not far from which the conventual church was afterwards built; and from this circumstance the place obtained the appellation of Bedd-Gelert, or "the Grave of Gelert." But Mr. Rowlands has traced the existence of this monastic establishment to a period long anterior to the above, even prior to the reign of Owain Gwynedd, from whom it received an endowment of lands, &c., which was augmented by Llewelyn.
Having been nearly destroyed by fire, about the year 1283, the priory was repaired by Edward I., assisted by Anianus, Bishop of Bangor, who granted ample indulgences to all that should contribute towards the rebuilding of it; and who, in his edicts for this purpose, describes it as being, with the exception of those of Bardsey and Bangor-Iscoed, the oldest religious establishment in the principality. It flourished till the time of Henry VIII., who annexed it to the abbey of Chertsey, in the county of Surrey; and the priory was subsequently, together with that establishment, given by the same monarch to Bisham Abbey, in the county of Berks. Its revenue, at the Dissolution, amounted to £69. 3. 8. There are still some remains of the building, the parochial church being considered to be the conventual church; the architecture corresponds to the date of the re-edification under Edward I., and on the southern side traces of foundations have been laid bare at different times, indicating, no doubt, monastic buildings. All the lands in the county of Carnarvon belonging to the ancient priory, were granted by King Edward VI., in the second year of his reign, to Robert and Henry Bodvel.
This parish forms an extensive mountainous district, bounded on the north by the parish of BettwsGarmon, on the north-east by Dolwyddelan and Llanrhychwyn, on the south by Ynyscynhaiarn, on the south-east by Llanvrothen, on the west by Llanvihangel-y-Pennant, and on the north-west by Llandwrog and Llanwnda. It comprises an area of 26,716 acres, chiefly pasture and mountain sheep-walks, and abounds with strikingly romantic scenery, diversified with lofty mountains of various elevation and character, luxuriant vales, expansive lakes, woods containing almost every kind of timber, with groves and plantations of larch and other trees of the richest verdure; and comprehending an almost endless variety of prospects of surpassing interest. Its limits reach to the summit of the towering Snowdon, including nearly the whole of its southern side and base, as well as the mountains Moel Hebog, Aran, Graig Gôch, and Mynydd Mawr, with part of Siabod, all of which, though secondary to Snowdon, are mountains of lofty elevation.
The village, which is small, but in which an excellent inn has been built, on account of the increase of visiters to this interesting neighbourhood, is delightfully situated at the confluence of the rivers Glâslyn and Colwyn, which rise in the adjacent mountains. To the north-west of it the road passes near the small lakes Llŷn-y-Cader and Llŷn-yDywerch, beyond which is the broad lake Llŷn Cwellyn, at the base of Mynydd Mawr, a mountain of precipitous elevation, which in this part, receding in a curve, forms a bold and rugged barrier to this fine sheet of water. The lake is more than a mile and a half in length, and about three quarters of a mile broad; the water is beautifully transparent, and abounds with char, a fish peculiar to mountain lakes. At the extremity of the lake, and upon a bold rocky precipice in the mountain, is Castell Cidwm, a natural fortress which served to defend this important pass into the regions of Snowdon, where, from the earliest ages, the native Welsh found a secure retreat, in cases of extreme danger, and a rallying point for their efforts in repelling the invaders of their country. To the west is the mountain pass called Drws-y-Coed, in the parish of Llandwrog, where are some productive copper-mines; and beyond are two fine lakes adjoining each other, called Llŷniau Nantlle, from which the summit of Snowdon is seen, through a vista between the intervening mountains, with singular grandeur of effect.
On the north-east of the village, an opening between the mountains forms the beautifully romantic pass of Nant Gwynant, memorable for the sanguinary battle fought between the forces of the Earl of Pembroke and those of Ievan ab Robert, in the reign of Edward IV. Along this delightful vale, the name of which implies "the vale of waters," passes the road to Capel Curig, extending for five or six miles through a continued succession of richly varied scenery, unsurpassed for picturesque beauty and for sublimity. In some parts are seen clear and expansive lakes, reflecting the sides of the lofty mountains by which they are inclosed; in others, luxuriant meadows and fertile plains, intersected by numerous rivulets; and in others, craggy cliffs over which the mountain torrent forms frequent cataracts, together with barren rocks, and the most dreary sterility. A mile up the valley, is the isolated rocky eminence called Dinas Emrys, celebrated as the spot where Vortigern is said to have assembled his council of wise men, or magicians, in 449, and also as the residence of the renowned Merlin. The summit of this rock forms an extensive area, defended with walls of loose stones, and accessible only on one side: the entrance appears to have been guarded by two towers, and within the area are the foundations of circular buildings of loose stones, the walls of which are about five feet in thickness. On the margin of Llŷn Gwynant, one of the principal lakes in this romantic vale, are the ruins of a small ancient chapel, called Capel Nant Gwynant, that belonged to Bethgelart. The road to Capel Curig extends beyond the point of the mountain Siabod, where it joins the pass of Llanberis, through which a road to Carnarvon was opened in 1831.
To the south of the village is the pass of Pont Aber Glâslyn, which is somewhat narrow at the entrance, and becomes gradually more contracted by the approach of the mountains, leaving scarcely room for the river, which rushes with violence along its rocky channel. The scenery in this vale is rudely magnificent: the mountains rise to an amazing height, and towards the vale present a series of huge precipices, towering above each other at irregular intervals, with rugged masses of projecting cliffs, threatening every moment to detach themselves from their lofty heights, and fall into the vale. At the extremity of the pass is a bridge of one arch, thirty feet in the span, thrown over a chasm of tremendous depth, between two steep precipices; the bridge bounds the counties of Carnarvon and Merioneth, and forms the principal communication between them. This spot is celebrated as the place where the princes of Meirion received the sign of the cross from Baldwin, Archbishop of Canterbury, when he was preaching the crusades throughout the principality. Near it is a cataract, formed by a mountain torrent obstructed in its descent by shelving ledges of projecting rock. The lake Glâslyn, or the Blue Lake, so called from the transparency of its waters, is the source of the river of that name; and within the parish are numerous other lakes, besides those already described, among which may be noticed Llyn Dinas, Llyn Llydaw, Llyn yr Adar, and Llyn Duwaunydd. Of the several beautiful mansions and estates, the chief are, Plâs Gwynant, at the head of Llyn Dinas; Bryn Gwynant, situated on an acclivity overhanging Llyn Gwynant; and Dôlvriog, where considerable plantations have been formed within the present century by W. M. Thackeray, Esq., M.D., in a most beautiful valley, rich in wood and water.
Slate is quarried; and a little to the south of the village, and near Pont Aber Glâslyn, copper-ore has been found in great abundance. The copper-mines were originally worked many years ago; but the copper was so intermixed with other ores, as to render it very difficult of separation with any advantage to the proprietors. About the year 1800, the high price of ore induced some adventurers to renew the works, from which great quantities of ore were obtained; but they were again discontinued, and remained in a neglected state till 1819, when they were re-opened. From that period many hundred tons were procured annually for some years, but no mines are now worked. Fairs are held in the parish on August 18th and September 23rd.
The living is a perpetual curacy, endowed with £800 royal bounty; net income, £90: the patronage and impropriation belong to Mr. Priestley, whose tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £130. The church, dedicated to St. Mary, and formerly connected with the priory, is a neat and spacious structure, 77 feet in length and 26½ in breadth. It is built in the early English style; in the north wall are two lofty sharply-pointed arches, which communicated with a north aisle, and at the east end is a handsome lancet-shaped window of three lights. In the village is a place of worship for Calvinistic Methodists, who have three others in various parts of the parish. A day school is partly supported by subscriptions among the dissenters, averaging about £7 per annum, and partly by payments from the parents of the children. There are also four Sunday schools, gratuitously conducted by the dissenters, affording instruction to several hundred persons of both sexes. W. Wynne bequeathed a rent-charge of £2. 13., for providing coats for six poor men of the parish, and other uses. Maurice Wynne, also, gave a rent-charge of £2. 13. 4. for educating one boy in the school at Bangor; and Mrs. Jones, in 1743, bequeathed £50, directing the interest to be distributed annually among ten widows; but these two bequests are supposed to be lost. Some beautiful quartz crystals are found in the mountains in the parish, more particularly in Snowdon, of a clear diamond-like transparency, and in the form of a regular hexagonal prism: they are known by the appellation of Welsh diamonds. In the township of Nantmor resided two distinguished bards of the fifteenth century, Rhŷs Gôch o Eryri, the favourite bard of Owain Glyndwr, and Davydd Nantmor, both of whom were natives of the parish, and were interred in the churchyard.
BETTESFIELD, a township, in the parish of Hanmer, union of Ellesmere, hundred of Maelor, county of Flint, North Wales, 4 miles (E. N. E.) from Ellesmere; containing 370 inhabitants. It is situated on the border of Shropshire, and the road from Ellesmere to Whitchurch passes through it. Bettesfield Park, the ancient residence of the family of Hanmer, was the birthplace of Sir Thomas Hanmer, Speaker of the House of Commons in the reign of Queen Anne: it is described in the article on the parish. A portion of the tithes of the township was bequeathed by Sir John Hanmer, Bart., in 1624, to the support of a learned preacher in the church of Hanmer. The impropriate tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £276. 15. 10., and those payable to the vicar for one of £71. 7., with a glebe of 7 acres, valued at £14 per annum.