A Topographical Dictionary of Wales. Originally published by S Lewis, London, 1849.
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LLANSILIN (LLAN-SILIN), a parish, in the union of Oswestry, principally in the Cynlleth division of the hundred of Chirk, county of Denbigh, North Wales; extending also into the English county of Salop, in which it comprises the township of Sychdin, or Soughton; and containing 2083 inhabitants, of whom 1832 are in the county of Denbigh, which contains the village, 6 miles (W. S. W.) from Oswestry. This parish is from seven to eight miles in length, and from four to five in breadth, and is finely situated on the river Cynlleth: the lands are inclosed and in a high state of cultivation; the soil is fertile and productive. The surrounding scenery is richly varied, and the views over the adjacent country abound with variety. Glâsgoed, an ancient seat of the family of Kyffin, afterwards conveyed by marriage to Sir William Williams, Speaker of the House of Commons, and now the property of his descendant, Sir Watkin Williams Wynn, Bart., is an interesting feature in the scenery of the place. Plâs Newydd, formerly the seat of a branch of the Myddeltons of Chirk Castle; and Pen-y-Bont, at one period the property of the family of Maurice, are also within the parish. Here was likewise a residence of Owain Glyndwr's, called Sycharth, which was seated on an eminence, and surrounded by a park, containing fish-ponds, deer, &c., the beauties of which are described by his bard, Iolo Gôch, in a poem still extant. It was occupied by this chief before his removal to Glyn-Dyvrdwy, or the Valley of the Dee, between Llangollen and Corwen, where Sycharth has commonly, but erroneously, been supposed to have stood. The court of the manor of Cynlleth Owain was kept in the parlour of the mansion, until towards the close of the last century: at present there are scarcely any remains of the building. Above the house are the ruins of a keep, or castellet, surrounded with a high mound and deep ditch. The manufacture of flannel is carried on to a small extent: on the river Cynlleth is a fulling-mill, which prepares the flannel for the Montgomeryshire markets; and another small concern is chiefly employed in spinning yarn for the manufacturers at Oswestry. Fairs, chiefly for the sale of live stock, are annually held in the village on April 5th, July 10th, and September 21st.
The living is a vicarage, rated in the king's books at £8; present net income, £307, with a house; patron, the Bishop of St. Asaph. The tithes of the Welsh portion of the parish, consisting of several townships, have been commuted for £655, of which a sum of £431. 2. 2. is payable to the Dean and Chapter of St. Asaph, with a glebe attached of nearly 5½ acres; £219 to the vicar, who has also two small glebes; and £5 to the parish-clerk. The church, dedicated to St. Giles, is a spacious and handsome structure, in the later style of English architecture, with a very neat tower, erected in 1831. At Rhydycroesan, on the confines of the parish, is a second church, consecrated in August 1838, and containing 300 sittings, of which 200 are free: the living is a perpetual curacy, in the Bishop's gift; income, £100. There are places of worship for dissenters; a day school in connexion with the Church, having an endowment of £4 per annum; another school belonging to no particular religious body; and five Sunday schools, one of which is conducted on Church principles.
Watkin Kyffin, in 1700, bequeathed £52, and Edward Maurice, in 1732, left £26, the interest of both sums for distribution weekly in bread to the poor. In 1740 Sir William Williams bequeathed to the parish the sum of £200, and the estates of the Williams family having come into the possession of the house of Wynnstay, on the union of the two families by marriage, it is supposed that a sum of £10, annually paid before Christmas by the agent of Sir W. W. Wynn, is the interest of this legacy, now become a charge on the estate. Among the other benefactors of the parish were Sir William Myddelton, who, in 1717, bequeathed £20; Mrs. Ann Myddelton, who left £42; Richard Williams and John Foulkes, who each left £20; and Mr. Price Maurice, £27: these are among the consolidated charities, which include other minor gifts, and, with the proceeds arising from some portions of land severally bequeathed by Edward ap Thomas in 1657, by Mrs. Rogers, and others, form a fund for distribution to the poor on St. Thomas's day.
William Maurice, a gentleman of landed property and good family, also a learned antiquary, and an industrious collector and transcriber of Welsh manuscripts, resided at Cevnybraich, in the parish, where he built a library, three stories high, adjoining to his house, in which he spent most of his time in the study of Welsh literature. He died between the years 1680 and 1690, and his valuable collection of Welsh manuscripts is preserved in the Wynnstay library. According to a note-book of Mr. Maurice's, now at Wynnstay, giving an account of the civil war in North Wales, it appears that part of the army of Charles I. marched from Montgomeryshire, in September 1645, through Llansilin, towards Chester, then besieged by the parliament; and we learn from the same narrative, that in the following month of February, "the Montgomeryshire forces began to fortifie Llansilin churche, for the straightninge and keeping-inn of Chirk Castle men, where Sir John Watts was governor" in the king's interest. An anecdote connected with the presence of the parliamentary forces in Llansilin, is still preserved among the inhabitants. Some soldiers, it is said, attacked the strongly-built farmhouse of Tymawr, where they anticipated no opposition, but the doors were shut against them, and they failed in making good their entrance; the place was defended for some time, and at length, by throwing out some hives of bees, the inmates compelled the assailants to retire. William Maurice's manuscript account of the civil war, above mentioned, is printed in the Archæologia Cambrensis for January 1846. Huw Morris, the poet, as he is emphatically called, because he excelled all others in the smooth and flowing awen, or song writing, was a native of the parish. He was born at Pont-yMeibion in the valley of Ceiriog, in 1622, and died in 1709, as appears from his tombstone in the churchyard, having lived in six reigns, exclusively of the period of the commonwealth. His songs, carols, and other pieces, some hundreds in number, and many of them adapted to the times, being collected, were published in two volumes, at Wrexham, in 1823.
Llanspythid, or Llanspyddid (Llan-Spyddyd)
LLANSPYTHID, or LLANSPYDDID (LLAN-SPYDDYD), a parish, comprising the hamlets of Llanspythid, Modrŷdd, and Penpont, in the hundred of Devynock, union and county of Brecknock, South Wales; containing 482 inhabitants, of whom 212 are in the hamlet of Llanspythid, or the Church Hamlet, 2 miles (W.) from Brecknock. The original name of this place, "Llany-Spitty," of which its modern appellation is said to be a corruption, is derived from an ancient hospitium, formerly supported here by the priory of Malvern, in the county of Worcester, to which establishment Milo Fitz-Walter granted the manor and advowson. The parish comprises 9044 acres, of which 4509 are common or waste land. Of this area, the hamlet of Llanspythid contains 2300 acres, of which 1000 are common; that of Modryd, 4774 acres, of which 3221 are common; and that of Penpont, 1970 acres, of which 288 are common. The parish is bounded on the north by the river Usk, over which are three bridges, situated respectively at Aberbrân, Abercamlais, and Penpont: of these, the first was built and is kept in repair at the joint expense of the hundreds of Devynock and Merthyr-Cynog, and the other two, which are private property, are repaired by the proprietors of the lands in which they are situated. In the lower part, the parish is intersected by the turnpike-road between Brecknock and Carmarthen, from which, near the former town, a branch leads through the upper part of the parish to Merthyr-Tydvil.
The village is situated on the south bank of the river, embosomed in a luxuriant grove of stately trees; the surrounding scenery is highly picturesque, and the views over the Vale of Usk and the adjacent country are rich in every variety of beauty. From the village towards Aberbrân the vale is exceedingly narrow; but the view of the river below Venni-Vâch wood, with the wooded heights that inclose the vale, is beautifully picturesque, and rendered more pleasing by the addition of the church of Aberyscir. Beyond Aberbrân the river expands considerably; and it is seen winding its devious course through the fine grounds of Penpont, a seat in the hamlet of that name, which is noticed under its own head, and in which it forms an interesting and highly ornamental feature. Abercamlais, a good residence; and the remains of Aberbrân, the ancient seat of the Williams family, are in the same hamlet; all three being within two miles of each other, on the south bank of the Usk. Cevn Parc, another house in the parish, is situated on a gentle eminence, commanding a delightful view of the vale below, and a prospect of the town of Brecknock.
The living is a discharged vicarage, rated in the king's books at £5. 17. 8½. The tithes of the parish have been commuted for £417, of which, with the exception of £55 payable to an impropriator out of the commutation for the hamlet of Penpont, twothirds belong to the Marquess Camden, who is patron, and one-third to the vicar, who has also a glebe of four acres, valued at £6 per annum. The commutation for Llanspythid, or Church Hamlet, amounts to £200, included in the above sum. The church, dedicated to St. Cattwc, and situated near the high road, is a long low building, consisting of a nave and chancel, with a small belfry at the west end. The churchyard is planted with yew-trees, several of which have attained a prodigious growth, but are now beginning to decay; these are considered to be some of the finest in the county, and one of them is twenty-seven feet in girth. In the churchyard was formerly an ancient stone, inscribed with a rude cross, said to have commemorated Brychan, Prince of Brycheiniog, or his father. The vicaragehouse is a very indifferent building, situated in the village. In the hamlet of Penpont is a chapel called Bettws; and there are places of worship in the parish for Baptists and Calvinistic Methodists, the latter of which is in the hamlet of Modrydd. A Church day school is held; also two Sunday schools, one of them in connexion with the Church, the other belonging to the Baptists. Tobias Williams, in 1663, left a rent-charge of £2. 12. on the lands of Modrŷdd, to be distributed in bread to poor widows. Mrs. Catherine Games, in 1721, bequeathed the sum of £300, the produce, after deducting a certain payment, to be given in bread to the poor of the parishes of Llanspythid, and St. David's, Brecon, and the chapelry of St. Mary's, Brecon; and a poor woman from this place is eligible to form one of the twelve sisters in the hospital founded by the same benevolent lady and Mrs. Walker in the parish of St. David's.
On a hill above Aberbrân are the remains of a small encampment, termed the Gaer, apparently of British origin; it is nearly of an oval form, and is defended by a single rampart. This fortification, which crowns the hill, commands a magnificent view of the Vale of Usk, with the windings of the river, on the opposite bank of which, and immediately in front of the Gaer, is another eminence, crowned with a similar intrenchment. In the vale, not far from the influx of a small rivulet into the Usk, near Penpont, was a castle, built by Einon Sais, a Welsh chieftain, who attended Edward III. in most of his wars, and was present at the memorable battles of Cressy and Poictiers: this castle afterwards descended to Sir David Gam, but not a vestige of it is now distinguishable. At some distance to the south-west, at a place called Blaengwithid, are traces of the "Sarn Lleon," a Roman road, originally extending from the station Deva (Chester) to Nidum (Neath). After passing an artificial mound, supposed to have been the site of an exploratory station, and subsequently of a fort, or keep, probably constructed in the reign of John, by Maud de St. Valeri, wife of William de Breos, the road is lost in its course into the Vale of Usk, where it crossed the Via Julia Montana from Caerleon, by the "Gaer" near Brecknock, to Maridunum.
LLANSTADWELL (LLAN-STUDWAL), a parish, in the hundred of Rhôs, union and county of Pembroke, South Wales, 3 miles (E. by S.) from Milford; containing 833 inhabitants. It is situated on the northern shore of Milford Haven, and comprises a considerable tract of fertile and wellcultivated land, with some portions of hilly ground, which, from its steepness, is but ill adapted to repay the expense and labour of cultivation. The agriculture is not indifferent; but there are few farmers of much capital, and others display little inclination to adopt the English systems. A visible improvement has taken place in the general roads, but they are yet far from good, which is the more to be regretted, as the communication between the adjacent towns of Haverfordwest, Milford, and Pembroke-Dock is on the increase. Owing to the contiguity of the dockyard, which is immediately opposite the parish on the other side of the Haven, the population has been very considerably augmented of late years. It was once in contemplation to construct a dockyard at Nayland, in the parish, and some lands in the vicinity were purchased, on both sides of the harbour, on which to erect works for its security and defence. Considerable progress was made in the erection of one of the fortresses on the south side of the Haven, but upon the death of Sir John Philipps (father of the late Lord Milford), who was the principal promoter of the design, the plan was abandoned, after two ships of war only had been built, the "Prince of Wales," of seventy-four guns, and the "Milford" frigate. The surrounding scenery is varied, combining the fine expanse of water in the Haven on the south, and the spacious open Channel on the west, with extensive tracts of richly cultivated country on the north and east. In the vicinity are several good houses, of which the parish contains Jordanston, Hayston, and Newton, the last a dilapidated old house on a valuable estate.
The living is a discharged vicarage, rated in the king's books at £7. 17., endowed with £200 royal bounty and £200 parliamentary grant, and in the patronage of the Rev. A. Crymes. Two-thirds of the great and small tithes are impropriate, and the vicar has the remaining third, now commuted into a rent-charge of £110, of which 10s. are in lieu of Easter offerings; there is also a glebe of seven and a half acres, valued at £10 per annum. The church, dedicated to St. Tudwal, is an ancient structure in good repair, pleasantly situated on the margin of the Haven, in the southern part of the parish. There are places of worship for Baptists and Wesleyan Methodists, in each of which a Sunday school is also held. A munificent bequest was made by the late Richard Mathias, of Hayston, Esq., of all his personal effects, amounting to nearly £1900, for the purpose of endowing a charity school, wherein the poor children of this, and the adjoining parish of Rhôsmarket, were to be educated; the clergymen of both places for the time being, and others, to be trustees. Owing to law expenses, &c., this bequest was reduced to £1278. 19. in the three and a half per cents., placed in the control of the accountant-general, and producing an income of £44.12. per annum. The deed requires the school to be held in the parish of Llanstadwell, though for the benefit of the two parishes. Some remains of two ancient British encampments, comprising each an area of about an acre, are still visible; one situated at the north-eastern extremity of the parish, nearly opposite the village of Rhôsmarket, and the other at its south-western extremity, on a point on the shore of Milford Haven.
LLANSTEPHAN (LLAN-STEPHAN), a parish, in the Higher division of the hundred of Derllŷs, union and county of Carmarthen, in South Wales, 8 miles (S. S. W.) from Carmarthen; containing 1253 inhabitants. This parish derives its name from the dedication of its church to St. Stephen. It was distinguished at a very early period for a fortress of great strength, erected on the summit of a bold eminence that projects into the bay of Carmarthen, and defending the entrance of the river Towy, which falls into the bay at this place: by whom, or at what precise time, it was founded is unknown. Cadell, Meredydd, and Rhŷs, sons of Grufydd ab Rhŷs, Prince of South Wales, having, in the year 1143, possessed themselves of Carmarthen Castle, were encouraged to appear before that of Llanstephan, the relief of which was attempted by a large body of Anglo-Normans; but success still attending the arms of the Welsh chieftains, these forces were defeated, and the fortress was taken. Meredydd, to whom its custody was entrusted, was here vigorously assailed by the Normans, who soon after laid siege to it. The Welsh commander suffered them to complete their preparations for the attack; the scaling ladders were fixed and manned; but just as the assailants were gaining the battlements, he brought certain engines, which he had contrived for that purpose, to bear upon the enemy, and precipitated them to the ground. The Normans, frustrated in their attempt upon the castle, raised the siege and retired; but after a short time renewing their attempts, they ultimately obtained possession of it. In 1216 it was taken and destroyed by Llewelyn ab Iorwerth; and after being rebuilt, was successfully attacked, in the year 1254, by Llewelyn ab Grufydd.
The parish is situated on the shore of Carmarthen bay, and is bounded on the north-east by the parish of Llangain; on the north-west by the parishes of Llangunnock and Llandilo-Abercowin, and on the west and south by the river Towy and the sea. It comprises by admeasurement 5000 acres, of which 2500 are arable, 2000 pasture, and the rest wood, rocks, and waste. The common lands were inclosed by act of parliament obtained in 1807, under the provisions of which a very considerable portion was allotted to the respective landowners. The scenery is highly pleasing, and in many parts beautifully picturesque; the views over the open bay are interesting and extensive, and the course of the river Towy, with its wooded banks, still further enlivens and diversifies the prospect. There are some seats and handsome residences in the parish, which add greatly to the variety of the scenery. Llanstephan Place, an elegant modern mansion, built upon an estate formerly belonging to the Lloyds, is situated in a richly wooded demesne, with a fine lawn sloping gradually from the front of the house to the margin of the Towy. Laques, the seat of the ancient family of Lloyd, the former proprietors of Llanstephan Place, is a substantial residence, now much neglected, in a very sequestered part of the parish, containing some pleasing rural scenery. Llanstephan Cottage, near the river, is sheltered in the rear by rising grounds covered with young plantations, and commands a beautiful view of the bay; the grounds are tastefully disposed, and open upon the sands, which are peculiarly fine, and in summer afford to the inhabitants an agreeable marine parade. Maesgwynne occupies an elevated site, embracing an extensive view of the hills, and is surrounded with plantations. The appearance of the village is peculiarly interesting; but, from its retired situation, being distant from any great thoroughfare, it is not much frequented by visitors. It unites all the advantages of a maritime situation with the tranquil retirement of an inland village, and has a greater number of opulent families resident in it than any other in the neighbourhood of Carmarthen. An excellent turnpike-road leads from it to Carmarthen; and a ferry across the river Towy communicates with the village of Ferryside, on the opposite shore, in the parish of St. Ishmael's. The parish also contains the village of Llanybree. Limestone is quarried, about 1000 tons of which are burnt every year.
The living, rated as a vicarage in the king's books at £8. 13. 4., is a perpetual curacy, with that of Llangunnock annexed, endowed with £200 private benefaction, £600 royal bounty, and £1500 parliamentary grant; net income, £101, with a glebehouse; patrons and impropriators, Messrs. Morris, bankers, of Carmarthen, and Miss Lloyd. The tithes of the parish have been commuted for a rentcharge of £529; and there is a glebe attached, of twenty-three acres, valued at £17 per annum. The church, dedicated to St. Stephen, is an ancient structure, with a lofty tower, and is about 120 feet in length and 30 in breadth. In the hamlet of Llanybree was formerly a chapel of ease, called in ancient records the Marble Church, and now appropriated on Sunday to a congregation of Independents, and during the week used for a Church day school. There are one or two other places of worship for Independents, and one each for Calvinistic Methodists, Wesleyan Methodists, and Baptists; several day schools, in connexion with the Church; and six Sunday schools, one of which is conducted on Church principles. Some remains yet exist of the ancient castle, consisting chiefly of the shell, which is tolerably entire, especially the principal entrance: from the towers, which are still accessible by means of the old staircase, though greatly dilapidated, may be obtained a fine marine view, embracing a portion of the Glamorganshire and Pembrokeshire coasts. St. Anthony's well, in the parish, was once in very high repute for the supposed miraculous cures effected by the water, under the auspices of its patron saint; but it is now entirely neglected.
LLANSTEPHAN (LLAN-STEPHAN), a parish, in the union of Hay, hundred of Painscastle, county of Radnor, South Wales, 7 miles (W. by N.) from Hay; containing 261 inhabitants. This parish, which derives its name from the dedication of its church, contains by computation from 1800 to 2000 acres. It is situated upon the river Wye, which here forms the boundary line between the counties of Radnor and Brecknock; and is separated by the stream Bâchwy from the parish of Llandeilo-Graban. The greater portion of the land is uninclosed and uncultivated; the scenery is varied, and enlivened by the meandering Wye. An elegant cottage residence, built by the late W. Wilkins De Winton, Esq., of Maesllwch, forms an interesting object in the view of the place; and at Pwll Dû, or "the black pit," is a secluded river-scene of peculiar interest, the Bâchwy having worn for itself a deep channel in the rocks, which are slightly fringed with brushwood. Near this dingle is a singular waterfall, about forty feet in depth, surrounded by wild and romantic scenery. Some parts of the parish command fine prospects. The living is a perpetual curacy, endowed with £400 royal bounty, and £200 parliamentary grant; present net income, £67; patron, the Bishop of St. David's. The tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £180, and the impropriator has also a glebe of two acres. The church, dedicated to St. Stephen, and situated on the summit of a rocky eminence of considerable elevation, is not distinguished by any architectural details. There is a small Sunday school in connexion with the Church. A farm in the parish, called Pentre, comprising about eleven acres, and yielding a rent of £7. 10., is supposed to have been purchased with a bequest of £60 by Thomas Havard, in 1681; and the rent, together with two charges of 5s. each from unknown donors, is distributed before Easter among the settled poor not receiving parochial aid, generally in sums of 10s.
LLANSTINAN (LLAN-STINAN), a parish, in the poor-law union of Haverfordwest, hundred of Dewisland, county of Pembroke, South Wales, 2½ miles (S. by W.) from Fishguard; containing 170 inhabitants. Its name appears to be derived by contraction from that of the saint (Justinian) to whom the church is dedicated. The parish is pleasantly situated on the road from Haverfordwest to Fishguard, and is bounded on the north by the latter place, from which it is separated by the Western Cleddy river, whose source is in the vicinity; the parish of Llanvair-Nant-y-Gove lies on the south, that of Llanychaer on the east, and that of Jordanston on the west. It comprises a large portion of arable and pasture land, for the most part inclosed, and producing rich crops of wheat, barley, oats, and grass; all kinds of wood, also, grow in great luxuriance. The scenery is pleasingly varied, and the views from the higher grounds embrace extensive prospects over the adjacent country, which abounds with interesting features. The ancient mansion of the family of Symmons, after being suffered to remain in a neglected state for some time, has been modernised or rebuilt; and there are several other good houses, adding considerably to the general effect of the scenery, which is also much enlivened by the course of the Cleddy river, running with many beautiful windings towards Milford Haven in another part of the county. A slate-quarry is worked, giving employment to two or three hands. The living is a perpetual curacy, endowed with £600 royal bounty, and £200 parliamentary grant; net income £100; patron, Col. Owen. The church is not distinguished by any interesting architectural details. There is a place of worship for Calvinistic Methodists, in which a Sunday school is also held.
Llanthetty, or Llanddetty (Llan-Ddetti)
LLANTHETTY, or LLANDDETTY (LLAN-DDETTI), a parish, in the hundred of Pencelly, union and county of Brecknock, in South Wales, 6 miles (N. W.) from Crickhowel; consisting of the hamlets of Dyfryn and Vro, and containing 520 inhabitants. This parish extends from the south bank of the river Usk, which forms its northern boundary, to the confines of Glamorganshire. It is separated from the parish of Llangynider, in the hundred of Crickhowel, by the river Crawnon, and from the parish of Llanvigan, in Pencelly hundred, by the Carvanell; and is traversed by the high road between Llangattock and Brecknock. The surface of the country is irregular, beautifully diversified with hill and dale, and ornamented with both wood and water. The river Usk, the banks of which are in many places richly wooded, forms some pleasing waterfalls in its progress over its rocky channel; several of the adjacent hills are lofty and clothed with wood, and from some of them are obtained extensive prospects. From Tor-y-Voel, it is said, portions of thirteen counties are visible; on the north are seen the Black Mountains of Tàlgarth, and to the east the Sugar Loaf mountain on the border of Monmouthshire. The soil is in general light and gravelly, and the chief agricultural produce, wheat, barley, oats, and turnips. Llanthetty Hall is a neat mansion, in a secluded part of the Vale of Usk, embosomed in lofty hills clothed with luxuriant woods; the grounds are pleasing, and the views from them, though not extensive, very beautiful. There are several other neat villas, among which is that of Ashford. The rectory-house is pleasantly situated on the bank of the Usk, on the opposite side of which, in another parish, runs the turnpike-road from Brecknock to Crickhowel and Abergavenny. On the Carvanell, just above its confluence with the Usk, two miles eastward from the church, stands the considerable village of Tàlybont. There are four cornmills; about four hands are employed in a small iron-factory, and the same number in a carding-mill, connected with the manufacture of the coarse woollen cloth of the country. The Brecknock and Abergavenny canal passes through the parish from northwest to south-east, affording means for the exportation of the coal and limestone procured in the neighbouring parishes, and the importation of articles of merchandise from Bristol and Newport. On its banks, at Tàlybont, are some limekilns and coalwharfs, to which the above-mentioned mineral produce is brought from the mountains on the south, by an iron tramroad, which has branches to the Tredegar, Romney, and Bute iron-works.
The living is a rectory, rated in the king's books at £7. 10. 7½.; patrons, the family of Gwynne Holford: the tithes have been commuted for £395, of which £55 are payable to an impropriator, and £340 to the rector, who has also a house, and a glebe of seventeen acres. The church, dedicated to St. Detta, is a neat structure in the later style of English architecture, consisting of a small nave and chancel, sixty-six feet in length and twenty-four in breadth, with a low tower at the western end. It is situated within a few yards of the Usk, by the hamlet of Dyfryn. In the hamlet of Vro is the chapel of Tâf-Vechan, the living of which is a perpetual curacy, endowed with £800 royal bounty, and £200 parliamentary grant; patron, the Rector of Llanthetty. The Rev. John Davies, rector of the parish in 1727, charged certain lands with the annual payment of the interest of £20, for the instruction of poor children in the Catechism of the Church of England, and to teach them to write their names; but the bequest has been rendered unavailable through neglect.
In constructing that part of the Brecknock and Abergavenny canal which passes through Llanthetty parish, a Roman sacrificial instrument, called a secespita, was discovered; and in digging for the same purpose in a wet and marshy wood several trees were found, four or five feet below the surface, entirely black, and of a peculiarly hard consistency. The Roman road from Tibia Amnis, near Cardiff, to the station at Caer-Bannau, near Brecknock, traverses the parish from south to north, inclining eastward, as it descends into the Vale of Usk, and crosses the river Carvanell. Maes-mawr, in this parish, of which he was a native, was the residence of Jenkin Jones, a colonel in the parliamentarian army, who distinguished himself by his republican principles, and determined hostility to the Established Church. On being informed of the landing of Charles II., at the Restoration, he is said to have mounted his horse, ridden through the churchyard, and, discharging a pistol at the church door, in which the perforation made by the ball is still shown, to have exclaimed aloud, "Ah! thou whore of Babylon, thou'lt have it all thy own way now."
LLANTHEW (LLAN-DDEWI), a parish, partly in the hundred of Merthyr-Cynog, and partly in that of Pencelly, union and county of Brecknock, South Wales, 1½ mile (N. N. E.) from Brecknock; containing 317 inhabitants. This parish takes its name from the saint to whom the church is dedicated. It was anciently a residence of the Bishops of St. David's, whose castellated mansion here was in ruins in the time of Leland, who also speaks of a house belonging to the Archdeacon of Brecknock, that had likewise fallen into decay. During the interregnum, the manor was seized by the parliament, and sold to David Morgan, Esq., but it was recovered to the see after the Restoration. The parish comprises 2695 acres, of which seventythree are common or waste land. The village is pleasantly situated on the river Honddû, about a mile and a half above its confluence with the Usk at Brecknock, and within half a mile of the high road from Brecknock to Hay, which intersects the parish. It compactly surrounds the church, the cemetery attached to which commands a view of a rich landscape, bounded by the bold eminences on the northern side of the Vale of Usk, and by the heights inclosing the woody glen along which the Honddû flows; the whole for the most part presenting a scene of high cultivation. The Bishop of St. David's holds a court leet annually, at which his steward presides; and anciently a court baron was also held here, but this has long been discontinued.
The living is a perpetual curacy, endowed with £1000 royal bounty; net income, £89; patron, the Archdeacon of Brecknock. The tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £300, and the impropriator has also a glebe of eight acres, valued at £20 per annum. The church, dedicated to St. Dewi, or David, is one of the oldest churches in the neighbourhood, and contains remains of transition Norman and early English of the twelfth century. It is composed of a nave, chancel, and north and south transepts, with a tower at the intersection. The nave has been repaired in a modern style, and, from its want of architectural taste, forms a great contrast to the remainder of the building: it is the only part used for divine service. The chancel, which is falling into decay, measures about thirty feet in length, and eighteen feet in width; it is lighted by lancet windows, and separated from the nave by a ponderous semicircular arch, rising from square massive piers devoid of moulding. Of the transepts, which are of different dimensions, the larger, or northern, bears the name of Capel-y-Côchiaid, "the chapel of the red-haired men" (the Normans); a name also borne by the south transept of St. John's church, Brecon. Llanthew church contains some curious architectural details, a notice of which, and of the building generally, is given in the fifth number of the Journal of the British Archæological Association. There is a Church Sunday school, for which books are furnished by subscription; and a poor woman of the parish is eligible to be selected as one of the inmates of Mrs. Catherine Games's Hospital, in St. David's, Brecon. Some remains exist of the chapel, or an apartment, of the episcopal mansion, consisting of the side walls, in which are three pointed windows, and also of portions of the end walls, in which are windows of the same form; there are likewise slight vestiges of other parts of the edifice, chiefly of outer walls. In 1188, Archbishop Baldwin, accompanied by Giraldus Cambrensis, when on his tour through Wales to preach the crusades, passed a night at this castle.
LLANTHOYSAINT (LLAN-Y-DDEU-SANT), a parish, in the union of Llandovery, Lower division of the hundred of Perveth, county of Carmarthen, South Wales, 6 miles (S. E. by E.) from the town of Llangadock; comprising the hamlets of Blaen-Sawdde, Gwider, Maes-y-Fynnon, and Quarter Mawr; and containing 942 inhabitants. This parish is situated in the eastern part of the county, on the confines of Brecknockshire, from which it is separated by the chain of hills called the Black Mountain. It comprises 11,510 acres, whereof 7307 are cultivated, and 4203 uninclosed mountainous land, over which the inhabitants have a right of pasturage and turbary. The scenery is strikingly diversified, combining features of picturesque and rural beauty with objects of romantic grandeur. That part of the Black Mountain which is within the parish forms the loftiest elevation in the county; and near the base of its highest summit, called the Van, or "Beacon," is a lake of beautifully clear and transparent water, in the form of a parallelogram, nearly a mile in length, and about sixteen fathoms deep. The boldness of the precipitous rocks that impend over the lake, and the wild character of the surrounding scenery, give to this extensive sheet of water a most romantic appearance, finely contrasted with the softer features by which the lower grounds in the vicinity are distinguished. Though its situation is so elevated that the snow remains unmelted upon its border for the greater part of the year, yet its waters abound with trout of superior quality, and with eels of extraordinary size. The river Sawdde has its source in the lake, and, after traversing the parish, falls into the Towy, near Llangadock. The source of the Usk, also, is not far from the lake; this river forms the boundary between Llanthoysaint and the county of Brecon, and, running by Trecastle, Brecon, Abergavenny, and Usk, falls into the Bristol Channel a little below Newport. A fair is annually held in the village on the 10th of October.
The living is annexed to the vicarage of Llangadock: the tithes of Llanthoysaint have been commuted for £180, of which £80 are paid to the Bishop of St. David's, £40 to another impropriator, and £60 to the vicar. The church, dedicated to St. Simon and St. Jude, is inconveniently situated at the eastern extremity of the parish, at the foot of the Black Mountain. According to tradition, the original church stood at a place called Twynllan or Twynllannan ("church mount"); about a mile from which, on a farm named Pant-howel, was a barn, taken down some years ago, which is supposed to have been a chapel of ease. There is a meeting-house for Calvinistic Methodists. A day school is held, in connexion with the Church; and of two Sunday schools, one is conducted on Church principles.
LLANTRISAINT (LLAN-TRI-SANT), a parish, partly in the hundred of Menai, but chiefly in that of Llyvon, union and county of Anglesey, North Wales, 4 miles (W.) from Llanerchymedd; containing 523 inhabitants. This parish, which is situated in the western part of the island, and is intersected by the small river Alaw, comprehends a tract of about 4460 acres of arable and pasture land, nearly the whole inclosed. The surface is gently undulated, rising into eminences of various elevation and aspect; the soil is for the most part poor, consisting chiefly of a hungry clay, fit only for the cultivation of oats. Copper-ore has been found upon Meinir farm; but no mines of it have been opened. The living is a discharged rectory, with the perpetual curacies of Ceidio, Gwredog, Llanllibio, and Llêchcynvarwydd annexed, rated in the king's books at £15; present net income, about £750, with a house; patron, the Bishop of Bangor. The church, dedicated to Avran, Ieuan, and Sanan, from which circumstance the parish derives its name, signifying "the church of three saints," was originally founded in the year 570. The present is a good edifice of comparatively recent erection, containing accommodation for about 150 persons, and was thoroughly repaired and much improved some years since; it contains a neat plain monument to the memory of Dr. Hugh Williams, founder of the families of Wynnstay, Bôdelwyddan, and Penbedw. There are places of worship for Calvinistic Methodists and Baptists. A small parochial school was founded in 1822, at an expense of £53, defrayed from the charity fund noticed below; it has an endowment of £6 per annum from the same source. Of the two Sunday schools in the parish, one is in connexion with the Calvinistic Methodists, the other with the Baptist denomination.
Three poor men from the parish are eligible to the almshouses at Beaumaris, under the will of the founder, David Hughes, who endowed them with the farm called Meinir, situated here, and various other lands, for the support of the inmates; and the same benefactor, by his will, dated December 30th, 1609, after providing for the school and houses at Beaumaris, directed that any surplus should be distributed among the poor of this parish. He was a native of Llantrisaint, and, having by persevering industry amassed a very ample property, thus charitably appropriated a considerable portion of it for the benefit of the poor. Blanche Wynne, of Chwaen Wenn, in 1733, left £100, the interest to be applied to teaching children, and for distribution among the poor at Easter and Christmas: in 1720, the Rev. Robert Wynne bequeathed £52, the interest to be spent in a weekly gift of bread; and a similar amount to the poor of Penmynedd parish. With these three sums a farmhouse and fifty acres of land, now producing £24 per annum, were purchased, and three-fourths of the rent are expended in this parish in carrying the intentions of the two donors into effect, and the other fourth is appropriated to Penmynedd. There are, besides, a few other small charities; namely, a rent-charge of 10s., payable out of Chwaen Isav, the grant of John Williams; and 4s. 6d., arising from bequests by Richard David in 1742, and Janet Hughes in 1764. Two charities of £5 each, by Thomas Hughes in 1760, and by a person unknown, have been lost through the insolvency of the parties to whom the sums were lent.
LLANTRISSENT (LLAN-TRI-SANT), a borough, market-town, and parish, in the union of Cardiff, hundred of Miskin, county of Glamorgan, South Wales, 10 miles (N. W. by W.) from Cardiff, and 169 (W.) from London; containing 3222 inhabitants. This place, which derives its name from the dedication of its church to three different saints, is distinguished by few historical events of importance. At what time or by whom its castle was originally built, is not accurately known; but it is enumerated among those for which Gilbert de Clare, commonly called "the Red," lord of Glamorgan, did homage to Edward I., on his accession to the titles and estates of his family, after the death of his father, towards the end of the thirteenth century. Edward II., with his favourite, the younger Spencer, was taken prisoner at or near this town, by the queen's forces. The town is romantically situated, on the road from Cowbridge to Merthyr-Tydvil, in a pass over a mountainous ridge, between two lofty hills. It is irregularly and indifferently built; but its whitewashed houses, with the dismantled tower of its castle, form conspicuous and pleasing features in the scenery on approaching the mountains. The vicinity is indescribably beautiful, and the views embrace a tract of country abounding with features of romantic character and almost unrivalled magnificence. From the brow of the hill on which the town stands is seen the whole of the Vale of Glamorgan, from its eastern extremity to the influx of the river Ogmore into the Bristol Channel: among the numerous interesting objects in this extensive tract of country, appear the rich woods about Hensol, Glànelay, and Llanharan; beyond which is discerned the Bristol Channel, with the distant hills on the English coast, and in other directions the lofty mountains that bound it on various sides. To the north of the town the country becomes more rugged, and assumes a wilder aspect, which is in some degree enlivened by the pleasing appearance of Castella, an ancient seat, forming a lively and cheerful object in a landscape whose prevailing character is a sombre magnificence. At the entrance of the town is a substantial stone mansion, called Llantrissent House.
The parish abounds with coal, which is worked to a very great extent for the supply of the iron-works in the neighbouring districts, and for exportation. Ores of iron and lead have also been found, and works were established here for procuring those minerals; but they were not conducted with a sufficient degree of profit to remunerate the adventurers, and consequently were discontinued. The principal of these deserted works was the Park mine, about a mile south of the town, the ore obtained in which was of the species called galena, or potters'-ore, lying in a vein extending from east to west, and contained in a matrix of spar, in magnesian limestone resting upon coal. Some time ago an ancient colliery, not properly filled up, was accidentally discovered by R. F. Rickards, Esq., who, by falling into it, was burnt to the bone on the fore part of the foot and leg. It contained a large quantity of pyrites, which had ignited, and had been in a state of combustion for a very long period; it is still burning, and probably will continue to burn, so long as any inflammable matter may remain. A tramroad extends from the Dinas colliery, north of St. John's, to Newbridge, five miles from Llantrissent; where the Tâf-Vale railway and the Glamorganshire canal have their course. On the south-west of Llantrissent runs the great South Wales railway. The parish comprises 16,669 acres. The market, which is only for provisions, is on Friday: the corn market has been removed to Newbridge. Large cattle-fairs are held on February 13th, May 12th, August 12th, and October 29th.
It has not been precisely ascertained at what time the town received its first charter of incorporation, but it has a charter dated the 20th of Edward III. The corporation consists of the constable of the castle, a steward, portreeve, twelve aldermen, and an unlimited number of burgesses, assisted by a town-clerk, serjeant-at-mace, and other officers. A court leet is summoned by the portreeve twice a year, in the months of May and October, to be held before the constable of the castle, the steward, and the portreeve; on each of which occasions a jury of twelve persons is selected from the burgesses present, by the serjeant-at-mace, under the direction of the steward. At the court held in May the jury name four burgesses, of whom the constable of the castle chooses two to be overseers of markets for the ensuing year; they likewise make out further lists of burgesses, out of whom the same officer appoints four to serve as overseers of the commons, and eight as constables. At the court which takes place in the month of October, the jury nominate three of the aldermen, of whom one is selected by the constable of the castle to fill the office of portreeve; and the portreeve, in like manner, upon the presentment of three burgesses, appoints one of the number to be serjeantat-mace for the ensuing year. The freemen of the borough have a right of common upon about 300 acres of waste land.
Llantrissent was one of eight contributory places, namely, Cardiff, Llantrissent, Cowbridge, Aberavon, Kenvig, Neath, Swansea, and Loughor, which returned a member to parliament: the right of election was in the burgesses at large of the borough, about 420 in number. By the act of 1832, "for Amending the Representation of the People," the boroughs of Cardiff, Cowbridge, and Llantrissent were constituted a separate district, returning one member; and the right of voting was vested in the then resident burgesses of the borough, about 100 in number, and in those at that time living within seven miles, in number 112, if duly registered according to the provisions of the act; also 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 £10, provided he be capable of registering as the act directs. The present number of tenements of this value, within the limits of the borough, which extend about a mile from the town in every direction, comprising the whole of the town hamlet and part of one or more other hamlets, is twenty-five. No burgess created after the passing of the act, even though resident in the town, can vote, as a burgess, at a parliamentary election. The corporation are empowered by their charter to hold a court of record for the recovery of debts, but it has been for many years discontinued. The petty-sessions for the hundred of Miskin are held in the town every Friday.
The living is a vicarage, rated in the king's books at £26. 14. 2., and endowed with the vicarial tithes of the parishes of Aberdare, Lantwit-Vairdre, Llanwonno, and Ystrad-Dyvodog; present net income, £555, with a glebe-house; patrons and appropriators, the Dean and Chapter of Gloucester. The church, dedicated to St. Dyvnog, St. Iddog, and St. Menw, is a spacious and ancient structure, in the Norman style of architecture, occupying the summit of the hill above the town. There are two chapels in the parish. One is dedicated to St. John the Baptist, and its living is a perpetual curacy, endowed with £200 private benefaction, £1000 royal bounty, and £1000 parliamentary grant, and in the patronage of Mrs. Pritchard; net income, £95. The other, called Tàlygarn, after being suffered to fall gradually into decay, has been repaired through the instrumentality of Dr. Lisle, who has a summer residence at this place. The living is a perpetual curacy, endowed with £1000 royal bounty; net income, £50; patrons, and impropriators, the Principal and Fellows of Jesus' College, Oxford. The Wesleyans, Baptists, Independents, and Calvinistic Methodists, have each a place of worship in the town; the Independents have additional meeting-houses at Cymmer and Crossvaen, and the Methodists one at Velin Vawr, within the parish. Altogether, there are nine or ten places of worship for these four denominations.
Day and Sunday National schools, for the instruction of both sexes, are supported by the Stuart family, Marquesses of Bute, who contribute fifty guineas per annum, and by subscription among the gentry resident in the neighbourhood. Some day schools at Dinas are maintained by a stoppage of one penny in the pound on the wages of the men employed in the coke-works there; and the dissenters have nine Sunday schools in the town and parish. Mr. Gibbon, of Newton House, in the parish of Llanblethian, bequeathed in 1809 a sum of £500, one-fifth, producing £4. 19. per annum interest, to be distributed among the poor of this place, at the discretion of the vicar; and, under the will of Sir Leoline Jenkins in 1685, a sum of £20 is given in clothing, every fourth year, by the master of Cowbridge school, to the poor of the parish, of whom the vicar nominates such as he thinks the most deserving. The same benefactor directed his executors to purchase the site of the chapel of ease called Tàlygarn, and to put the same in good repair: he also charged his lands with an endowment of £10 per annum, for maintaining divine service in it, and gave to it " the chalice that he had used at Nimeguen." Catherine Powell, in 1739, charged a moiety of the lands of Trebannog, which she devised to her nephew, with the expense of maintaining a milch-cow throughout the year for the use of seven poor people about her mansion at Milton, and paying them seven half-crowns at Candlemas; but this charity has been discontinued for the last half century.
There are some small remains of the ancient castle, which originally comprised two wards, and appears to have been a place of great strength: these consist principally of a portion of one of the towers, which, from its elevated situation, forms a very conspicuous and interesting feature in the scenery of the place. In 1829, in clearing away the rubbish that had accumulated about the foundations, the workmen discovered the dungeon, which, according to Leland, once formed the prison for the territories of Miskin and Glyn Rhondda. At a short distance from the town, to the right of the road leading to Llandaf, are some remains of a religious house, said to have been dedicated to St. Cawrdav, son of Caradoc Vraichvras, regulus of Brecknock, about the end of the fifth, or the beginning of the sixth century. Within the limits of the parish are several camps, of which the most important is that called Caerau, or "the fortifications," supposed to have been constructed by the Danes. Castella, the old family mansion of the Trahernes, appears also from its name to have been built upon the site of some fortification, which may have been an outpost to the castle of Llantrissent. There are chalybeate springs in several parts. Sir Leoline Jenkins, who, in the reign of Charles II., was eminently distinguished as a jurist, diplomatist, and statesman, was born in this parish, and was buried in the chapel of Jesus College, Oxford, to which he had been so munificent a benefactor as to be in some degree regarded as its second founder: he endowed the grammar school at Cowbridge, and bequeathed the principal part of his estates to charitable uses.
LLANTRITHYD (LLAN-TRYDDYD), a parish, in the union of Cardiff, hundred of DinasPowys, county of Glamorgan, South Wales, 3 miles (E. S. E.) from Cowbridge; containing 228 inhabitants. The parish takes its name from Trithyd, a pupil of St. Illtyd, or Iltutus, to whom the church is dedicated. On the conquest of Glamorgan by Robert Fitz-Hamon, and its subsequent division, the castle and manor of Llantrithyd were assigned to Hywel ab Iestyn ab Gwrgan, with the privilege of exercising jura regalia: the castle was demolished in the year 1151, by Meredydd, great-grandson of Rh#X0177;s ab Tewdwr. The village, which stands about a mile south of the road between Cardiff and Swansea, occupies a secluded situation in a well-wooded valley, watered by a small rivulet. Llantrithyd House, formerly the seat of the Bassets, and subsequently of the Aubreys, is now in ruins: it was a fine specimen of the style that prevailed in the reign of Henry VI., with later additions, and is stated by tradition to have afforded an asylum, during the Commonwealth, to many great and learned men of the Church of England, by whom academicial degrees were here conferred. Upon a rising ground above the village is pleasantly situated Tŷvrŷ, a cottage ornée. Limestone abounds in the parish, in which also a considerable quantity of lead-ore is found.
The living is a discharged rectory, rated in the king's books at £8. 13.4.; patron, Sir T. D. Aubrey, Bart.: the tithes have been commuted for a rentcharge of £132. 17. 9.; and there is a glebe of fiftytwo acres, valued, with a house, at £80 per annum. The church, dedicated to St. Illtyd, is a respectable edifice, containing a few ancient monuments, among which may be particularly noticed a stately one to the memory of a knight and his lady, of the Basset family, in the best character of the style that prevailed in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. It has undergone considerable repair, and is now a remarkably neat structure. In the churchyard is a yewtree, which, at the height of six feet from the ground, measures twenty-six feet in girth, and near the root little less than forty feet. A day school is maintained by Sir T. D. Aubrey and the rector, and by school-pence; a Sunday school is supported solely by the rector. The poor are entitled to the produce of two acres of land in the parish of St. Hilary, purchased with £45, the bequest of an unknown benefactor; and to the interest of £50, left in 1734 by Mrs. Lougher. The ancient hall, in which the manorial courts-were held, still remains; and having been applied, after the abolition of the independent jurisdictions of the lordships marcher, to the reception of the poor, it is now called the Church House. There is a mineral spring, the water of which is said to be efficacious in the cure of fluxes.
LLANTYD (LLAN-ILLTYD), a parish, in the union of Cardigan, hundred of Kîlgerran, county of Pembroke, South Wales, 3 miles (S. W. by S.) from Cardigan; containing 300 inhabitants. This parish derives its name from the dedication of its church to St. Illtyd, an eminent teacher of Christianity, who died about the close of the fifth century. It is pleasantly situated in the north-eastern part of the county, near the separation of the two great roads leading respectively from Cardigan to Fishguard and Haverfordwest; and comprises a large tract of arable and pasture land, of which the whole is inclosed. The surrounding scenery, though not marked by any peculiarity of feature, is generally pleasing; and the views over the adjacent country are agreeably diversified. The living is a vicarage not in charge, annexed, with that of Monington, or Eglwys Wythwr, to the discharged vicarage of St. Dogmael's: the tithes have been commuted for £125 payable to the impropriator, and £32 to the vicar. The church is not distinguished by any architectural details of importance. John Jones, in 1729, bequeathed a rent-charge of twenty shillings towards the relief of poor persons not receiving parochial aid, which until some years back was annually distributed according to the will of the testator.
Llantysillio, or Llandysilio (Llan-Tysilio)
LLANTYSILLIO, or LLANDYSILIO (LLAN-TYSILIO), a parish, in the union of Corwen, hundred of Yale, county of Denbigh, North Wales, 2 miles (N. W. by W.) from Llangollen, on the road to Ruthin; containing 921 inhabitants. This parish derives its name from the dedication of its church to St. Tysilio, a canonized Prince of Powys, who was descended from St. Pabo, called Post Prydain, "the pillar of Britain," and who, having devoted himself to a life of religious seclusion, flourished as a writer till the middle of the seventh century. It comprises an area of about 8000 acres, and is skirted on the north by the stream Mer Enion, which divides it from the parish of Bryn-Eglwys: on the west it is bounded by the parish of Corwen; on the east by a small river running along the Vale of Eglwyseg, by which it is separated from the parish of Llangollen; and on the south by the river Dee, dividing it from the parish of Llansantfraid-GlynCeriog. The surface is boldly undulated, in some parts mountainous; the surrounding scenery is strikingly diversified, and in many parts beautifully picturesque. A chain of mountains of romantic appearance, and rich in mineral wealth, runs through the centre of the parish. The soil, though various, is in general fertile, and the chief produce is grain and wool. Slate is found in abundance, and some extensive quarries of it are worked, in which about seventy men find constant employment. Lime-works upon a large scale are also carried on, adjacent to the canal, and on the banks of the river Dee, which in this part of its course flows over a rocky and rugged bed between two lofty crags that scarcely afford a breadth of channel sufficient for the passage of the stream. By means of a weir the river is here made to supply a feeder of the Ellesmere canal; this feeder is carried along the northern bank of the Dee to the main canal at Pont-y-Cysylltau, a distance of six miles, and is navigable throughout, affording great facilities for bringing in coal for the supply of the neighbourhood, and for conveying the slates from the quarries, and the produce of the lime-works, to their destinations.
The living is a perpetual curacy, endowed with £400 private benefaction, £800 royal bounty, and £1500 parliamentary grant; net income, £112; patron and impropriator, Sir W. W. Wynn, Bart. The church is an ancient edifice, with a cupola, and contains accommodation for about 250 persons. There are places of worship for Calvinistic and Wesleyan Methodists; a day school, in connexion with the Established Church; and six Sunday schools, three of them belonging to the Wesleyans, and three to the Calvinistic body. Mrs. Jane Roberts, of Rhŷdonnen, left £80 to the poor, secured upon a tenement called Tŷnewydd, the interest of which, at six per cent., being £4. 16., is paid to the overseers annually on St. Thomas's day; and the interest of four other benefactions of £10 each, with a bequest of 20s. a year, left by Edward Parry, and arising from a tenement named Pen-y-Bryn, is in like manner dispensed to the poor at stated times. A bequest by the Rev. Vaughan Jones, of £24, was some years ago unduly appropriated by the parochial officers to procuring substitutes for militia men, and the charity is therefore lost.
About a mile to the north-east of the village, but within the parish, and in a highly romantic portion of the Vale of Eglwyseg, are the picturesque ruins of the ancient abbey of Llan-Egwest, or Valle Crucis. This beautiful edifice was originally founded about the year 1200, for brethren of the Cistercian order, and dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, by Madoc ab Grufydd Maelor, lord of Bromfield, and of the neighbouring fortress of Castell Dinas Brân. Its income was so considerable, that a native Welsh poet of the fifteenth century, in celebrating the hospitality of the abbot, describes him as living in the most sumptuous style. At the Dissolution its revenue was estimated at £214. 3. 5. It continued in the hands of the crown till the reign of James I., when the site was granted to the Wootton family. The present remains consist principally of part of the abbey church, originally an elegant cruciform structure, chiefly in the early style of English architecture, though erected at different periods, and consequently containing portions of the decorated and later English styles; also of a small portion of the conventual buildings, now occupied as farm offices. Among the most entire parts of this interesting ruin is the west front of the church, remarkable for the beauty of its finely arched entrance, surmounted by a decorated window enriched with flowing tracery, above which is a marigold window of still more exquisite workmanship. The east end of the church is also in good preservation, forming an elegant specimen of the early English style, with narrow lancet-shaped windows. The interior is overgrown with grass; and some stately ash and sycamore trees which had taken deep root within the walls of the roofless edifice, were lately cut down by the owners of the property. The pilasters of the interior are clustered, and have elegantly carved capitals; the transept contains a small cloister of two arches, and a mural sepulchral arch. A portion of the abbey has long been converted into a farmhouse; and in one part of the conventual buildings, now occupied as a cow-shed, is a fine Norman arch, near which is a beautifully pointed window: other portions of the remains also exhibit some specimens of the more highly finished and later periods of the Norman, verging into the earlier period of the early English style. In front of the inhabited portion is a large pointed window reaching to the ground, with mullions and tracery; and a room that once formed the dormitory is supported by three rows of groined arches, resting on circular pillars. The various buildings are chiefly composed of the schistose materials every where abounding in the vicinity; but the doorways, window-frames, and other ornamental portions, are all of freestone brought from a considerable distance. Within the abbey were interred its founder, his son Grufydd ab Madoc, and several of its abbots; their tombs, however, can no longer be distinguished among the mouldering ruins of this once stately and still venerable pile.
At no great distance from these remains, opposite the second mile-stone from Llangollen, is a monumental pillar of remote antiquity, raised upon a small tumulus, in which, on its being opened, was discovered a cistvaen, or stone chest, containing human bones. It is generally supposed to have been erected as a cross, and from it the abbey of Valle Crucis most probably derived its name. This singular piece of antiquity, commonly called the Pillar of Eliseg, appears, from an inscription now obliterated, but which was transcribed by Edward Llwyd, the celebrated Welsh antiquary, while it was still legible, to have been erected by Concen, to the memory of his great-grandfather Eliseg (the sixth in descent from Brochmael, Prince of Powys), who was slain in a battle fought with the Saxons near Chester, in the year 607. During the civil commotions in the reign of Charles I. the monument was broken, and thrown down; and the only legible inscription which it now bears is a modern one in Latin, stating that T. Lloyd, Esq., of Trevor Hall, having found it in that ruined state, restored it in the year 1789. It consists of a round column, standing on a square plinth, with a richly carved, but greatly mutilated, capital; the original height is said to have been twelve feet, but at present its elevation is only eight feet two inches.
LLANUWCHYLLYN (LLAN-UWCH-YLLYN), a parish, in the union of Bala, hundred of Penllyn, county of Merioneth, North Wales, 5 miles (S. W. by S.) from Bala, on the road to Dôlgelley; containing 1329 inhabitants. This parish, which is very extensive, comprises a large tract of mountainous and uncultivated land, including Penllyn, the highest peak of the Aran mountains. It abounds with scenery of picturesque beauty and romantic grandeur, of which one of the most remarkable features is Bwlch-y-Groes, or "the pass of the cross," one of the most difficult and arduous passes in North Wales, environed by precipitous mountains, occasionally relieved with verdant hills and narrow sheep-walks. The pass itself is a dreary flat, to which there is an ascent by a steep and narrow tortuous path, terminating at the crucifix from which it took its name. Near it is a beautiful cascade formed by the Twrch, an impetuous mountain torrent rushing down from the Arans, and precipitating itself with violence over huge masses of broken rock, which, heaped on each other in its bed, arrest its violent progress; the water, diverted from its course, forces itself through the fissures in the rocks, which are occasionally interspersed with various plants that have taken root in the crevices, and descends with renewed violence into its channel, which crosses the road. A craggy perpendicular cliff, rising from the margin of the stream, about a quarter of a mile above this fall, adds another romantic feature to the scene. From the summit of Aran Penllyn are obtained fine views of other mountains of North Wales, and of many in the southern part of the principality. The village is pleasantly situated on the public road, near the south-western extremity of Bala lake, called by the Welsh "Llyn Tegyd," and by the English "Pemble Mere." Slate is quarried in the parish; and peat and turf are found in abundance. Fairs are held, chiefly for cattle, horses, and sheep, on April 25th, June 20th, September 22nd, and November 22nd.
The living is a perpetual curacy, endowed with £600 royal bounty, and £1400 parliamentary grant; net income, £113; patron and impropriator, Sir W. W. Wynn, Bart., who pays £20 per annum to the curate under the will of Edward Price, Esq., a former proprietor of the rectorial tithes, who bequeathed from the same source £4 annually to the poor of the parish. The rectory is rated in the king's books at £8. 10. 2½. The church, dedicated to St. Deiniol, who flourished in the sixth century, is an ancient structure, and was newly pewed and seated in 1820. On the north side of the chancel is the effigy of an armed warrior, with the following mutilated inscription, as read by Mr. Pennant:— "Hic jacet Johannes ap * * * * ap Madoc ap I—eth, cujus animœ pr—etur Deus. Amen. Anno Doni. MCCC. V. 88." In the churchyard is a yew-tree of remarkably fine growth. There are places of worship for Independents, Calvinistic Methodists, and Baptists; a British school, established in the year 1843; and twelve Sunday schools, belonging to the dissenters.
The Rev. Maurice Vaughan, one of the canons of the Royal Chapel of Windsor, in 1721, erected an almshouse here for three aged men and the same number of aged women, which he endowed with two tenements in the parish, and with £200, for keeping it in repair. The income amounts to £42 per annum; and the almshouse, containing six apartments, is a substantial building, situated about a mile and a half from the village, with a small patch of potato-ground cultivated by the inmates, who receive about £6 per annum each in half-yearly payments, and about £5 annually among them for their clothing. Mr. Thomas Owen, of Talardd, left £5 per annum for the instruction of poor children, which he ordered to be applied for two years out of three for the benefit of this place, and every third year to the education of children of the adjoining parish of Llanymowddwy. The sum of £5 per annum is paid out of the estate of Glàn Llyn, for apprenticing a boy, having been bequeathed for that purpose by a former proprietor; and the parish has a small benefaction, in addition to these, of 5s. a year.
The district is supposed to have been known to the Romans; and Camden conjectures that an ancient fortress called Caer Gai, on the north side of the small river Lliw, thought to be Roman, from the number of coins found there, was originally erected by a Roman commander named Caius; an opinion formed from its name. Among the coins found here at various times were some of the emperor Domitian, discovered of late years; and a stone has also been dug up, bearing the inscription Hic jacet Salvianus Bursocavi Filius Cupetian. The Welsh attribute the origin of this fortress to Cai Hîr, foster-brother of King Arthur, and his companion in arms; and Spenser, who appears to have been well versed in the traditionary legends of his time, makes this place the seat of the early education of that renowned hero, under his foster-father, who lived at the foot of the Aran mountain, and to whom the poet gives the classical name of Timon. In the vicinity of this station are vestiges of roads resembling those of the Romans, leading from the station Eryri Mons, at Tommen-yMûr, near Festiniog, and from Castell Prysor, in the parish of Trawsvynydd, to the ancient Mediolanum, probably near Meivod.
Within the area inclosed by the fortification a large mansion was erected several centuries ago, subsequently belonging to Rowland Vaughan, Esq., a zealous royalist; the mansion was burnt in 1645, by the parliamentarians, and its outer walls, with more modern additions, now form a large farmhouse. On the opposite bank of the river, and occupying the summit of a rocky eminence, are the remains of a fortress designated Castell Carn Dochen, of the foundation of which no authentic particulars are on record. It was of considerable extent, built of mortar made of sea-shells mixed with gravel, and the structure was faced with freestone. Mr. Pennant thinks it not improbable that this was the castle of Ririd Vlaidd, lord of the hundred of Penllyn, whose armorial bearings decorate an effigy in the church: the other bearings with which that monument is adorned, the same writer considers to be those of Cunedda Wledig, a Cumbrian prince, whose sons, after his defeat by the Saxons, established themselves in various parts of the principality, and from whose grandson Meirion is derived the name of the county. Rowland Vaughan, who translated into the Welsh language Bishop Bailey's "Practice of Piety," and Dr. Brough's "Manual of Prayer," resided at Caer Gai, in the latter part of the seventeenth century.
LLANVABON, a parish, comprising two hamlets, in the union of Merthyr-Tydvil, hundred of Caerphilly, county of Glamorgan, in South Wales, 9 miles (S. S. E.) from Merthyr-Tydvil; containing 1449 inhabitants. This parish is bounded on the west by the river Tâf, and on the east by the Romney; and comprises about 5000 acres, of which 1120 are arable, 2230 pasture, 1000 common, 500 woodland consisting chiefly of oak, and the remainder roads and water. The surface is in general mountainous; and the scenery picturesque, especially in the vicinity of the village of Craigyberthlwyd, from which the views are striking and beautiful. The soil comprehends gravel, clay, and peat, and the chief agricultural produce is wheat, barley, and oats, the last of which is grown in a larger quantity than either of the two former. Tiles for building are made, and there are excellent stone-quarries, and coal-mines, but they are not in operation to any great extent, the latter being chiefly on the border, and appropriated to the use of the neighbourhood only. The greater part of the colliers of Gellygaer, an adjoining parish, live in Llanvabon. The ancient seat of the Lanbradach family is situated here; and besides the village above-named, the parish contains those of Quakers'-Yard and Nelson. It is intersected by the road from Cardiff to Merthyr, which passes about two miles and a half westward from the church; and by the Glamorganshire canal, on the banks of which, within its limits, is situated the Navigation-House, where this important line of communication is joined by the Aberdare canal, and where barges are loaded with coal and iron for the port of Cardiff. The TâfVale railway, also, passes by Quakers'-Yard and the Navigation-House, and is joined in this vicinity by the Aberdare railway, for the construction of which an act was obtained in 1846. The living is consolidated with the vicarage of Eglwysilan: the tithes have been commuted for £270, of which a sum of £200 is payable to the Dean and Chapter of Llandaf, and £70 to the vicar. The church, dedicated to St. Mabon, is an ancient structure, consisting of a nave and chancel, forty-three feet in length and twentyone in breadth, and containing accommodation for about 120 persons. There are two places of worship for Calvinistic Methodists, two for Independents, and one for Baptists; in each of which a Sunday school is also held. James Thomas, in 1730, gave by will a rent-charge of £2 for the benefit of the poor, to be equally divided between those of each hamlet.