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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Registers of Grosmont 1589 - 1812: Part 2


From what may be gathered from the registers, the town and parish were entirely Welsh in language and sentiment till the end of the eighteenth century. In 1608 the baptism of the son of an "Englishe man" is noted (p, 20), the only English families there at this period being Gainsford and Goddard. There were than very few surnames, the usual string of Christian names taking the place of a surname. The Welsh system had its advantages, as when (p. 18) in 1606 Mawd the daughter of John William James David Gwyllym, is baptized, no less than six generations are enumerated, a pedigree in itself. It will be noticed that though the entries are in English for the most part, those relating to the gentry and superior persons are in Latin.

Book I. - This commences with 1589 and ends with 1631. It is in fairly good condition, but in places hard to decipher. It is of parchment and measures 12 ¼ ins. by 6 ½ ins.

Book II. - This is unbound and the pages are loose. It commences with 1631 and continues to 1638. There are then no entries till 1662, caused doubtless by the civil Wars. From 1662 it continues regularly to 1673. These pages are of parchment and measure 12 ins. by 7 ¾ ins.

Book III. - This is a stout parchment book in good order and well written. It commences with 1678 and goes to 1756. It measures 14 ins. by 8 ins.

Book IV. - This is a parchment book in good condition. Some of the entries are in a bad hand, presumably that of the parish clerk. It commences in 1757 and ends with 1812. It measures 13 ¼ ins. by 7 ½ ins.

Book V. - Printed book of marriage forms, 1754 to 1812.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Registers of Grosmont 1589 - 1812: Part 1

GROSMONT is an ancient borough, once governed by a mayor and corporation. It takes its name from the situation of the castle on a mount high above the river Monnow, commanding an outlook over an extensive range of country. It has no distinctive We1sh name, but in Welsh pedigrees and poetry appears as Grismond and Grismwnt. By this it would seem that as a place of defence it was not used by the early Welsh, and owes its origin to the Norman conquest. This is to some degree borne out by the dedication of the church to St. Nicholas, and not to a Welsh saint.

Gwaethfoed is said to have been the native lord of Grosmont when Hamelyn, who died in 1090, the conqueror of Gwent Uwchcoed, subdued this district and possessed himself of the four castles of Monmouth, Grosmont, Skenfrith and Whitecastle. It is considered that the castle of Grosmont was built or re-built on the lines indicated by the existing ruins by Hubert de Burgh, earl of Kent, in the early part of the reign of king Henry III. (1216). The family of de Braose, lords of Abergavenny, followed Hamelyn as lords of Grosmont, Skenfrith and Whitecastle, till in 1219 Hubert de Burgh above mentioned recovered Grosmont in a from Regìnald de Braose. Hubert de Burgh in 1233 joined Llewelyn ap Iorwerth, prince of North Wa1es, and Richard Marshall, earl of Pembroke, in which year they engaged the king’s army near Grosmont, when the king was defeated with the loss of 500 horse and all his baggage, and compelled to retreat to Gloucester. The spot where this battle took place is still called Kingsfield. In 1240 Hubert de Burgh made peace and surrendered the three castles to king Henry, who in 1267 gave them to his younger son Edmund Crouchback, earl of Lancaster, who often resided in Grosmont castle. The earl died in 1296, whose son Henry was father of Henry who was born in Grosmont castle and so had the surname of de Grosmont, in Latin de Grosso Monte. This earl was created in 1350 duke of Lancaster. Blanch, daughter and heir of the duke of Lancaster, marrying John of Gaunt, younger son of king Henry III., took the estates to her husband. John of Gaunt was often at Grosmont. On king Henry IV., son of John of Gaunt, coming to the throne, the lordship of the three castles of Grosmont, Skenfríth and Whitecastle, with much other property formerly belonging to the duke of Lancaster, were formed into a duchy under the name of the duchy of Lancaster, the revenues being the private property of the sovereign. On 11 March 1405 Gwen Glyndwr`s men, to the nurnber of 8000, attacked Grosmont, which was defended by prince Henry, afterwards king Henry V. The English were victorious. The castle soon after was allowed to get into disrepair. Leland, about the year 1538, describes it [Itinerary of John Leland, Hearne’s edition, iv, 90]:-

The Castle of Grossemount standeth a 3 miles above Skenfrith, on the right hand of Mone, secundum decursum ffluvii, half a mile from the ripe. It standeth strongly on a rocke of hill drye ditched and a village of the same name by it. Most part of the castle walls yet stand.

In the year 1825 Grosmont castle, together with Skenfrith and Whitecast1e, were sold by the duchy of Lancaster to Henry, sixth duke of Beaufort. It now belongs to Mrs. Lucas­Scudamore.

The parish comprìses 6790 acres, of which a considerable portion is the Graig mountain, known in Welsh as Graig Saerffrddyn, of which much is woodland. The town is considered to have been at one time larger than it is now, and remains of cottages are to be seen in many places.

Since the year 1801 the population has varied but little, there being in that year 519 persons; in 1871, 742; in 1901, 518; in 1911, 561.

The large amount of woodland accounts for the number of tradesmen mentioned in the registers whose description signifies work in, or connected with, woods, as collier (charcoal burner), hooper (hoop shaver), carver, cooper, sawyer (carpenter), turner, staff-maker, tanner.
The district was also famous for the making of Monmouth caps, and therefore capper is found, and also glover. The house known as the Cap in the adjoining parish of Llangua was formerly an inn with the sign of the Monmouth Cap.


The Lawns.-The demesne of the castle was let to farm. At the end of the sixteenth and beginning of the seventeenth centuries the farmer of the demesnes was William Walter, esq., who resided at Part-y-seal. Later the demesnes belonged to the duke of Beaufort, who let on lease for lives to Charles Walwyn, who was buried in 1695 (p. 124), having built the residence called The Lawns. The family of Trumper, descendants of Charles Walwyn, continued to hold the property by lease till, in 1818, William Walwyn Trumper purchased the freehold from the duke of Beaufort.

Part-y-seal. At the beginning of the seventeenth century William Walter, mentioned above, resided here. His name only appears in the register once, when his daughter Abigail married, in 1628 (p. 47), William Cox. His descendants resided at Norton in Skenfríth. Part-y­-seal was later the residence of Godfrey Harcourt (p. 83), steward to the duke of Beaufort. A family named Austin (p. 154) next had it. It now belongs to the rev. Andrew Pope, and is the only one of the old Squires’ houses that has not become a farmhouse.

The Upper Dyffryn (Dyffryn Ucha) is an ancient house built probably by John Gainsford in the latter part of the sixteenth century, who came here to manage the estates of the duchy of Lancaster (p. 3).

The Lower Dyffryn (Dyffryn Isha)This was the finest house in the parish, built probably in the early part of the sixteenth century. It was long the residence and estate of a family of Cecil (Sitsyllt) kinsmen of the noble families of the marquises mf Salisbury and Exeter (p. 68).

Compton. – This, so called from an ancient mound or camp near by, was long the seat of  a family who, after the usual Welsh aps, became Prichard. Mr. Prichard on 1 July 1645 entertained king Charles I. here on his journey from Hereford to Abergavenny.

The Goitre (Coed-tref—Wood-­town, corresponding to Wootton in English), on the banks of the river Monnow, was the residence of Charles Williams who died in 1636 (p. 55), and to whose memory is a stone in the church. His relative John Gabb succeeded to the estate.

The Marlborough  (perhaps Moel fro, bare country) was in the middle of the seventeenth century the residence of Thomas Springett, who may have had it with his first wife Mary, daughter of James Prichard of Campston (p. 48), or his second Wife Anne, widow of Moore Jones (p. 45).

Upper Cefn-llytha.-This house stands on the boundary of this parish and Llantilio-Crossenny. Elizabeth, daughter of John ap William, married two Englishmen, first Thomas Goddard (p, 14.), and secondly Robert Poulet (p. 25), both of whom lived here. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries a family named Higley was here (p.91).

Heol Dalbert.-This place appears on p.150 in its English form Talbert street. It is evidently for Heol Dollborth, the street of the toll-house.

Hugh Phìlip David, who died in 1638 (p. 58), owned it, and continued as the residence of descendants, the last in the male line being Thomas Hughes who died in 1857, aged 80 (p.151).

The family of Saunders, of whom there are many entries, derived their surname from Alexander ap Rees Philip, paternally Winston (p. 2). Pen-y-pia was one of their residences.

Of the above families there are no representatives now residing in Grosmont. But some are to be found elsewhere. The family of Trumper is represented in the male line by Mr. Thomas Wìlliam Walwyn Trumper of Crickhowel; Gainsford by Mr. Dunn Gainsford of Skendleby Hall, co. Lincoln; Cecil by Mr. Burleigh Cecil of Weybridge; Gabb by Mr. Frederick Baker-Gabb of Abergavenny.

Pedigrees of these families and of others occurring in the register will be found in Llyfr Baglan and in the History of Monmouthshire.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Catholic Registers of Holywell

Part I. “The Cross Keys” or Secular Mission
Part II. “Ye Old Star” or Jesuit Mission

The records of Holywell, though scanty, are of some interest from the fact that this town, famous for many centuries for its miraculous Well, continued to be the resort of pious pilgrims even during the worst days of persecution. Another unusual feature is that, though hardly more than a village, there were in it at one time three, and for many generations two, missions. The Secular Clergy and Jesuits made Holywell a centre for their long and arduous circuits amongst the remote towns and villages in North Wales. The Fransiscans resolved to found a house here in 1687, and Father Michael Russel was appointed Preses, but the residence was soon given up.

The Secular and Jesuit priests during the penal times lived at the “Cross Keys” and the “Star” respectively. These inns were situate one on each side of the present Catholic Church, and the clergy seem to have adopted this strange expedient to allay suspicion which might arise from the presence of strangers. The following is a list of the clergy serving Holywell up to the Catholic Emancipation, the date to which I have continued the Registers :-
The “Cross Keys.” Secular Mission

(1) John Plesington alias Scarisbrick, martyred at Chester 1679, served Holywell for some time between 1665 and 1679, but  was priest at Puddington Hall, Cheshire, at the time of his seizure and martyrdom.
(2) John Price alias Bryan, son of Richard Price of St. Asaph’s, was born in or about the uear 1647. He was send to Douay College, and when twenty-two years of age was admitted into the English College at Rome September 29, 1669, where he was ordained priest April 16, 1672, but remained at the College till April, 1676, when he left of the English Mission, and if not in that year, came soon afterwards to the Cross Keys in Holywell, where he passed the remainder of his missionary career. He was alive in 1694, but the date of his death has not been ascertained. During the reign of James II Mr. Price procured a lease of the ancient chapel over the Well, and had possession given up to him by Sir Roger Mostyn, of Mostyn, Bart. It was the Queen’s pleasure, however, that the Jesuits should have the chapel for their use, and the demanded the key from Mr. Price. On his refusal to deliver it, the door was broken open, and Mr. Price ejected. He appealed for redress to Sir Roger Mostyn, who acknowledged that the lease was duly executed, but declined to incur her Majesty’s displeasure by opposing the proceedings, though he was in favour of the secular’s claim to the right of patronage to the chapel. Upon this the Queen write to him from Whitehall, under date May 8, 1687, informing him that the King had been pleased by royal grant to bestow upon her Majesty the ancient chapel adjoining St. Winifred’s Well, and desiring him to present possession in her name to Father Thomas Roberts, the Jesuit incumbent of the Star, who would deliver her Majesty’s letter into Sir Roger’s hands. This unfortunate dispute was the cause of lasting unpleasantness.
(3) Peter Wynne alias Bodwell, son of Griffin Wynne and his wife, Dorothy Parry, of Carnarvonshire. He studied at St. Omer’s College and Ghent for five years, and was admitted into the English College at Rome September 28, 1655, at the age of eighteen. The was ordained priest November 21, 1660.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Catholic Society Data for Wales

Some new pages have been added to the OGRE to link to data collated from the Catholic Society Publications relating to Wales.

Some of the product sets are for sale only, but most of these are free resources.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Catholic Registers of Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, 1740-1838

The Catholic Registers for Abergavenny, Monmouthshire: 1740-1838 are now available for download at £5.00 via the link in the above title.

137 pages, PDF format. Requires Adobe Reader.

Catholic Registers of Market Rasen, Lincolnshire, 1797-1840

The Catholic Registers of Markey Rasen, Lincolnshire, 1797-1840 are now available for download for £2.00 via the link in the above title.

24 pages, PDF format. Requires Adobe Reader.

Catholic Registers of Knaresborough 1765-1840

The Catholic Registers of Knaresborough 1765-1840 is available for download for £3.50 via the link in the above title.

56 pages, PDF format. Requires Adobe Reader.

Catholic Registers of Cheam, Surrey: 1755-1788

The Catholic Registers of Cheam, Surrey for 1755-1788 are available for download for only £2.00 using the link in the above title.

Baptisms 1755-1788
Confirmations 1759-1761
Marriages 1761-1781
Deaths 1755-1788

24 pages, PDF format. Requires Adobe Reader.

Catholic Registers of Wootten Wawen, Warwickshire

The Catholic Registers of Wootten Wawen, Warwickshire 1786 - 1843 are available for download for only £2.00 via the link in the title.

17 pages, PDF format - requires Adobe Reader.

Catholic Registers of Bellingham, Northumberland 1794-1837

The Catholic Registers of South Oswald, Bellingham, Northumberland, 1794-1837 are now available for download for £2.00 by following the link in the above title.

14 pages, PDF format - requires Adobe Reader.

Catholic Registers of Towneley Hall, Lancashire

The Catholic Registers of Towneley Hall, Lancashire are now available to download using the link in the title of this post, in PDF format for only £1.00. This is a very small document of 6 pages containing:

Baptisms and Marriages: 1705-1727
Chaplain's Stipendiary Accounts: 1705-1720
Some Account of the Terrier of Martholme:
1667 Chaplain's Commemoration at Mass: 1706-1722

Monday, September 13, 2010

History of Monmouthshire: The Hundred of Caldicot: Part II volume IV

Bradney's History of Monmouthshire, the Hundred of Caldicot is now available for download via this link: priced £6.00. 170pp of high resolution scans.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Monmouthshire Recusants 1719

A list of recusants in 1719 in the county of Monmouthshire, taken from the Catholic Record Society publications. Click on the above link to view the document.

Friday, September 10, 2010

MONMOUTHSHIRE: Pigots. circa 1830

MONMOUTHSHIRE This is a maritime county, bounded on the south-east and south by the river Severn and the Bristol channel; on the west by the counties of Glamorgan and Brecknock (in South Wales); on the north part of the latter county and Herefordshire; and on the east by Gloucestershire, from which it is separated by the river Wye. Its greatest length, from north to south, is thirty miles; its breadth, from east to west, twenty-six miles; and its circumferance about one hundred and ten miles, comprising an area of four hundred and ninety-eight square miles, or 318,720 statute acres. In size and population it ranks as the thirty-sixth county in England.
NAME and ANCIENT HISTORY - By the Saxons this county was denominated Wentsel and Wentsland; but by the Britons it was called Gwent, from an ancient city of the name: the modern appellation is taken from Monmouth (or Munnow) and Wye - Camden also says it was originally called Mongwy (Mwny). The ancient inhabitants of this and the neighbouring county of Hereford were the Silures; and the early history of Monmouthshire partakes of the events which took place in the former county, and of those which occurred in Huntingdonshire. The Romans occupied the country of the Silures, as a conquered province, from their complete establishment in the reign of Vesparian to the period of their final departure from Britain, when the colossal empire of Rome was tottering to its centre. There were five principal Roman stations in that part of the territory of the Silures which is included in the present county of Monmouth, namely - Venta Silurum, ascertained by antiquarians to have been at Caerwent; Isca Silurum, at Caerleon; Gobannium, at Abergavenny; Burrium, at Usk, and Blestium, at Monmouth. The miscellaneous Roman antiquities discovered in the county, at different times, are numerous and various, comprising aqueducts, baths, sudatories, tesselated pavements, columns, statues, bas-reliefs, hypocausts, altars, sepulchral stones, sarcophagi, urns, medals, coins, febulae, &c. In our account of Caerleon mention is made of a multiplicity of interesting relics discovered in that station and its vicinity. Remains of a number of ancient encampments, in different parts of the county, are still visible, the construction of which has been attributed to the Britons and the Romans. From the contiguity of this county to the borders of Wales, the fortified castles were also very numerous, the sites of more than twenty being still distinguishable, most of which were of Norman erection: of several of them considerable portions have withstood the assualts of time, though for the most part ruinous; those of Caerleon, Usk and Skenfreth possess the greatest claim to antiquity; that of Ragland, though presenting the most magnificent extent of ruins, is the most modern of all the ancient fortresses - it was of well-proved strength so late as the time of Charles I, in whose favour it vigorously held out, under the Marquess of Worcester, until its surrender to Sir Thomas Fairfax. The caslte of Chepstow, supposed to have been erected by William Fitz-Osborn, Earl of Hereford, is likewise an imposing ruin: in 1645 this castle, which had been garrisoned for King Charles, surrendered to the troops of the parliament; in 1648, however, the royalists, under Sir William Kemeys, retook it, but retained possesion of the fortress only for a brief period, as on the 25th May in the same year it fell before Cromwell's forces under Colonel Ewer. The number of religious houses, including two hospitals, was seventeen: of these the most intertesting remains are the Cistercian Abbey of Tintern and Llanthony Priory Church, both exhibiting large masses of beautiful architecture in ruins, in highly picturesque situations; and beneath the Hatterell Hills, near Ragland castle, is the well-adapted site of a monastery. The principal towns of this county are situated upon the banks of the Wye and the Monnow. Monmouthshire was formerly classed as one of the Welch counties and, from the names of its towns and villages, its mountainous rugged surface, as well as its situation beyond a large river (the Wye), which seems, in this part, to form a natural boundary between England and Wales, it certainly partakes most of the character of the latter portion of the kingdom, though it is comprehended within the civil division of the former.
SOIL and CLIMATE, PRODUCE, MINERALS and MANFACTURES - The surface of this county is picturesque, and peculiarly delightful. The eastern parts are woody, and the western mountainous - a diversified and luxuriant scenery of hill and dale. In one district the eye is charmed with sylvan shades, impervious woods, fields enriched with the finest corn, and meadows enamelled with flowers from other points a scene in complete contrast may be comtemplated - lofty mountains, whose summits reach the clouds, form a sublime and majestic picture, awfully commanding and deeply impressive. The river Usk divides Monmouthshire into two unequal portions, of which the east and largest is, upon the whole, a tract fertile in corn and pasture, and well wooded: the smaller or western division is mountainous, and in great part unfavourable to cultivation; but the hills feed great numbers of cattle and sheep, and some goats. The CLIMATE of the county is salubrous, and favourable to convalescence and longevity: the air is pure - and though, in the mountainous regions, it is found of a keen and piercing nature, yet it tends greatly to brace and strengthen the animal system, precludes those disorders whcih generate in a moist and milder atmosphere, and diffuses its sanitary inlfluence on the more level districts. The most important MINERAL productions are iron, coal, limestone, and various other kinds of stone valuable for building and general purposes. The iron ore is found in such vast quantities, as to form, in consequence of the country abounding with coal also, a principal branch of manufacture: the works on the Welch border are of great extent and importance, producing both pig and bar iron; a Caerleon, and in the Tredegar district, the iron works are likewise upon an extensive scale - at the former there are also tin works. Lead ore, too, is obtained; and the coal mines furnish not only sufficient for the supply of the inhabitants, but to establish a tolerably good coasting trade. Quarries of excellent limestone are worked in almost every part of the county. Japanned goods, bearing the name of 'Pontypool ware,' are manufactured at Pontypool; and there are iron-foundries and paper-mills at Monmouth and Chepstow. Some few coarse cloths and caps, and woollen stockings, are made by the inhabitants in the mountainous parts, and sold at the different fairs. The flannel manufacture, at one time a branch of importance, is now of very limited extent.
RIVERS and CANALS. - The county of Monmouth is abundantly watered with fine rivers, the principal of which are the SEVERN, the WYE, the MONNOW (or MUNNOW), the RUMNEY, the USK, and the EBWY. The noble Severn, the powerful auxiliary of commerce, forms the southern boundary of Monmouthshire, and, after receiving the Wye near Chepstow, and the Avon from Somersershire, unites with the sea to form the Bristol channel. The river Wye, which separates this county from Gloucestershire, is navigable for barges to Monmouth, and ships of considerable burthen come up to Chepstow, where the water rises with great violence: this river, having received from several tributaries a great augmentation of body, becomes a truly splendid one, and, with a deep channel and full current, rushes impetously towards the sea, bearing on its surface vessels of a respectable class of tonnage. The Monnow, rising in the Hetterel or Black Mountains of Brecknockshire, pursues its course south-east, and, dividing this county from that of Hereford, falls into the Wye at the town of Monmouth. The Rumney has its source in Brecknockshire, and, directing its progress south-east, falls into the Severn. The Usk originates amidst the Black Mountains, and, also with a south-east direction, separates this county into two unequal parts, and the falls into the Severn near Newport. The Edwy likewise takes it rise in Brecknockshire, and, passing under the Brecon Mountain, flows through the wild valley of Ebwy, and falls into the Usk below Newport. Several fine streams course through the narrow valleys of the county, fertilizing the land, and beautifying the face of the country; these principally flow into the Bristol channel. Mounmouthshire has some lines of valuable CANAL NAVIGATION: - The 'Monmouthshire Canal,' begun in the year 1792, and completed in 1798, commences on the west side of the town of Newport, having a basin connected with the river Usk: it passes between the town and river, and crosses the Chepstow road; from thence, by Malpas, it pursues its route parallel to and near the river Avon, by Pontypool and Pontnewydd, being nearly eleven miles, or thereabouts. In the 33rd of Geroge III and act was obtained for constructing the 'Brecknockshire Canal,' to form a communication betwen Brecknock and Newport by way of Abergavenny and Pontypool - forming a junction with the Monmouthshire canal between eight and nine miles from Newport and one from Pontypool: from the Monmouthshire canal it is carried across the river Avon; and after being conveyed through a tunnel, one hundred and eighty yards in length, it passes by Mamhilad, Llanover, &c. From these canals several lines of railroad, leading to different iron-works, collieries and lime-kilns, have from time to time been constructed.
ECCLESIASTICAL and CIVIL DIVISIONS, and REPRESENTATIONS. - Monmouthshire (formerly the seat of metropolitan power), is in the province of Canterbury, and, with the exception of six parishes (three of which are comprised in the diocess of Hereford, and the other three in that of St. David), in the diocess of Llandaff. It is divided into six hundreds, namely Abergavenny, Caldicott, Ragland, Skenfreth, Usk and Wentlloog; these are subdivided into one hundred and twenty-four parishes and two parts of parishes, containing one county town (Monmouth), and eight other market towns. The reform bill did not interfere with the representation of this county, which still returns three members to parliament, viz. two for the shire, and one for the borough of Monmouth in conjunction with Newport and Usk. The return of representatives for the county is made from Monmouth: and besides that town, the polling stations are, Abergavenny, Usk, Newport, and the Rock Inn, in the parish of Bedwelty.
POPULATION, &c. - By the census for 1831 the county of Monmouth contained 51,095 males, and 47,035 females - toal, 98,130: being an increase, since the returns made in the year 1821, of 26,297 inhabitants; and from the census of 1801 to that of 1831 the augmentation amounted to 52,518 persons. The annual value of Real Property in this county, as assessed April, 1815, amounted to £295,097.


SOUTH WALES consists of substantially the larger half of the Principality, and comprises six counties, viz.: - Brecon, Cardigan, Carmarthen, Glamorgan, Pembroke and Radnor; which have the following areas and population:

  Acres Administrative Co. Population 1911 Males Females
Brecon 469,281 59,287 30,660 28,921
Cardigan 443,189 59,879 26,918 32,961
Carmarthen 588,472 100,406 80,045 80,361
Glamorgan 518,865 1,120,910 582,180 538,730
Pembroke 393,003 89,960 43,462 46,498
Radnor 301,165 22,590 11,340 11,250

Only two of these counties are inland, Radnor and Brecon, or Brecknock; all the others reach the sea, and present a coast line, fairly regular on the north-west, but very irregular on the west and south, owing to the existence of several large bays and many indentations. Cardiganshire, the north-western county, preserves an almost unbroken sea-front, from the estuary of the Dovey to that of the Teifi, the only interruption being at New Quay, where there is a small bay and a bold headland. Pembrokeshire, which follows, is a broad peninsula, with several small bays on the north, and the promontory called Strumble Head; on the east is the broad expanse of St. Bride's Bay, closely shut in on the north and south, St. David's Head and Ramsey Island forming the point of the northern horn, and the islands of Skomer and Skokholm lying at the opposite extremity: further south are St. Ann's Head, Milford Haven, Freshwater Bay and St. Gowan's Head, and eastwards, Caldy Island, which is nearly opposite Tenby. The Carmarthenshire coast is comparatively unimportant, but gives its name to a long open bay, including the estuaries of the Taf and Towy, and the Llwchwr or Burry river inlet on the east. Glamorganshire includes the Gower peninsula, which is about 15 miles long by 8 in extreme breadth, and is bounded on the north by the Barry inlet; on the east is Ehosily Bay, with Worms Head; on the south, Port Eynon Bay, Oxwich Bay, lying between Oxwich point, and Pwll-du Head; and to the east, Swansea Bay, on which that town stands, and which is sheltered on the south by the Oystermouch or Mumbles promontory. The rest of this coast stretches out with a boldly convex outline into the Bristol Channel, and includes Cardiff, where is the outlet of the river Taff.

The physical features of South Wales are much varied, and present strong contrasts, the hilly, and in parts mountainous regions being largely moorland, but often thickly wooded, and alternating with deep and secluded gorges, expanding into open valleys, traversed by foaming and rushing torrents, which at length become wide rivers, flowing placidly through beautiful and diversified scenery of hill, wood and valley, to the sea. The mountains are of considerable, though not overpowering height, and arrange themselves in several groups, or divisions: one great range begins at St. David's Head, and is continued in a north-easterly direction through Cardiganshire into Radnor, it includes the Preceley mountains (1,754 feet) and peaks south of Rhayader, rising to 2,120 feet. From Mid Wales to the north-east runs another range, including the heights of Cilycwm Forest and Cefn Llwydlo, near Llandovery, and east of it the Mynydd Bwlch y Groes, and Mynydd Epynt, continued past Builth by the Aberedw Hills, to Radnor Forest (2,163 ft.). In Carmarthen and Brecknock shires are the Black Mountains, or Great Forest, extending eastwards from Llandilo Fawr, with a maximum height of 2,596 ft. and continued by the Brecon Beacons, of which the loftiest peak is Pen-y-Fan(2,910 ft.). In the northern part of Glamorganshire, enclosing the Vale of Neath on the south, is another range, stretching from Neath to beyond Aberdare, the highest peak being Craig-y-Llyn (1,971 ft.) nearly opposite Glyn-Neath. But the scenery of South Wales derives its greatest strength and beauty from the exquisite picturesqueness of its streams and rivers; and though, in many cases, the smaller rivers and valleys have been defiled and their attractions destroyed by the nature of the industries pursued beside and around them, the larger ones, for the most part, still remain fair and unpolluted, and present to the visitor an ever varying succession of delightful prospects. On the western side, the chief rivers are the Rheidol and Ystwyth, both of which debouch at Aberystwyth; the Ayron, falling into the sea at Aberayron, and the Teifi, whose outlet is at Cardigan: flowing south into wide adjacent estuaries below Carmarthen, there are the Taf and Towy; the Neath discharges itself at Neath; the Taff and Rumney at Cardiff, and the Sirhowy and Usk at Newport. The eastern side is traversed, somewhat circuitously, by the famous Wye, which, between Llangurig and Hay, displays some of its finest scenery, unmarred by the later ebb of tidal water.

The Welsh coal fields extend southwards from some isolated districts near Shrewsbury, and occupy, generally, the whole of South Wales, but narrowing towards the west, their greatest breadth, between Merthyr and Cardiff, being rather over 20 miles; and there are other coal districts stretching across Pembrokeshire. The presence of these great coal fields maintains not only a very widely spread mining industry, but also important and extensive iron works, and others devoted to the smelting of copper and tin. Lead mines are worked in Carmarthen and Cardigan shires, and silver is also found im small quantities. To facilitate the traffic created by these various industries, a large number of railways have been constructed, especially in Glamorganshire, where they form a perfect network of inter-communicating lines, mostly leading in the direction of Cardiff and Newport. The principal lines of railway are the Great Western, whose system extends from Hereford, and from Bristol (via Severn Tunnel), throughout the sea-bound counties as far as Cardigan, Fishguard and Haverfordwest. From Carmarthen on the main line is a branch to Aberystwyth.

The London and North Western runs south from Shrewsbury through Builth and Llanwrtyd Wells to Llandovery and Llandilo, and also has some local sections west of Merthyr, and in Pembrokeshire.

The Midland enters Brecknockshire through Hay and Brecon to Swansea.

The Mid Wales line, a continuation of the Cambrian system, runs from Llanidloes to Three Cocks Junction on the Midland railway.

The Taff Vale railway is confined to Glamorganshire, and has its chief terminus at Cardiff, but includes branches from Pontypool to Merthyr, Aberdare and Treherbert. There are also several canals.

The Agriculture, like the climate, is necessarily much affected by local physical conditions, and but little of the soil, comparatively speaking, is under cultivation; much of the land on the banks of the greater rivers is meadow and pasture, and it is along the valleys of these rivers that the soil is most fertile, and the crops accordingly most abundant. At the same time, the hills and mountain sides, though unproductive, are largely used as grazing land for cattle, ponies, and flocks of diminutive sheep, which are allowed to roam about at will, and are only collected for the winter or periodically Flannel of excellent quality is manufactured in Wales generally, and in many cases this industry is carried on by cottagers in their homes. The commerce of South Wales may be most comprehensively understood by a reference to the accounts given under its principal centres, viz. : Cardiff, Swansea, Port Talbot and Barry.

In the 6th century, the country we now call Wales was merely a district of South Britain, inhabited, in turn, by pre-Aryan and Celtic tribes, until they were overpowered by the Romans, who introduced the elements of civilization and a settled form of government, but on their retirement in A.D. 410, the tribal system was resumed, and the country reduced to a state of anarchy. It was then invaded by the Irish Danes and the Saxons of Wessex and Mercia, and Offa, in 779, built the famous Dyke; from the Dee to the Wye to mark off his dominions, and protect them against Welsh incursions. In the meanwhile the country was divided into a number of petty states, each jealous of the other, and constantly engaged in paltry and purposeless feuds and sanguinary conflicts, until at length, Bhodri Mawr (Roderick the Great), King of Gwynedd (A.D. 843), having, by some means, largely added to his original patrimony, apparently became ruler over nearly the whole of Wales. He died in A.D. 877 and left three sons, to whom he is said to have allotted Gwynedd or North Wales, Powys-land, and South Wales or Dynevor respectively. Howel Dha his grandson, and second Prince of South Wales, was famous chieftain, and attempted, but failed, to create a spirit of national unity, and after submitting himself with other Welsh Princes to Alfred the Great, died in A.D- 948, and the Saxon power being unable to maintain order, the country again fell into confusion. In 1015 Llewelyn ap Sitsylt or Cecil, fifth Prince of South Wales, acquired a leading position, and his son, Gryffydd, who became King of Gwynedd in 1039, in 1044 was master of all Wales, but two years later did fealty to England, and was eventually slain by his own subjects in 1064. Wales, which had during the rule of this Prince been overrun in 1063-4 by Harold and Tostig, was invaded in 1081 by William the Conqueror, and the subjection of South Wales was ensured in 1090 by the defeat and death of Rhys ap Tewdwr Mawr, 11th Prince of this line; several other Princes succeeded in turn to the sovereignty, the last, according to Dr. Heylin, being Meredydd ap Owain, i7th in order, who died in 1235, and the barons of South Wales finally submitted themselves to Edwd. I. in 1277. The territories conquered by William I. and his barons and knights, became known as the "Lordship Marches," and had all the rights of Palatine Earldoms: the Lords Marchers, one hundred and forty-two in number, held regal power within the limits of their respective districts, owing allegiance only to the King, to whom also internal disputes had to be referred; nevertheless, the King's writ was inoperative on the Marches, and all offences were said to be against the peace, not of the King but of the Lord. Yet, although their power individually was great, they were collectively weak, being as much divided as the Welsh chieftains themselves. The latter, who in Mid and North Wales still maintained a bold front, and displayed much activity, constantly opposed the invaders, and up to the time of his death in 1240, Llewelyn ap Iorwerth. Prince of Gwynedd, made unceasing attacks upon the Lords Marchers and even succeeded in wresting from them some part of their conquered territory. By the Act 28 Edw. I. c. 2 (1354) these regal Lords were made dependents of the Crown, and Hen. VIII. by an Act in the 27th year of his reign (1536), incorporated Wales with England, and thus restrained their powers. and they are said to have been finally suppressed by the Act I Wm. and Mary, c. 27 (1689), but this is not, even up to the present day, fully acknowledged, there being still several gentlemen of estate who claim for themselves the title of "Lord Marcher."

The political history of Wales may be said to date from the reign of Hen. VIII. who made the whole country "shire-ground," i.e. divided it into counties, and by the above and subsequent Acts gave it a form of local government and parliamentary representation, but no parliamentary returns for Wales now appear to exist until the Parliament of 33 Hen. VIII. (1541-2), in which all the counties of South Wales (except Cardigan) and most of the principal boroughs are represented; for the next parliament, 37 Hen. VIII. (1545) no returns have been found; but in those of I Edw. VI. (1547) the county and borough of Cardigan both appear, Brecon and Radnor being omitted, and there is no full parliamentary return of all the 12 Welsh counties and boroughs until 7 Edw. VI. (1552-3). South Wales now returns 18 members, of whom n represent Counties, 3 Parliamentary districts, and 4 the towns of Swansea, ardiff and Merthyr.

Municipal institutions had their rise during the Norman and later periods, and over 30 towns in South Wales either are, or have been, municipal boroughs; of these, 10 claim prescriptive rights. Some of the earliest charters of incorporation were granted by the territorial lords, and the later royal charters principally by the Plantagenet and Tudor monarchs, but in one or two cases of existing corporations, their existence is little more than nominal, and the Mayor, in one instance at least, is appointed by the lord of the manor; independently of this gentleman, there now appear to be in South Wales 16 actual Municipal Corporations.

The Welsh system of Judicature originated in the establishment by Edward IV. in 1479 of the " Court of the President and Council of Wales." This court held its sittings at Ludlow, and under its auspices a special Court of Justice, known as " The King's Great Sessions in Wales," was held twice a year, and this arrangement was continued until, in 1822, the Common Laws Commissioners, as the result of an enquiry, reported that its maintenance was not desirable, and by an Act of Parliament passed in 1830, the Special Great Sessions were abolished, and new Circuits created, which are now served by the ordinary judges of the High Court.

The Ancient Courts of Probate and Depositories of Wills have of late years been consolidated and re-settled, and as regards South Wales, are now located as follows:- the Consistorial Episcopal Court of Carmarthen and that of the Archdeaconries of Cardigan and St. David's are both at Carmarthen; in the former, which retains many testaments from other parts of the diocese, the wills date from 1600; in the latter, only from 1746; the Consistory Court of the Archdeacomy of Brecon is at Hereford, and besides the counties of Brecon and Radnor, it includes the parishes of Kerry and Mochtre in Montgomery, Cwmyoy and Oldcastle in Monmonth, and 8 parishes in Herefordshire, and its wills date from 1625; the Consistorial Court of Llandaff remains there, and has wills from 1590; the Palmers' Guild at Ludlow, once the chief seat of the Welsh Judiciary, also had testamentary jurisdiction, and wills proved under this authority from 1304 to 1499, are now in the custody of the Town Clerk.


Comprising the Counties of Cardigan, Carmarthen, including the town of Carmarthen, and Pembroke, including the town of Haverfordwest, with the deaneries of East and West Gower in the county of Glamorgan.
Registrar, Herbert Murray Fraser, King st. Carmarthen


Comprising the County of Glamorgan (with the exception of the deaneries of East and West Gower) and Monmouth.
Registrar Raymond Allen, 6 Thr Avenue. Llandaff


Comprising the Counties of Radnor, Brecknock and Hereford.
Registrar, Henry Cecil M. Nolan, 27 Castle st. Hereford

Christianity is said to have been introduced into Wales in the 2nd century, and according to Bede and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, through Lleurwg, Lucius or Lud, King of the Britons, who is affirmed to have sent an embassy to Eleutherus, bishop of Rome (177-92), desiring to be instructed in the Christian faith: for this purpose "two most religions doctors," by name Dwyvan and Fagan, were sent to Britain, and having baptized Lucius and his people, preached to them the Gospel of Christ. Subsequently an Archbishopric was founded at Caerleon-on-Usk, for the government, of the Church in Wales, and transferred, c. 519, to Sti. David's, although that see and monastery was probably not fully established till A.D. 600; it remained archiepiscopal or quasi-archiepiscopal until 1115, -since which date the occupants of this see have held the status only of bishops. It now includes the entire counties of Cardigan, Carmarthen and Pembroke, Brecon, except the parishes of Beaufort and Hirwain, and, saving three entire and parts of three parishes, in Radnor, besides the deaneries of East and West Gower in Glamorgan, and it contains 418 benefices.

The first church at Llandaff is said to have been founded by the King Lucius already mentioned, and the earliest known bishop is St. Dubricius, who was con- secrated by St. Germain, died A.D. 612. This see comprises the entire county of Monmouth, Glamorgan, except the deaneries of East and West Gower, parts of two parishes in Brecknock and part of one parish in Hereford, and it contains 375 benefices. All the Welsh sees were made subject to Canterbury by a decree of Innocent III. in 1203.

The Ecclesiastical architecture of South Wales, generally considered, is not particularly interesting, although churches are numerous, but in some cases they are more noticeable on account of the military character of their towers, evidently built for purposes of defence. The grandest examples are. of course, the magnificent Cathedral at St. David's, the elegant and admirably restored Cathedral of Llandaff, and the great cruciform priory Church at Brecon, and there are others which present features of special interest, among which may be named the priory Churches of Llanbadarn Fawr, Llanddew, Haverfordwest, Llantwit, Gumfreston and Carmarthen. During the last half of the 19th century much was done in the restoration or building of churches in Wales.

The formal separation from the Church took place in 1811, and the sects now chiefly represented are the Calvinistic, Wesleyan and Primitive Methodists, Baptists, and Congregationalists.

Education in Wales has certainly made great strides, and is now pursued with unmistakable enthusiasm by all classes. What may be called " popular education " began with the Rev. Griffith Jones, vicar of Llanddowror, in Carmarthenshire, who, in 1730, established a system of "circulating schools," which, however, had only a local character. On the passing of the " Elementary Education Act, 1870" (33 and 34 Vict. c. 75), School Boards were formed throughout England and Wales. Welsh education received a further impetus by the operation of the " Welsh Intermediate Education Act, 1889" (52 and 53 Vict. c. 40), the purpose of which is " to make further provision for intermediate and technical education."

The University of Wales is a federal University of the three University Colleges of Aberystwyth, Bangor and Cardiff. Under its charter of 1893 and a supplementary charter of 1906 it has power to grant degrees in the faculty of arts, science, law, music, medicine and theology.

There is also the important Theological College of St, David's at Lampeter, also empowered to grant degrees.

The antiquities of South Wales, both pre-historic and mediaeval, are numerous, varied, and of the highest interest. Cromlechs and meini-hirion or longstones are common, and the latter sometimes bear Ogham or other inscriptions; Cromlechs are more prevalent in Pembrokeshire than elsewhere, but are often imperfect, their slabs having frequently been used for fencing and kindred purposes: Camps are met with in almost every locality, and in some parts, the cliffs, immediately above the sea, show traces of having been strongly fortified, and this is especially the case on and about St. David's Head: Offa's Dyke is yet perfect in many places, and some British and Roman roads are still in evidence; there are also many wells or springs, some of which possess medicinal or curative properties, while others, believed to have magical powers, are tenaciously regarded with superstitious veneration. The mediaeval antiquities include, besides a number of monastic churches still in use, the more or less extensive ruins of various abbeys and priories, the chief of which are Neath and Ewenny in Glamorgan, Cwmhir in Radnorshire, Talley or Tallac in Carmarthenshire, Strata Florida in Cardiganshire and Haverfordwest and Monkton in Pembrokeshire: there are also a few ruined chapels, such as St. Govan's near Pembroke, and St. Justinian's and St. Nun's chapels near St. David's, and the chapel of St. Mary's College, also at St. David's. The ruined Castles of South Wales are mostly of a military character, but in some cases, such as Manorbier and Llawhaden, were residential, rather than defensive; those most worthy of note are Caerphilly, Haverfordwest, Kidwelly, Laugharne, Llanstephan and Pembroke.

Among the seaside resorts, Tenby holds the first place. and may be described as a miniature Scarborough, possessing both north and south sands; the town, still encompassed by its ancient walls, is a pleasant one, and has an attractive neighbourhood. Other popular watering places are Saundersfoot, Pendine, Manorbier and Penally, all on Carmarthen bay; Oystermoufch or Mumbles on Swansea bay; Dale, near Milford Haven; Solva, on St. Bride's bay; St. David's; and Fishguard, Newport and Aberaeron, on Cardigan bay. The chief inland resorts are those which attract visitors on account of the medicinal qualities of their wells, or springs, and comprise, Llandrindod in Radnorshire: and Builth, Llangammarch and Llanwrtyd in Breconshire. The waters of Llandrindod and Builth are similar, and include both saline, chalybeate and sulphur springs; those of Llanwrtyd are, in parts, similar, while at Llangammarch is a spring highly charged with chloride of barium. To these places may be added Pont-Neath-Vaughan near Glyn-Neath, which is largely visited on account of the numerous fine cascades created by the rivers Perddyn, Little Neath, Mellte and Hepste in heir tumultuous descent through the rocky and picturesque gorges with which this locality abounds; and there are other splendid waterfalls near Erwood and Resolven, and at Ystradgynlais.