DOLWYDDELAN (DOL-WEDDELAN), a parish in the hundred of NANTCONWAY, county of CARNARVON, NORTH WALES, 6 miles (S. S. W.) from Llanrwst, containing 601 inhabitants. This parish is situated near the south-eastern extremity of the county, bordering upon Merionethshire, by which it is bounded on the south, and extending on the west to the mountains of Snowdon, which are partly within its limits. It is intersected by the small river Ledan, which receives several streams that descend from the neighbouring hills, and, taking an easterly course through the parish, falls into the Conway near Capel Garmon. The surface is abruptly broken, rising in many places into lofty eminences; and, with the exception of the valleys, which are fertile and well cultivated, the lands are for the greater part mountainous and barren. The surrounding scenery is marked with features of romantic grandeur, and distinguished rather for striking boldness of character than for picturesque beauty.
Fairs, principally for the sale of cattle, are held here annually on April 16th, August 15th, and September 20th.
The living is a perpetual curacy, in the archdeaconry and diocese of Bangor, endowed with £ 800 royal bounty and £ 1200 parliamentary grant, and in the patronage of Lord Willoughby de Eresby. The church, dedicated to St. Gwyvelan, is not remarkable for any architectural details.
Elinor Thomas, in 1735, bequeathed £60 for the benefit of the poor, the interest of which is annually distributed among them.
In this parish are the remains of the ancient castle of Dolwyddelan, built probably by some of the princes of North Wales, though the original founder, and the time of its erection, are unknown. Iorwerth Drwndwn made this castle his residence, and his son Llewelyn the Great is said to have been born at this place. In the reign of Henry VII., Meredydd ab Ievan, ancestor of the Wynns of Gwydir, purchased the castle and its dependencies from the executors of Sir Ralph Berkenet, and made it his principal residence, while employed in reducing to order this part of the principality, which was at that time infested with banditti. For this purpose he kept an armed force here, which attended him on all occasions, and by his courage and perseverance succeeded in restoring order and tranquillity. The castle occupied the summit of a precipitous rock, and consisted of two square towers, between which was the castle yard; it was built of the stone of the country, and was a place of considerable strength. About a mile distant from it was the strong house called Penamnaen, built by Meredydd ab Ievan, of which some vestiges are still discernible. The average annual expenditure for the support of the poor amounts to £146.7.
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