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Help and advice for Tregaron - Extract from 'A Topographical Dictionary of Wales' by Samuel Lewis 1833

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Tregaron - Extract from 'A Topographical Dictionary of Wales' by Samuel Lewis 1833

"TRÊGARON (CARON, or TRÊV-GARON), a market-town and parish (formerly a borough), partly in the hundred of ILAR, but chiefly in the lower and upper divisions of the hundred of PENARTH, county of CARDIGAN, SOUTH WALES, 39 miles (E. by N.) from Cardigan, and 202 (W. by N.) from London, comprising the chapelry of Caron-Uwch-Clawdd,or Strata Florida, and containing 2282 inhabitants. This place is said to derive its name from being the burial-place of Caron, a Welsh king, who, from a low situation in life, raised himself, by his bravery and generous deportment, to the sovereignty, which he held for seven years : after his death, in the year 219, he was canonized, and became the tutelar saint of the church. The town, which is small and indifferently built, presenting only the appearance of a village, is situated on the high road from Lampeter to Rhaiadr, at the south-eastern extremity of the parish, and on the small river Berwyn, within a short distance of its conflux with the Teivy, which runs about half a mile to the west: a new bridge of stone is in progress of erection over the former, at an estimated expense of £ 120, to be defrayed partly by subscription, and partly from the county rate. In the vicinity are two small lakes, one called Berwyn, about a mile and a half in circumference, which contains abundance of trout, and the other called Maes Llyn," the Lake of the Field," where tradition reports the town to have once stood : the latter is situated about two miles to the east, is one mile in circumference, and produces trout and eels. Silver and lead ore are stated to exist in small quantities in Cwm y Graig Gôch but the mines have not been worked for many years. The market is on Tuesday, for the sale of provisions, stockings, flannel, &c. ; and one annual fair is held on March 15th ,16th, and 17th, and another on the first Tuesday in May, chiefly for the sale of pedlery, home-spun cloth, hose, horses, pigs, &c. Trêgaron was formerly incorporated, and its burgesses, in common with those of Aberystwith, Atpar, and Lampeter, had the privilege of voting in the election of a parliamentary representative for the county town ;but, in consequence of some acts of corruption at an election, it was deprived of that right by a committee of the House of Commons, on the 7th of May, 1730; and the only electoral right now exercised by the inhabitants is that of the freeholders in the election of a county member, for which this town, by the recent act to amend the representation, is constituted a polling-place. It is under the jurisdiction of the county magistrates. A court leet is held twice a year by the lord of the manor, W. E. Powell, Esq. The living is a discharged vicarage, in the archdeaconry of Cardigan, and diocese of St.David's, rated in the king's books at £8, and in the patronage of the Bishop of St. David's the prebend of Trêgaron an impropriation formerly attached to the college of Llandewy-Brevi, is rated at £13. 6. 8. The church, dedicated to St. Caron, is a neat structure, agreeably situated on a rocky elevation in the middle of the town, and consists of a nave, chancel, and an embattled tower sixty feet in height, in the later style of English architecture: the churchyard contains four ancient monumental stones, supposed to have been set up in the sixth century, two of which have inscriptions. There is a place of worship for Welsh Calvinistic Methodists. At the distance of three miles northward from the town there is a large encampment, called Castell Flemys, forming the greater segment of a circle, and defended on three sides by an impassable morass, supposed to have been constructed by a body of the Flemish invaders of South Wales; and there is another, called Castell Sunnyhill, from its proximity to a farm of that name. In this parish also are several sepulchral heaps of stones, denominated carneddau ; a curious bank of earth, extending several miles in length, called Cwys Ychain Banawg or " the furrow of the Bannog oxen," supposed by Dr. Meyrick to be the remains of an ancient British road ; and an artificial mound, encompassed by a moat, called Tommen Llanio, but by whom or for what purpose erected is uncertain. Thomas Jones, a Welsh antiquary and poet, who flourished about the commencement of the seventeenth century, was born at a house called Porth Fynnon, a little to the east of Trêgaron ; in addition to his literary reputation, he enjoyed, according to tradition, a less enviable distinction, from his practice of plundering his neighbours, being represented, under the name of Twm Sion Catti, as an expert and dexterous robber: he acquired a considerable fortune by marrying the heiress of Ystrad-fin by an ingenious stratagem, and was subsequently appointed sheriff of the county. The average annual expenditure for the maintenance of the poor amounts to £235.19."

[Gareth Hicks: 17 December 1999]