"LLANRHIDIAN, or LLANRIDIAN (LLAN-RHIDIAN), a parish in the hundred of SWANSEA, county of GLAMORGAN, SOUTH WALES, 11 miles (W. by N.) from Swansea, consisting of a Higher and Lower division, which separately maintain their own poor, and containing 1445 inhabitants, of which number, 1033 are in the Higher, and 412 in the Lower, division.
This parish, which is situated in the peninsula of Gower, abounds with coal and iron-ore, but of these minerals no strata are at present worked within its limits. The village is pleasantly situated on the south bank of the river Burry, immediately opposite to the town of Llanelly, in the county of Carmarthen. The manufacture of woollen cloth is carried on, though upon a very confined scale, employing no more than from six to eight persons. At the village of Penclawdd, in the Higher division of the parish, were formerly extensive copper-works belonging to the Cheadle Copper Company ; but they are now neglected, that company possessing numerous others in more convenient situations, and are going to ruin.
A canal, called the Penclawdd canal, in connexion with which are some short rail-roads, opens a communication between the coal districts of Swansea, Loughor, and Llangyvelach, and joins the Burry river at Aberkiddy, in this parish.
A fair is held here on Palm-Monday.
The living is a discharged vicarage, in the archdeaconry of Carmarthen, and diocese of St. David's, rated in the king's books at £ 12. 13. 4., endowed with £400 royal bounty, and £1600 parliamentary grant, and in the patronage of John Morgan, Esq. The church is dedicated to St. Illtyd. In the Higher division of the parish is a chapel of ease, in which divine service is performed once a month by the incumbent, who also solemnizes marriages, christenings, and burials at this chapel, which is four miles distant from the parish church. In this division also there are places of worship for Baptists, a congregation in the late Countess of Huntingdon's connexion, and Independents ; and in the Lower division, another belonging to the Countess of Huntingdon's connexion. Sunday schools, connected with the established church and the several dissenting congregations, are supported by subscription.
Within a quarter of a mile of the river, and near the western extremity of the parish, are the ruins of Weobley castle, occupying an eminence commanding the navigable river Burry, and affording an extensive view of the adjacent country : it appears to have been anciently of great strength and extent, having formed the head of a considerable manor, and formerly belonged to Lord Mansel: part of it has been converted into a farmhouse. On Manselfold farm is a strong intrenchment in a very perfect state, which appears to have been thrown up to defend the passage of two valleys leading up to the castle. Several other intrenchments are visible within the parish, but by whom they were constructed is not known : one of these occupies the summit of a lofty hill just above the village, and is supposed to have been thrown up by Ivor ab Cadivor, a chieftain of Morganwg, about the year 1110, during his wars with the English, from which circumstance it has obtained the name of Cil Ivor, or " Ivor's Retreat."
On the summit of Cevn Bryn is a large cromlech, called Arthur's Stone, a vestige of Druidical antiquity, which Camden and other writers describe as being composed of a different species of stone from any found in this part of the country : this, however, appears to be erroneous, as it is the common pudding-stone, or millstone grit, of the country; and, within the recollection of persons still living, a huge fragment, which had been broken off with great labour, by means of wedges, and intended for a millstone, was found totally unfit for that purpose, from the cavities left in the surface by the falling out of the pebbles of which it consisted. The principal, or covering stone, is eleven feet in length and six feet and a half in its greatest breadth : it rests on twelve supporters, for fixing which the earth appears to have been excavated, and by the side of the cromlech lies the mass above noticed. A supposed miraculous well beneath this monument, which was said to ebb and flow with the sea, appears to be nothing more than a collection of water, after heavy rains, in the cavity formed for the insertion of the supporters, which fluctuates according to the weather, and which, as attested by intelligent persons residing near the spot, is frequently dry in hot summers. This cromlech is supposed to be alluded to in the historical triads of Wales, as one of the three Herculean labours. There are several mineral springs in the parish, to which medicinal properties are ascribed : of these, the most celebrated is Holy Well, on Cevn y Bryn mountain, to which, in former times, miraculous efficacy was attributed : it was generally frequented on Sunday evenings during the summer season by numbers of persons, who drank the water, and, according to an ancient custom, threw in a pin as a tribute of their gratitude.
On Llanrhidian salt-marsh a spring has been discovered within the last ten years, strongly impregnated with iron, and perhaps also with sulphur, and of a foetid smell, to which the inhabitants have given the name of the Stinking Well: it instantly discolours silver, and is thought to possess very powerful medicinal efficacy.
The average annual expenditure for the support of the poor amounts to £416. 5., of which sum, £ 227. 2. is raised on the Higher, and £ 189.3. on the lower, division."