Lewis & Carlisle
"REYNOLDSTON, a parish in the hundred of SWANSEA, county of GLAMORGAN, SOUTH WALES, 12 miles (W. by S.) from Swansea, containing 220 inhabitants.
This place, which is situated in the peninsula of Gower, is supposed to derive its name from Reginald de Breos, who was lord of the manor, and is said to have been the founder of the church. The parish, which is of considerable extent, comprises some fine portions of arable and pasture land, which are enclosed and in a good state of cultivation, and a large tract of uncultivated and mountainous common, affording excellent pasturage for sheep, which are remarkable for the fineness of their wool, and the excellent quality of the mutton.
The village, which contains several neat cottages, is pleasantly situated under the southern declivity of the mountainous ridge called Cevn y Bryn, from the summit of which a most extensive and magnificent view is obtained of the country on both sides. From this eminence the peninsula of Gower appears to be completely insulated; the river Burry hence forms a conspicuous and interesting object, with the town of Llanelly on the opposite bank, and at its extreme point the village of Penbre : the view embraces also the bay of Oxwich, with the parish church, and the woods of Penrice castle, with the village, and tower, while in intervening spaces are scattered the pleasing villages of Reynoldston, Knelston, and Llanddewi.
Stout Hall, the seat of John Lucas, Esq., is a handsome modern residence, situated in extensive grounds finely laid out, and embracing much interesting scenery; and Fairy Hill, the residence of the late Lady Barham, to whose munificence the dissenters of Gower are indebted for the erection of four neat chapels in the peninsula, is also in this parish.
Limestone abounds in the parish, and is procured in great quantities for the supply of the neighbourhood: the soil in the lower grounds is fertile, and the air is remarkable for its purity. A small rivulet, which has its rise on Cevn y Bryn, after traversing the parish, falls into the Loughor, below the church at Cheriton, and gives to that river its own name, the Burry, during the finest part of its course, extending from the ferry at Loughor to its mouth.
The living is a discharged rectory, in the archdeaconry of Carmarthen, and diocese of St. David's, rated in the king's books at £5. 11. 0 1/2., and in the patronage of C. R. M. Talbot, Esq. The church, dedicated to St. George, is an ancient structure, not remarkable for any important architectural details.
A school for the gratuitous instruction of poor children is supported by the benevolence of Miss Talbot.
In Bryn field, in this parish, are the remains of an ancient encampment of small size, which, from the discovery of some broken urns in the fosse by which it was surrounded, is supposed to be of Roman origin : it is now nearly levelled.
On the summit of Cevn y Bryn, along which a good road was made by T. M. Talbot, Esq., affording a delightful ride, and commanding an extensive and beautiful prospect over the Bristol channel to the coasts of Devon, Pembroke, and Carmarthen, are several large heaps of stones, more especially on the eastern side, where there is one called the Beacon : these are probably sepulchral mounds, and perhaps of Druidical origin.
In the grounds of Stout Hall, and near a rustic bridge, is a " Maen Gwyr," a huge stone, of the same kind as Arthur's stone, about ten feet in length ; and not far distant is a small circle of upright stones, placed there by Mr. Lucas, father of the present proprietor, and forming a miniature representation of Stonehenge. In the same grounds there is one of the most extensive caverns in the kingdom, accidentally discovered by the late Mr. Lucas, who, perceiving a small aperture in the limestone rock, containing a very strong clay, proceeded to clear it out ; and finding the cavity expand inward, he fully explored the interior, by removing several thousand tons of clay, and occasionally blasting the rock. The bottom of the cavern is a plain surface, about forty feet below the level of the ground, and the roof, which is finely arched, varies from ten to thirty-six feet in height : it is capable of containing two thousand persons, and is entered in one part by a long flight of steps rudely formed, and in another by a gradual descent ; the interior, which has an imposing grandeur of appearance, is tolerably lighted by some natural openings in the incumbent strata.
On Cevn y Bryn there is a remarkable well, called Holy Well, a very copious spring included in a square enclosure of some antiquity. Near the church is a well dedicated to St. George, and at no great distance from it is another, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, and supposed to possess medicinal properties.
The poor are supported by an average annual expenditure amounting to £31. 13."
"REYNOLDSTON, in the Cwmwd of Gwyr, Cantref of Eginog (now called the Hundred of Swansea), County of GLAMORGAN, South Wales: a discharged Rectory valued in the King's Books at £5..11..0 1/2: Patron, Thomas Mansel Talbot, Esq.: Church dedicated to St. George. The Resident Population of this Parish, in 1801, was 198. The Money raised by the Parish Rates, in 1803, was £39..3..3 1/2, at 1s. 2d. in the pound. It is 12 m. W. from Swansea. This Parish contains about 600 Customary acres, which are equal to about 900 Statute acres, all cultivated; and nearly the same quantity of uncultivated Common, called Cefn y Brynn, which is celebrated for its sweet pasture for Sheep, and the consequent fineness of their Wool, and the excellence of the Mutton. It is supposed to take its Name from Sir Reginald de Breos, who was Lord of the Manor and Founder of the Church, which he dedicated to St. George, and after whom a very fine Well is called near the Church. A Post-Office has lately been established in this Village, from whence Letters are distributed three times a week. The present worthy Rector, The Rev. JAMES EDWARDS, most obligingly adds, "contiguous to St. George's Well, is another fine Spring, which is supposed to possess some Medicinal virtues, and is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin. There is also on Cefn y Brynn a remarkable Well, called Holy Well, a very copious Spring, which has the remains of Antiquity about its square Inclosure: Tradition hands down its celebrity for great cures, and it has been customary for the adjacent Neighbourhood to resort to it on Sunday Evenings to drink its water, and pay the tribute of throwing in a Pin. In a Field, adjoining Brynfield, some Roman antiquities have been discovered (where still are the remains of an ancient Encampment) by John Lucas, Esq., who has a handsome Residence in this Parish, called Stout Hall. These antiquities were discovered by digging in a Fosse which surrounds the Encampment. The famous Druidical Monument, called Arthur's Stone, mentioned by Camden, is in this Parish, and is situate on the North side of Cefn y Brynn: it is supported by six rough Pillars; there are four other Pillars standing alone, which supported a part of the Stone, now broken off, by what means, unknown, though it is said that it was broken off for the purpose of making Mill-stones, but was afterwards found unfit for the intention: several smaller pieces have from time to time been broken off, chiefly through mere wickedness, so that it is much decreased in size; it is supposed to weigh now about Twenty Tons, and to have been brought from a distance, as it is of a different quality to the Stone found upon the Hill: underneath it is a Spring of water, seldom dry. A great quantity of loose stones, thrown there by the Country people, served to hide some part of the Pillars, but were cleared away at the expense of Mr. Lucas. A handsome Road has been made along the summit of this Hill by Thomas Mansel Talbot, Esq. ; from which there is a beautiful and extensive view of the Bristol Channel, the Coast of Devon, Pembroke, and Caermarthen, with the whole of the river Burry as far as Lloughor, and the whole of the Peninsula of Gower which from hence appears nearly an Island. This is a most delightful ride or drive in the summer season. On the summit of Cefn y Brynn are several large heaps of stones, particularly on the Eastern extremity, just above Pen Maen Church, and which is called The Beacon, by the Country People: these were, probably, either burying places or monuments erected by the Druids. In the Grounds at Stout Hall, is a Meini Gwyr fourteen feet long, composed of Granite, the same as Arthur's Stone: this Pillar is similar in shape and proportion to those of Stone Henge. And in the Garden is a very curious and extensive Cavern, large enough to contain two Thousand men; the bottom of it is a plain about forty feet below the surface of the ground; there are two entrances into it, one by a long flight of rustic steps, the other by a gradual descent: The first discovery of it (a few years ago) was by a small natural Aperture in the Lime-stone rock, containing a very fast clay; this Mr. Lucas scooped out, and was not a little gratified to find the hollow expand, and the fine arched Roof appear; his exploring mind then could not rest till he had scooped out some Thousands of Tons of Clay, which with a little assistance and now and then blowing the Rock, opened the finest Cavern in the Kingdom, and perhaps in Europe: the arched Roofs, in some places Thirty-six but not less than Ten feet high, are exceedingly grand; and it is tolerably lighted by several natural openings through the incumbent earth." -According to the Diocesan Report, in 1809, the yearly value of this Benefice, arising from Glebe Lands, Tythes, and Surplice fees, was £79.. 13..11."
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