Llanaber - Gazetteers

National Gazetteer (1868)

"LLANABER, a parish in the hundred of Ardudwy, county Merioneth, 1½ mile N. of Barmouth, its post town, and 8 miles E. of Dolgelly. It is situated at the mouth of the river Man, overlooking Cardigan Bay. The parish includes the town of Barmouth, and the hamlets of Isymynydd and Uchmynydd. It is extensive and for the most part hilly, abounding in copper and lead. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Bangor, value with the curacy of Barmouth annexed, £213. The church, dedicated to St. Bodvan, is a structure of the 13th century, in the mixed Norman and early English style of architecture. It had so far gone to ruins that service could not be performed in it, but is now restored from designs by Mr. Boyce. It contains an ancient font, and a curious old chest for the reception of the public offerings. The charities amount to about £5 per annum. A friary, called Egyrn, is now occupied as a farm."

"BARMOUTH, (or Abermawddoch), a township and seaport in the parish of Llanaber, hundred of Ardudwy, in the county of Merioneth, North Wales, 10 miles to the W. of Dolgelly, and 222 miles from London. It is seated on the coast of Cardigan Bay, on the north bank of the river Maw (or Mawddoch). Lofty hills shelter it on the north and east sides. The town is built in an irregular, and picturesque manner at the base and up the slope of the bare rock. For several miles northward the beach is a fine sand, and the views are magnificent over the bay, the coast of Carnarvonshire, and the Snowdon range. The neighbourhood abounds in fine scenery.

About 10 miles to the N., along the coast, is Harlech Castle. Dolgelley is 10 miles to the E. The road to the latter passes along the mountain side (which rises from the river), and afterwards through a less elevated country, embracing prospects of wonderful grandeur and endless variety. Cader Idris is seen rising above the mountains to the south of Dolgelly. Bar mouth attracts many visitors as a watering-place, and contains a good hotel, lodging-houses, baths, and other accommodations. The living is a curacy annexed to the rectory of Llanaber. There is a chapel of ease, an elegant cruciform building in the perpendicular style. The Independents, and Calvinistic and Wesleyan Methodists have chapels here.

The harbour is subordinate to Carnarvon, and is made rather dangerous by a bar across the entrance to it. The vessels belonging to it are chiefly engaged in a small export and import trade along the coast. There is a ferry across the entrance of the harbour, where a small low island called Ynys-y-Brawd, divides it into two channels. Ship-building is carried on in the town, and there are large tanneries. An extensive peat ground in the neighbourhood yields abundance of fuel, which is conveyed by canal to the Maw, and along the river to Barmouth and Dolgelly. The sea has gained on the coast, and now covers a considerable tract of ground, near the town, which was formerly fertile and cultivated. Markets are held twice a week, on Tuesday and Friday. The fairs are on Shrove Monday, Whit Monday, the 7th October, and the 21st November."

"ISMYNYDD, a township in the parish of Llanaber, county Merioneth, 3 miles from Barmouth."

"UCHMYNYDD, a township in the parish of Llanaber, county Merioneth, near Barmouth."

[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)
Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003]

A Topographical Dictionary of Wales Samuel Lewis, 1833

LLANABER (LLAN-ABER), a parish in the hundred of ARDUDWY, county of MERIONETH, NORTH WALES, comprising the sea-port and market-town of Barmouth, and containing 1448 inhabitants. This parish extends for more than nine miles in length and four in breadth : the upper parts are rocky and mountainous; but about one-half of its surface is under cultivation. In 1810, an act of parliament was obtained for enclosing the common and waste lands in this and the adjoining parishes, under the provisions of which six thousand eight hundred and eighty-eight acres were allotted to Llanaber, and are now nearly all enclosed. From the hills and other elevated grounds fine views are obtained over Cardigan bay, the river Mawddach, and the surrounding country, which is characterized by varied features of bold and pleasing scenery. The village extends along the coast ; and on the sands may be seen, at low water, an ancient stone which formerly served as a foot-bridge, inscribed with the legend " Hic jacet, Calixtus Monedo Regi." Copper and lead ores were formerly found at Buddugre, in this parish ; and on its southern side the river Mawddach is navigable for barges of less than twenty tons' burden from Barmouth to within two miles of Dolgelley.

The living is a rectory, in the arch-deaconry of Merioneth, and diocese of Bangor, rated in the king's books at
£ 11. 18. 9., and in the patronage of the Crown. The church, dedicated to St. Bodvan, is a spacious structure, in the early style of English architecture : the interior consists of a nave, with north and south aisles, and a chancel ; the aisles are each separated from the nave by five finely pointed arches, with massive round piers : the south entrance is under an arch richly ornamented with mouldings. There is an ancient font of elegant design ; and among the monuments is one to the memory of the Rev. Robert Morgan. A chapel of ease was erected at Barmouth, in the year 1830. There are places of worship for Independents and Calvinistic and Wesleyan Methodists.

Richard Roberts bequeathed £20 to the poor; and the Rev. Mr. Morgan, in 1739, gave £40 in trust, for the payment of twenty shillings annually to twenty of the poorest inhabitants who can repeat the Catechism in Welsh, and the other moiety of the interest to be distributed among such poor children as can read Welsh and repeat the Welsh Catechism : there are also some smaller charitable donations for distribution among the poor.

On the borders of this parish and that of Llanddwywau, near the coast, stands an old family mansion, called Egryn. It was anciently the residence of a cymmro of some rank, and was occupied by friars in the fifteenth century, but has been converted into a farm-house. The interior is divided into three compartments, formed by pointed arches of Irish oak, which extend from the basement and support the roof, and the whole is of a curious construction.

Hendrev-Vechan, in this parish, was the residence of four celebrated Welsh bards, namely, William, Richard, John, and Thomas Phillips, who flourished successively in the reigns of Elizabeth, James I., and Charles I.

Within its limits is an ancient encampment. The average annual expenditure for the support of the poor amounts to £ 510. 14.


BARMOUTH (ABER-MAW), a small sea-port and market town, in the parish of LLANABER, hundred of ARDUDWY, County of MERIONETH, NORTH WALES, 10 1/2 miles (W. by S.) from Dolgelley, and 222 (W.N.W.) from London. The population is returned with the parish. The present name of this place is an Anglicism of the original name Aber Maw, denoting its situation at the mouth of the river Maw, or Mawddach, and was adopted in 1768, at a meeting of the masters of vessels belonging to the port, when, in consideration of the increase of the shipping, it was deemed expedient to have an English name inscribed upon the sterns of the vessels. The town is beautifully situated on the northern side of the river, at the point where it pours its waters into Cardigan bay : the aestuary of the Maw, which forms its port, is a mile in breadth at high water. The beach is a fine smooth sand, extending from the harbour north-ward to Traeth Artro, where the small river Artro falls into the sea, and is peculiarly adapted to the purpose of sea-bathing, for which the water of the bay is still more efficacious than on other parts of the coast, owing to the frequent agitation of the tides, which in St. George's channel are violent, and dash furiously on the rocks that line this part of the coast. The air is rendered mild and salubrious by the situation of the town at the base and on the acclivities of high hills, which shelter it from the north and north-east winds. The view from the beach is strikingly magnificent : the hills on the opposite shores of Carnarvonshire are seen in the distance towards the west, and towards the north the view of the sea is bounded by lofty mountains, apparently forming majestic ramparts for the defence of the coast, and beyond which, in clear weather, may be seen the peak of Snowdon, towering above the rest.

The appearance of the town, as viewed from the sea, is peculiarly romantic : the houses, rising in successive tiers from the base nearly to the summit, are scattered along the brow of the mountain, which is a barren rock, and assume a character singularly picturesque. On the banks of the river is found a profusion of scurvy grass, the efficacy of which, in conjunction with the benefit of sea-bathing, is supposed to have originally made Barmouth a place of resort for invalids; and the salubrity of the air, the fineness of the beach, the beauty of the surrounding scenery, and the varied and interesting excursions which the environs afford, have contributed to render it a place of fashionable resort during the summer months, and to raise it to an eminent rank among the watering-places on this part of the coast. There is an excellent hotel, provided with every accommodation, to which a capacious boarding-house is attached; and numerous respectable lodging-houses have been erected for the accommodation of families. Warm and cold sea water baths have been constructed by the proprietor of the hotel, by whose exertions many improvements have been made, and are now in progress, in the town : opposite to the hotel is also a billiard-room, erected by the same gentleman ; and assemblies are held at the hotel during the season.

Among the interesting excursions in the neighbourhood are, a pleasing ride to Harlech castle, about ten miles to the north of the town, a great part of which is over the fine sands that stretch along the coast ; and the ride from Barmouth to  Dolgelley, about the same distance towards the east, which comprehends a finer range of varied scenery, and of interesting and magnificent objects, than can be found within the same distance, either in this or perhaps in any other country : the road is conducted along the slope of a vast mountain, which impends over it for about two miles, and on the opposite side is skirted by the river, which forms a small arm of the sea, and at high water reflects the masses of barren rock which rise from its steep banks, occasionally interspersed with hanging woods, and varied with spots of luxuriant verdure. Beyond this point, the road winds beautifully through the lower hills, at a small distance from the river, which is seen through the different openings, partly concealed by intervening eminences, and sometimes expanding into a broad lake, from the margin of which, on either side, rise lofty and abrupt promontories, some of them rugged and barren, others half clothed with purple heath, and others again richly wooded. The banks of the river are occasionally enlivened by a few scattered rural dwellings, erected on the acclivities, at a great height above its channel ; and on the opposite side, several rivulets, descending from the mountain with impetuosity, and after rains swelled into torrents, discharge themselves into the river. In the back ground, towering above the mountains which bound the view, is seen the lofty Cader Idris, on the other side of Dolgelley. Throughout the whole of this beautiful ride the most pleasing and the most sublime features of landscape are strikingly grouped, and the most interesting varieties are beautifully combined. The waterfalls in the neighbourhood of Dolgelley, and the Druidical remains on the road to Harlech, are objects of great attraction, and are deservedly admired.

Barmouth is a creek to the port of Aberystwith. Prior to the late war with France, the inhabitants carried on a commercial intercourse with Ireland, Spain, and Italy ; but the trade is now principally coastwise, and consists chiefly in the exportation of timber, poles for collieries, bark, copper and lead ore, black jack, manganese, turnery, webs, and slates ; and in the importation of corn, flour and meal, coal, limestone, American and Baltic timber, hides, and grocery. The harbour is formed by the mouth of the river Maw being partially closed by a small island, called Ynys y Brawd, or the Friar's Island, and a gravel beach to the south : this island defends it from the billows of the ocean, and anciently afforded pasturage for sheep and cattle, but, owing to the shifting of the sands, a great part is now inundated. The entrance is rendered somewhat difficult and dangerous, in consequence of these sands, the principal of which are the banks called the North and South Bars ; so that vessels of considerable burden can only enter and depart at spring tides. In the year 1802, the harbour was greatly improved by the erection of a small pier, or embankment of stone, under the authority of an act of parliament, and at a total expense of £1660, by which the depth of water was increased, and the loading and unloading of vessels considerably facilitated : at the same time a new quay was also constructed. A buoy has been laid down upon each of the bars, and a beacon has been erected near the pier ; so that the natural obstacles opposed to the growth of the commerce of this port have been in a great measure removed. The river Maw, over which there is a ferry at this place, is navigable for boats under twenty tons' burden to within two miles of Dolgelley. The sea has made considerable encroachment on this part of the coast : to the north of the town there was formerly a verdant plain, about half a mile long, and a quarter of a mile broad, now entirely covered by its waters, and over which passed the line of road which has since been cut along the rocky elevations to the right. Ship-building and the tanning of leather are carried on here, the latter to a considerable extent. A great quantity of peat is obtained in a neighbouring turbary, through which a canal has been cut, walled on each side with stone, by means of which and the river Maw this species of fuel is conveyed in vessels either to Barmouth or Dolgelley.

Here are two weekly markets, on Tuesday and Friday ; and fairs are held on Shrove-Monday, Whit-Monday, October 7th, and November 21st.

In 1830, a chapel of ease was erected, at an expense of £ 2000: it is a neat cruciform structure, in the later style of English architecture, containing four hundred and seventy sittings, half of which are free, in consideration of a grant of £300 from the Incorporated Society for building, enlarging, and repairing churches and chapels. There are places of worship for Independents and Calvinistic and "Wesleyan Methodists, to which are attached Sunday schools, supported by subscription. A branch establishment, belonging to the Merchants' Hospital in London, was established here. in 1828.

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