Llanelltyd - Gazetteers

A Topographical Dictionary of Wales Samuel Lewis, 1833

LLANELLTYD (LLAN-ELLTYD), a parish in the hundred of ARDUDWY, county of MERIONETH, NORTH WALES, 2 miles (N. W.) from Dolgelley, on the road to Barmouth, containing 416 inhabitants. This parish, which is situated on the eastern banks of the river Maw, or Mawddach, near its confluence with the Wnion, extends for nearly five miles in various directions from the church, and comprises some fine tracts of meadow and arable land. An act of parliament was obtained, in 1809, for enclosing the common and waste lands, under the provisions of which four thousand one hundred and sixty-four acres have been subsequently enclosed. The river Eden falls into the Mawddach about three miles above the village, and the scenery throughout the parish is richly diversified : the views along the banks of the rivers are beautifully picturesque, in some places even highly romantic, and have acquired much additional beauty from the extensive and flourishing plantations of G. H. Vaughan, Esq., recently made. There are several ancient mansions in the neighbourhood, inhabited by opulent families; and the venerable remains of the abbey of Cymmer, nearly opposite to the church, on the other side of the river, form an interesting feature in the village. Within three miles and a half of the village, near the road to Trawsvynydd, is the celebrated water-fall of Rhaiadr Du, more generally called Dol y Melynllyn, from its proximity to a house of that name, and of which a description is given in the article on DOLGELLEY. The principal of the neighbouring seats are, Hengwrt, the property of G. H. Vaughan, Esq. ; and Dol-uwch-Eogryd, which was built by one of the family of, Nanney of Nannau : on an eminence within the grounds of the latter, commanding a fine view of the Vale, is a spacious banqueting-room, called the Apollo ; and on a wall adjoining the house is the inscription " Non Domus Dominum, sed Dominus Domum," which was removed from the house to its present situation. Copper-ore abounds in the parish, and a mine is now being worked with considerable success at Cain Mawr. Peat is found here in abundance, affording an ample supply of fuel. The river Mawddach is navigable for vessels not exceeding twenty tons as far as the bridge of Llanelltyd, to which the tide flows, and several small craft come up to this place from Barmouth : vessels of small burden are occasionally built here. The road from Dolgelley divides into two branches at the village, one on the left leading down the vale along the river side to Barmouth, and another on the right towards Trawsvynydd and Tan y Bwlch. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the archdeaconry of Merioneth, and diocese of Bangor, endowed with £1000 royal bounty, and in the patronage of G. H. Vaughan, Esq. The church, dedicated to St. Illtyd, is an ancient structure, and contains some good monuments, among which is one to the memory of Robert Howel Vaughan, Esq., of Hengwrt and Nannau. There is a place of worship for Calvinistic Methodists, to which is attached a Sunday school. Mr. Richard David, in 1770, bequeathed a small portion of land, the rent of which he directed to be paid to his nearest relative in the first degree, legally settled in this parish. Cymmer abbey, or, as it is called by the Welsh, Y Vaner, and Yr-hen-Vonachlog, was founded in, 1198, by Meredydd and his brother Grufydd, sons of Cynan ab Owain Gwynedd, for monks of the Cistercian order, and dedicated to St. Mary. Llewelyn ab Iorwerth, who was a great benefactor to this establishment, augmented its endowments and gave to the abbot Esau and his brethren an ample charter, confirming all preceding grants, and conferring additional and very extensive privileges. From this period it continued to flourish until the dissolution, at which time its revenue was £58. 15. 4. The site remained in the possession of the crown till the reign of Elizabeth, who granted it to her favourite, Robert Earl of Leicester. The present remains of the conventual buildings consist principally of the abbey church, of which the roofless walls are yet standing : at the east end are three lofty, narrow, and sharply pointed windows, above which are three of smaller dimensions, thickly overspread with ivy : on the south side of the east end are several niches, in which were anciently statues. The great hall and part of the other buildings have been converted into a farm-house, and the approach is formed by a noble avenue of stately lime trees. These remains form an interesting and picturesque ruin, and, as seen from the parish church, and from many points on the opposite side of the river, have a truly venerable and romantic appearance. On a small circular eminence, near a place called Pentre, and within a short distance of the abbey, stood the ancient castle of Cymmer, erected by the sons of Uchtryd ab Edwin, and demolished, in 1113, by the sons of Cadwgan ab Bleddyn, between whom and the founders hostilities had arisen. There are no remains of this fortress, except the site, which is still called Tommen, or " the Tumulus." Hengwrt was formerly the seat of Robert Vaughan, Esq., an eminent antiquary, who published various works on British antiquities, and collected and transcribed a vast number of Welsh manuscripts, which are still carefully preserved at this ancient mansion, and which were augmented by a large collection made by Mr. Jones, of Gelli Lyvdy, according to a mutual agreement between those gentlemen, that the survivor should possess both. Mr. Vaughan was a correspondent of the learned Usher, Selden, Sir Simon D'Ewes, and other eminent men of his time : he died in 1666, and was buried in the parish church. The average annual expenditure for the support of the poor amounts to £202. 18.

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