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Llanfachreth


National Gazetteer (1868)

"LLANFACHRETH, a parish in the hundred of Talybont, county Merioneth, 3 miles N.E. of Dolgelly, its post town. It is situated in a hilly neighbourhood, watered by a tributary of the river Maw, and abounds with good pasturage. The parish includes the townships of Isafon and Uwchafon-Nannaw. Copper is obtained here. The village is situated at the N. foot of Moel Orthrwm, in the valley of the Mawddach. Here is a romantic pathway called the Precipice Walk. The living is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of Bangor, value 92. The church is dedicated to St. Mackreth, and was restored partly at the expense of the patron in 1820. The Calvinistic Methodists have two chapels. The parochial charities produce about 9 per annum. This was the birth-place of Rice Jones, the Welsh bard. Fairs are held on the 22nd April, 30th June, 15th August, and 23rd October."

"CWM-HESIAN, a hamlet in the parish of Llanfachreth, county of Merioneth, 7 miles N. of Dolgelly. It is situated near the river Cayne. Here are zinc and lead mines, also traces of gold and silver."

"NANNAU-ISAFON and UWCHAFON, townships in the parish of Llanfachreth, county Merioneth, 3 miles N. of Dolgelly. The village, which is considerable, is situated under Moel-Offrwm, which rises to an elevation of 1,200 feet above the sea-level. In the vicinity is Nannau Hall, the old seat of the Vaughans."

[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

LLANVACHRETH (LLAN-VACHRETH), a parish in the hundred of TALYBONT and MOWDDWY, county of MERIONETH, NORTH WALES, 3 1/2 miles (N. N. E.) from Dolgelley, containing 948 inhabitants. This parish, which derives its name from the dedication of its church, occupies a sequestered situation nearly in the centre of the county, and extends about nine miles in length and six in breadth. The surface is boldly varied, rising in some parts into rocky eminences and mountainous elevations, the latter affording pasturage for young cattle and sheep, for which they are more adapted than for agricultural purposes, though in the lower parts of the parish considerable portions of arable land are in a good state of cultivation. An act of parliament was obtained in 1806, under the provisions of which nine thousand eight hundred and ninety-six acres of waste and common land were enclosed ; and a considerable part of it has since been brought into cultivation. The surrounding scenery is strikingly diversified, combining features of rugged grandeur with objects of rural and picturesque beauty, and enriched with some well-wooded hills and extensive plantations : the numerous farm-houses, built of stone in the ancient English style, which are scattered through the parish, have a very pleasing effect on the general appearance of the scenery ; and the stream issuing from the waterfall of Pistyll Mawddach, of which a description is given in the article on DOLGELLEY, forms one of the natural boundaries of the parish. Nannau, for many years the venerable seat of the ancient family of Nanney, and now the property and residence of Sir R. W. Vaughan, as an inheritance from his paternal grandmother, is a handsome and substantially built mansion of stone, and has been recently repaired and greatly enlarged by the present proprietor. It is finely situated about two miles and a half from Dolgelley, on elevated ground, more than seven hundred feet above the level of the sea ; and on the road leading to it from Dolgelley, which is an uninterrupted ascent, was formerly an ancient and venerable oak, called Derwen Ceubren yr Ellyll, " the. Goblin's Hollow Tree : " this tree, which measured twenty-seven feet and a half in girth, and in which an aperture had been worn by time, in the form of a pointed arch, fell down in July 1813, from natural decay. The park contains some fine old timber, and is remarkable for its small but excellent venison. Within its limits may be seen the remains of the house of Howel Sele, kinsman of Owain Glyndwr, who, while pretending to shoot at a deer in the park, in company with Owain after a professed reconciliation had taken place between these two chieftains, who had previously been at enmity with each other, turning suddenly round, aimed his arrow at the breast of Glyndwr, whom he must have killed, but for the armour which he wore under his clothes. Owain, enraged at the perfidy of Howel, seized him on the spot, and, having burnt his house, hurried him away from the place, nor was he again heard of, till about forty years afterwards, when a skeleton resembling Howel Sele in stature was discovered in the oak above mentioned, and is generally reputed to have been his : this tragical event, the recollection of which was afterwards preserved by tradition in the family of Vaughan, gave rise to a belief among the peasantry that the spot was haunted by the ghost of the murdered Sele, and the tree was accordingly popularly denominated " The Haunted Oak." Close to the remains of Howel's house Sir R. W. Vaughan has erected a handsome Gothic lodge ; and behind the mansion is a beautiful mountain lake, called Llyn Cynwch, round which a fine carriage road has been recently made by the proprietor, who has also greatly improved the vicinity, by the construction of many miles of excellent roads through the parish, and the erection of stone walls for enclosures and fences, of which, within a period of twenty years, he raised an extent of more than fifty-five miles.

The parish abound with peat, which is dug as the principal fuel of the inhabitants. Copper-ore is supposed to exist in abundance in the mountainous parts of it, and considerable quantities have been obtained in a very singular manner. A gentleman residing in Dolgelley, learning that the ashes of peat procured near Dolvrwynog, in this parish, could not be applied with advantage as a manure, but had the effect of injuring the land, applied a chemical test to them, by which he discovered that they contained a considerable proportion of copper. He then employed men to cut and pile up in stacks the peat from which these ashes were produced, and shipped it to Swansea, where, upon being smelted, it was found to yield copper of very excellent quality. The surrounding mountains are from this circumstance supposed to be richly impregnated with copper-ore, which, through the medium of springs or otherwise, has saturated the peat in the hollows with a solution of sulphate of copper, from which many thousand tons of excellent metal have been produced. The village is in a very retired situation, remote from any turnpike road, and chiefly inhabited by families employed in agricultural pursuits. Fairs are held on April 22nd, June 30th, and August 15th, and at Drws y Nant, in the neighbourhood, on October 23rd. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the archdeaconry of Merioneth, and diocese of Bangor, endowed with 800 royal bounty, and 800 parliamentary grant, and in the patronage of Sir Robert Williames Vaughan, Bart. The church, dedicated to St. Machreth, is a neat stone edifice, with a low square tower, surmounted by a spire, and consists of a nave, chancel, and south transept, the two latter of which were built, in 1820, by Sir R. W. Vaugban, in testimony of his respect for the memory of his Majesty King George III., as expressed on two tablets, one inscribed in Welsh, and the other in English : the more ancient portion of the edifice was newly seated, roofed, and otherwise thoroughly repaired in the year 1800. There are three rent-charges of 2 each left by unknown benefactors, bequeathed in trust to the minister and churchwardens for distribution among the poor of this parish. Above the seat of Nannau is a lofty rock, the summit of which is encircled with a rampart of loose stones : it is called Moel Ofrwm, "the hill of sacrifice." There is an old house in this parish, called Cynmarch, or Cae March, which is surrounded by a moat, but of which little is known. At Cwmeisen is a chalybeate spring, called Fynnon Goch ; and there is also in the parish a spring of excellent water, called Fynnon Capel. Rice Jones, a noted Welsh bard, author of a work called " Gorchestion y Beirdd," who was a native of this parish, lived and died at Ty ucha Blaenau, and was buried in the church of this place. The average annual expenditure for the support of the poor amounts to 415. 9.

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