Mallwyd - Gazetteers

National Gazetteer (1868)

"MALLWYD, a parish in the hundreds of Talybont and Mathrafel, county Merioneth and county Montgomery, 9 miles from Dolgelly, its post town, and 2 S. of Dinas-Mowddwy. It is situated on the river Dyfi, under Camlan and Moel Dyfi, comprising Dinas and 7 other townships Mallwyd is a favourite resort of anglers, and, from its varied scenery, is much frequented by artists. The living is a rectory* in the diocese of Bangor, value £255, in the patronage of the bishop. The church, dedicated to St. Tydecho, is a small, plain structure, with the communion-table in the centre. The churchyard is famous for its yew trees, one of which is 24 feet in girth. The parochial charities produce about £12 per annum. At Pont- Fallwyd, a short distance from the village, is a waterfall of the river Dovy."

"ABERCOWARCH, near Dinas Mowddwy, in the parish of Mallwyd and county of Merioneth, 9 miles S.E. of Dolgelly, and 200 from London; a fine spot among the Aran Mowddwy mountains."

"BWLCH-COEDEG, a hamlet in the parish of Mallwyd, hundred of Talybont, in the county of Merioneth, North Wales, 1 mile to the E. of Dinas Mowddwy."

"CAMLAN, a township in the parish of Mallwyd, hundred of Talybont and Mowddwy, in the county of Merioneth, North Wales, 2 miles from Dinas-Mowddwy. It is situated in a mountainous district on the river Dyfi."

"CERIST, a township in the parish of Mallwyd, in the county of Merioneth, 2 miles S. of Dinas Mowddwg."

"DINAS PLAS, a village in the parish of Mallwyd, in the county of Merioneth, near Dinas-Mowddwy. A market is held here weekly, on Saturday, and fairs on the Friday before Palm Sunday, 2nd June, 10th September, 22nd October, and 13th November, for cattle, &c."

"DINAS-MOWDDWY, a township in the parish of Mallwyd, in the county of Merioneth, 8 miles S.E. of Dolgelly. It is situated in a picturesque spot among the Mowddwy and other mountains, on Craig-y-Dinas, at the junction of the rivers Dovey and Cerris. Copper, lead, slate, and blue ochre, are found here, and there is a mineral spring."

"DUGOED, a township in the parish of Mallwyd, in the county of Merioneth, 2 miles S. of Dinas Mowddwy."

"GARTHEINIOG, a township in the parish of Mallwyd, county Merioneth, North Wales, 2 miles S. of Dinas-Mcwddwy."

"MAESYGLASEY, a township in the parish of Mallwyd, county Merioneth, 2 miles S. of Dinas Mowddwy."

[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

MALLWYD (MAEN-LLWYD), a parish partly in the hundred of MACHYNLLETH, county of MONTGOMERY, but principally in the hundred of TALYBONT and MOWDDWY, county of MERIONETH, NORTH WALES, 11 1/2 miles (N. E.) from Machynlleth, containing 1137 inhabitants. The name, implying the dark stone, is supposed to have been derived from an ancient monument formerly existing here, the history of which is unknown, and there are now no vestiges of it. The parish, which is very extensive, is pleasantly situated on the river Dovey, and comprises a very considerable portion of arable and pasture land, which is enclosed and in a good state of cultivation, together with a large extent of unenclosed and uncultivated country, in which peat, which forms the principal fuel of the inhabitants, is obtained. The village is delightfully situated in a small but fertile valley, watered by the Dovey, and abounding with finely diversified and highly picturesque scenery, formed by the various indentations of the three lofty mountains of Aran, Camlan, and Moeldyvi, which surround it like an amphitheatre. The views in every direction are interesting, and embrace many objects of varied beauty and features of romantic character, among which are some pleasing waterfalls in various parts of the parish, which, especially after floods, are seen to great advantage : of these, the principal are at Pennantigi, in the township of Cerist ; at Maes Glasau, in the township of that name ; at Pont Vallwyd in that of Camlan, and another near Dinasmowddwy. That at Pont Vallwyd is close to the village, and is formed by the river Dovey rushing through a narrow and rocky channel against a high slate rock in the centre of its bed, whence its waters are precipitated into a pool beneath : on one side of it the Camlan mountain rises in rude majesty, opposite to which issues a stream which is crossed above by a lofty ivy-mantled bridge of one arch, the sides of the glen being covered with underwood, and the waters of the Dovey at the same time reflecting in a variety of shades the conical head of the Aran and its dependent elevations to the north between the opening in the mountains a distant view of the vale of the Dovey is also obtained, which adds considerably to the picturesque beauty of the scene by its light and contrasted hues. The manufacture of flannel is carried on upon a moderate scale, affording employment to a portion of the inhabitants, of whom also a few are employed in the slate quarries within the parish. The turnpike road from Welsh-pool to Machynlleth and Dolgelley passes through the village. The living is a rectory, locally in the archdeaconry, and in the diocese, of St. Asaph, rated in the king's books at £ 10.15.5., and in the patronage of the Bishop of St. Asaph. The church is dedicated to St. Tydecho, who lived at the close of the fifth and beginning of the sixth centuries, and of whom tradition has recorded many marvellous exploits : it is situated on a spot where two counties meet ; the eastern end is in the county of Merioneth, and the western in that of Montgomery : the building is in the early style of English architecture, and is remarkable for the situation of the altar, which is in the centre, opposite to the reading-desk, to which situation it was removed from the east end by Dr. Davies, at that time incumbent, in defiance of the injunction of Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury. In the churchyard are three remarkably fine yew trees, one of which measures twenty-eight feet three inches in girth, and from one stem throws out a great number of scions, which spread around it an extensive shade, and together present an appearance of sombre magnificence. There are places of worship for Independents and Calvinistic and Wesleyan Methodists. Sunday schools are supported by subscription, for the gratuitous instruction of poor children in connexion with the established church and the several dissenting congregations. Dr. John Davies, in 1643, bequeathed a portion of land ; Edward Wynne and Griffith Lewis gave each £ 20 ; Robert Vaughan and an unknown benefactor, £ 10 each ; and William and John Parry, £ 5 each, the produce of all which, together with some smaller charitable donations and bequests, is annually distributed among the poor of the parish. At Cae Gwyn is a well, the water of which is in high estimation for its efficacy in the cure of diseases of the eye. Dr. Davies, author of a Welsh grammar and dictionary, was for many years rector of this parish, to which he was a great benefactor : he built the rectory-house and three bridges in the parish, at his own expense, and devoted much of his time to literary pursuits ; he translated into Welsh the thirty-nine articles of the Church of England, and assisted Bishop Parry in his translation of the bible into Welsh, published in one volume folio, in 1620; he died and was interred here, in 1644. The poor are maintained by an average annual expenditure amounting to £584.



CAER-EINION-VECHAN, a township in that part of the parish of MALLWYD which is in the hundred of MACHYNLLETH, county of MONTGOMERY, NORTH WALES, 10 miles (N. E.) from Machynlleth, containing 139 inhabitants. It is situated on the left bank of the Dovey, and is the only portion of the parish in this county ( MGY), the remainder being in the county of Merioneth: the district is extremely mountainous.


DINASMOWDDWY, an incorporated market town and township in that part of the parish of MALLWYD which is in the hundred of TAL y BONT and MOWDDWY, county of MERIONETH, NORTH WALES, 10 miles (E. by S.) from Dolgelley, and 202 (W. N. W.) from London. The population is returned with the parish. This place is disreputably distinguished in the Welsh annals as having become, soon after the termination of the war between the houses of York and Lancaster, the resort of numerous felons and outlaws, from whom sprang a race of lawless banditti, principally divided into Gwylliaid y Dugoed, " the banditti of the Black Wood," and Gwylliaid Cochion Mowddwy, " the red-haired banditti of Mowddwy," who for some time set the laws at defiance, and perpetrated the most frightful outrages, filling with terror the minds of the peaceable inhabitants of the district; who, rather than hazard their lives and property by proceeding along the regular roads to Shrewsbury and other places, were accustomed to pass over the mountains, and, to protect themselves from being surprised in the night, placed scythes in the chimneys of their houses, some of which singular defences were remaining so late as the close of the last century. To put an end to such acts of robbery and bloodshed, a commission was granted to John Wynn ab Meredydd, of Gwydir, Esq., and Lewis Owen, of Llwyn near Dolgelley, Esq., Vice-Chamberlain and Baron of the Exchequer of North Wales, who, by virtue of this authority, raised a body of strong men, and on Christmas eve made prisoners of about eighty of the depredators, upon whom they proceeded to hold trial, punishing them according to the extent of their crimes. Among these were two young men, whose mother urgently entreated Owen to spare one of them, which being denied, she, with all the vindictiveness of malignant fury, vowed that revenge should be taken by her remaining offspring upon the baron, who, on his journey to the assizes at Montgomery, in 1555, was waylaid among the thick woods of Dugoed Mowddwy, by a band of desperadoes, who blocked up the road with several long trees, which they had felled, and, after discharging a shower of arrows, rushed upon their victim, whom they assassinated, and left his body covered with upwards of thirty wounds : the scene of this tragical event is now called Llidiart y Barwn, " the Baron's Gate." This act of atrocity against one of the king's justiciaries drew down upon the proscribed bandits that punishment which a long series of merciless outrages demanded : vigorous measures were adopted for their extirpation : many of them, having been apprehended, were tried and executed, and the rest obliged to abandon their haunts, so that security and tranquillity were restored throughout the district. Bwlch oer Ddrws, " the Cold Door Pass," which is gained from this town by ascending a steep bill on the road to Dolgelley, is noted as having been one of the three places where the most powerful individuals of certain districts met, and entered into a compact for enforcing the strict dispensation of justice for all wrongs done prior and subsequently to the war brought on by the ambitious proceedings of Owain Glyndwr, whereby each individual who had been deprived of property was to have it restored to him without lawsuit, and various regulations for restoring the government of the country were resolved upon.

The town is pleasantly situated on the shelf of a rock, called Craig y Dinas, near the margin of the small river Cerist, at its conflux with the Dovey, and on the road from Dolgelley to Mallwyd, at the junction of three vales, each of which is enclosed by lofty mountains : it consists principally of one street of meanly built houses. There are some deserted lead-works on the road to Dolgelley, in which a kind of blueish ochre is found; this the shepherds wet and pound in a mortar, and then form into balls, which they use in marking their sheep. The market is on Saturday, but it has almost fallen into disuse. Fairs are held on the Friday before Palm-Sunday, June 2nd, September 10th, October 22nd, and November 13th.

Dinasmowddwy was anciently a place of much greater importance than it is at present, and is said to have been a fortified city, and the residence of a chieftain : it still retains its corporate privileges, and is the capital of a lordship, which includes the whole of the parishes of Mallwyd and Llanymowddwy (except the township of Caer Einion Vechan in the former), over which also the jurisdiction of the corporation extends. The corporation consists of a mayor, recorder, and burgesses : the mayor, who was formerly elected annually, is now chosen only triennially : he is a justice of the peace, and possesses the power of trying criminals, but seldom exercises it, except in cases for which the punishment of the stocks, or confinement in the veg vawr, or " great fetter," is assigned, or in such cases as the duties of a magistrate ordinarily embrace. The recorder determines all actions regarding property, not exceeding forty shillings, and also holds a court leet twice a year, in May and November. The freedom is inherited by birth by the sons of freemen, on the decease of the father. The corporation are entitled to the exclusive right of licensing victuallers within the lordship, and although they have lost much of their ancient authority, they still retain its insignia, consisting principally of a mace, standard measure, stocks, and the veg vawr, or " great fetter." The county magistrates exercise concurrent jurisdiction within the borough and lordship, and hold petty sessions once a month. There is a place of worship for Independents.

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