Tywyn - Gazetteers

National Gazetteer (1868)

"TYWYN, (or Towyn), a parish, post, and market town in the hundred of Estimaner, county Merioneth, 12 miles N. of Aberystwith, and 10 from Barmouth Ferry, with which it is connected by a short branch of the Aberystwith and Welsh coast railway. It is a bathing-place situated under the hills, near Cardigan Bay, opposite Sarn-y-Buch shoal. The parish includes Aberdovey, Cefnrhos, Cynfalfach, Faenol, and 7 other townships The town is much resorted to for bathing. In the parish is a small harbour easy of access. The herring fishery is carried on to some extent, and lead, copper, and slate are productive. The soil is rocky. Much of the marshes have been reclaimed, and are now rich meadow and pasture. The ruins of Trebeni Castle are seen on the hills. The river abounds in salmon.

The living is a vicarage* in the diocese of Bangor, value £224, in the patronage of the bishop. The church is dedicated to St. Cadvan. Near the church are the saint's old pillar cross, and a sulphur well. There is also the district church of Aberdowy, the living of which is a perpetual curacy The parochial charities produce about £16 per annum, and almshouses for live poor widows, who receive an annuity of £4 each. There are the free schools of Lady Moyer and Corbet. The Independents and Calvinistic Methodists have chapels. Ynys-y-Maen-Gwyn, Bod-Talog, and Trefriw are the principal residences. Market day is on Friday. Fairs are held on the 16th March, 14th May, 17th September, and 18th November." ABERDOVEY, a village in the township of Cefnrhos, in the parish of Tywyn, in the county of Merioneth, North Wales, 4 miles S.E. of Towyn It is a bathing-place at the mouth of the river Dovey, which here falls into the bay of Cardigan, and is a subport to Aberystwith. The harbour is good, with a bar north of the entrance to it. The vessels belonging to it are engaged in the coasting trade. There is a ferry to Cardiganshire. The new road from Pennal to Powyn, constructed in 1827, passes through Aberdovey, that part of it which lies between Pennal and Aberdovey being cut through the solid rock: Here are some extensive slate quarries, and mines of copper and lead. Petty sessions for the hundred are held in the village. Ienan Dyvi, a bard of the 15th century, was born in this parish. The living is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of Bangor, in the patronage of trustees."

"BRYNYORUG, a village in the township of Gwyddalfynydd, and parish of Tywyn, in the hundred of Estimaner, and county of Merioneth, North Wales, not far from Towyn."

"BWLCH-Y-GYFNYNG, a hamlet in the parish of Tywyn, hundred of Estimaner, in the county of Merioneth, North Wales, 6 miles to the N.E. of Tywyn."

"CEFNRHOS, a township in the parish of Tywyn, in the county of Merioneth, North Wales, near Tywyn."

"CYNFALFACH, (and Cynfalfawr) townships in the parish of Tywyn, in the county of Merioneth, near Tywyn."

"DANDDYFRYN, a township in the parish of Tywyn, in the county of Merioneth, near Towyn."

"FAENOL, (or Vainol), a township in the parish of Tywyn, county Merioneth. It is situated on the sea-coast."

"GWYDDALFYNYDD, a township in the parish of Tywyn, county Merioneth, 2 miles from Towyn."

"LLANERCHGOEDIOG, a township in the parishes of Talyllyn and Tywyn, county Merioneth, in the vicinity of Towyn."

"MAESYTREFNANT, a township in the parish of Tywyn, county Merioneth, in the vicinity of Towyn."

"PONTFATHEW, a village in the township of Gwyddalfynydd, parish of Tywyn, county Merioneth, 2 miles from Towyn."

"TREFRION, a township in the parish of Tywyn, county Merioneth, near Tywyn."

"UCHA, a township in the parish of Tywyn, in the county of Merioneth, North Wales, near Tywyn."

[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

TOWYN (TYWYN - MEIRIONYDD), a market town and parish in the hundred of ESTIMANER, county of MERIONETH, NORTH WALES, 16 miles (S. W.) from Dolgelley, and 221 (W. N. W.) from London, containing 2694 inhabitants. The parish, which comprises a wide tract of about thirty thousand acres, is bounded on the north by the river Dysynni, on the south by the Dovey, on the west by Cardigan bay, and on the east by the parishes of Talyllyn and Pennal. The town is beautifully situated at the distance of about a mile from the sea-coast, near the mouth of the river Dysynni, in a small and pleasant vale, watered by that stream, and on the verge of a tract which once formed a very extensive morass, but which has lately been secured by an embankment from the inundation of the tide. The surrounding scenery, which is strikingly diversified, combines features of romantic grandeur with picturesque beauty : the town is sheltered in the rear by a distant chain of lofty mountains, among which the summits of Cader Idris appear with majestic grandeur ; and in front it commands a fine expansive view over the bay of Cardigan. The houses, which are of respectable appearance, are built principally of the coarse grey stone which is found in the neighbourhood; and the general appearance of the place is neat and prepossessing. The fine beach in front of the town, being remarkably convenient for sea-bathing, has made it the resort during the summer of numerous visitors, chiefly from Llanidloes, Newtown, Montgomery, &c. Valetudinarians are also attracted hither by a well, called St. Cadvan's, situated in a field below the church, and much celebrated for the cure of rheumatic, scrofulous, and cutaneous disorders. Formerly it was quite open, but for the better accommodation of the public it has been enclosed, and formed into two baths, each about six feet square, with four dressing-rooms attached : the whole is under the care of a person appointed for the purpose. Several improvements have taken place in the town within the last few years ; some new houses have been erected, and a new line of road has been constructed, forming an easier approach : it is in contemplation also to form a road from this place to Barmouth, which would be productive of great advantage to the town. The sands are firm and smooth, and the ride or drive over them to Aberdovey, a rising place about four miles distant, especially at low water, is very pleasant. A beautiful line of road to that interesting village has been constructed under the auspices of Athelstan Corbet, Esq., whose seat is near the town, and is continued from that place to Pennal, affording an extensive ride through a tract of country abounding with picturesque and beautiful scenery, and commanding views of Snowdon, Aran Mowddwy, Cader Idris, and Plinlimmon. Races are held on the marsh below the town, near the mouth of the river Dysynni, on the 6th and 7th of September, and are in general well attended by the gentry of the neighbourhood, and by visitors at the watering-places on this part of the coast. The parish extends eight or nine miles in length, and from five to six in breadth, including, besides the vale of Dysynni, a large tract of land on the banks of the river Dovey, and reaching to within a very short distance of the church of Pennal. The surface is greatly diversified, and the high grounds above Talgarth, Penmaen Dovey, and the town, command fine views of the vales of Dovey, Pennal, and Dysynni, with the surrounding hills and Cardigan bay : the soil is various. Some copper and lead mines, within its limits, have been let by their proprietor, Mr. Corbet, to a company in London, but they are not at present worked. There are slate quarries near the port of Aberdovey, which is described under its appropriate head, and where it is in contemplation to build a chapel of ease, as that place is four miles distant from the parish church. Towyn is one of the places at which the poll is appointed to be taken in the election of the parliamentary representative of the county. Webs and flannels are manufactured in various parts of the parish, affording employment to a portion of the inhabitants. The market is on Friday ; and fairs are held annually on March 16th, May 14th, September 17th, and November 18th.

The living consists of a rectory and a vicarage, in the archdeaconry of Merioneth, and diocese of Bangor : the rectory, which is an impropriation annexed to the bishoprick of Lichfield and Coventry, by a forced exchange in the reign of Edward VI., is rated in the king's books at £ 60. 13. 4. ; the vicarage, which is discharged, is rated at £ 6. 13. 4., and in the patronage of the Bishop of Bangor. The church, dedicated to St. Cadvan, a native of Armorica, who came to Britain, with other religious missionaries, about the commencement of the sixth century, and is said to have been afterwards abbot of Bardsey, is a spacious and ancient cruciform structure, in the Norman style of architecture : it contains some very old monuments, and on the north side of the chancel, under arched canopies, are the effigies of two persons, of whom one, wrapped in a winding sheet, is supposed to be St. Cadvan, and the other, in armour, is said to be that of Grufydd ab Adda, of Dolgoch, in this parish. There is also a stone, seven feet and a half long, having sculptured upon it a cross and an inscription on each side, in very ancient characters, and so mutilated as to be illegible : it is called St. Cadvan's Stone, and formerly stood erect against a tomb in the churchyard, said to cover the remains of that saint. In the cemetery was also another upright stone rudely carved, which commemorated some warrior. There are places of worship for Independents and Calvinistic and Wesleyan Methodists. Lady Mayor, in 1717, gave £ 400 three and a half per cent. consols., for the foundation and endowment of a school, which was further endowed, in the same year, by Athelstan Owen, Esq., with £4 per annum : in this school twenty-one children are at present gratuitously instructed. A Sunday school belonging to the church is supported by subscription, and affords instruction to two hundred children; and there are also Sunday schools in connexion with the several dissenting congregations. Almshouses for five poor widows were founded and endowed with lands now producing £20 per annum, by Mrs. Anne Owen. An ancestor of the Vaughans, of Penmaen Dovey, bequeathed £25 per annum, issuing from a farm and lands in this parish, called Bwlch Llanerchydol and Abergroes, to the resident poor in the immediate vicinity of Penmaen Dovey, the proprietor of which estate was appointed trustee by John Vaughan, Esq.,. who proved the will of the testator in 1692.

On the contracted summit of an immense rock, rising to a considerable elevation from the vale in which the town is situated, are some remains of an ancient castle of great strength, the fortifications of which comprehended the entire summit of the eminence : one of the apartments, thirty-six feet in diameter, was hewn out of the solid rock. This fortification, which is called Tebeni, Mr. Pennant conjectures to have been the strong castle of Bere, fortified by Davydd ab Grufydd, which was taken, in 1283, by William de Valence, Earl of Pembroke, a short time prior to the entire subjugation of the principality by Edward I., by which monarch it was committed to the custody of Robert Fitz-Walter, who at the same time obtained the privilege of hunting in the circumjacent country. The Roman road from Cevn Caer, a Roman station in the parish of Pennal, to the village of Carreg, on the opposite bank of the river Dovey, passes through this parish, near Talgarth. Near this place a battle was fought between the Welsh partisans of the house of Lancaster, under the command of Thomas ab Grufydd ab Nicholas, of Dynevor, and those of the house of York, under Henry ab Gwilym, of Court Henry, one of the Earl of Pembroke's captains, in which the former gained a decisive victory. Here also the same Thomas ab Grufydd encountered in single combat David Gough, a near kinsman of Matthew Gough, a celebrated warrior in the reigns of Henry V. and VI., whom he slew. A tumulus in the grounds of Talgarth is said to have been raised over the body of Thomas ab Grufydd, and some of his followers, who were murdered while asleep on the spot, by a party of the adherents of the vanquished. At a small distance from the town is Ynysymaengwyn, the seat of A. Corbet, Esq,, a noble mansion pleasantly situated in grounds tastefully laid out, comprehending much beautiful scenery, and embellished with flourishing plantations and timber of ancient growth, among which is an evergreen oak, considered to be the finest tree of its kind in the kingdom. The gardens rank among the first in the principality, being very extensive, and containing numerous very curious rare trees and plants. This ancient seat, during the parliamentary war, was burnt to the ground, to prevent its affording any shelter to the parliament's forces; and on a farm in the immediate vicinity, called Bryn Castell, there is a circular mound of earth, near which, a few years since, the half of a cannon ball, weighing seven lb., was found : this is now in the possession of Mr. Corbet. At Dolgoch there is a small but very picturesque waterfall, Craig y Deryn, or " the Rock of Birds," about four miles from Towyn, up the vale of Dysynni, derives its name from the number of birds which shelter in its crevices during the night : the scenery around it is extremely wild and romantic, and the discordant clamour which announces their retreat to this sequestered spot adds greatly to the effect of the scene. Its summit was once occupied by an ancient fortress or strong hold, of which there are some vestiges ; and several others of the same kind, occupying similar situations, are found near this part of the coast. The average annual expenditure for the support of the poor is £1466. 9.


ABERDOVEY (ABER -DYVI), a sea-port and bathing-place, in the parish of Towyn, hundred of ESTIMANOR, county of MERIONETH, NORTH WALES, 4 miles (S. S. E.) from Towyn. The population is returned with the parish. This place is pleasantly situated on the northern side of the mouth of the river Dovey, which here empties itself into Cardigan bay, and from which it derives its name, on the road from Machynlleth to Towyn, and is rapidly rising into estimation as a bathing-place: the beach is highly. favourable for bathing, being composed of hard firm sand, and several respectable houses and a commodious hotel have been erected of late years, for the accommodation of visitors. In the year 1827, a new line of road was opened between Pennal and Towyn, which, proceeding along the northern bank of the Dovey, among scenery beautifully picturesque, and embracing a fine view of the opposite coast of Cardiganshire, and the aestuary of the river, passes through Aberdovey, and is continued along the shore to Towyn. For nearly the whole of its extent from Pennal to Aberdovey, it is cut through the solid rock, which, in many places, presents its naked side, of different elevations, forming a pleasing contrast to the wooded declivity of the hill, which, from the base to the summit, is thickly clothed with trees and shrubs of various kinds, presenting, in conjunction with the broad aestuary of the river, and aided by the vernal blossoms of the mountain heath, a pleasing scene of picturesque beauty. The ride from Aberdovey to Towyn, along the sands, at low water, is extremely delightful. The road from Pennal to Machynlleth has also been much improved, thereby increasing the facility of access to this rising place, which, for these and other advantages, is greatly indebted to the exertions of A. Corbett, Esq., of Ynysymaengwyn, in this parish. A subscription has been entered into for the erection of a chapel of ease, which will afford great convenience to the inhabitants, who are four miles distant from the parochial church. There are places of worship for Calvinistic and Wesleyan Methodists, with Sunday schools attached. Petty sessions for the hundred are held here, alternately with Pennal, once in two months.

The port, which is a member of that of Aberystwith, possesses a considerable share of coasting trade : the imports are coal, culm, grocery, limestone, bricks, timber, &c., and the exports, timber, poles for the collieries, bark, lead ore, and slates. The harbour is excellent, but there is a bar on the north side of the entrance to it, which is said to have assumed its present position in consequence of the wind blowing so frequently from the south : two buoys, the outer black and the inner red, were fixed upon this bar by the Corporation of the Trinity House, in March 1831. The river, which is here crossed by a ferry to the opposite shore of Cardiganshire, is navigable up to Derwenlas, within two miles of Machynlleth. There are extensive slate quarries in the neighbourhood, and mines of lead and copper, but the latter are only worked in proportion to the demand for those articles. In making the new road, a vessel, containing a considerable number of early English coins, was found ; and a vase of the Tuscan shape, capable of holding about two quarts, and now in the possession of the Rev. Isaac Bonsall, rector of Llanwrin, was picked up on the sands opposite to the port, in 1824: it is composed of burnt clay, and is nearly covered with an incrustation of oyster and other marine shells. Ieuan Dyvi, a celebrated bard, who flourished about the close of the fifteenth century, was a native of this place. The district called Cantrev Gwaelod, or the Lowland Hundred, traditionally reported to have been inundated by the sea, which event is also commemorated in some of the Welsh poems, is said to have been situated between this place and Harlech : it was a tract of great fertility and beauty, containing sixteen fortified towns and cities, subject to a petty prince, called Gwyddno Goronhir, and is stated to have been swallowed up about the year 500.

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