"KERRY, a parish in the hundred and county of Montgomery, 3 miles E. of Newtown, its post town. It is a station on the Kerry branch railway. The parish, which is extensive, is situated under the Kerry hills. It contains Trellan, Drevor, and 16 other townships. A small portion of the inhabitants are employed in the manufacture of flannel and baize, the remainder in agriculture and the rearing of cattle. It is a petty sessions town. The land is chiefly in pasture. The living is a vicarage* with the curacies of Dolfor and Sarn annexed, in the diocese of St. Asaph, value £330, in the patronage of the Bishop of St. David's. The church, dedicated to St. Michael, is an ancient structure. In the interior is an old font, also monuments of the Wilkinses, and one to Richard Jones, who founded a school here.
"BAHAITHLON, a township in the parish of Kerry, in the hundred and county of Montgomery, North Wales, 3 miles from Newton. It is situated near Kerry Hill."
"BRYNLLOWARCH, a township in the parish of Kerry, hundred and county of Montgomery, North Wales, 2 miles from Newtown."
"CEFNYBERIN, a township in the parish of Kerry, in the county of Montgomery, North Wales, 2 miles E. of Newtown."
"CLODDIE, a township in the parish of Kerry, in the county of Montgomery, 2 miles E. of Newtown."
"DREVOR, a township in the parish of Kerry, in the hundred and county of Montgomery, 2 miles S.E. of Newtown."
"GARTHILLIN, a township in the parish of Kerry, county Montgomery, North Wales, 3 miles S.W. of Newtown."
"GOITREY, a township in the parish of Kerry, county Montgomery, North Wales, 2 miles S.E. of Newtown."
"GRAIG, a township in the parish of Kerry, county Montgomery, North Wales, 3 miles S.E. of Newtown."
"GWENTHREW, a township in the parish of Kerry, county Montgomery, 2 miles E. of Newtown."
"GWERNESGOB, a township in the parish of Kerry, county Montgomery, 2 miles S.E. of Newtown."
"GWERNNGGO, a township in the parish of Kerry, county Montgomery, 3 miles S.E. of Newtown."
"KEFNYDIONARCH, a township in the parish of Kerry, county Montgomery, 3 miles E. of Newtown."
"KEYLIBER ISSA and UCHA, townships in the parish of Kerry, county Montgomery, 2 miles E. of Newtown."
"KILTHRIEW, a township in the parish of Kerry, county Montgomery, 2 miles E. of Newtown."
"MANLLWD, a township in the parish of Kerry, county Montgomery. It is situated near Newtown."
"PENYGELLI, a township in the parish of Kerry, county Montgomery, 2 miles S.E. of Newtown."
"TRELLAN, a township in the parish of Kerry, county Montgomery, 2 miles S.E. of Newtown."
"WEEG DOLVER, a township in the parish of Kerry, county Montgomery, 2 miles S. of Newtown."
The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)
Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003]
KERRY (CERI), a parish in the upper division of the hundred of MONTGOMERY, county of MONTGOMERY, NORTH WALES, 3 miles (E. by S.) from Newtown, containing 2199 inhabitants. The name is of doubtful etymology. Some deduce it from Ceri, the "mountain ash," with which the district is thought formerly to have abounded. Others consider it to be a corruption of Caerau, "fortified places," there being remains of several in the parish and its vicinity, which, in consequence of being situated near the English border, were the scene of frequent contests : but this is evidently erroneous, inasmuch as the place is called by the same name so early as the sixth century, long prior to the construction of those numerous defences which border warfare subsequently rendered necessary. The late Rev. Mr. Jenkins, an ingenious antiquary, and vicar of this parish for many years, was of opinion that the place derived its name from some chieftain, or petty prince, of remote antiquity, whose patrimony it was, a practice which prevailed to a considerable extent in the early ages of the Britons ; and supposed that it might have been Ceri Hir Lyngwyn, grandfather of the celebrated Caractacus.
In ancient times Kerry, or Ceri, comprehended a district containing the parishes of Kerry and Mochtrev, the church being then called Llanvihangel yn Ngheri, "the church of St. Michael in Kerry, " and formed a comot in the province of Ferregs, coterminous with what is now the upper division of the hundred. The first event of moment mentioned with relation to it is, that it was the scene of a determined, but bloodless, struggle between the celebrated Giraldus Cambrensis, Archdeacon of Brecknock, and Adam, Bishop of St. Asaph, regarding the right to the church, which, although it had for some time been considered as belonging to the diocese of St. David's, was claimed by that prelate, who forthwith raised a strong body of men from Powys, to assist, if necessary, in enforcing his claim. Giraldus, on being apprized of this, despatched messengers to two chieftains of this country, Einon Clyd and Cadwallon, requesting military aid in asserting the rights of the church of St. David's, determining to anticipate the bishop's design. Having arrived at Kerry, he entered the church, and, ordering the bells to be rung, in token of possession, celebrated mass. Meanwhile messengers having been sent by the bishop, announcing his approach to dedicate the church, the archdeacon commissioned some of his clergy, attended by the dean of the district, to inform him, that, if he came as a friend, he would be kindly received ; but if not, he urged him to advance no further. The latter, however, desisted not from his purpose, and was met by the archdeacon and his clergy at the entrance to the churchyard, where a contention arose, each party asserting his respective right to the church. The bishop, putting on his mitre, and taking his pastoral staff in his hand, approached with his attendants, at which also the opposite party, dressed in their surplices and sacerdotal robes, with lighted tapers and elevated crucifix, came forth in processional order, and each began to excommunicate the other; but the archdeacon ordering the bells to be rung three times, in confirmation of his sentence, the bishop and his party mounted horse, and hastily rode off, amid the shouts and pelting of the crowd which so unusual an occurrence had caused to assemble. According to Matthew Paris, Henry III., having led an army to the relief of the castle of Montgomery, which the Welsh were then besieging, and compelled them to abandon their enterprise, advanced further into their country, and was opposed by Llewelyn ab Iorwerth, at a place corruptly called Cridia, in the Vale of Kerry. Having employed much time in cutting down a large wood, which had frequently protected the Welsh from previous aggressions of the English forces, he took and demolished a castellated mansion situated in the centre of it, and thereby deprived them of one of their most important posts : observing the highly favourable position of the place, he, with the advice of his minister, Hubert de Burgh, commenced the erection of a castle upon the site of the former edifice : during the progress of the work, he was so harassed by the Welsh, who intercepted his convoys, and cut off his foraging parties, that, after three months labour and considerable expense, he was obliged to abandon his design, and agree to a truce : the conditions were that he should raze to the ground the works which he had constructed, since called " Hubert's Folly," and that the Welsh prince should pay three thousand marks for the materials, and agree to do homage for the lordship of Kerry. In one of the rencontres which took place at that time, William de Breos, lord of Brecknock, was made prisoner by the Welsh.
The parish, which is situated in the southern part of the shire, adjoining the counties of Radnor and Salop, is about thirteen miles in length, varying in breadth from three to five miles, and is divided into four parts for the separate maintenance of the poor : it is intersected by the small rivers Mule and Miheli, which form a junction at the distance of three-quarters of a mile below the village, and includes about twelve thousand acres of old enclosed land, and about ten thousand acres of mountainous land, lately allotted as sheepwalks to different farms, under an act passed in 1797. The village is situated on the road from Newtown to Bishop's Castle : in that part of the parish lying above it are the two narrow picturesque vales of the Mule and the Miheli, and below are the vale of the Mule, after its junction with the Miheli, and that of Ceibutrach, environed on both sides by lofty ridges of hills, which afford pasturage in summer to from twelve to fifteen thousand head of sheep. In the time of the latter princes of Wales this district was covered with almost impenetrable woods, and in the reign of Henry VIII. Leland describes it as a forest without deer. It has since been completely stripped of its sylvan clothing, though extensive plantations have lately been formed, which, in the course of a few years, will, from the nature of the soil being highly favourable to the growth of trees, conduce greatly to embellish the scenery of the vale : the system of agriculture has also been much improved of late years throughout the district. Petty sessions for the upper division of the hundred are held at the village, on the last Friday in every month.
The living is a vicarage, in the archdeaconry of Brecknock, and diocese of St. David's, rated in the king's books at £ 17. 8. 4., and in the patronage of the Bishop of St. David's. The church, dedicated to St. Michael, is stated by Giraldus Cambrensis to have been rebuilt in 1176: it is principally in the Norman style of architecture, and consists of two aisles, separated by eight Norman arches supported on circular and octangular columns, and a massive square tower at the west end, surmounted by a wooden belfry : the font, which is octagonal and very ancient, is adorned in each department with devices emblematical of the Crucifixion. A monumental tablet has been erected to the memory of Giraldus ; and on the north side of the window in the south aisle there is a handsome monument, erected at an expense of £525, to the late Richard Jones, Esq., a native of Black Hall, and the benevolent founder of the Black Hall Institution, in this parish : it consists of a white marble bust of the founder, on one side of which is a boy writing, and on the other a girl reading, resting on a pedestal of variegated marble. A neat marble tablet has also lately been put up to the memory of the Rev. Mr. Jenkins, the late, vicar. A chapel of ease formerly stood in the township of Gwernygo, but no remains of the building can now be traced. There are places of worship for Baptists and Independents.
The Black Hall Institution was founded, in 1787, by the above-named Richard Jones, Esq., who had been a purser in the royal navy, to be " free and open to all Christians, Jews, Turks, and Infidels, that will attend for instruction, that they may hear and learn, and fear the Lord, the great Jehovah." At his decease he bequeathed to trustees funded property consisting of £ 1000 in the three per cent. Consolidated Bank Annuities, £ 1050 four per cent. ditto, and £ 1000 five per cent. Bank Annuities (the last of which has been advanced on mortgage to the commissioners of the first district of roads in Montgomeryshire), directing the interest to be applied in feeding, clothing, and educating poor children of this parish, and apprenticing poor boys, and the charity to be called by the above-mentioned name. He also bequeathed £ 700 three per cent. Consolidated Bank Annuities to the same trustees, for the support of a Sunday school, established also in 1787, to be called the Kerry Charity Sunday School on the Black Hall Institution. The income of the charity, including a former bequest, amounts to £ 155. 15. per annum : there are seventy-six boys and fifty-nine girls in the day school, of whom four of each are clothed, and two or three annually apprenticed ; and the Sunday school is attended by one hundred children, who, if they choose to stay after the performance of divine service in the morning, are provided with bread and cheese, according to the testamentary directions of the beneficent founder. The schoolhouse stands near the church, and has been extensively repaired and improved at different times, partly by subscription, and partly from the funds of the charity. Divers small bequests have been made for the benefit of the poor, the profits of which are distributed agreeably to the intentions of the donors.
On the hills, and in other parts of the parish, are numerous intrenchments, fortifications, and barrows, evincing this neighbourhood to have frequently been the arena of military contentions, unrecorded in history : that in the garden of the parsonage-house, in the township of Trevlan, consisting of a high mound of earth, encompassed by a moat, is supposed, from its unfinished state, to be the one attempted to be erected by Henry III. The average annual expenditure for the maintenance of the poor amounts to £ 1286. 3.
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