"LLANIDLOES, a parish, market town, and municipal borough, in the hundred of the same name, county Montgomery, 12 miles N. of Rhayader, 19 S.W. of Montgomery, and 188 from London. There is a railway from here to Newtown, and thence to Oswestry, which has been extended through Rhayader to Builth and Brecon, thus completing an uninterrupted chain of communication between North and South Wales. There is also another line in course of construction (1865) from Llanidloes to Pencader, called the Manchester and Milford Haven railway. It is situated in a valley, being nearly surrounded by lofty hills, and at the confluence of the rivers Clywedog and Severn, the latter being crossed by two bridges. Plinlimmon is about 9 miles to the W.
The parish includes the townships of Brithder, Cilmachalet, Croeslwybr, Glyntrafren, Hengynwydd, Manledd, Morfodion, Treflyn, and Ystradynod. The town mainly consists of four good streets, through which pass the roads between Rhayader and Machynlleth, and Aberystwith and Newtown. The local government is vested in a mayor, 4 aldermen, and 12 common council, being first incorporated in the reign, of Edward I. It unites with other towns to Montgomery in returning one member to parliament. Petty sessions are held monthly on the last Thursday, and a county court fortnightly. There is a good townhall, in which the wool market is held. The place was much celebrated for its manufacture of flannel, which is still a considerable branch of industry. There are slate and stone quarries, and on the streams mills for carding wool, spinning, and grinding corn. The living is a vicarage* in the diocese of Bangor, value £151, in the patronage of the bishop.
The church, dedicated to St. Mary, was rebuilt in the early part of the 17th century, but retains the old tower. The roof is of richly carved oak, which, with other portions of the interior, were brought from Abbey-cwm-lwr. The aisle is separated from the nave by six pointed arches, supported by piers, having the capitals ornamented with carved palm leaves. The Independents, Baptists, Calvinistic and Wesleyan Methodists, have chapels. There is a National school for boys and girls. From various points in the neighbourhood, are fine views, but especially around Llyn Ebyr, a pool of about 40 acres, situated 3 miles N. of the town, and abounding in perch and pike.
Sir W. W. Wynn, Bart., is lord of the manor. There are several good residences. Saturday is market day, for corn, wool, provisions, &c. Fairs are held on the first Tuesday in February, first Saturday in April, 11th May, 22nd June, 17th July, the second Saturday in September, the first Friday in October, 22nd of the same, and 14th December, for the sale of wool, horses, cattle, and live stock, also a statute fair on the third Saturday in April."
"BRITHDIR, a township in the parish and borough of Llanidloes, and hundred of the same name, in the county of Montgomery, North Wales."
"BWLCH-Y-CLATT, a hamlet in the hundred of Llanidloes, in the county of Montgomery, North Wales, 3 miles to the N.W. of Llanidloes. It is at the foot of Plinlimmon, near one of the sources of the river Severn. [NB: Gazetteer doesn't state parish and I can't find on map: placed in Llanidloes as most likely - RL 2004]"
"CILLMACHALLT, a township in the parish of Llanidloes, in the county of Montgomery, 20 miles S.W. of Montgomery."
"CROESLLWYBIR, a township in the parish of Llanidloes, in the county of Montgomery, 1 mile from Llanidloes."
"GLYNHAFREN, a hamlet in the parish of Llanidloes, county Montgomery, near-the town of Llanidloes."
"HALFEN, a township in the hundred of Llanfihangel, county Montgomery, 5 miles S.W. of Llanfyllin. [NB: Gazetteer doesn't state parish and I can't find on map: placed in Llanidloes as most likely - RL 2004]"
"HENGYNWITHFACH, a township in the parish of Llanidloes, county Montgomery, 2 miles from Llanidloes."
"MANLETH, a township in the parish of Llanidloes, county Montgomery. It is situated near Llanidloes."
"PANTYDWR, a hamlet in the hundred of Llanidloes, county Montgomery, 7 miles from Llanidloes, and the same distance from Rhayader. It is a station on the Llanidloes and Brecon section of the Mid Wales railway. It is situated near the confluence of the rivers Clywedogn and Severn, under Plinlimmon. [NB: Gazetteer doesn't state parish and I can't find on map: placed in Llanidloes as most likely - RL 2004]"
"YSTRADYNOD, a township in the parish of Llanidloes, county Montgomery, 2 miles from Llanidloes."
LLANIDLOES (LLAN-IDLOES), a newly created borough, market town, and parish, in the upper division of the hundred of LLANIDLOES, county of MONTGOMERY, NORTH WALES, 26 1/2 miles (S. W.) from Welshpool, 22 (W. S. W.) from Montgomery, and 193 (W. N. W.) from London, containing 4189 inhabitants. This parish, which is of considerable extent, derives its name from the dedication of its church to St. Idloes, an eminent British saint, who flourished about the middle of the sixth century. The town is situated in a beautiful and fertile vale, watered by the river Severn, which has its source within the parish, and almost surrounded by verdant hills of moderate elevation, of which some are crowned with thriving plantations, and others are richly cultivated. The scenery of the vale is beautifully picturesque, and the banks of the river are enlivened with some pleasant villas and handsome residences : the hills which surround the town form a rich and striking contrast to the barren heights seen in the distance, among which the great mountain of Plinlimmon, partly within the limits of this parish, forms a conspicuous and interesting feature. The town occupies a favourable site on the southern bank of the river Severn, and on the turnpike road from Shrewsbury through Newtown to Aberystwith it consists principally of two spacious streets, intersecting each other nearly at right angles, and has of late years been greatly improved by the erection of several respectable buildings on the site of more ancient houses of timber frame-work and plaster, which formerly prevailed throughout the place, and by the removal of the numerous heaps of cinders which had previously been suffered to accumulate in front of the houses. Within the last few years a hand-some stone bridge of three arches has been erected, at an expense of £3000, over the river Severn, near the place where it receives the tributary stream of the Clywedog, which, after flowing some distance through the parish, falls into the Severn at this place : the inhabitants are amply supplied with water, The approaches to the town are remarkably fine, especially that from Aberystwith, which is strikingly picturesque ; and the environs abound with features of rural simplicity and romantic beauty. On the road leading from Aberystwith, having passed over a stone bridge about two miles from this town, there is a genteel farm-house, the grounds belonging to which are agreeably laid out, and are planted with a variety of fir, lime, elm, chesnut, beech, and other trees, with a beautiful trout stream passing close to the house. On the south- eastern side is a very handsome large house, now in progress of erection, which, when completed and the grounds laid out, will form an ornamental feature in the scenery of the place. A little nearer the town a beautiful house has been lately built, having handsome grounds disposed with great taste, and planted with trees, flowering shrubs, and annuals. Dol Llys, in this parish, commands a delightful view of the Vale of Severn, with the windings of the river and the rich and finely varied scenery on its banks, terminated by the high mountains in the distance. Mount Severn, an elevated and truly romantic spot, overlooking that river, which, here obstructed in its course, forces its way with noisy impetuosity over immense masses of rock, commands an interesting view of the picturesque cottage of Nant y brace, embosomed in the trees which crown the opposite bank. There are some pleasing views to the south-east, and in many parts of the neighbourhood are fine prospects over the adjacent country, which is richly diversified. About two miles from the town, on the road to Treveglwys, is a spacious pool called Llynebyr, extending over a surface of nearly one hundred acres, and abounding with pike, eels, and perch : it is frequented by wild fowl, and during the summer season is the resort of parties of pleasure, for whose accommodation two boats, belonging to gentlemen in the vicinity, are kept upon the pool.
The manufacture of flannel has been established from a very early period in this town, which, forty years ago, was the only place in the county where that material was made, and whence it was conveyed by packhorses to the market of Welshpool for sale. Since that period, however, it has been outrivalled by Newtown, which, within the last twenty-five years, has obtained great eminence in the production of flannel of a finer texture, but probably less durable than that of Llanidloes. The manufacture of this town has, not-withstanding, continued to increase, and there are at present more than forty carding-engines, eighteen fulling-mills, and nearly thirty-five thousand spindles constantly in operation in the town and neighbourhood, affording employment to a considerable number of men, who weave the flannel at their own dwellings. About three hundred pieces of flannel, averaging in length one hundred and fifty yards each, are manufactured here, and sent every fortnight to the market at Welshpool, held for the sale of them every alternate Thursday. A considerable trade is carried on in malt, for drying which there are several kilns, and in the town and its vicinity are also several tanneries and corn-mills. The market is held on Saturday, and is abundantly supplied with wool, grain, and provisions of every kind. The market-house, or town-hall, an ancient edifice of timber and plaster, is conveniently situated in the centre of the town : the upper story is appropriated to the use of the wool market. Fairs are held annually on the first Saturday in April, May 11th, the Saturday next preceding the 24th of June, July 17th, the last Saturday in September, and the first Friday in October and on the 28th of that month. Sheep fairs are also held every Thursday from the 26th of May to the 26th of June inclusive, which are numerously attended by the shepherds of both North and South Wales.
This town received its first charter of incorporation from John De Charlton, Lord of Powys, in the 18th of Edward III., and obtained other successive charters, of which the last was granted by John Tiptoft, Lord of Powys, in the 26th of Henry VI. Under these charters, which have been lost or destroyed by accident, the government is vested in a mayor, recorder, and an indefinite number of aldermen and burgesses, assisted by a coroner, two serjeants at mace, and other officers. The mayor is elected by the burgesses annually at the court leet of the lord of the manor, in the first week after Michaelmas, and may, if he chooses to qualify, act as a magistrate within the borough, but is not ex officio a justice of the peace : the recorder is appointed by the lord of the manor, and holds his office for life. The elective franchise was granted in the 27th of Henry VIII., when Llanidloes was constituted a contributory borough to Montgomery : it exercised that privilege till the year 1728, when, together with the other contributory boroughs of Llanvyllin and Welshpool, it was disfranchised by a vote of the House of Commons, which restricted the right of election to the burgesses of Montgomery alone. This resolution of the Commons being directly at variance with a previous resolution in 1680, by which the right of election was confirmed, the burgesses, by the statute of the 28th of George III., were granted the power of asserting their right of voting for a member for Montgomery before any future committee of the House of Commons, and of making an appeal, within twelve calendar months, against any subsequent decision. The late act for amending the representation of the people has restored the franchise to this borough, in common with others in the county which had been deprived of it ; and it is now one of the five which contribute with Montgomery in the return of a representative to parliament. The right of voting is vested in every male person of full age occupying, either as owner or as tenant under the same landlord, a house or other premises of the annual value of not less than ten pounds, provided he be capable of registering as the act directs : the present number of tenements of this value within the limits of the borough, which have been greatly extended by the late Boundary Act, and are minutely detailed in the Appendix to this work, is one hundred and twenty-four. The freedom is inherited by the eldest son of a burgess, on his coming of age, and is conferred on others by the lord of the manor. and a jury of burgesses at the annual court leet. Llanidloes has also been made a polling-place in the election of a parliamentary representative for the county. The county magistrates and the county coroner exercise jurisdiction within the town, and the former hold a petty session for the hundred on the first Monday in every month. A court baron for the manor of Arustley, the jurisdiction of which extends over the hundred, is held every third Monday, for the recovery of debts and determining of actions under the amount of £ 2, by process similar to that of the supreme courts at Westminster. The surface of the parish being hilly, and in some parts mountainous, the soil is various, though generally fertile; the lower grounds are in a good state of cultivation, and the declivities of the hills afford pasturage to numerous flocks of sheep. In 1816, an act of parliament was obtained for enclosing the common and waste lands in this vicinity, called the "Arustley Enclosure Act," under the provisions of which considerable portions of land in this parish have been enclosed, and are now under cultivation. Turf and peat, which constitute the principal fuel of the inhabitants, are procured in abundance. Lead-ore has been found in the parish, and some mines were formerly worked, but not with sufficient advantage to remunerate the adventurers, and they have consequently been discontinued : the hills abound with a coarse kind of slate, and in the vicinity are some quarries of stone of very good quality for building.
The living is a discharged vicarage, within the jurisdiction of the Consistorial Court of the Bishop of Bangor, rated in the king's books at £ 4. 3. 4., and in the patronage of the Bishop. The church, dedicated to St. Idloes, was originally founded towards the close of the fifth, or at the beginning of the sixth, century : of the original building the tower only is remaining. The present structure consists of a nave and aisle, the latter of which was built about two hundred years since, and is separated from the former by circular clustered columns, the capitals of which are decorated with palm leaves, and by finely pointed arches : the roof of the nave is of carved oak, ornamented with figures of cherubim holding shields charged with armorial bearings, exquisitely carved. According to tradition these were removed hither from the abbey of Cwm Hir, in the county of Radnor, and the date upon one of the shields (1542) corresponds with the time of the dissolution of that abbey. An elegant screen from the same monastery formerly separated the chancel from the nave, but it was removed in 1816, when the chancel and south wall were rebuilt, and has not been restored. At the same time the church was new pewed, the expense of both having amounted to £1600 : a new set of bells was also hung in the tower, in 1825, at an expense of £200. There are places of worship for Baptists, the Society of Friends, Independents, and Calvinistic and Wesleyan Methodists, all neatly and appropriately fitted up. A parochial school, for the gratuitous instruction of poor children, is supported by subscription ; and there are Sunday schools in connexion with the established church and the several dissenting congregations. Jenkin Bowen bequeathed certain portions of land; Evan Glynn gave a rent-charge of £2.10; Dr. David Lloyd, a rent-charge of £12. 12 ; and Catherine, wife of Edward Lloyd, gave £ 100, which has been laid out in the purchase of land, the produce arising from which several benefactions is annually distributed among the poor, according to the directions of the testators.
Within the limits of the parish is partly included the lofty mountain of Plinlimmon, or, more properly, Pum-lumon, " the five-peaked mountain," which is the highest in the several chains of which it forms the centre ; and from this place the ascent to its summit is usually made. The sides and summit are, like the adjacent hills, entirely destitute of wood, and present a barren and gloomy aspect : the summit is formed of two small heads, on each of which is a carnedd, of which that on the highest peak is pyramidal, and was perhaps intended as a beacon. Scattered around are patches of coarse grass, intermixed with heaps of loose stones and fragments of rock in the wildest confusion. From the highest points, which are frequented by numerous birds, such as herons, cranes, snipes, ravens, and plovers, is obtained a fine prospect of vast extent, comprehending on the south the hills of Cardiganshire and Radnorshire, on the west Cardigan bay and St. George's channel, on the north Cader Idris, and part of the Snowdon range of mountains, separating the counties of Carnarvon and Merioneth; on the north-east the Breiddyn hills in Montgomeryshire, and on the east part of the counties of Hereford and Salop. This mountain derives a considerable degree of interest from its giving rise to the rivers Severn, Wye, Rheidiol, and Llyvnant, of which the first is secondary only to the Thames in commcrcial importance, while the Wye and the Rheidiol surpass all other rivers in Britain for the picturesque beauty of their scenery. The Severn, here called by its ancient British name of Havren, rises on the northern side of the mountain, in a strong chalybeate spring, and is quickly joined and increased by numerous other springs rising near its source, and by several mountain torrents, before it reaches the town of Lanidloes. The Wye rises from two powerful springs on the south-eastern side of the mountain, and, after a long circuitous course, falls into the Severn below Chepstow. The Rheidiol has its source in a pool called Llyn Llygad Rheidiol, and falls into the Irish sea at Aberystwith ; and the Llyvnant issues from a pool called Glas Llyn. At Melin Velindre, on the route to Plinlimmon, is a romantic cataract ; and near a sheep farm called Blaen Havren the Severn rolls its waters over a lofty ledge of slate rocks, in which they have formed gullies of various picturesque shapes. The average annual expenditure for the support of the poor of this parish amounts to £2056. 9.