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MEIFOD - Gazetteers

National Gazetteer, 1868

"MEIFOD, (or Myfod), a parish in the hundred of Llanfyllin, county Montgomery. It- is situated on the river Vyrnwy, and includes Peniarth, Teirtref, and nine other townships. Meifod is thought by some to be the Roman station Mediolanum, although there are but slight proofs to support this conjecture. There are several mineral springs in the neighbourhood, and traces of ancient barrows. The living is a vicarage* in the diocese of St. Asaph, value £588, in the patronage of the bishop. The church, dedicated to St. Tysilio, formerly belonged to Ystrad Marchel Abbey. The interior contains some ancient tombs, and was the burial-place of the princes Powys. There is a district church at Pont-Robert, the living of which is a perpetual curacy, value £65. Fairs are held on the first Friday in February, last Tuesday in April, first Tuesday in August, and 21st September.

"CEFNLLYFNOG, a township in the parish of Meifod, in the county of Montgomery, North Wales, 3 miles S. of Llanfyllin."

"CWM, a township in the parish of Meifod, in the county of Montgomery, 5 miles N.W. of Welshpool."

"DYFFRYN, a township in the parish of Meifod, in the county of Montgomery, 4 miles S. of Llanfyllen. It is situated on the river Einion."

"KEEL, a township in the parish of Meifod, county Montgomery, 5 miles N.E. of Welshpool."

"MAIN, a township in the parish of Meifod, county Montgomery, 3 miles S.E. of Llanfyllin."

"NANTYMEICHIED, a township in the parish of Meifod, county Montgomery, 2 miles S.E. of Llanfyllin."

"PENIARTH, a township in the parish of Meifod, county Montgomery, 3 miles S. of Llanfyllin. It is situated near the river Vyrnwy, and abounds in slate and lead."

"TEIRTREF, a township in the parish of Meifod, county Montgomery, 5 miles N.W. of Welshpool."

"TREFNANY, a township in the parish of Meifod, county Montgomery, 5 miles N.W. of Welshpool, on the river Einion."

"TREVEDID, a township in the parish of Meifod, county Montgomery, 6 miles N.W. of Welshpool."

"YSTYMCOLWYN, a township in the parish of Meifod, county Montgomery, 3 miles S.E. of Llanfyllin."

[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)
Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003]

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A Topographical Dictionary of Wales by Samuel Lewis, 1833

MEIVOD, a parish partly in the lower division of the hundred of LLANVYLLIN, partly in the upper division of that of DEYTHUR, and partly in the hundred of PooL, county of MONTGOMERY, NORTH WALES, 5 miles (N. E. by N.) from Llanvair, containing 1861 inhabitants. The name of this very extensive parish, implying a "lowland champaign dwelling," is obviously derived from its situation in a vast tract of fine open country, in the north-eastern part of the county. Though evidently of great antiquity, and forming a portion of Powys WenwynWyn, or the moiety allotted by Meredydd ab Bleddyn to his grand-son Owain Cyveiliog, it appears to have been distinguished only as having been the place of sepulture of several of the Princes of Powys ; and, till within the last few years, the village consisted only of a few thatched cottages, thinly scattered, and of very mean appearance. By some historians this place has been identified with the Roman station "Mediolanum," but the difficulties of ascertaining precisely the exact site of that station are in no degree diminished by fixing it here, and the hypothesis has accordingly been abandoned by the most distinguished antiquaries. The parish, which extends for nine miles in length and four in breadth, is situated on the river Vyrnwy, which is formed by the junction of the rivers Banwy and Avon Llanwddyn, which unite at this place, where it first begins to expand its waters, which, previously to their entering the vale, were confined by the depth of the banks and the rapidity of the current; from this circumstance it derived its original name Evyrnwy, or "the spreading river," now written Vyrnwy. Two other streams intersect the parish, the Brogan and the Colwyn, and finally join that river. The lands were partially enclosed under the provisions of an act of parliament obtained in 1787, and portions of several townships have been subsequently enclosed by the unanimous consent of the different proprietors. The surrounding scenery is pleasingly varied, three parts being bounded by low hills well wooded, and at the other end the views extend over a tract of level country, distinguished chiefly for its rural beauty, which is terminated by the Breiddyn hills : the soil, though various, is generally fertile, especially on the banks of the Vyrnwy. Lead-ore was thought to exist in the parish, and some attempts were made a few years since to procure it, by sinking shafts and driving levels, in the township of Main ; but the undertaking was not attended with success, and the works have consequently been abandoned. Some fine veins of potters' earth have been found, and the rocks in the parish abound with barytes and other minerals. The village, which is situated on the turnpike road leading from Aberystwith, by Cann Office and Llanvair, to Oswestry, has, within the last few years, become a place of considerable importance, and may be regarded as one of the handsomest of the smaller towns in the principality : the houses are of stone, roofed with slate, and neatly and well built; and the place has a highly interesting and prepossessing appearance. It enjoys considerable traffic from its being on the great thoroughfare by which the Western parts of the country are supplied with lime and coal. A post-office, subordinate to that at Oswestry, has been established here ; and fairs are annually held in the village on the first Friday in February, the last Tuesday in April, the first Tuesday in August, and on September 21st. Courts leet are also held in the spring.

This parish is said formerly to have composed the archdeaconry of all Powysland. The living is a vicar-age, locally in the archdeaconry, and in the diocese, of St. Asaph, rated in the king's books at £15. 14.2., and in the patronage of the Bishop. The rectorial tithes, which anciently belonged to the abbey of Strata Marcella, or Ystrad Marchell, near Welshpool, are appropriated to the Dean and Canons of Christ Church, Oxford, between whom or their lessees, on the one hand, and the vicar on the other, they are equally divided. The history of the church is involved in considerable perplexity : according to some accounts it would appear that, exclusively of the present edifice, there were two others, the ruins of which Mr. Pryce of Llanvyllin, in a letter to Mr. Babington, dated April 12th, 1701, acknowledges to have seen ; but, from their contiguous situation, an opinion has been entertained that they were probably only different portions, or a subsequent enlargement, of the original building, dedicated respectively to their several founders, and forming distinct chapels in the same church. The first church was dedicated to St. Gwyddvarch, an anchorite who lived on the brow of a hill in this parish, still called Gallt yr Auer, and from whose warning voice, directing the workmen where to build the sacred edifice, for which they had chosen an improper site, said to have been repeatedly heard in the valley at midnight, uttering the words "Yma i vod," some etymologists have derived the name of the parish. The second, which was contiguous to the first, 'was dedicated to St. Tysilio, an eminent saint, who flourished towards the middle of the seventh century, and who is said to have been the second son of Brochwel Ysgyth-Rog, whose palace was at Shrewsbury. The exact time when, and the person by whom, this church was built are not known; but in the chronicles of Caradoc of Llancarvan it appears, that Madoc ab Meredydd, Prince of Powys, was interred " yn eglwys Tysilio yn Meivod," in the year 1159; and subsequent writers state that Grufydd Maelor, eldest son of Madoc, and lord of the lower moiety of Powys, was also buried in this church, in the year 1190. The church dedicated to St. Mary, and the only one at present remaining, is supposed to have been founded by Madoc ab Meredydd, against which opinion it is objected that he was buried in the church of St. Tysilio, four years after the consecration of this church, which ceremony took place in the year 1155 ; but that may be easily accounted for, as the church of St. Tysilio had been the general place of sepulture not only of his ancestors, but also of most of the princes of the races of Mervyn and Convyn. The present church is a spacious structure, in the Norman style of architecture, comprising a double-roofed nave, and an aisle on the north side, with a low square tower, and appears to have been originally much larger than at present : on the north side are evident traces of the foundations of a transept, which may probably have been either the church of St. Tysilio, or the portion of the original building dedicated to that saint. Near the font is an ancient tombstone without any inscription, rudely ornamented with sculpture, in basso relievo, of a Catherine Wheel surmounted by a sword, and embellished with knots and other rude ornaments. In the chancel window, within the last few years, was a legend in ancient characters, commemorating the two saints of the churches that have disappeared, and probably preserved out of their ruins, and, with other portions of stained glass, inserted in this window by John Roger, rector of this parish at a period unknown. There are places of worship for Independents and Welsh Calvinistic and Wesleyan Methodists. A school for the gratuitous instruction of poor children was endowed by Mr. William Pugh, in 1714, with £3 per annum, which endowment has been since augmented with £9 per annum, arising from the sale of timber growing upon a farm in the township of Peniarth, bequeathed to the poor by the Rev. Richard Derwas, a former vicar of the parish. There are four almshouses in Pentre Parroc, in this parish, the inmates of which, though they have no exclusive endowment, partake of certain benefactions in land by various persons, the produce of which is annually distributed among the poor. On the summit of the hill called Gallt yr Ancr, or " the anchorite's hill," on the brow of which St. Gwyddvarch had his cell, as noticed above, are some traces of a British fortification, the history of which is not known; and on the side of the same hill is Bedd y Cawr, or "the grave of the Giant." A dyke, which in some places was double, formerly extended from Allt y Main to Ceunant Mawr, in this parish, for the defence of the pass into the vale of Llanvyllin, by Bwlch y Cibau. Some vestiges of British fortifications and encampments may be seen on Hen Allt, in Trevnannau, at a place called the Gaer, and near Clawdd llesg. There are several springs in the parish, some of which are impregnated with medicinal properties. In the township of Teirtrev there is a well called Fynnon Darogan, or " the well of divination," protected by a cupola, which has stood for many years : the water, though very salubrious, has no medicinal qualities. In the same township is Fynnon y Groftydd, the water of which is strongly sulphureous, and has been found highly efficacious in the cure of cutaneous diseases. In the township of Trevedryd is Fynnon y Clawdd-llesg, consisting of two springs close to each other, of which one is slightly impregnated with hepatic air, and the other has no appearance of any mineral property what-ever; it has been much resorted to in the spring by persons afflicted with scrofula, who have found relief by exposing the affected part to the action of the water on its issuing from the rock. Till within the last few years it was customary for the young people of the parish to assemble at this place, on the eighth Sunday after Easter, to drink the water, and afterwards to retire to some green spot and spend the remainder of the day in dancing : a similar practice prevailed near a fountain of clear rock water on Gallt y Main, at the other extremity of the parish, whence, after drinking the water, the company retired to a fine green fenced on four sides like a Roman camp, and called Bryn y bowliau, where they spent the rest of the day in athletic exercises. The origin of these customs is altogether unknown, and the practice has for some years been totally discontinued. Cynddelw, a poet laureate of the twelfth century, and a native of this parish, in a poem in honour of St. Tysilio, published in the Archaeologia, notices the church of this place, which he describes as situated adjoining to that of St. Gwyddvarch, eulogizes Caradoc, whom he calls archdeacon of the church, as a munificent patron, and celebrates the churchyard as the cemetery of princes. The average annual expenditure for the support of the poor amounts to £878.16.


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