PENNANT - Gazetteers

National Gazetteer, 1868

"PENNANT, (or Pennant Melan Gell), a parish in the hundred of Llanfillin, county Montgomery, 9 miles N.W. of Llanfillin, its post town, and 13 from Bala. It is situated at the head of the rivers Tanat, near Moel Dimmor. The parish contains the townships of Cornorion, Cwmllech, Dwyffrwd, Garthgelwynen, and Pangwern. The living is a vicarage* in the diocese of St. Asaph, value £185, in the patronage of the bishop. The church, dedicated to St. Monocella, is built on the site of an older one. It has, at the western end, a very primitive tower, and the nave is divided from the chancel by a wooden screen. The chancel contains some specimens of carved woodwork, illustrative of the history of St. Monocella, who founded a cell near here. There is also a district church at Penybont, the living of which is a perpetual curacy The parochial charities produce about £7 per annum.

"CORNORION, a township in the parish of Pennant, in the county of Montgomery, 10 miles N.W. of Llanfyllin"

"CWMLLECH, a township in the parish of Pennant, in the county of Montgomery, 8 miles N.W. of Llanfyllin."

"DWYFFRWVD, a township in the parish of Pennant, in the county of Montgomery, 8 miles N.W. of Llanfyllin."

"GARTHGELYNEN - FAWR AND FECHAN, a township in the parish of Pennant, county Montgomery, North Wales, 8 miles N.W. of Llanfyllin."

"PANGWERN, a township in the parish of Pennant, county Montgomery, 9 miles N.W. 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

PENNANT, or PENNANT MELANGELL, a parish in the upper division of the hundred of LLANVYLLIN, county of MONTGOMERY, NORTH WALES, 10 miles (N. W. by W.) from Llanvyllin, containing 789 inhabitants. This place derives its name, signifying " the head of the brook," from its situation near the source of the river Tanat, which rises in this parish, and falls into the Vyrnwy near Llanymynech, on the confines of Shropshire. The adjunct to the name, by which it is distinguished from other places of the same appellation, is derived from St. Monacella, by the Welsh called Melangell, the daughter of an Irish monarch, who, having devoted herself to a life of celibacy, retired from her father's dominions to this place, where she spent her time in seclusion. St. Monacella had passed fifteen years in devotional retirement at this place, in a small cell among the rocks near the present church, when Brochwel Yscythrog, Prince of Powys, gave her some lands, to which he added the privilege of sanctuary to all who fled thither for protection. Iorwerth Drwyndwn, or " Edward with the broken nose," eldest son of Owain Gwynedd, Prince of North Wales, being deprived of his succession on account of that natural deformity, fled to this place for shelter, when his younger brother Davydd ascended the throne,  and was, not long afterwards, killed at a place called Bwlchcroes Iorwerth, at no great distance from the spot. The parish is remarkable for the irregularity of its boundaries ; some portions of it being separated from others by the intervention of the parishes of Llangynog, Llanrhaiadr, and Hirnant ; and some houses included within its limits are situated in the market town of Oswestry. It comprises some rich arable and pasture land, which is enclosed and in a high state of cultivation. The surrounding scenery is finely diversified and in many parts highly picturesque ; and the views over the adjacent country abound with objects of interest and features of romantic beauty. The village, consisting only of the church and from twenty to thirty houses, is beautifully situated in an exceedingly picturesque valley, enclosed on all sides by hills, except at the entrance, and watered by the small river Tanat. Near the church the vale divides into two branches, the extremities of which are enclosed by two lofty precipices, separated from each other by the vast and rugged promontory called Moel Dimmor, which stretches into the vale : down each of the precipices, at certain times, rushes an impetuous torrent, descending from a considerable height, and forming an imposing and picturesque cascade. The living consists of a rectory and a vicarage, locally in the archdeaconry, and in the diocese, of St. Asaph : the rectory, which is a sinecure, is rated in the king's books at £11. 16. 10 1/2., and is annexed to the bishoprick of St. Asaph ; the vicarage, which is discharged, is rated at £5. 16. 5 1/2., endowed with £ 200 royal bounty, and £ 200 parliamentary grant, and in the patronage of the Bishop. The church, dedicated to St. Monacella, is an ancient structure: on the front of the gallery is sculptured the history of the saint, and several reliques of her are still preserved. Her tomb was in a small chapel or oratory adjoining the church, now used as a vestry-room but her remains have been removed and deposited in the churchyard, under a stone on which is a recumbent figure of the saint, sculptured in freestone with the arms crossed. There is also a stone, with the figure of an armed man, which once covered the grave of Iorwerth Drwyndwn : on his shield, bearing a lion rampant, is inscribed the legend " Hic Jacet Etwart." There is a place of worship for Independents. The produce of some trifling charitable donations and bequests is divided among the poor of the upper division of the parish. On the mountain between Llanwddyn and this parish there is a circular enclosure surrounded by a wall, called " Hen Eglwys," supposed to be a Druidical relic, or probably the remains of an ancient cemetery; and near Plas du, in the lower division of the parish, are some remains of an ancient British encampment. On the mountain between Bala and this place was found, some years ago, a large bone called the Giant's Rib, probably the bone of some fish, and now kept in the church. In the left branch of the valley in which the village is situated there is a large stone, under which were found, a few years ago, several coins, rings, and other relics of antiquity. It is said that a Roman road passed near this place, towards Aberystwith ; and in many of the narrow passes between the hills which confine the vale are vestiges of ancient intrenchments, probably thrown up for defence. The average annual expenditure for the support of the poor amounts to £ 385. 16.


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