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ABEREDW


National Gazetteer, 1868

[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer (1868)]
"ABEREDW, a parish in the hundred of Colwyn, and union of Builth, in the county of Radnor, South Wales, 3 miles S.E. of Builth. It is situated at the mouth of the Edwy, a small stream abounding in trout and eels which falls into the Wye. The surrounding scenery is highly picturesque: the ground generally rocky and uneven. The church, which is dedicated to St. Cewydd, stands on a precipitous rock overlooking the Edwy, which flows by in a deep and narrow channel between the rocks, which are partly bare, partly wooded. Llewellyn is said to have resorted to a small cave here during his last struggles with the English. He had a castle at the head of the dell, of which part of the tower, and a wall still remain. The inhabitants of the town are said to have sent intelligence to the English of his place of retreat, which led to his being surprised and overpowered. For this they were called the "traitors of Aberedw". The living is a rectory, with Llanvareth annexed, value 355, in the diocese of St. David's. The bishop is patronage"

[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
Samuel Lewis, 1833

ABEREDW (ABER-EDWY), a parish in the hundred of COLWYN, county of RADNOR, SOUTH WALES, 4 1/2 miles (S. E.) from Builth, containing 344 inhabitants. It derives its name from being situated at the mouth of the river Edwy, which, after flowing through the parish, empties itself into the Wye, the latter river here forming the line of boundary between the counties of Radnor and Brecknock : the Edwy is only a small stream, famous for its trout and eels. The surface of the parish is rocky and uneven, and the scenery pleasing and frequently picturesque : the view from the churchyard is extremely beautiful. The petty sessions for the hundred are occasionally held here.

The living is a rectory, in the archdeaconry of Brecknock, and diocese of St. David's, rated in the king's books at 12. 13. 4., and in the patronage of the Bishop of St. David's. The church, dedicated to St. Cewydd, is a plain building, consisting of a nave and chancel, separated by an oak screen, in the later style of English architecture, with a square tower at the West end, and, if not rebuilt, appears to have undergone thorough repair in the time of the Tudors. A small plot of land was given by Lewis Lloyd, and, in 1746, the sum of 20 by Elizabeth Price, for the benefit of decayed housekeepers : the sum of 12 per annum is paid out of the proceeds of a farm called Vronoleu, in the parish of Llanbadarn y Garreg, the bequest of Mrs. Gwynne of that place, for distribution, in equal proportions, among decayed house-keepers of the parishes of Aberedw, Llanbadarn y Garreg, and Llanvarredd. The profits of this manor are under the superintendence of seven trustees, and are applied in apprenticing the poor children of several parishes.

Within the short distance of a quarter of a mile from this place are divers objects of great interest and attraction. The churchyard is bounded on one side by a steep precipice, at the base of which flows the Edwy, which from this point winds through a narrow defile of rocks, rising on one side to a height of nearly three hundred feet, and romantically varied by alternate stratifications of naked rock and green sward, partially concealed by hanging woods; on the other side, the rocks, though their elevation is less, have a more striking character. Here a boldly projecting rock threatens with immediate destruction the traveller passing beneath it ; there a perpendicular wall of solid rock, extending one hundred feet in height, presents its bold and unbroken front, richly mantled with mosses, ivy, and other parasitical plants, and in the clefts of which the larger birds build their nests. Among these rocks a rude cave, about six feet square, called Llewelyn's Cave, is said to have been occasionally used as an asylum by that brave, but unfortunate, prince Llewelyn ab Grufydd, the last royal defender of Welsh liberty and independence, against the overpowering army of Edward I. A short distance north-westward from the church, and at the head of this beautiful and romantic dingle, Llewelyn had a castle, the ruins of which are yet standing, on the banks of the Wye, and consist only of the fragment of a tower, or bastion, and part of a wall. During the defensive war which he waged against the English monarch, the Welsh prince summoned his adherents to a private conference at this castle ; but of the disastrous result of this movement a variety of accounts has been given, some of which cannot be reconciled with the localities of this district. Mr. Jones, the historian of Brecknockshire, who took great pains to reconcile the conflicting statements, says that, having marched to Aberedw, he was there surprised by a superior force of the enemy from Herefordshire, under the command of Edmund Mortimer and John Giffard, to whom intelligence of his arrival had been treacherously communicated by some of the inhabitants of this place. Thus unexpectedly attacked, Llewelyn fled with his men towards Builth, taking the precaution of ordering the shoes of his horse to be reversed, there being snow on the ground, which stratagem, however, was made known to the enemy by a blacksmith at Aberedw. Having arrived at the bridge over the Wye, he crossed it, and issued orders for its immediate demolition, before his pursuers arrived. Thus checked in their progress, the English returned to a ford, eight miles lower down on the river, which was known to some of the party, and thus effected a passage. Meanwhile, Llewelyn had proceeded to Builth, from which, failing in his attempts to procure aid from the garrison, he advanced westward, up the Vale of Irvon, on the south side, for about three miles, where he crossed the river, a little above Llanynis church, over a bridge called Pont y Coed, or "the bridge of the wood," and stationed the few troops who had accompanied him in an advantageous position on the north side of that river, with a view to defend the bridge. The English, on coming up, made an attempt to obtain possession of it, but failing, they discovered a ford at a short distance, which a detachment of their troops secretly crossed, and coming behind the Welsh unawares, attacked them in the rear, and routed them ; and Llewelyn himself was slain in a small dell, since called Cwm Llewelyn, or " Llewelyn's dingle," about two hundred yards from the scene of action, by one Adam de Francton, or de Frampton, who plunged his spear into his body without knowing the rank of his victim, and immediately joined his party in pursuit of the fleeing foe. Returning after the engagement, probably in search of plunder, de Francton discovered that he had slain the Welsh prince, whose head he immediately cut off, and sent it to the king of England. The body was dragged a short distance, to a place where the road from Builth branches off in two directions, one leading to Llanavon-Vawr, and the other to Llangammarch, where it was interred, the spot being still called Cevn y bedd, or Cevn bedd Llewelyn, "the ridge of Llewelyn's grave." From their infidelity on this occasion, the opprobrious designation of "Traitors of Aberedw," is said to have been given by Llewelyn to the inhabitants of this place.

About three hundred yards to the east of the castle of Aberedw, on the summit of an eminence, is a large tumulus,, directly above the river Edwy, on the side of which is that most awful precipice before described, so beautifully mantled, and forming an object so truly picturesque from every point of view but this, where it cannot be observed without indescribable sensations of awe. Thomas Jones, a landscape painter of distinguished repute, and best known by his two pieces of the "Campi Phlaegroei," was born at Pen Careg, in the vicinity of this place, where, having succeeded to the family estate, he resided upon it until his death in 1803. The average annual expenditure for the support of the poor is 246. 4.

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