GLASCOMB, or GLASCWM (GLAS-GWM), a parish in the hundred of COLWYN, county of RADNOR, SOUTH WALES, 8 miles (E.) from Builth, on the road to Kington, comprising the joint township of Drewern and Vainor, and containing 514 inhabitants. This parish, which is bounded on the west by the river Edw, or Edwy, famous for its trout, comprises an area of about five thousand acres, of which three thousand are enclosed, and the remainder waste, being applied only to the pasturage of sheep, of which great numbers are fed upon it. The surface is for the most part hilly, and the soil rather barren : some parts are adorned with wood, and present an agreeable contrast to the barren mountains that surround them.
In the village stands Glascomb Court, the picturesque residence of Samuel Bevan, Esq., who, having succeeded by marriage to the considerable estates of the late - Lucas, Esq., in this district, has greatly exerted himself in the embellishment of the neighbourhood : the village and mansion are situated at the extremity of a little dingle, in a verdant spot planted with evergreens, from which circumstance they have derived their present appellation, signifying literally "the green dingle :" the whole, as it bursts suddenly upon the view, after climbing an arduous ascent, has almost the effect of enchantment, contrasted with the dreary and naked steeps of the surrounding mountains.
The living is a Vicarage, with Colva and Rulen consolidated, in the archdeaconry of Brecknock, and diocese of St. David's, rated in the king's books at £ 13. 6. 8., and in the patronage of the Bishop of St. David's, as owner of the impropriate rectory. The church, dedicated to St. David, is a large plain edifice, having little pretension to architectural character, and consisting of a nave and chancel, without either tower or spire, but possessing two bells : the entire length of the edifice is one hundred feet, of which the chancel forms precisely one-third : the windows of the chancel are in the later style of English architecture. Under the communion table is a stone coffin, found in repairing the church : the inhabitants of Colva and Rulen, prior to the erection of their respective chapels, had their appropriate seats on each side of the altar. Giraldus Cambrensis relates an absurd story concerning the miraculous powers of a portable bell, then preserved in this church. There is a place of worship for Baptists, under the patronage of Samuel Bevan, Esq.
John Evans, in 1640, bequeathed £40, and David Davies, in 1777, left £ 60, for the benefit of the poor not receiving parochial relief : these sums are now deposited in the hands of Samuel Bevan, Esq., who, besides their annual interest of £ 5, pays to the parish a rent-charge of £ 1, out of the estate of Cwm-mawr, situated within its limits : some other benefactions have also been made, but are now lost.
The parish contains several interesting remains of antiquity, but no historical notice of them has been preserved. Among these are four large erect stones, situated at a place called the Little Hill, and stated by tradition to have been erected in commemoration of some great battle fought near this spot. On the banks of the Edwy, just within the western confines of the parish, are the vestiges of a small fortification, which once probably constituted a castle of some of the British or Norman lords of the surrounding territory: they comprise an area of about half an acre, defended by a rampart nearly perfect, to the north-west of which is a moated tumulus, on which probably stood the keep; and adjoining to this, within the enclosed area, is a moderately elevated piece of ground, which may have formed the site of the inner road : just without the enclosure is a large erect stone, which, together with another now removed, is supposed to have been raised in commemoration of some conflict. Near the source of the river Edwy, in the higher part of the parish, are two remarkable mineral springs, called Blaen-Edwy Wells, situated on the property of the Right Hon. Thomas Frankton Lewis; and adjacent is a respectable house, capable of accommodating about twenty visitors, with a small cold bath attached : the waters of these springs have both the same properties, being strongly impregnated with sulphur, and highly efficacious in the cure of cutaneous diseases. They have been much frequented, but the scarcity of lodgings, and the dreary and uninviting character of the surrounding scenery, operate powerfully to retard their rising importance. They continue, however, to sustain the highest reputation, and are eagerly resorted to by those patients whose habits and circumstances render retirement and economy desirable. In 1806, a shepherd boy observing something glittering in a newly formed molehill, on an eminence to the north of the village, carried it to his master, who, recognising its value, made a search on the spot, and discovered a number of gold and silver coins of a few preceding reigns, sufficient to purchase a small farm, which he still lives to enjoy. The average annual expenditure for the support of the poor is £507. 7.