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LLANDRINDOD - Gazetteers

National Gazetteer, 1868

[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer (1868)]
"LLANDRINDOD, a parish and small watering-place in the hundred of Cefnllys, county Radnor, 6 miles N. of Builth, its post town, and 8 W. of New Radnor. It is situated on the river Ithon, surrounded by open common. This has been a watering-place since about 1696, famous for its springs possessing chalybeate, saline and sulphurous properties. There are two good hotels, the Pumphouse and Rock-house, for the accommodation of visitors to the spa. In this parish is an ancient lead mine, supposed by some to have been worked by the Romans. The living is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of St. David's, value £48, in the patronage of the bishop. The church is dedicated to the Holy Trinity. The charities amount to about £2 per annum. In the vicinity are numerous entrenchments and tumuli, showing that this must have been a considerable Roman station."

[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

LLANDRINDOD, a parish in the hundred of KEVENLLEECE, county of RADNOR, SOUTH WALES, 5 miles (S. by W.) from Penybont, containing 182 inhabitants. This place, which derives its name from the dedication of its church to the Holy Trinity, is celebrated for the variety and efficacy of its mineral springs, the virtue of which appears to have been discovered at a very remote period, most probably by the Romans, of whose occupation of this part of the country numerous vestiges are found in the immediate vicinity. The parish is bounded on the west by the river Ithon, a stream noted for its trout and graylings. The surface is generally hilly, with several extensive commons of lower elevation : the soil is for the most part of an inferior quality, and extensive tracts are allowed to remain uncultivated. The horizon is bounded by an entire amphitheatre of hills, the sides of some of which are agreeably diversified by small plantations ; and although the prevailing aspect of the country is remarkably wild, it has in its more retired parts numerous specimens of picturesque beauty.

The mineral waters to which this place owes its importance appear to have been used from time immemorial by the inhabitants of the immediate neighbourhood; but their efficacy was not generally known till about the close of the seventeenth century, when their reputation being published at a distance, this place first became the resort of strangers. Its rise, notwithstanding, was very slow, and frequently interrupted ; and it was not till about the year 1749 that it attained any note as a place of fashionable resort for invalids. About this period, Mr. Grosvenor, of Shrewsbury, took the leases of several houses in this parish, with a considerable tract of land : the houses he converted into a spacious hotel, capable of accommodating several hundred visitors; and among the alterations and additions which he made for this purpose was a suite of rooms for balls, concerts, and billiards, with shops for the supply of the visitors with the various articles of use or luxury for which they might have occasion during their residence at this place. The land he laid out in pleasure grounds, with plantations, shrubberies, and walks, tastefully disposed and ornamented : fishponds were formed in different parts of the grounds, and a portion of the land was appropriated for a race-course. This extensive and complete establishment, which formed one of the most fashionable places of resort in the principality, continued to flourish for nearly fifty years, when, becoming a rendezvous chiefly for fashionable gamesters and libertines, the then proprietor of the estate, from religious motives, caused the place to be taken down, and nothing now remains to remind the visitor of its former splendour but the sites of the fishponds, and a small farm-house erected upon the site of one of the old dining-rooms of " Llandrindod Hall."

Within the last twenty years, however, this place has been gradually recovering from the decay into which it had fallen : the reputation of its waters attracted the attention of numerous visitors ; but the want of accommodation continued to be a subject of reiterated complaint, and a great obstacle to its prosperity, until remedied by the exertions of Mr. Owen, the lessee of the wells, and the present proprietor of the Pump-House Inn and Boarding-House, which he has adapted to the comfortable accommodation of from sixty to eighty guests. In addition to these is a respectable boarding establishment, called the Rock House, and in the parish are numerous farm-houses, in which private lodgings may be obtained. There are three different springs, called, respectively, the rock or chalybeate, the saline pump water, and the sulphureous spring : there is also a spring called the eye water, supposed to be efficacious in diseases of the eye. The rock, or chalybeate, water issues from a slaty rock, near the boarding-house to which it gives name : according to an analysis to which it has been subjected, a gallon of this water contains fifty-seven grains of muriate of lime, forty-eight grains and three-fourths of muriate of magnesia, two hundred and thirty-nine grains of muriate of soda, three grains and two-fifths of carbonate of lime, one grain and a third of silex, and nearly six grains and one-fifth of carbonate of iron: The saline spring is situated within the grounds of the pump-house : one gallon of this water contains sixty-seven grains of muriate of lime, twenty-five grains of muriate of magnesia, two hundred and forty-two grains of muriate of soda, five grains and one-fifth of vegetable matter, and three-fifths of a grain of carbonate of magnesia. The sulphureous spring is situated within a hundred yards to the south of the saline spring : one gallon of the water contains fifty-four grains of muriate of lime, thirty-one grains and two-fifths of muriate of magnesia, two hundred and sixteen grains and three-tenths of muriate of soda, and six grains of vegetable matter this water is best adapted for artificial baths, but, like the saline water, is also taken internally. The waters are recommended to be drunk in the morning, and upon an empty stomach, in moderate quantities, and, when used both , internally and externally, have been found very beneficial in numerous chronic cases, among which may be enumerated, rheumatism, gout, inveterate ulcers, and scrofula. The saline and sulphureous springs, which are both situated within the grounds of the Pump House Inn and Boarding-House, are particularly recommended by the most eminent physicians in London, and their efficacy is thoroughly established in the following disorders ; namely, diseased livers, indigestion, gravel, cutaneous distempers, and general debility, whether arising from sedentary habits, or from too free a use of vinous and spirituous liquors. The rock water is only drunk in particular cases, and then after a course of the former. The sulphur water is considered to be the best adapted to external applications, and is therefore sometimes used as a bath. The air is remarkably salubrious, and the sequestered retirement of the situation is highly favourable to the purposes of health : the neighbourhood affords extensive and interesting equestrian excursions, and to sportsmen unlimited range for shooting and fishing; and in the vicinity of the village are numerous pleasant walks. These advantages, uniting with the powerful efficacy of the waters, have rendered this place a favourite resort of invalids ; and the many comfortable accommodations which are provided for visitors, and the agreeable society to be found in this interesting but sequestered spot, attract to it during the season a large concourse of visitors. The season commences about the beginning of June, and generally continues till the middle or end of October, and is enlivened by occasional balls, under the arrangement of the parties living at the pump-rooms, and confined to the inmates of their respective houses. The turnpike road from Builth, in the county of Brecknock, to Newtown in that of Montgomery, passes through the parish, along which a coach from Bristol, Swansea, Merthyr-Tydvil, and Brecknock, runs three days in the week to the Pump-House : the inhabitants receive their letters from the post-office, at Penybont.

This parish constitutes a prebend in the collegiate church of Brecknock, rated in the king's books at £ 5. 8. 9., and in the patronage of the Bishop of St. David's. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the archdeaconry of Brecknock, and diocese of St. David's, endowed with £ 600 royal bounty, and £200 parliamentary grant, and in the patronage of the Bishop of St. David's. The church, dedicated to the Holy Trinity, is a plain ancient edifice, in decent repair, but presenting no architectural details of importance : it is situated at the edge of an extensive common, near the river Ithon. Two benefactions of £ 10 each, one of which was given to the parish by the Rev. Philip Lewis, and the other by Mr. John William Meredith, are now secured on lands, and the interest is annually divided among decayed farmers of this parish. Within the limits of the parish are several remains of British and Roman antiquity. On the common, just below the church, is a quadrilateral intrenchment, nearly one hundred yards in circuit, defended by a vallum, the angles of which are all rounded off : the remains of the rampart are still visible on the south and west sides. At the eastern extremity of the common, above the village of Howey, are some tolerably perfect remains of an encampment, nearly circular in form, enclosing an area of about fifty yards in diameter, surrounded by an exterior vallum, and having entrances only on the east and west : it occupies the gentle declivity of an undulating surface, and, from its form and contiguity to other Roman works, has been supposed to be the remains of a circus or amphitheatre for the celebration of games ; but the area is quite inadequate to that purpose, and its position and construction are ill adapted for the accommodation of spectators. Near it are some very faint traces of another encampment, nearly square, with two of the angles rounded, and having the appearance of projecting bastions. These various remains, which have been described in one of the volumes of the Transactions of the Society of Antiquaries as " Campi AEstivi," are placed at irregular distances along the common, contiguous to the track of an ancient paved road, which is supposed to have been a Vicinal way from an encampment on the banks of the Ithon, in the parish of Llanvihangel-Helygen, on a farm called Cwm. The form of the camps is quadrilateral, with the angles rounded off, and each generally contains within the embankment an area twenty-five or thirty yards square : they have entrances on each of the four sides, and adjacent to those into a few of them may be distinguished a slightly elevated spot, supposed by some to have been the station of a centinel; but the valla, which in no instance are more than two feet in height above the ground, are very indistinct. The common on which they are situated is so deeply furrowed in every direction with the turf spade, and marked by embanked enclosures, that, except in some particular places, where the lines of the camps are very strongly defined, it is extremely difficult to ascertain their precise form, or to discover their origin. On the same common are the remains of seven barrows, five of which are near each other, and the other two at a small distance from them : they have been opened, and were found to contain some rudely formed urns, with ashes of human bones.

Near the church is an ancient lead mine, which is said to have been originally worked by the Romans : the shaft is three feet square, and is said to be three hundred feet in depth, with a level three-quarters of a mile in length : it has been worked within the last few years, but it is not at present in operation.

The foundations of an ancient chapel were discovered in a corn-field a few years since : it was called " Capel Vaelon," but nothing is known of its history. In a field belonging to the farm rented with the pump-rooms, many silver coins of the reigns of Elizabeth, James I., and Charles I. and II., have been dug up. The present venerable incumbent of this parish, now nearly eighty years of age, and equally respected for his talents and his virtues, has served the church of Llandrindod for the long period of fifty-one years, of which he has been in the enjoyment of the benefice upwards of thirty years, and still continues zealously to perform the duties of his sacred office with punctuality. The average annual expenditure for the maintenance of the poor amounts to £83. 16.

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