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CWM-TOYDDWR - Gazetteers

National Gazetteer, 1868

[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer (1868)]
"CWM-TOYDDWR, a parish in the hundred of Rhayader, in the county of Radnor, 3 miles from Rhayader, its post town, and 3 from St. Harmon's. It is situated in a delightful spot among the hills at the point where the river Elan joins the Wye, and contains the townships of Dyffryn-Elan and Dyffryn-Gwy. The parish is of large extent, being 10 miles long by 4 broad, and has traces of lead and slate. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of St. David's, value £95, in the patronage of the bishop. Price's school has an endowment of £50 per annum. The parochial charities amount to about £19 per annum."

"DYFFRYN-ELLAN, (and Dyffryn Gwy) townships in the parish of Cwm-Toyddwr, hundred of Rhayader, in the county of Radnor, 2 miles N.W. of Rhayader, and 4 S.W. of Radnor. They are situated in the vicinity of the rivers Ellan and Wye."

[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

CWM-TOYDDWR (CWM-DAUDDWR), otherwise LLANSANTFRAID CWM-TOYDDWR, a parish in the hundred of RHAIADR, county of RADNOR, SOUTH WALES, 1/4 of a mile (W. S. W.) from Rhaiadr, containing 867 inhabitants. The name of this place, signifying " the dingle of the two rivers," or " the church of St. Bridget in the dingle of the two rivers," is derived from that of the saint to whom the church is dedicated, and its situation near the confluence of the rivers Wye and Elain, which unite towards the southern extremity of the parish. From this latter circumstance some etymologists have supposed the name to have been originally Cymmer Dau Ddwr, signifying " the junction of two rivers," from which they derive its present appellation.

The parish, which is pleasantly situated on the western side of the river Wye, by which it is separated from the town of Rhaiadr, extends nearly ten miles in length, and in the central part is nearly five miles in breadth : of the whole of this extensive tract, a very inconsiderable portion only is under cultivation ; the remainder, being chiefly mountainous, affords excellent pasturage to numerous flocks of sheep and herds of cattle, which are reared for the English markets. The scenery in some parts of it is extremely wild, and in others highly picturesque : the higher grounds afford some pleasingly varied and interesting prospects, and some of the loftiest hills command a fine view, extending to the Brecknockshire Beacons, and the mountains of Plinlimmon and Cader Idris.

In the vale of the Elain are the Cwm Elain lead mines, discovered in 1796, which have been for some time discontinued ; and in other parts of the parish there are some quarries of good slate. The veins of the lead mine run from north-east to south-west ; their sides are but imperfectly indurated ; and the ore is of the species called galena, contained, with blende, or sulphate of zinc, quartz, &c., in a mixed matrix of quartz and grey mountain rock. The woollen manufacture is carried on upon a very limited scale, affording employment to a small number of persons ; and the high road from Rhaiadr to Aberystwith, passing through the parish, gives a facility of intercourse with the neighbouring places.

The living is a discharged vicarage, in the archdeaconry of Brecknock, and diocese of St. David's, endowed with £200 royal bounty, and £400 parliamentary grant, and in the patronage of the Bishop of St. David's. The vicar receives one-half of the tithes of the parish, with the exception only of the hamlet called the Grange, of which he receives only one-third : the remainder belongs to the impropriator. The church, dedicated to St. Bridget, and rebuilt in 1778, is a neat and well-constructed edifice of stone : it is well pewed and ceiled, and has a good gallery. At Nant Wyllt, about four miles from the mother church, is a small but well-built chapel of ease, erected in the year 1772.

The Rev. Charles Price, Vicar of Llanarth, in the county of Cardigan, in 1719, bequeathed, in trust to the vicar of this parish and the vicar of Nantmel, a house and lands called Llawr y Ilan, in this parish, directing the produce to be appropriated to the instruction of poor children, and for the preaching of five divinity lecture sermons, in the parish church of this place, on the first Sunday in May, and in the four following months : the school is kept at Rhaiadr, and six boys of this parish are gratuitously instructed in it, in consideration of this bequest. A house called Troed Rhiw, with a few acres of land attached to it, was bequeathed, about a century and a half ago, by John Davies, for the reception of lame, blind, maimed, and infirm poor of this parish : the land now produces
£ 13 per annum, which income, increased by the annual sum of £4, the interest of a sum of money produced by a sale of timber on the estate, is divided among the inmates. Jeremiah Powell charged a farm in this parish with the annual payment of £2 to the poor.

There are some remains of a military post within the parish, on the bank of the Wye, nearly opposite to the site of Rhaiadr castle, with which it is said to have had a communication by a subterraneous passage under the bed of the river : part of this intrenchment was demolished in 1830; but an artificial mound is still remaining near the lines, which, at some remote period, was probably the site of the keep of a castle. Vestiges of two ancient chapels are still visible, called respectively Capel Madoc and Aber Henllau : they are supposed to be of more ancient foundation than the original parish church, and, from their being respectively situated in the two hamlets into which the parish is divided, to have been, previously to the erection of the church, the only places of worship in the parish. The name of a neighbouring farm, called Coed y Mynach, or "the monks' wood," has led to an opinion that there was anciently a monastery at this place ; but no satisfactory account of any religious establishment of that kind can now be obtained; and it is more probable that the farm was an appendage to the abbey of Strata Florida, in the adjacent county of Cardigan, to which a road may still be traced over the mountains. A mineral spring, the water of which is strongly impregnated with sulphur, has been recently discovered at Hir Nant, in this parish. The average annual expenditure for the support of the poor amounts to £414.


DYFRYN-ELLAN (DYFRYN-ELAIN), a township in the parish of CWM-TOYDDWR, hundred of RHAIADR, county of RADNOR, SOUTH WALES, 4 miles (S. W.) from Rhaiadr, containing 360 inhabitants. This township takes its name from the river Elain, the vale of which abounds with romantic scenery, composed of lofty mountains and rugged and precipitous rocks, which are finely contrasted with the verdant meadows and cultivated enclosures on the banks of the river. Cwm Ellan, a neat modern structure, situated on a bend of the river, became the residence of Thomas Grove, Esq., on his purchasing about ten thousand acres of land in this vicinity, with the lordship of the Grange, which by judicious improvement has, from a barren waste, been converted into a fertile and flourishing tract, thus softening the wildness of the mountain scenery which characterizes this secluded spot : this beautiful and romantic seat is now the property of Robert Peel, Esq. At Nant Wyllt, four miles from the mother church, on the left bank of the river Clarwen, is a chapel of ease, a small neat edifice, built in 1772, and in the gift of the vicar; and at Coed y Mynach, or "the Monk's Wood," on the banks of the Elain, about halfway to the mother church, are the remains of an ancient chapel, called Capel Madoc, which is supposed to have been attached to the abbey of Strata Florida, in Cardiganshire, as the vestiges of an ancient road, which connected the two places, are still visible on the lofty hills in this district. There are lead mines in this township, but they are not worked at present.


DYFRYN-GWY, a township in the parish of CWMTOYDDWR, partly within the new limits of the borough of RHAIADR, and partly in the hundred of RHAIADR, county of RADNOR, SOUTH WALES, 2 miles (N. W.) from Rhaiadr, containing 507 inhabitants.  The road from Rhaiadr to Aberystwith passes through this township, running, in the upper part of its course, along the left bank of the river Elain, which has its rise here in Llyn Gwingy, on the border of Cardiganshire ; and the river Wye flows on the north-eastern side of it: there are two manufactories for flannel. Within the limits of the township are several cairns, the most remarkable of which is Tommen sant Fraid, said to cover the remains of the patron saint of the parish church, which is situated in this township. On the banks of the Wye, nearly opposite to the site on which Rhaiadr castle stood, are traces of an encampment : though a part of the intrenchments were demolished last year, an artificial mount still remains, probably the site of the keep of an ancient castle, which it is said communicated with the former one by a passage beneath the river Wye.

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