Gazetteers - Beaumaris
The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868
The present town is sometimes said to owe its origin to the castle erected here in 1295 by Edward I. He had previously founded the castles of Carnarvon and Conway; and, in order to secure his conquests, it was necessary to have a fortress and an English garrison in Anglesey, whither the native chiefs had retired, and where they harassed him by promoting frequent insurrections. A site on low ground, then a marsh near the coast, was chosen, in order that by a short channel the fosse surrounding the castle might be connected with the sea. This canal was intended to serve the purpose of filling the fosse, and of admitting vessels to deliver supplies for the garrison. from the situation of the castle the present name of the town signifying" fair marsh," is derived. The garrison, numbering usually twenty-four men, under a governor, or constable, who was also appointed captain of the town had frequent disputes and sometimes serious conflicts with the townsfolk. In the reign of Henry VII. it was withdrawn.
The castle was garrisoned in 1642 for Charles I., and was held for him by Colonel Bulkeley, the son of Lord Bulkeley, the constable, till 1648, when it was surrendered to General Mytton, and subsequently dismantled by order of the parliament. The town consists of several clean and well-paved streets, the principal of which leads to the castle. There are many good houses of recent erection. The townhall, a handsome edifice erected in 1790, contains a market-house, public offices, and a very fine ball-room. There is a small county hall, in which the assizes and sessions are held; a spacious gaol, erected in 1828; and a convenient custom-house. A large hotel and warm and cold baths are established for the accommodation of visitors.
Beaumaris received a charter of incorporation from Edward I., who also conferred on it many important privileges. It first returned a representative to parliament, in conjunction with Newborough, in the reign of Henry VII. The elective franchise was withdrawn from Newborough in the reign of Edward VI., and vested in Beaumaris alone. Under the Reform Act, it is joined with the boroughs of Amlwch, Holyhead, and Llangefni in returning one member to Parliament. The local government is vested in a mayor, 4 aldermen, and 12 councillors, with the style of "the mayor, bailiffs, and burgesses of the borough of Beaumaris." The borough includes the parish of Beaumaris, and parts of six adjacent parishes. It has a revenue of a bout £4,500. Beaumaris is the head-quarters of the Anglesey militia.
The principal business of the place is the shipping trade. It is the chief port in North Wales, and the several ports of Aberffraw, Amlwch, Conway, Holyhead, and others, are subordinate to it. About 250 vessels belong to the port, which are almost wholly employed in the coasting trade. The imports are chiefly coal, timber, and miscellaneous good's; and the exports, copper and other ores, slate, marble, &c. There is regular communication by steam with Liverpool, Dublin, and Carnarvon. A good pier has been erected, from which is the ferry to Aber, 4 miles distant, on the coast of Carnarvonshire. This ferry, which once belonged to the crown, was granted by Queen Elizabeth to the corporation. The passage is over the Lavan Sands, an extensive tract which is dry at low water, and is conjectured from its ancient name, signifying "place of weeping," to have been an inhabited district.
The living is a perpetual curacy annexed to the rectory of Llandegran, in the diocese of Bangor. The church is dedicated to St. Mary. It is a large and elegant edifice, partly in the perpendicular and partly in the decorated style of architecture, with a lofty embattled tower. It contains a fine altar-tomb, with effigies of a knight and his lady, which was originally in Llanvaes priory. The church has also a brass of the year 1500, and several monuments of the Bulkeleys. There are chapels belonging to the Independents, Baptists, Wesleyan and Calvinistic Methodists. A free grammar school was founded by David Hughes in 1609, which has a revenue of £617. The pupils are eligible to a fellowship and exhibitions at Jesus College, Oxford. There is a National school for 120 pupils of each sex.
The almshouses, near the town were founded partly by David Hughes, and partly by Lord Bulkeley. Besides the ancient charitable endowments of the place, donations for many benevolent purposes are made by the Society of Druids, formed in 1772, which holds its anneal meetings in September. The castle stands within an oblong area surrounded by low massive walls, now much decayed, flanked by ten round towers. Its form is nearly a square, having a circular tower at each angle, and in the middle of each side. The inner court is about 190 feet square; on the north-west side of which is a fine hall 70 foot long, and 23 feet broad with five large Gothic windows. On the east side of the court is the chapel, a building of remarkable elegance, in the early English style. The main entrance, a Gothic archway, between two circular towers, fronts the sea. The ruins are covered with gillyflowers, which are not found else where in the island. The castle was purchased of the crown by the late Lord Bulkeley for £1,000. In 1832, an Eistedfodd was held in the old hall before her Majesty (then the Princess Victoria) and the Duchess of Kent.
A good road was formed by Lord Bulkeley from the town to the suspension-bridge over the Menai, distant about 5 miles. The prospects along this road over the bay and the mountains of Carnarvonshire are very fine. Baron Hill, the seat of Sir R. S. Williams Bulkeley Bart., is next the castle, which now forma part of his domain. The public are admitted to the extensive and beautiful grounds, and a fives-court and bowling-green have been formed within the walls of the old castle for the amusement of residents at Beaumaris. The market is held on Wednesday and Saturday. Fairs take place on the 13th February, Holy Thursday, the 19th September, and the 19th December. "
[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)
Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003]
A Topographical Dictionary of WalesBEAUMARIS, a sea-port, borough, market town and chapelry, having exclusive jurisdiction, in the parish of LLANDEGVAN, locally in the hundred of Tyndaethwy, county of ANGLESEY, NorTH WALES, 8 miles (N. N. E.) from Bangor, and 249 (N.W. by W.) from London, containing 2497 inhabitants. This place, which is the county town of Anglesey, was anciently called Porth Wgyr : it derives its present name from its situation in a fine open flat, formerly marshy, but now a fertile plain, on the western shore of the Menai strait, near its junction with the Irish sea, where it expands into a good roadstead, called Beaumaris Bay.
Samuel Lewis, 1833
For some centuries prior to the erection of the present town which owes its origin and progress to the castle subsequently built here by Edward I., Beaumaris had attained a considerable degree of importance, and was distinguished as one of the three principal ports of the Isle of Britain. In 818, a sanguinary engagement took place in the immediate neighbourhood, between the Welsh and the West Saxons, the latter led by their king Egbert, who, having subdued the country as far as Snowdon, took possession of the Isle f Mona, Which was henceforward called by the English Angles-ey, or Anglesey, signifying "the Englishmen's Isle." But the Welsh sovereign, Mervyn Vrych, continually on the alert to recover his possessions and repel the invaders, carried on a desultory and successful warfare ; and Egbert and his Saxon forces, unable to contend with that valiant chieftain and with the severities of a hard winter, abandoned the island, and returned into his own kingdom.
In 1096, Hugh Lupus, Earl of Chester, and Roger de Montgomery, Earl of Shrewsbury, entering into a confederacy, united their forces, and carried slaughter and devastation through the whole of North Wales ; and, having Ianded a powerful army at Cadnant, they advanced against this town of which they made themselves masters. to secure their conquests, they erected, in the immediate neighbourhood, the fortress of Llewiniog, or Aberllienawg, by means of which, in conjunction with the castle of Bangor, they commanded the whole of the Menai strait, and reduced the islanders to the lowest state of vassalage and degradation. But their career of usurpation and tyranny was interrupted by the unexpected arrival of Magnus, son of Harold, King of Norway, whose landing was opposed by the confederate earls ; but Magnus, who was standing upon the prow of his ship, called to his side an expert archer, and both discharged their arrows at the Earl of Shrewsbury, who, in complete armour, was standing on the shore, and an arrow entering his brain through the eye which was undefended by the vizor of his helmet, he fell dead on the spot. The Earl of Chester was soon after driven from the island, and compelled to retreat to Bangor, where he for some time fixed his abode, carrying on a desultory warfare with the inhabitants of Anglesey, whom he annoyed with frequent aggressions, which led only to slight skirmishes. from this period nothing of historical importance is recorded of this place, till the time of Edward I., When that monarch, having reduced the whole of Wales under his authority, and erected the splendid castles of Carnarvon and Aberconway, found himself still unable to retain quiet possession of his newly-acquired dominions, and exposed to continual insurrections of the native princes and chieftains.
The Isle of Anglesey at this time was the principal rendezvous of all the native chiefs, who, notwithstanding their formal submission to the authority of Edward, were constantly endeavouring to throw off the English yoke. Llewelyn, Prince of North Wales, and after him Madock, his illegitimate son, made this the theatre of their several insurrections for this purpose; and Edward saw the impossibility of putting an end to these, while Anglesey, without an English garrison, afforded such facility for combinations, which threatened the stability of his government in Wales. He therefore found it necessary to erect a castle, equal in strength and importance to those which he had previously built at Carnarvon and Aberconway, and to place in it a formidable garrison, to counteract the efforts of the unsubdued spirit of the Welsh. For this purpose he selected Porth Wgyr, which at that time had acquired the appellation of Bonovr, and was peculiarly adapted from its situation to command the island; and, from the low site on which he built it, Edward gave to the castle the name of Beaumaris. The ground on which the fortress was erected being private property, Edward gave to the owners other lands in exchange for it, of equal or superior value; and its low situation on a flat on the sea-shore afforded the opportunity of surrounding it with a deep fosse, which might at any time be filled from the sea, and of cutting a canal by which vessels might deliver their cargoes under the walls of the castle.
This fortress was completed in the year 1296, and in the same year Edward incorporated the inhabitants of the town by charter, investing them with valuable and important privileges, and appointing the constable of the castle to be also captain of the town. Most writers state that the town owes its origin to the erection of this castle ; but, from reference to the records of the corporation, it appears that it must have attained some degree of importance prior to that era, and probably Edward, who, after the completion of the castle, surrounded the town with walls and made considerable additions to it as a fortified place, may, from that circumstance, have been regarded as its founder. The first governor appointed to the command of the castle was Sir William Pickmore, a Gascon, with an annual salary of forty marks, afterwards increased to £40; and, according to the Calendar of the patent rolls in the tower, published by the commissioners of the public records, the custody of the castle was granted for life, by Richard II., to Gronow ab Tudor, and afterwards by Henry IV., together with the whole county and dominion of Anglesey, to the renowned Henry Percy, surnamed Hotspur. The garrison, which usually consisted of twenty-four men, were frequently involved in disputes with the inhabitants of the town and, in the reign of Henry VI., a sanguinary conflict took place between them, in which Davydd ab Evan ab Howel and many others were killed. The maintenance of the castle was found extremely burdensome to the country, and, in consequence of continued complaints of the general misconduct of the men, the garrison was withdrawn in the reign of Henry VII., With the exception only of the governor, Sir Rowland Villeville, who was continued in his office of constable of the castle. From this time the castle was without a garrison, till the year 1642, when Thomas Cheadle, deputy of the Earl of Dorset, then constable, placed in it a body of men and supplies of ammunition, in order to retain possession of it for the king during the civil war, which now threatened to become general. The year following, Thomas Bulkeley, Esq., soon after created Lord Bulkeley, succeeded to the governorship of the castle ; and his son, Col. Bulkeley, and several gentlemen of the county, held it for the king till 1646, when it was surrendered on honourable terms to General Mytton. Charles' subsequent captivity produced, in 1648, together with partial insurrections in other parts of the country, that general revolt of the inhabitants of Anglesey, which is more fully noticed in the article on that county, and which gave rise to the parliamentary expedition for the reduction of this island. As soon as the parliamentary forces, under the command of General Mytton, appeared on Penmaen-Mawr, the greatest demonstrations of defiance were made by the inhabitants of this place, by whom they were descried from Beaumaris Green; but, after a slight skirmish near Cadnant, with Major Hugh Pennant's troop of horse, General Mytton advanced with his forces, without further opposition, to Orsedd Migin, where they held a rendezvous the morning after their landing, and whence they marched immediately upon Beaumaris, by way of Red Park, and drew up in order of battle upon the hill. The islanders, commanded by Col. Bulkeley and Col. Roger Whiteley, drew up in the fields below the hill, assisted by the town's company, commanded by Captain Sanders. The parliamentary forces began the attack, but were resolutely repulsed by the town's company, and at the same time charged by the cavalry ; but the rest of the infantry on the side of the royalists soon fled in disorder, and the remainder being overpowered by numbers, and the town being closely pressed, the islanders were dispersed, and the royalist commanders, with most of the officers, retired into the castle. Captain Lloyd, of Penhenllys, who had been ordered to defend the church, locked his men within it, and ran away, taking the key with him; but the men, notwithstanding, climbed upon the roof and the steeple, and, firing upon the assailants, killed a considerable number, among whom were three of the parliamentarian officers. General Mytton, having at length entered the town immediately despatched a messenger to the castle, to demand the persons of Colonels Bulkeley and Whiteley, threatening, unless they were given up to him, to put to death all the prisoners he had taken in the course of the day, about four hundred in number ; and these officers, to prevent the effusion of blood, immediately surrendered themselves, and remained prisoners at the Old Place, in Beaumaris, the seat of the Bulkeley family, till they were ransomed. The garrison, unable to withstand the superior force of the enemy, soon afterwards capitulated on honourable terms ; and General Mytton, who was appointed governor by the parliament, made Captain Evans his deputy-constable of the castle, and lieutenant-governor of the town. After the death of General Mytton, the constableship was given to Hugh Courtney, who was succeeded in that office by Colonel John Jones, a zealous puritan, and one of the parliamentary commissioners for the reduction of the island ; and his successor, Sir John Carter, of Kinmael, in the county of Denbigh, who received his appointment from General Monk, held it till the Restoration, when Viscount Bulkeley, who had been ennobled, in reward for his sufferings and attachment to the royal cause, was appointed to that office, which was held by his descendants till the death of the last Lord Viscount Bulkeley, in 1822.
The town consists of several streets, of which that leading to the castle is spacious, and contains some handsome houses. Considerable improvements have been made within the last few years, among which may be noticed the levelling, widening, and paving of the streets, and the erection of several handsome modern buildings, both in the town and neighbourhood; and others are now in progress, which, when completed, will render Beaumaris one of the most elegant towns in the principality. A new line of road, leading from Bangor ferry to Beaumaris, was constructed in 1805, by Lord Viscount Bulkeley, which, passing through the woods and plantations of Baron Hill, that nobleman's seat, at a considerable elevation above the shores of the Menai, and continued for near five miles in length, forms one of the most picturesque drives in the country. This road was thrown open to the public in the following year, since which time it has been extended to the Menai bridge at one extremity, and connected at the other with a recently-formed entrance into the town of Beaumaris. The ancient walls by which the town was defended are, in several parts, still remaining entire ; but, on the side towards the sea, a considerable portion was taken down during the summer of 1831, in order to furnish materials for building a new hotel, and for completing other improvements. In front of the town is the fine open bay called Beaumaris Roads, formed by the bold curvature of the strait, the shores of which are here composed of a fine, firm, level sand, affording a pleasant marine promenade, much frequented by the inhabitants, and by the numerous visitors, who, during the summer season, resort to this place for the purpose of sea-bathing. Warm and cold baths have been erected, and bathing-machines are ranged along the beach. The delightful situation of the town the salubrity of the air, and the numerous objects of grandeur, beauty, and interest, which impart to the surrounding scenery a charming variety, and combine in forming a splendid and richly diversified landscape, have made Beaumaris the favourite residence of many families during the summer season, and contributed to render it one of the most fashionable bathing-places in North Wales. The view from the Green is one of the most extensive and magnificent in the principality. Among the numerous striking objects which it embraces are, the Irish sea, the noble aestuary of the Menai strait, Beaumaris Roads, the city of Bangor, the suspension bridge, Port Penrhyn ; the village, church, and waterfall of Aber ; the stately castle, park, and grounds of Penrhyn ; Puffin Island ; Penmon Point ; the priory of Penmon, and the friary of Llanvaes; Great orme's Head, the summit of Penmaen-Mawr, and the other stupendous mountains of Carnarvonshire ; the castles of Beaumaris and Llienog, the luxuriant plantations of Baron Hill, and other seats in the vicinity; and numerous other objects, which contribute to enrich and beautify the scene. A considerable portion of the bay is left dry when the tide is out; and this tract, which extends for several miles along the opposite coast, is called the Lavan Sands, and is supposed to have been once inhabited, prior to its being inundated by an encroachment of the sea, in the sixth century. Its ancient name, Traeth Lavan, or Traeth Wylovain, of which the present is a contraction, signifies the place of weeping, and appears to have reference to the lamentations of the inhabitants when their lands were overwhelmed. Over these sands is a ferry to Aber, in Carnarvonshire, a distance of four miles : it originally belonged to the crown, and, in the reign of Edward II., an order was given to Robert Power, chamberlain of North Wales, to inspect the state of the boat, which was then out of repair, and either to repair it, if practicable, at the expense of the bailiwick, or to build a new boat, at the expense of the crown. It appears that the inhabitants paid annually into the Exchequer the sum of thirty shillings, for the privilege of this ferry, which was granted to the corporation, by charter of Elizabeth, in the fourth year of her reign. These sands, at low water, are firm and safely passable on foot ; but, during certain intervals of the tides, they are extremely hazardous, and consequently great precaution is necessary, in order to pass them with safety. The passage may be effected in the interval between two hours before, and two hours after, low water, but at other times it is attended with difficulty and danger, and several persons have perished in the attempt. During foggy weather, the great bell of Aber is rung to direct passengers to the point of their destination, from which they would be otherwise in danger of wandering, and probably of being overwhelmed by the influx of the tide.
The port, which is the principal in North Wales, has jurisdiction over those of Aberconway, Amlwch, Barmouth, Carnarvon, Holyhead, and Pwllheli, and all other harbours in this part of the principality are creeks within its limits. The situation of the port is extremely advantageous for commerce : its central position, with respect to the whole of North Wales ; its intimate connexion with Liverpool and the principal manufacturing districts, and its proximity to the Irish coast, afforded it every facility of extending its trade ; but, since the growth and increase of Liverpool, its commercial importance has materially declined, and at present its chief trade arises from the importation of the supplies requisite for the mineral works of the island, and the exportation of their produce : the principal articles of importation are coal, timber, and general merchandise; and the chief exports are copper-ore, marble, and slates. The number of registered vessels belonging to it is three hundred and eighty-nine, of the aggregate burden of twenty-two thousand and seventy-six tons. In the year ending January 5th, 1831, five hundred and sixty vessels entered inwards, and seven hundred and ninety-five cleared outwards, at this port. A regular and expeditious communication by steam-packets has been established between Beaumaris and Liverpool, Carnarvon, and Dublin. The harbour is accessible, at low water, to vessels of four hundred tons' burden, which can approach close to the walls of the town; and the bay affords good anchorage and secure shelter to numerous vessels which occasionally ride here in safety during the severest gales. Extensive sea walls have been constructed for the protection of the pier, and spacious and commodious quays and warehouses have been erected, with every requisite accommodation for facilitating the business of the port. The custom-house, which is situated on the Green, near the water's edge, is a commodious building, well adapted to the purpose. The markets, which are abundantly supplied with corn and provisions, at a very moderate price, are held on Wednesday and Saturday ; and four fairs for cattle, and various articles of general merchandise, are held annually on February 13th, Holy Thursday, September 19th, and December 19th.
The inhabitants received their first charter of incorporation, in the same year in which the castle was completed, from Edward I., who conferred upon them considerable privileges, and assigned to the corporation the estates of four of the principal proprietors of land, whom he removed by exchange, on the erection of the castle, to be held by them in capite; and, among various other immunities, he granted them a free prison within the castle, with descent of property to their heirs, whether they died testate or intestate. The charter of Edward I. was confirmed and extended by one of Elizabeth, in the fourth year of her reign, under which the government is vested in a mayor, recorder, two bailiffs, and twenty-one capital burgesses, assisted by a town-clerk, coroner, clerk of the market, water-bailiff, two serjeants at mace, two constables, and other officers. The mayor and bailiffs are annually chosen from among the capital burgesses by the corporation, on the Monday before the feast of St. Michael, and sworn into office. on the Monday following ; and, with the exception of the recorder, who holds his office for life, all the other officers are appointed by the corporation at the same time. The elective franchise was conferred in the 27th of Henry VIII., and the first return was made in the 33rd of the same reign, in conjunction with Newborough, to which town the assizes and sessions for the county were removed in the reign of Henry VII., upon a false representation to this monarch, after they had been held at Beaumaris for two hundred and fifty years previously. In the second of Edward VI., Newborough was exempted from contributing to the support of a parliamentary representative, the privilege thus becoming limited to Beaumaris ; and by statutes of the 2d and 3rd of this monarch, the great and quarter sessions, together with the county court, for Anglesey, were removed back to this town after they had been held at Newborough for forty-five years. The burgesses of Newborough, nevertheless, still claimed a share in the return of the member for Beaumaris, which, however, they seem henceforward never to have exercised ; and, in 1709, it was decided by the House of Commons, that this right was vested in the mayor, bailiffs, and capital burgesses of Beaumaris only. By the act for amending the representation of the people in England and Wales, recently passed, the newly created boroughs of Amlwch, Holyhead, and Llangevni now share with Beaumaris in the return of one member to parliament : the right of election is vested in the former constituency, who are resident within the limits of the borough, or within seven statute miles from the place where the poll is taken, if duly registered according to the provisions of the act; and in every male person of full age occupying, either as owner or as tenant under the same landlord, a house or other premises of the annual value of not less than ten pounds, provided he be capable of registering as the act demands : there are, within the town about one hundred and ten houses of the annual value of not less than ten pounds, and some more within the borough, of which the commissioners for ascertaining the boundaries of boroughs, under the late act, were unable to obtain the exact number : the mayor is the returning officer. The freedom is obtained only by grant of the corporation. The mayor, recorder, and bailiffs, are justices of the peace, and exercise exclusive jurisdiction within the borough and liberties, which latter comprise, besides the chapelry of Beaumaris, the whole of the parish of Llanvaes, about one-half of that of Llaniestyn, and part of the parishes of Llanddona, Penmon, and Llanvihangel-Din-Sylwy. They hold quarterly courts of session for determining on all offences within the borough, except capital charges ; and occasionally hold a court of record, for the determination of pleas and the recovery of debts to any amount, in which the mayor and bailiffs preside, assisted by the town-clerk, with power to issue process to hold to bail in all actions for debt, to any amount. The town-hall, erected by the corporation in 1790, and situated in Castle-street, nearly in the centre of the town is a commodious and handsome building, containing on the basement story the public office, shambles, and market-house, above which are a noble room and other apartments, appropriated to the holding of the borough sessions and the transaction of municipal business, and occasionally to the holding of assemblies : the great room, which is the most spacious in the county, is the most splendid ball-room in North Wales. Since the decline of Newborough, Beaumaris has been the county town of Anglesey, as it more anciently was, and the assizes and general quarter sessions for the county, and the election of knights for the shire, still take place here. The county-hall, erected in 1614, is a small edifice without any pretensions to architectural character, but recently much improved in its adaptation to the holding of the assizes and sessions, and the transaction of the public business of the county. The common gaol and house of correction for the county, a large and commodious building, erected in the year 1828, comprises twenty-three wards; six day-rooms, and six airing-yards; but the number of prisoners tried at the assizes and sessions is very inconsiderable, not amounting to more than four or five annually.
The living is a perpetual curacy, annexed to the rectory of Llandegvan, in the archdeaconry of Anglesey, and diocese of Bangor. The chapel, dedicated to St. Mary, is a spacious and elegant structure, in the later style of English architecture, with a lofty square embattled tower crowned with crocketed pinnacles. It consists of a nave, chancel, and north and south aisles, and was greatly embellished in 1825, at considerable expense : each of the aisles is separated from the nave by an elegant range of lofty clustered columns and gracefully pointed arches ; and the east window of the chancel is of elegant and elaborate design, and is embellished with some remains of beautiful ancient stained glass. The north aisle is called St. Mary's chapel, and the south St. Nicholas' : in the former there is a beautiful altar-tomb, bearing recumbent figures of a knight and his lady, in white alabaster, removed from the priory of Llanvaes, on the dissolution of that house : the tomb is decorated with diminutive figures of monks and knights, finely sculptured, and with shields of armorial bearings ; but the latter are so obliterated, that they afford no means of ascertaining the persons whose memory the tomb was intended to perpetuate. On the south side of the altar is a tablet to the memory of Sir Henry Sidney, Lord Deputy of Ireland, who died in 1586 ; Sir Anthony St. Leger, also Lord Deputy, and others ; and above it is a mural monument, of black marble, in memory of Thomas, sixth son of Sir Julius Caesar, Master of the Rolls, who was rector of Llanrhuddlad, in this county, and died in 1632. Near the castle was formerly situated an ancient chapel, or oratory, dedicated to St. Meugan, of which there are no vestiges. There are places of worship for Baptists, Independents, and Calvinistic and Wesleyan Methodists.
The free grammar school was founded in 1609, by David Hughes, of Woodrising, in the county of Norfolk, who gave the house which he had lately built at Beaumaris for the use of a grammar school, and endowed it with all his lands in the county of Anglesey, for tbe payment of the salaries of the master and usher, for the maintenance of scholars in that establishment, and for keeping the building in repair; directing his trustees to appropriate the surplus in placing one or two of the scholars in either of the universities of Oxford or Cambridge, and in erecting an almshouse for eight indigent persons, who have two apartments each, an allowance of six shillings per week, and six yards of frieze annually on St. Thomas' day; three of the almsmen to be chosen from the parish of Llantrisaint, where the founder was born, two from that of Rhodogeidio, two from that of Llechynvarwydd, and one from that of Ceidio; and after providing for these, if any thing remained, the founder directed that it should be distributed among the poor of the parish of Llantrisaint. The founder's intentions respecting the forwarding of boys to the university, and otherwise, were carried into effect by the trustees, who paid £20 with every scholar who entered there, and also apprenticed several others, according to the state of the funds, till the year 1826, since which time the affairs of this charity have been under the investigation of the Court of Chancery, and the exhibitions and apprentice fees have been suspended. The present income is £600 per annum, out of which the salaries of the master, usher, and writing-master are paid : there are sixty boys on the foundation, who are gratuitously instructed in the classics and in writing and arithmetic, and are eligible to one of two fellowships founded in Jesus' College, Oxford, by Dr. Henry Rowland, Bishop of Bangor, in 1616; to certain exhibitions, of £ 10 per annum each for four years, founded by Dr. Lewis ; and to others founded by Dr. Meyrick, in Jesus' College, Oxford, to, all which boys from this school have the preference. A National school was founded in 1816, and the school-rooms, with houses for the master and the mistress, were built by subscription, at an expense of £ 550, on a plot of ground given by the late Lord Bulkeley, by whom, during his lordship's lifetime, it was supported ; but since his decease, in 1822, it has been maintained by voluntary contributions, the principal of which is an annual donation of £30 by Sir R. B. Williams Bulkeley, Bart.: it is conducted in a most praiseworthy manner, and affords gratuitous instruction to one hundred and twenty boys and the same number of girls. Mrs. Elizabeth Gould, in 1780, bequeathed £50, directing the interest to be annually divided among aged widows, decayed housekeepers of Beaumaris; and there are several other charitable donations and bequests, which are judiciously distributed among the poor, according to the intention of the several benefactors.
Of the numerous benevolent societies formed in this town the most remarkable for the extent of its charitable benefactions is the Society of Ancient Druids, established here in 1772, and patronised by many of the principal nobility, clergy, and gentry of the neighbourhood. It consists of an Arch-Druid, and Sub-Druid, who are annually elected, and an unlimited number of brethren, who celebrate their anniversaries in September, and upon those occasions vote various sums of money for benevolent purposes. The principal of these are donations to the hospitals, infirmaries, and dispensaries in the neighbouring counties both of Wales and England ; premiums for apprenticing poor boys ; rewards for humane and meritorious exertions in saving from destruction the lives and property of shipwrecked seamen, and for various other laudable objects ; to which beneficent purposes various sums, amounting to nearly £ 2000, have been appropriated from their funds within the last thirty years.
The site and remains - of the once important castle of Beaumaris were purchased from the crown in 1816, and are now the property of Sir R.B. Williams Bulkeley, Bart., who has made great improvements in the grounds, by laying out walks, ornamented with plantations and shrubberies, and has thrown them open to the public as a promenade. The splendid remains of the castle, though less conspicuous from the lowness of its situation than those of Carnarvon and Aberconway, prove that it was scarcely inferior in beauty and extent to either of those structures : it consisted of two courts, the outer comprehending a spacious quadrilateral area defended by fourteen circular towers, of which those at the angles are much larger than the rest, and having the principal entrance towards the sea, flanked by two strong round towers, between which is a pointed archway defended by a portcullis. Near this entrance is a long, narrow, advanced work, with a platform, called the Gunners' Walk, which was anciently carried over the moat by a lofty arch, still remaining, and near which is one of the iron rings anciently used for mooring the vessels that delivered their supplies under the castle walls. Within the outer wall, and equidistant from it in every part, is the inner quadrangle, one hundred and ninety feet in length and nearly the same in breadth, surrounded by the principal range of buildings, which are much loftier than those of the outer court, and defended by ten circular towers, of which those at the angles are also more massive than those in the centre, and are in nearly a perfect state. Within this quadrangle are the principal state apartments : on the north-west side is the great hall, seventy feet in length and twenty-four in width, of lofty dimensions, and lighted by a noble range of five lofty windows, embellished with tracery. to the east is the chapel, an elegant structure in the early style of English architecture, and nearly perfect : the roof is elaborately groined, and is supported on arched ribs, springing from clustered pilasters richly ornamented. The walls are embellished with a series of twenty-one elegantly canopied niches, between which are lancet-shaped windows of peculiar delicacy, and behind them are recesses gained in the thickness of the walls, and probably appropriated to the principal officers of the garrison, or to persons of rank residing at the castle. A narrow corridor, formed within the walls, is carried nearly round the whole building, with the exception of the north-west side, affording communication with the principal state apartments, which, though unequal in splendour to those of Carnarvon and Aberconway, display abundant evidence of departed grandeur. Within the area are a tennis-court and a bowling-green, which are open to the public ; and the pleasantness of the situation, and the taste with which the grounds have been laid out, render this place a favourite resort of the inhabitants of the town. Baron Hill, the seat of Sir R. B. Williams Bulkeley, Bart., originally built, in 1618, by Sir Richard Bulkeley, a distinguished personage in the reign of James I., and afterwards much enlarged and improved by its late possessor, under the superintendence of the late Mr. Samuel Wyatt, architect, is beautifully situated on an eminence above the town to which it is open in the front, from which an extensive lawn slopes gradually towards it, and is sheltered in the rear and on each side by extensive woods of luxuriant foliage. The view from this mansion is justly esteemed one of the finest in the principality, extending over the bay of Beaumaris, with the grand opening of the Menai strait, bounded by a noble range of rocks and mountains, rising in the form of a vast amphitheatre, and including some of the principal mountains of Snowdon, whose summits of varied form soar in romantic grandeur above the surrounding heights, and whose verdant and well-cultivated bases slope gradually to the margin of the water. The great promontory of Penmaen-Mawr, and the vast rock of Llan-Dudno, or Great orme's Head, of barren and rugged aspect, form a striking contrast to the milder features of the scenery in the neighbourhood of this noble mansion, and aid in producing that picturesque and pleasing variety which constitutes its superior richness and beauty. Within the grounds is the stone coffin in which the princess Joan, daughter of King John, and wife of Llewelyn, Prince of North Wales, was interred in the priory of Llanvaes, from which place, after the dissolution of that establishment, it was removed, and, after lying neglected on a farm near the spot for many years, was brought by the late Lord Bulkeley, and placed under a temple which that nobleman erected in the park, in honour of her memory.
Among the other seats in this neighbourhood may be enumerated Red Hill, the residence of W. W. Sparrow, Esq. ; Henllys, belonging to J. H. Hampton Lewis, Esq., anciently the seat of Gweirydd ab Rhys Goch, one of the fifteen tribes of North Wales, and of his posterity until the conquest of Wales by Edward I., who removed them to Bodlewyddan, in the county of Flint, together with other ancient. freeholders, by an exchange of property, granting their estates to the corporation; the Friary, the residence of Lady Williams ; Plas Llangoed, the seat of Mrs. Hughes ; and Cadnant, the residence of J. Price, Esq. The average annual expenditure for the maintenance of the poor amounts to £ 669. 10.
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