Gazetteers - Newborough St Peter

  • National Gazetteer, 1868
  • Lewis 1833

    National Gazetteer (1868)

    "NEWBOROUGH ST. PETER, (anciently Llananno), a parish and decayed market town in the hundred of Menai, county Anglesey, 12 miles from Bangor, and 5 from Carnarvon. It is situated near the coast, and is named by the Welsh Rhos-hyr, from its site on the Moeldraeth Sands, near a long dorsal ridge, covered with heath and rare maritime plants, interesting to the botanist. This place, which is now only a poor, decayed village, was formerly a market town, and had a llys, or royal palace, of the princes of North Wales. Edward I. annexed to it the royalties of the Prince of Wales, and gave it a charter of incorporation, with power to elect a mayor, recorder, bailiffs, &c., which privileges are still nominally enjoyed, though its officers exercise no jurisdiction. It returned one member to parliament in the third year of Henry VIII., and in the first year of Edward VI., but the franchise was subsequently transferred to Beaumaris.

    Some of the inhabitants are employed in the making of mats, nets, and cordage, from sea-reed grass (Ammophila arenaria), called rhosir-morhesg ropes, which are taken to Carnarvon market; others in husbandry, and a few in fishing. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Bangor, value £214, in the patronage of the lord chancellor. The church, dedicated to St. Arno or Anno, and subsequently to St. Peter, is an ancient edifice, consisting of nave and choir, forming a single aisle upwards of 100 feet in length. It has a good E. window, and contains a curious font of the 12th century. The Calvinistic Methodists have a chapel. At the extremity of Newborough Warren is the island of Llanddwyn, where are remains of the abbey, but the island is now almost wholly overwhelmed with a mass of sand blown over from the opposite coast of Arvonia. Near the site of the ancient palace is an upright stone bearing a Latin inscription; and at Frondey is another inscribed stone, mentioned by Rowlands. The weekly market, which was on Tuesday, is discontinued. Fairs are held on the 22nd June, 10th and 21st August, 25th September, and 11th November."

    [Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)
    Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003]

    A Topographical Dictionary of Wales
    Samuel Lewis, 1833

    NEWBOROUGH, a parish, formerly a borough, in the hundred of MENAI, county of ANGLESEY, NORTH WALES, 4 miles (N. W. by W.) from Carnarvon, containing 804 inhabitants. This place, which derives its present name from its having been constituted a free borough by Edward I., was anciently called Rhos Vair, from a small church, dedicated to St. Mary, which stood at the head of the manor ; or, according to Mr. Rowlands, more properly Rhos Hir, from its situation in an extensive marshy plain on the eastern side of the Malldraeth sands, and near a long dorsal ridge covered with heath, which extends from this parish to Mynydd Llwydiarth. Though at present a very inconsiderable place, it was originally of great importance, and was for many years the residence of the princes of North Wales, who had a palace here, where, or at Aberfraw, on the opposite side of the Malldraeth sands, they occasionally fixed their seat of government, as the exigencies of that turbulent period might require. At the time of, the final conquest of Wales by Edward I., this place appears to have been the chief town in the island, as well as the seat of justice for the whole comot of Menai, and was annexed to the royalties of the Prince of Wales by that monarch, who incorporated the burgesses and granted them a guild mercatory and other privileges, which were afterwards confirmed by a charter of the 17th of Edward II., and by a parliament held in the 1st of Edward III. In the reign of Henry VII., upon a misrepresentation made to that sovereign, the assizes and other county business were removed from Beaumaris, where they had previously been held for more than two hundred and fifty years, to Newborough, which thus became the county town. In the 15th of the reign of Henry VIII., the burgesses obtained a new charter, in which all the privileges conferred by former charters were recited and confirmed, but which was surrendered in the following year ; and in the 27th of this reign, Newborough, as the county town, in conjunction with its contributory boroughs, returned one member to parliament, and continued to exercise that privilege till the 2nd of Edward VI., when, having greatly declined from its former importance, it was exempted on its own petition from contributing to the expense of supporting a member, and the elecitve franchise was confined exclusively to Beaumaris. In the 2nd and 3rd of this reign, the assizes, sessions, and general county business, were removed from this town, which had been found incommodious for the purpose, and restored to Beaumaris, after having been held at Newborough for forty - five years. Notwithstanding these enactments, the burgesses of Newborough still claimed the privilege of sharing in the election of a member for Beaumaris; but the claim was strenuously resisted by the burgesses of the latter place, and the case was brought to issue in the House of Commons, in 1709, when the right of election was declared to be in the mayor, bailiffs, and capital burgesses of Beaumaris alone : similar efforts to recover the franchise were made in 1722 and 1724, but with the same result.

    The town, which has now dwindled into an insignificant and obscure village, is situated near the southern extremity of the island, bordering on the extensive sea marshes of Malldraeth, and near the mouth of the small river Braint, which falls into the Menai strait near Abermenai ferry. The inhabitants are partly employed in the manufacture of matting, nets, ropes, and cordage, which are here made of the rushes that grow in profusion upon the marsh : a few are likewise engaged in fishing. The market, which was formerly held weekly, has been discontinued for many years : fairs are held annually on May 11th, June 29th, August 16th, September 25th, and November 11th. By virtue of its ancient charter, a mayor, recorder, and bailiffs are still annually elected by the inhabitants ; but they exercise no jurisdiction, hold no courts, nor transact any public business. The parish includes the small remains of that of Llanddwyn, formerly a very extensive parish, situated to the west of Newborough, on the shore of St. George's channel, of which the whole has been destroyed by the encroachment of the sea, or buried under the sands which, during the prevalence of strong westerly gales, are drifted over considerable portions of the parish of Newborough, into which it has merged. Of the ancient church of Llanddwyn only the eastern gable, with some portion of the east window, can be seen : it was situated on a flat near the sea-shore, and was a fine structure, originally founded by St. Dwynwen, the tutelar saint of lovers, to whom it was dedicated, about the year 465. The fund arising from the offerings to the shrine of St. Dwynwen, by her numerous votaries, was very great; and in process of time the church became an abbey for monks of the Benedictine order, who derived a large revenue from the resort of strangers who came to enquire into their future destiny, which was predicted by the leaping of fish and the appearance of the water of a well, still called Fynnon Vair, or " St. Mary's well." In the time of Henry IV., its revenue was greater than that of any other religious house in North Wales, and in the survey of Henry VIII. it was the richest prebend in all the principality : at present not a vestige exists of this noble abbey, and even the place where it stood is scarcely with certainty known. The last rector of the parish of Llanddwyn was Richard Kyffyn, afterwards Dean of Bangor, who, according to Mr. Pennant, concerted, in conjunction with Sir Rhys ab Thomas and other Welsh chieftains, a plan for placing the Earl of Richmond, afterwards Henry VII., on the throne, and with whom, at that time in Britanny, they carried on a correspondence by means of fishing vessels from this place. Numbers of vessels were formerly lost on the rocks on this part of the coast ; but this evil has been materially removed by the erection of two beacons on the most prominent rocks, and the construction of a break-water at no great distance, which have been found highly beneficial to vessels navigating St. George's channel: these important improvements have been made by the trustees of the harbour of Carnarvon. Near Llanddwyn was the ferry of Abermenai, now deserted. The living of Newborough is a discharged rectory, in the archdeaconry of Anglesey, and diocese of Bangor, rated in the king's books at £ 9.10., and in the patronage of the King, as Prince of Wales. The church, dedicated to St. Peter, is a small edifice, possessing no claims to architectural description ; it stands on an eminence in a bleak and exposed situation. There are places of worship for Calvinistic and Wesleyan Methodists. In this parish is an upright stone with a mutilated Latin inscription, supposed to have been erected in commemoration of some ancient warrior. John Morgan, a blind musician, and the most celebrated of the latest performers on the ancient instrument called the crwth, was a native of this place. Newborough gives the title of baron in the peerage of Ireland to the family of Wynn. The average annual expenditure for the maintenance of the poor amounts to £ 182. 19.

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