Cardiganshire - Extract from 'A Topographical Dictionary of Wales' by Samuel Lewis 1833
"CARDIGANSHIRE, a maritime county of SOUTH WALES, bounded on the north by the aestuary of the river Dovey, or Dyvi, and the county of Merioneth; on the north-east by Montgomeryshire; on the east by the north-western extremity of Radnorshire and the northern parts of Brecknockshire; on the south by the county of Carmarthen; on the south-west by that of Pembroke; and on the west and north-west, in its whole length, by Cardigan bay: it extends from 51º 55' to 52 º 27' (N. Lat.), and from 3 º 45 to 4 º 51' (W. Lon.) ; and comprises an area, according to Mr. Carey's Communications to the Board of Agriculture, of five hundred and ninety square miles, or three hundred and seventy-seven thousand six hundred statute acres. The population, in 1831, was 64,780.
The ancient British inhabitants of this county were the Dimetae who also occupied the adjoining counties of Carmarthen and Pembroke, and were subjected to the Roman sway by Julius Frontinus,about the year 70. Under the Roman dominion it contained the station Loventium, thought by Sir Richard Colt Hoare, Bart,, and other antiquaries of modern times, to have been situated at Llanio, about seven miles above Lampeter, in the vale of Teivy. It seems likewise to have been traversed throughout by the great Roman road called the Via Occidentalis, which connected the station Loventium with that of Segontium, near the modern Carnarvon; and with that at Penallt, in the present county of Merioneth; that of Menapium, in Pembrokeshire ; and those of Maridunum, and at Llanvair ar y bryn, in Carmarthenshire. The present name of Cardigan is derived from Caredig, son of Cynedda, a chieftain of North Britain, who distinguished himself in repelling an invasion of Wales by the Irish Scots, about the middle of the fifth century, and received as a reward for his services a tract of South Wales, called Tyno Côch, or the " Red Valley," to which he gave the name of Caredigion, signifying " Caredig's country," and since corrupted into Cardigan.
The precise extent of this tract cannot now be ascertained; but at a later period, the lordship, or principality, of Caredigion is known to have comprehended, besides the present county of Cardigan, the greater part of that of Carmarthen. Little more than their names is known of the successors of Caredig in the sovereign authority: Brothen, the third in succession, received the honour of canonization. The eleventh was Gwgan, who was accidentally drowned in 870, after which event, Rhodri Mawr, or Roderic the Great, sovereign of North Wales and Powys, became possessed of this principality (which at that time held supreme authority over the other petty states of South Wales), in right of his wife Angharad, who was Gwgan's daughter. Having thus become sovereign of all Wales, he subsequently divided his dominions into three portions, including Caredigion in the kingdom of South Wales, the seat of the government of which he fixed at Dynevor, in the present county of Carmarthen, and to which his son Cadell succeeded on the death of his father. In the disputes which soon arose among Roderic's sons, Anarawd, King of North Wales, aided by some English allies, led a powerful force into South Wales, in 892,and made dreadful devastations in this and the other provinces, burning the houses and destroying the corn. Ievav and Iago, princes of North Wales, obtaining possession of their patrimony, after the death of Hywel Dda, by whom they had been unjustly excluded from it, asserted their claim to the sovereignty of all Wales, and, in 949, invading Caredigion, defeated the sons of Hywel, who had shared among thern the kingdoms of South Wales and Powys, and then carried their devastations into Dyved, the present Pembrokeshire. The year following, they again entered Dyved, but were opposed with great spirit by Owain, son of Hywel, by whom they were compelled to retreat with such precipitation, that a great part of their army was drowned in the river Teivy. Owain and his brothers, in their turn, acted on the offensive, and invaded North Wales, where they fought a sanguinary battle with the forces of Ievav and lago, but without advantage to either party : and the following year the princes of North Wales again entered Caredigion, but were repulsed with great loss by the sons of Hywel, who, however, in the end were overcome by their adversaries, and the latter established their dominion over all Wales.
In 987, the Danes committed great devastations on the coast of this county, burning the churches of Llanbadarn and Llanrhystid,and causing such destruction of corn and cattle as to produce a general famine, which destroyed a great part of the population. On this occasion Meredydd, then sovereign of all Wales, was compelled to purchase the retreat of the invaders by the payment of' a tribute, called " the tribute of the black army " : but scarcely had he freed himself from these foreign enemies, when Edwin, the eldest son of his brother Eineon, who considered himself wrongfully dispossessed of the principality of South Wales, aided by some parties of Saxons and Danes, invaded this county, and hence proceeded into Pembrokeshire. About the year 1068, the Normans having proved successful in their invasion of England, a strong body of them made a descent upon the western coast of South Wales, and ravaged this county and that of Pembroke; but, being quickly attacked by Caradoc, Prince of South Wales, they were compelled to abandon their plunder, and retreat to their ships.These marauders returned three years after, in 1071, but with the like ill success, being defeated with great loss by Rhydderch, son and successor of Caradoc. In 1087, the sons of Bleddyn ab Cynvyn, a deceased prince of North Wales, raised a formidable insurrection in South Wales, against the authority of Rhys ab Tewdwr, the reigning prince of this country, whom they com-pelled to retire to Ireland. Being aided with a large body of Irish troops by his brother-in-law, the king of Dublin, Rhys soon returned, and was joined by numerous friends ; while the sons of Bleddyn, thinking that delay would increase the strength of their antagonist, hastened to give him battle. The adverse armies met at a place called Llêchryd, and a sanguinary conflict ensued, in which the sons of Bleddyn were totally defeated, and two of them slain : the scene of this action has been generally placed in Radnorshire, but it is now thought to have been fought at Llêchryd, near the Teivy, in this county, a few miles above the town of Cardigan, rather than in a part of the principality the most distant from the Irish channel, and which Rhys could reach only by leading his forces a distance of nearly sixty miles over a desert and almost impassable country.
Caredigion was one of the Welsh provinces first subdued by the Norman lords, soon after they had been so much encouraged in the conquest of the country, by the successful issue of Fitz-Hamon's enterprise in Gla-morgan; and Roger de Montgomery, Earl of Shrewsbury, did homage for it to William Rufus, towards the close of the eleventh century : this baron, to secure his conquests, first erected the castle of Aberteivy, or Cardigan, afterwards so distinguished in Welsh history. But the Norman settlers had constantly to maintain an arduous contest with the native princes, in which they were frequently worsted and driven from the territory they had usurped. In 1093, Cadwgan ab Bleddyn, Prince of Powys and South Wales, expelled these invaders, and took possession of the castle of Aberteivy, or Cardigan. Gilbert Strongbow, son of Richard Earl of Clare, having obtained leave of Henry I. of England to deprive Cadwgan of all the lands which he could wrest from him, invaded the province of Caredigion with a considerable force, and subdued it without much difficulty: having thus obtained possession of the country, his chief care was to erect fortresses for the defence of his conquests, and one of the principal of these was the castle of Aber-ystwith. Grufydd ab Rhys, the eldest surviving son of Rhys ab Tewdwr, having commenced a system of predatory warfare against the lords marcher in the territory of Carmarthen, his success gained him many partisans among the native chieftains, and thus enabled him to conduct his operations on a more extended scale, and to recover a large portion of his father's territories, in spite of the opposition raised against him by the English monarch, Henry I. The native chieftains of Caredigion espoused his cause and submitted to his government, esteeming him the guardian of his country, and calling on him to free them from the odious and ignominious tyranny of foreigners. Grufydd hereupon entered the territories of these chieftains, by whom he was received with great cordiality and respect. Suddenly arriving at Cardigan Iscoed, he laid siege to a fortress which the Earl of Strigyl had erected at Blaen Porth Gwithan, in the vicinity of that place, which, after many terrible assaults, he at length took and burned to the ground. As far as Penwedic, the like destruction fell upon the deserted houses of the English inhabitants, who, struck with dismay, had fled from the fury of the native forces. Grufydd next laid siege to a castle called Strath Peithyll, in this county, belonging to the steward of the Earl of Strigyl, which he took by assault, putting the garrison to the sword. Hence he advanced to Glâsgrûg, where he encamped his forces for a day's rest. But his hitherto triumphant progress soon received a severe check, in a disastrous failure before the castle of Aberystwith, then belonging to Gilbert Earl of Clare, in which the slaughter of his troops was so great as to compel him to evacuate the province.
At the commencement of the reign of the English monarch Stephen, in 1135, Owain Gwynedd and Cadwaladr, chieftains of North Wales, laid waste with ruthless fury the province of Caredigion, taking the castles of Aberystwith, Dinerth, and Caerwedrôs, and two other fortresses, belonging to Walter Espec and Richard de la Mare, all of which were of great strength and well garrisoned. At the close of the following year the confederate princes again invaded this territory, with four thousand infantry and two thousand horse, besides the auxiliaries led by their allies, Grufydd ab Rhys and other eminent chieftains, who also furnished their main army with considerable supplies; and with irresistible violence subdued the whole province to the town of Aberteivy, or Cardigan, taking and demolishing all the castles held by the English lords. To repel this formidable incursion, the whole force of the Normans, the Flemings, and the English, in Wales and the Marches, was united under the conduct of several powerful barons, who, however, were signally defeated, in an obstinate and bloody conflict, with the loss of three thousand men ; and the routed forces, fleeing to their castles for safety, were so closely pursued, that many were made prisoners, and great numbers were drowned in the Teivy by the breaking down of a bridge across that river which afforded almost the only means of escape. Having so successfully completed their campaign, the young princes of North Wales returned to their own country, carrying with them, to grace their triumph, the horses and armour, and other rich spoils, which they had taken. In the course of these events, Richard Earl of Clare, to whom the territory of Caredigion, or Cardigan, had been granted by Henry I, was murdered by a Welshman, named lorwerth, as he was riding through a wood : after this his wife, who was sister to the Earl of Chester, retired into one of his castles, in this county, where she was besieged by the Welsh, and in the most imminent danger of falling into their hands, but , was at length rescued from this perilous situation by Milo Fitz Walter, Lord of Brecknock, who, with a chosen body of troops, undertook a romantic expedition from his own territories for the purpose, pursuing his march along the most unfrequented ways, and carrying away the countess and her retinue, unperceived by the besiegers.
During the reign of Grufydd's son and successor Rhys, an expedition was undertaken by Owain Gwynedd, Prince of North Wales, against the Normans and Flemings in Cardigan and the adjoining territories on the south, in which inroad he is stated to have demolished the castles of Aberystwith, Ystrad Meirig, and Pont Stephan, or Lampeter, in this county : retaining in his possession the whole province of Cardigan, and compelling the inhabitants of Pembrokeshire to pay him tribute, he returned into his own dominions. A few years afterwards, Hywel and Cynan, the illegitimate sons of Owain Gwynedd, made another inroad into South Wales, encountered and defeated a Norman force, and took possession of the town of Aberteivy, or Cardigan. In 1150, Cadell, Meredydd, and Rhys, sons of Grufydd ab Rhys, invaded Cardigan, and took and demolished the castle of Aber-Rheidiol and other fortresses in the northern part of the province ; then, marching southward, they possessed themselves of the castle of Cardigan, at that time held by Hywel, son of the prince of North Wales, thus subduing the whole province, excepting only a single fortress in its northern part. These young princes were so much enraged at the loss of the bravest of their soldiers, which they experienced at the siege of the castle of Llanrhystid, that, on at last gaining possession of it, they put the garrison to the sword : the castle of Ystrad Meirig, which they next took, they fortified with additional works, and, placing garrisons in both these fortresses, returned to Carmarthenshire laden with rich spoil.
Early in the reign of Henry II., Gilbert Earl of Clare entered Cardigan with the sanction of that monarch, to attempt the recovery of the estates which had been taken from his family during the late reign: he regained possession of the castle of Ystrad Meirig and some other places, and proceeded to attack the territories of Rhys ab Grufydd; but the latter chieftain soon after overran the whole country of Cardigan, level-ling with the ground all the castles belonging to the English. A few years afterwards, roused by the savage murder of his two nephews, whom he had delivered as hostages to Henry II., by their keeper the Earl of Gloucester, Rhys again took up arms, and, attacking Gloucester's possessions in Cardigan, took and demolished the castle of Aber-Rheidiol and other fortresses; then, marching southward, he possessed himself of the castle of Cardigan, and afterwards extended his inroads into Pembrokeshire. On the retreat of Henry II., after his invasion of North Wales, which Rhys had aided in resisting, this chieftain, returning into South Wales, suddenly invested the castle of Cardigan, which had again fallen into the hands of the English, and retook it: he then devastated the surrounding country, and made himself master of the castle of Kîlgerran, an important post situated on the banks of the Teivy near Cardigan, the fortifications of which he levelled with the ground, and then proceeded to his own territories in Carmarthenshire. Henry II. afterwards granted to this chieftain, together with other extensive territories, the whole of that of Cardigan, in the castle of which he held a grand festival, in 1176, which is celebrated by the Welsh bards.
Rhys died in 1196, and, with several of his successors in the lordship of Dinevor, was buried at the abbey of Strata Florida, in the eastern and mountainous part of the county. Grufydd. ab Rhys succeeded to the lordship of South Wales, together with all the territories held by his father at the time of his death; but his brother Maelgwyn, aided by Gwenwynwyn, son of Owain Cyveilioc, lord of Powys, soon after he had entered upon his inheritance, attacked him by surprise in his castle of Aberystwith , and made him prisoner : Maelgwyn then proceeded against some of Grufydd's other fortresses, and soon made himself master of the whole province of Cardigan. In the following year (1198),the wronged chieftain was liberated from confinement by the English lords, into whose custody he had been delivered by Gwenwynwyn, and, being strongly supported by his friends, entered this territory and recovered all his possessions in it, except the castles of Cardigan and Ystrad Meirig. Through the mediation of the friends of the adverse parties, Maelgwyn entered into a solemn engagement to deliver-up the castle of Cardigan to Grufydd, on condition of receiving from the latter hostages for the security of his own person. But on the delivery of these, Maelgwyn sent them prisoners to Gwenwynwyn, and fortified the castle for himself : in the following year he took from his brother the castle of Dynerth, and put the garrison to the sword, but the latter about the same time obtained possession of the important fortress of Kîlgerran, situated on the banks of the Teivy, in the neighbourhood of that of Cardigan, but on the opposite side of the river. Maelgwyn, fearing, from Grufydd's increase of strength in the vicinity, that he should not be able to maintain the contest much longer, sold the castle of Cardigan to the Normans, lest it should fall into the hands of his brother : the latter died in 1202,and was succeeded in his honours and possessions by his son Rhys, whose lands in Cardigan were soon invaded by his uncle Maelgwyn, aided by his ally Gwenwynwyn.
Llewelyn ab lorwerth, Prince of North Wales, having in 1208 seized upon the territories of Gwenwynwyn, then a prisoner in England, marched an army into South Wales against Maelgwyn, who, being unable to resist so overwhelming a force, destroyed his castles and withdrew : Llewelyn rebuilt the castle of Aberystwith, which he garrisoned with his own troops ; but the cantrêv of Penwedig, forming the northernmost part of the present county of Cardigan, and the other lands lying between the rivers Dyvi and Aëron, he gave to Rhys ab Grufydd and his brother Owain. Maelgwyn, rendering submission to the English monarch John, was furnished by the latter with a large body of English troops, to assist in the recovery of his possessions in this quarter ; and entering Cardiganshire with these forces, he encamped at Kîlcennin, in the cantrêv of Penwedig. His nephews Rhys and Owain, who were not strong enough to oppose him openly in the field, came privately into the vicinity of his camp, with a chosen band of three hundred men, and, suddenly entering it in the dead of night, fell upon their enemies with great fury, put many of them to the sword, and compelled the rest, among whom was Maelgwyn himself, to seek safety in flight.
When King John, in 1212, compelled Llewelyn ab lorwerth and the other principal Welsh chieftains to do him homage, Rhys and his brother Owain at first refused but being soon threatened by the overwhelming forces of Foulke, Viscount Cardiff , at that time warden of the marches, who was aided by their uncles, Maelgwyn and Rhys Vychan, they sued for peace, and applied for safe conduct to London, where they were graciously received by the king, and, on doing homage to him and relinquishing their territories between the Dyvi and Aëron, were allowed to retain all their other possessions: the English commander, on this occasion, strengthened the works of the castle of Aberystwith, and garrisoned it with the king's troops. After the departure of Foulke, Maelgwyn and Rhys Vychan, probably incensed at the favourable terms granted to their nephews, with whom they had been so long in hostility, threw off their allegiance to the English monarch, and took and dismantled the castle of Aberystwith, thus affording to Rhys and Owain an opportunity of retaliating on their uncles, on pretence of supporting the authority of the king of England. Accordingly they entered Maelgwyn's territories, which they plundered; but it appears that both these young chieftains were shortly after stripped by their uncles of nearly all their estates, which they recovered only by the assistance of some forces furnished them by King John, and commanded by the same Lord Foulke, who defeated Rhys Vychan with considerable loss in a battle fought in Carmarthenshire.The latter chieftain, expelled from all his fortresses in that county, removed his family to Aberystwith, and retired to the most inaccessible parts of the neighbouring country.
Some time after these events, Llewelyn ab Iorwerth led a large army into South Wales, to attack the territories of the English vassals, and, in the course of the expedition (in which he was assisted by the forces of Rhys ab Grufydd, his brother Owain, and their two uncles, who had all come to a reconciliation), took the castle of Cardigan, thus once more totally expelling the English from the county. After a short interval, Llewelyn came again into Cardiganshire, in his character of lord paramount of Wales, to settle a dispute between Rhys ab Grufydd and his brother Owain, on one part, and their uncles on the other, concerning the division of the reconquered territory, which he adjusted to the satisfaction of the respective claimants : he soon after placed a strong garrison in the castle of Cardigan, and in Powell's History of Wales he is also stated to have given permission, about this time, to Rhys ab Grufydd to do homage to the King of England, for some of his lands. In 1220, the Flemings of Pembrokeshire, who had shortly be-fore submitted to Llewelyn, as their sovereign lord, renouncing their allegiance to him, attacked and took the castle of Cardigan: the Welsh prince, however, soon recovered it, and razed it to the ground, after which he overran the greater part of Pembrokeshire. Rhys, finding that Llewelyn intended to withhold from him the castle of Aberteivy, or Cardigan, which in the late division had been allotted to him, made common cause with Llewelyn's enemy, William le Mareschal, Earl of Pembroke: this chieftain's desertion Llewelyn punished by seizing his castle of Aberystwith, and the territories appertaining to it; but King Henry III. interfering on the complaint of Rhys, the affair was settled amicably. Rhys died in the course of the same year, and his possessions were divided between his brother Owain and his uncle Maelgwyn.
Llewelyn having, during the absence of the Earl of Pembroke in Ireland, taken two of that nobleman's castles, the latter, on his return, retaliated on the subjects and possessions of Llewelyn, seizing, among other places, the castle of Cardigan. Maelgwyn ab Rhys died in 1230, and his possessions descended to his son Maelgwyn, who, as soon as he had entered upon his inheritance, hastened against Cardigan, and burned the town; but, finding his own forces insufficient for the reduction of the castle, which was strongly fortified, he demanded the assistance of his cousin Owain and some of Llewelyn's officers. and, thus reinforced , he destroyed the bridge over the Teivy, and. after a short siege, took pos-session of the castle. About the year 1233 died Rhys Vychan, son of Rhys, the last prince of South Wales, whose decease was soon followed by that of his nephew, Owain ab Grufydd, whose possessions were inherited by his son Meredydd, while those of Rhys were divided between his sons Meredydd and Rhys. Cardigan castle was retaken by Gilbert le Mareschal, or Marshal, Earl of Pembroke, in the year 1240, after the death of Llewelyn ab Iorwerth. Prince Edward, afterwards Edward I. of England, having, about the middle of the thirteenth century, taken forcible possession of some of the estates of the Welsh chieftains in Cardiganshire, the sufferers complained to Llewelyn ab Grufydd, the new prince of North Wales, who thereupon entered this province with an army, recovered the lands, and gave the greater part of them to Meredydd ab Owain, who died in 1268.
Edward I., soon after his accession, and at the same time that he invaded North Wales in person, sent a powerful army into South Wales under Payen de Chaworth, whose successes greatly contributed to moderate the terms of Llewelyn's treaty of peace with Edward, which was made soon after. Before his return from this great expedition, the English monarch rebuilt the castle of Aberystwith, in order to secure the advantages which he gained by this treaty; but the oppressions of the king's officers becoming intolerable to the inhabitants of the surrounding country, they revolted, and, headed by Rhys, son of Maelgwyn, and Grufydd, son of Meredydd, possessed themselves of this newly-erected fortress. Llewelyn, the last native prince of North Wales, entered this province a little time before his death, and laid waste the possessions of the King of England's vassals in it, particularly those of Meredydd ab Rhys, who had some time before deserted his standard: hence he proceeded with his forces towards Builth, in Brecknockshire, in the vicinity of which place he met his lamentable death. According to the laws and regulations made by Edward I. for the government of Wales , the entire subjugation of which he completed immediately after this event, the territories which had latterly appertained more immediately to the princes of the house of Dinevor, and were now in the possession of the crown, were formed into the two counties of Cardi-gan and Carmarthen, to which sheriffs were immediately appointed, like those of England.
Some few years afterwards, Edward proceeded also to tax his new subjects ; but the Welsh, still ardently desirous of regaining their lost independence, revolted, and Maelgwyn Vychan headed a strong body of the malcontents in Cardiganshire, which overran and plundered both that county and Pembrokeshire. During the revolt of the Welsh under Owain Glyndwr against Henry IV., the castle of Aberystwith was several times taken and retaken by the contending parties. The Earl of Richmond, after landing at Milford with the design of wresting the crown of England from the usurper, Richard III., marched through this county, his forces increasing with his progress, on his way towards Shrewsbury, where he was rejoined by the celebrated Rhys ab Thomas, who had taken a different route from the place of debarkation to that of rendezvous. The inhabitants of this county seem to have taken no very active part in the civil war of the seventeenth century. Cardigan castle, which had been garrisoned for the king, was attacked by the parliamentarian forces under General Laugharne, and at last taken by storm : the castle of Aberystwith, also held by the royalists, surrendered without much opposition. Cardiganshire appears also to have been the scene of some skirmishes between the parliamentarian leader, Colonel Horton, and the royalist commander, Colonel Poyer, after the great battle of St. Fagan's in Glamorganshire, so disastrous to the forces of the latter.
This county is in the diocese of St. David's, and province of Canterbury, and, together with some adjoining portions of Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire, forms the archdeaconry of Cardigan, which comprises, within the limits of the county of Cardigan, the deaneries of Sub Aëron, or Is Aëron, and Ultra Aëron, or Uwch Aëron : the number of parishes is sixty-five, of which twelve are rectories, twelve vicarages, and thirty-two perpetual curacies. For purposes of civil government it is divided into the five hundreds of Geneu'r Glyn, Ilar, Moythen, Penarth, and Troedyraur, all of which have upper and lower divisions. It contains the borough, market, and sea-port towns of Aberystwith and Cardigan, the latter of which is the county town, while the former is much frequented for the purpose of sea-bathing ; the borough and market town of Lampeter ;the small borough of Atpar : the sea-port of Aberaëron; and the market town of Trêgaron. One knight is returned to parliament for the shire, and one representative for Cardigan and the rest of the boroughs collectively: the county member, and the member for the district of united boroughs, are elected at Cardigan . the polling-places within the county are Cardigan, Aberystwith, Lampeter, and Trêgaron. Cardiganshire is included in the South Wales circuit: the assizes are held at Cardigan, as also are frequently both the Epiphany and Michaelmas quarter sessions, though sometimes one of these, as suits the magistrates, or is rendered necessary for the despatch of business, is held at Aberystwith, as likewise are the Midsummer quarter sessions ; while the Easter sessions are invariably held at Lampeter : the county gaol is at Cardigan; and there are houses of correction for the county both at Cardigan and Aberystwith : there are forty-six acting magistrates. The parochial rates raised in the county for the year ending March 25th, 1830, amount-ed to £ 20,685, and the expenditure to £. 20,574, of which £17,213 was applied to the relief of the poor.
The surface of Cardiganshire consists almost wholly of mountains and lofty hills, with their corresponding valleys, having no level tract of any considerable extent. Its northern parts are more particularly mountainous, being entirely composed of a portion of the lofty hills which surround the distinguished summit of Plinlimmon, in the south-western extremity of Montgomeryshire. In Cardiganshire these hills branch into several extensive chains, the most remarkable of which, stretching southward along its eastern border, bounds the vale of the Teivy on the east, and afterwards sweeps through Carmarthenshire into Pembrokeshire. One branch stretches westward between the rivers Dovey and Rheidol; another between the Rheidol and the Ystwith; a third is bounded by the Ystwith on the north-west, and the Teivy on the east, and, extending south-westward, terminates at the river Aëron; and a fourth runs nearly parallel with the last, on the western and north-western side of the Teivy, towards Cardigan. Various detached hills of considerable elevation are scattered in different directions. All of them are universally destitute of wood, and their aspect is bleak, dreary, and desolate in the extreme, seldom presenting any object to relieve the eye from the uniformity of their bare and gently undulating surface, except the projection of numerous naked crags. The late Thomas Johnes, Esq., of Havôd, however, has clothed some of the most elevated and exposed summits on this side of Plinlimmon, approaching the source of the Ystwith, with plantations of larch.
Of the great number of natural pools and small lakes, the principal are in the most elevated part of the county, near the summit of the chain of hills approaching the border of Radnorshire, in the vicinity of Strata Florida. They form a cluster, of which Llyn Teivy, the source of the river Teivy, is the principal, being about a mile and a half in circumference, and its waters not yet fathomed : it is surrounded by a high and perpendicular ridge, and the rocks and stones which lie scattered in every direc-tion, unrelieved by any kind of wood or lively vegetation, impart to the whole surrounding scenery a savage and repulsive aspect. From an elevation at a short distance are seen four other lakes, within a few yards of each other, the largest of which is nearly as extensive as LlynTeivy, but less formal in shape; while the smallest, which is circular, and about three quarters of a mile in circumference, occupies the highest ground in the county : these lakes, from their elevated sites are much agitated by the winds. Within a short distance of them is a sixth ; and another, called Llyn Vathey Cringlas, occurs between Pentre Rhydvendiged and Castell Eineon; besides which are others in the same quarter, called respectively Llyn Helygen, Llyn Hîr, Llyn Gorlan, Llyn Crwn, Llyn Gweryddon Vawr, Llyn Dw, Llyn Gynvelin, Llyn y rhydau, Llynycregnant , a second Llyn Dû, Llyn y Gorres, Llyngynon, and Llyn cerig Ilwydion : within half a mile of Lampeter is Llyn Llanbedr. Other small lakes are seen on the high lands in different parts of the county, and several of them are the sources of rivers.
The extent of the sea-coast, from the mouth of the Dovey, on the north, to that of the Teivy on the south, is about forty-six miles : the lands on the shore, along the whole line, are of considerable elevation, excepting only near the mouths of the rivers, where the vales descend to the coast. The vale of the Aëron is most distinguished for extent and fertility: in the vicinity of Ystrad it is of considerable width, and contains various rich and well-cultivated farms. The scenery along the courses of the other rivers is of great variety, from the extreme of rugged and romantic grandeur to the richness and beauty of fruitful vales. The latter, although they increase in breadth and fertility in approaching the sea, are, in few instances, even in their lower levels, entirely devoid of that picturesque cha-racter which so frequently distinguishes the higher parts of their course, and is so much heightened by the grandeur of their cascades. The scenery on the banks of the Teivy becomes most beautiful and interesting below Lampeter ; and the views about Llandyssul, Newcastle-Emlyn, Llêchryd,and Kîlgerran, are worthy of particular notice as equalling any river scenery of the same kind in the principality.
The Ystwith is characterized by a romantic interest in its course through the delightful scenes, so highly deco-rated, or rather formed, by the hand of art, which surround Havôd, the mansion of the late Mr. Johnes. The elevation of some of the more remarkable heights is as follows : Trêgaron Down, one thousand seven hundred and forty-seven feet above the level of the sea; Talsarn, one thousand one hundred and forty-two feet; Capel Cynon, one thousand and forty-six feet; and Aberystwith, four hundred and ninety-six feet. The two most extensive bogs in South Wales are in this county: one of them, called Cors Gôch ar Teivy, extends from Trêgaron to Strata Florida, a distance of about five miles, its mean breadth being about a mile and a half : the river Teivy, not far from its source, meanders through it. The other is situated at the northern extremity of the county, adjoining the mouth of the Dovey and the sea-coast, and is between nine and ten thousand acres in extent. A vast level tract of land, called Cantre'r Gwaelod, or " the lowland hundred," is said to have occupied, in former times, the northern part of the present bay of Cardigan, and to have been defended from the sea by artificial banks, which giving way, it was overwhelmed by an inundation about the end of the sixth century, at which period the lord of the territory was one Gwyddno Goranhîr. In the sea, aboutseven miles to the west of Aberystwith, is still seen a collection of rude stones, called Caer-Wyddno, "the fort, or palace, of Gwyddno;" and adjoining to it, and stretching north-eastward towards the mouth of the Dovey, are vestiges of the southern embankment, called Sarn Gynvelyn: these remarkable objects are left dry at low water of spring tides.
The climate of the mountains is for the most part cold, wet, and tempestuous; and that of the vales is not so humid as in the adjoining county of Carmarthen, as they open to a smaller extent of sea, and the range of mountains separating the vales of Towy and Teivy frequently intercepts rains from the south, which would otherwise be precipitated in this county. In the vicinity of the coast the temperature of the atmosphere is of course much more equable than further inland. The wheat harvest seldom begins before the third week in August, except in one or two more genial spots, which form exceptions to the general climate : that which yields the very earliest crops is Lleiniau Llan Non, a tract noted for the production of barley, where, in forward seasons, this grain is harvested between the 10th and 20th of July. The soils vary rather from difference of situation than of substrata. Most of the higher grounds have a grey light mould, occasionally intermixed with sand, and varying in depth from a few inches to a foot. Peat, however, generally oc-cupies the hollows, and sometimes the slopes of the mountains; and clay abounds near the surface in some places, requiring great expense to render it in any degree productive, a difficulty which is further increased by the great distance from all calcareous rocks.
The whole county is included in the great slate and shale tract of South Wales; and the bluer the slate or shale, the more meagre the soil above it: the most grateful of the mountain soils are found upon the anomalous grey mountain rock and the pale grey shale, except where the elevation is too great, or the aspect too bleak. The soils of the vales, being deposits from those of the uplands, increase in fertility as they approach the sea , when the current of the rivers which traverse them becomes less rapid: thus the lower levels of the valleys of the Teivy, Aëron, Ystwith, Rheidol, &c., possess a variety of rich loams, frequently of considerable depth. The coast has generally excellent light and early soils, which have for ages been famous for the production of barley, with little, and in some places without any, alternation with other crops : in most places these soils are more or less mixed with grey porous stones, which are known to be very favourable to the growth of corn, by retaining moisture beneath them during time of drought, and affording regular warmth to the blades of the rising grain: the pastures also abound with these stones, which the farmers will on no account suffer to be removed : the substratum of these soils in the south-western part of the county is in some places a hungry light mould, tinged with oxyde of iron, resting on thick beds of marl, beneath which is found the soft kind of argillaceous schistus, called shale.
The quantity of arable land is of difficult estimation: every farm has a certain proportion, varying according to its soil and aspect. The courses of crops are various; but grain is frequently taken in succession until the land is totally exhausted, and the last crop is scarcely equal to the seed which was sown to produce it : the most common crops are wheat, barley, and black oats. On the best soils the produce of wheat averages about twenty-five bushels: that grown in the vale of Ystwith is remarkably heavy, seldom weighing less than sixty-four lb. per Winchester bushel, and sometimes as much as sixty-seven. The produce of barley, owing to its being sown repeatedly without the intervention of any other crop, is not generally large. Oats are cultivated very extensively : one kind, which very much resembles the avena fatua (bearded oat- grass, or haver), is cultivated on the uplands, to which it is peculiar : it is called blewgeirch, or " hairy oats," and its only excellence consists in its producing a moderate crop in elevated situations, where no other grain can be expected to flourish : the black oat, however, is the most common of all crops on the uplands ; its produce is usually small. Wheat is cut with the reaping-hook, and oats and barley with cradled scythes. In the more northern parts of the county a considerable quantity of rye is grown; in the uplands by itself, but in the neighbourhood of Aberystwith frequently with a mixture of wheat : this mixture makes good bread, sweeter and moister than that of wheat alone, and preferred to any other by those accustomed to eat it.
The green crops commonly cultivated are peas, beans, and turnips. The kind of pea usually grown is a small, inferior, clay-coloured pea, called pys llwydon bâch, not at all remarkable for productiveness, which, though sown early in February, seldom ripens until late in September: on a poor soil, however, the success of its cultivation is more certain than that of the large grey peas, which are sometimes grown in the vales, as are also white boiling peas in a few of the most favourable situations : the clay-coloured peas are used by the peasantry for soup, and are sometimes threshed for hogs, but their general use is to be given unthreshed to horses : they are occasionally sown with the hairy oat, and both cut in July for dry fodder. Beans and potatoes are not unfrequently grown together; and buck-wheat is sometimes cultivated. Turnips are not generally grown by the ordinary class of farmers. Hemp is occasionally cultivated in small patches : a singular method is sometimes practised of fermenting the heads, to facilitate the separation of the seed, by burying the tops in the ground, in circular holes of several feet in diameter, the stems being inverted and bound together by straw bands, &c. : straw is also laid about the heads of the bundles, to keep them free from the mould.
A few small hop-yards were planted in the valley of the Aëron about twenty-five years ago. The artificial grasses are of the ordinary kinds : although the arable lands of Cardiganshire are subject, like all those of South Wales, to be overrun with natural grasses, yet they are much easier kept clean than those of the adjoining counties of Carmarthen and Pembroke. The meadows of the vales naturally abound with the sweeter species of grasses ; and even those of an inferior quality, when manured with the shelly sea-sand found upon the coast, produce the most nutritious herbage that grows in the county. The meadows, in some parts, are occasionally fogged, that is, the aftermath is left unconsumed on the ground from the Midsummer of one year to the early spring of the next, which the mildness of the winter admits of being done, without detriment to the grass, which in the spring is of great value : this practice also increases the fertility of the land. Irrigation is practised along the course of most streams, except those which, descending from among the lead mines, bring with them mineral particles detrimental to vegetation of every kind. Besides the manures from the farm-yard, lime is the principal used in this county, to the shores of which it is brought by sea from Pembrokeshire : at different places along the coast the farmers buy the stone in its natural state, together with culm from Milford, and burn it themselves : the distance from which these materials are brought renders lime a dear article of manure to the farmers of Cardiganshire, so that they use it very sparingly: it is usual to leave it scattered in small heaps on the land during the whole summer, after which it is spread and ploughed in. A few farmers in the south-western parts of the county apply the marl found there to their lands. Sea-weed, or wrack, in Welsh called gwymmon, is found in great quantities on the coast after gales : as many as two thousand cart-loads have been in one night deposited near New Quay, all of which was carried away by the farmers of the neighbourhood in the course of a fortnight : it is applied in different states, sometimes intermixed with other manures, to both arable and grass lands. Sea-sand, deposited by the tide in the creeks and at the mouths of the rivers, which utterly destroys all weeds, is also abundantly used for the like purpose, and on the barley tract of this county it forms the chief manure, in perpetual alternation with the sea-weed: peat ashes are also sometimes employed.
The plough in common use is of the most awkward and clumsy construction, being of the oldest kind known in Wales: the cradle with the share, the latter of which is ill made and blunt, is at least five feet long, while the mould-board is only a round stake, about seven inches in circumference, fastened from the right heel of the share to the hind part of the plough: in working, not half the cradle rests upon the ground, the hinder parts of it being constantly held up by short awkward handles: the fields ploughed with this implement have generally a very rough appearance.
The harrows are also in general very ill-constructed; but both ploughs and harrows of improved kinds have been introduced by some of the more opulent farmers. The carts, which are the most common agricultural vehicles, are in general very small, and are drawn either by two oxen yoked to a pole or beam, led by two horses abreast, or by three horses.
The cattle of this county are black, and for the most part small, but hardy and well made: those of Cardigan Lower, that is, of such parts of the county as lie south-ward of the Vale of Aëron, are of the black Pembrokeshire breed, which are hardy, work well, and fatten readily. All the farmers keep cows for the purposes of breeding and making butter and skimmed-milk cheese : the but-ter is salted, packed in casks containing each about eighty lb, and exported to Bristol, or taken by higglers to the iron-manufactories of Glamorganshire and Monmouthshire.
Cardiganshire, more particularly the northern and eastern parts of it, has long been noted for its profitable stock of small mountain sheep, numbers of which are purchased to be fed in other counties of the principality; they are very small, the hind-quarters seldom weighing more than seven or eight lb., and their wool is coarse and short : the average weight of each fleece is two lb. These sheep are so wild that it is impossible to confine them by any ordinary fences, on which account the rearing of them is discouraged by many landlords. The South Down, Leicester, and Dorset breeds have been introduced, and in some instances intermingled with the native sheep. In the higher districts the sheep are shorn once, generally towards the end of June; but in the vales, and southward of the Aëron, they undergo two shearings, the first about the end of May, the second about the 10th of October: at neither of these latter periods is the body completely stripped of wool, a circumstance which gives the animal an unsightly appearance: the fleece of the first shearing weighs from half a pound to two pounds, and that of the second from three-fourths of a pound to a pound.
The horses are small, but strong and hardy, and much attention has of late years been paid to their improvement, both for draught and for the saddle.
The rearing of hogs is an important part of the business of the farmer: they are, for the most part, fed on the refuse of the great quantities of potatoes that are grown on the fallows: their weight is various, and vast numbers are sold to be exported, chiefly to Bristol.
The gardens produce an abundance of the ordinary kitchen vegetables, but are not distinguished, like those of the eastern parts of South Wales, for their pleasing neatness. Although orchards are not numerous in Western Wales, the richer valleys of this county, being well sheltered, are highly favourable to the production of fruit, and orchards are more particularly flourishing in the valley of the Teivy, from Lampeter down to the sea. The woods are of comparatively very small extent. The most common trees of native growth are, oak, ash, and alder; but various others are frequently seen. The most extensive plantations in South Wales have been made on the estate of Havôd, by the late Thomas Johnes, Esq., to whom the county is much indebted for extensive improvements, dictated by a refined taste, both in its arboriculture and agriculture: they are of various kinds of trees, but chiefly of larch. There are several nurseries, which afford a supply of almost all kinds of young forest trees.
The districts at present most distinguished for the luxuriant appearance of their woods are, the Vale of Teivy, from Llangoedmore upwards, by Llêchryd, Newcastle-Emlyn, Dôl Haidd, Llys Newydd, and Llandyssil; the Vale of Aëron, which has its slopes finely decorated with groves, chiefly of oak; the banks of the Ystwith, in the vicinity of Havôd, the plantations around which seat occupy no less than fourteen hundred acres, and adjoin the extensive coppices of Crosswood; and, in the northern part of the county, the estate of Gogerddan: almost every rivulet is, besides, engulphed in a deep ravine, whose sides are clothed with oak, either protected and thriving, or neglected and consisting only of brush-wood.
The waste lands are of vast extent, and, including the tracts only partially cultivated or enclosed, have been computed to occupy nearly half the surface of the county: the greater part of them are, however, claimed as private property. In the lower parts of the county most of the commons, and the lands which were formerly cultivated in their open state, are now enclosed; but in the more elevated regions there are extensive tracts, which will probably be left forever in their native wildness, to be depastured by the small hardy mountain sheep and cattle. All the wastes are included in Cardigan Upper, north of the river Aëron, except an elevated range of table land, extending from that river southward to within five miles of Newcastle-Emlyn, on the river Teivy. The fen of Cors Vochno, at the northern extremity of the county, before its enclosure under an act obtained in 1813, contained three thousand acres of sound salt marshes, bordering on the Dovey, three thousand acres of peat or moss, and three thousand five hundred acres of sands. The fuel in most extensive use is peat, of which the best in the principality is said to be obtained from the great bog of Cors Goch, where it is in many places of unknown depth, and has been dug as deep as twenty feet. The peat in Cors Vochno is also of excellent quality and great depth: when well got in it kindles readily, and gives a greater external heat than most kinds of coal ; and its ashes, like those of all the best kinds of peat, are small in quantity and very light. Some stone coal is obtained by sea from the mines of Pembrokeshire. The " Society for the Encouragement of Agriculture and Industry in the County of Cardigan" was established in the year 1784: in its transactions the county is regarded to be under the two distinct divisions of Upper and Lower, the boundary between which is formed by the river Aëron.
The whole of Cardiganshire is geologically included in the great slate and shale tract of South Wales, and produces in different places roofing slates of various qualities, flooring stones, &c., besides an excellent hard kind of building stone, of which the houses of Aberystwith, exhibit good specimens, and a kind of sand-stone of a fine grain, found in Penbryn parish, which is little inferior to freestone, but of a darker colour. The stratification is in most places very irregular: the grey mountain trap rocks, which produce the excellent building stones above-mentioned, extend in prominent lines from north-east to south-west, the broadest constituting ranges of hills abounding with mineral veins: their stratification is in some places very irregular, while in others it presents regular quadrilateral columns of excessively close texture : it is the most extensively quarried on Llanwenog Hill, to the west of Lampeter ; near Llêchryd; and near Penbryn; forming good ashlars, tomb-stones, troughs, rollers, &c. : connected with the rocks are beds of indurated schist, porphyroids, &c. One range of these hills extends the whole length of the county, from the banks of the Dovey to the west of Machynlleth, through the mining districts, to Plumstone mountain in Pembrokeshire. The roofing slates, which vary in colour from grey to blue, are sometimes interstratified with argillaceous schistus of a softer texture, commonly called shale, which soon decomposes when exposed to the action of the atmosphere : this shale is also found singly in various places. The best blue argillaceous slates for roofing are quarried and dressed at Ynis Hîr, near Cors Vochno; and various other quarries of the same material occur along the sea-coast; but none of any extent have been opened in the interior, and the slates are far inferior in size and quality to those of Carnarvonshire. The strata of blue schist also, in numerous places, afford excellent building- stones, of which the new gaol and the church tower at Cardigan are good specimens: the blue colour of this stone, when neatly worked, gives it a very pleasing appearance. Large veins of a very hard and glossy white spar, called hungry spar rider, frequently occur among the other strata. The strata nearest the surface, in the south-western part of the county, consist of the clay marl, which is sometimes used as a manure: the higher layers of it are brown and of an inferior quality; the lower are blue and richer, resting immediately on the schistose strata above described : the eastern and northern boundary of this tract of clay marl, crossing the Teivy into this county from the vicinity of Penboyr, in Carmarthenshire, curves north-westward towards the mouth of the Aëron, forming on the land side part of the periphery of a circle, within which is included the whole south-western part of the county: between Llan-ina and New Quay the cliff overhanging the sea is composed, for the most part, of this marl, which there varies in depth from six to twenty feet and upwards.
Cardiganshire forms one of the richest and most extensive mining fields in Britain. The veins generally bear east and west, with very few exceptions, which run in a transverse direction from north to south : the matrix is chiefly quartz, not unfrequently mixed with blende and spar, and imbedded mostly in grey mountain rock, though sometimes in argillaceous schistus : some veins containing lead-ore have been discovered even in the peat bogs. As it has been so long celebrated for its produce of silver, as well as of lead, a concise historical description of the working of its mines may not be uninteresting. Among these, the open and oblong trenches of the Roman miners, and the vertical pits or shafts of the Danes, have been recognised by different antiquaries. During a long period subsequent to the Norman conquest of South Britain, the property of all mines was claimed by the reigning monarch, and no private individual could dig for ore, even on his own estate, without especial leave from the crown. A patent, granted by Queen Elizabeth, in 1563, to Thomas Thurland and Daniel Houghsetter, two German adventurers and metallurgists, assigning to them, upon certain terms, " all the mines royal of gold, silver, copper, and quicksilver " within several specified counties of England, and the principality of Wales, became, in 1567, the foundation of a corporation consisting of twenty-four persons, among whom were several noblemen, called the " Society for the Mines Royal," within the several districts specified in the above-mentioned patent.
The most eligible of the Cardiganshire mines were worked for some time at the joint expense and for the joint profit of this company ; but it maybe presumed that the latter was hardly a sufficient remuneration for the former, since the society was at length induced to let the whole of them to Mr., afterwards Sir Hugh, Myddelton, for the low annual rental of £400 : this gentleman acquired by the speculation an immense fortune, which he wholly and nobly expended on that arduous undertaking, the construction of the New River, for the supply of London with water: the mine of Cwm Symlog was the most valuable of those worked by him, its ore producing forty ounces of silver to every ton of lead. After his death, in 1631, the royal mines of Cardiganshire were leased to Sir Francis Godolphin, Bart., of Cornwall, and Thomas Bushel, Esq. ; and on the death of the former, the whole management of them devolved to the latter, who worked about six of them. Charles I., in 1637, granted this gentleman a license to coin the produce of his mines of silver, at Aberystwith, into pennies, twopences, sixpences, shillings, and half-crowns, instead of conveying it at great expense and risk, as formerly, to the mint in the Tower of London : this coinage was distinguished by being stamped with the ostrich plume which forms the crest of the Prince of Wales: Lundy Island, in the Bristol channel, was also granted to Mr. Bushel, as a depot for the produce of his mines. Favoured by these singular advantages, this gentleman rapidly acquired an immense fortune, with which, on the breaking out of the great civil war of the seventeenth century, he was enabled to render his royal benefactor signal service, by clothing the whole of his army, and advancing him a loan of forty thousand pounds: he afterwards raised a regiment from among his own miners, which he maintained to the end of the contest at his own charge. Aberystwith probably not being considered a place of sufficient security, the bullion, during that turbulent period, was conveyed to be minted at Shrewsbury : on the return of peace, Mr. Bushel changed the scene of his mining operations from this county to the limestone hills of Mendip, in Somersetshire; and from this period the extent of the works in Cardiganshire seems to have gradually declined. Bushel published several small tracts, from 1642 to 1649, in which he enumerates the mines of Darren-Vawr, Bryn-llwyd, Tal y bont, Goginan, and Cwm Ervin, in this county. It seems probable that he did not live later than the period of the Restoration, for at that time the mines royal of Cardiganshire became the property of a company, of which Sir John Pettus, author of Fodinae Regales, was a member.
Cwm Symlog, though deserted by the last proprietor for others in the neighbourhood more profitable, now again became a considerable silver mine, as also did those of Darren-Vawr, Cwm Ervin, Goginan, Tal y bont, Cwm Ystwith, Tre'r Ddôl, Trawscoed, and Rhôs-Vawr: the smelting-houses and refining-mills of this company were situated, conveniently for exportation, on the river Dovey, in the township of Scybor y Coed, in the parish of Llanvihangel-Geneu'r-Glyn, and, from the use to which they were applied, were commonly called silver mills. The exercise of the prerogative of the crown, in claiming as mines royal all those of which the ores yielded silver sufficient to pay the expense of extracting it, and the loss of lend experienced in this process, occasioned several expensive and vexatious law-suits between the proprietors of the mines and the patentees of the crown, the last of which was concerning a very rich vein, discovered in 1690, at Bwlch yr Esgair Hîr, the property of Sir Carbery Pryse, and since commonly called the Welsh Potosi. Sir Carbery engaged the Duke of Leeds and other powerful noblemen as partners in his newly -opened mine; and by their interest was procured the celebrated act of the 6th. of William and Mary, entitled, " An Act to prevent Disputes and Controversies concerning Royal Mines," which vested the mineral treasures in the proprietors of the soil, reserving to the crown the right of pre-emption at fixed prices, according to the value of the ores. Waller, agent to the company of mine adventurers of England, about the close of the seventeenth century, published a pamphlet for the information of his employers, containing a very favourable estimate of the mineral treasures of this county, a subject which he further illustrated, in the year 1700, by publishing an account of the Cardiganshire mines, with a map of the mining tract, and plans of nine different works, which was followed, in the same year, by an " Abstract of the present state of the mines in BwIch yr Esgair Hîr,&.c."
After the death of Sir Carbery Pryse, his mining estates, through a female heir, became the property of Sir Humphrey Mackworth, who, in the year 1700, in conjunction with the other members of the company formed by Sir Carbery, took a lease, for ninety-nine years, of certain places, called Bwlch Cwm Ervin, Pwll yr Ynad, and Goginan, and afterwards carried on, at these and other places, numerous and extensive mining-works. About the year 1709, however, discords arose among the partners, which eventually ruined the mining interest in this district. In 1744, Esgair Hîr,, Tal y bont, Cwm Symlog, and most other leases in the county, were abandoned: Goginan, Cwm Ervin, and Bryn-pica were retained, but not worked; while the four mines of Pencraig ddû, Gröau Gwynion, Cwm Ystwith, and Eurglawdd only were worked: and ever since that time only partial, temporary, and frequently ineffectual, trials have been made in search of ores by different adventurers, except for a short period under the direction of Mr. Lewis Morris, the Welsh antiquary, who, in 1750, was appointed agent and superintendent of the king's mines in Wales. Those now worked are numerous, but none of them are conducted on an extensive scale. Together with others now abandoned, they amount to about fifty: the greater number is situated in a district extending nearly from the shores of the Dovey, south-eastward across the Rheidiol and Ystwith, to the source of the Teivy; and most of the remainder in a line along the eastern bank of the latter river.
Nearly all the mines now worked produce lead, with every ton of which, in the Cwm Symlog mine, are obtained forty ounces of silver; in that of Darren-Vawr, thirty-five ounces; and in that of Llanvair, one hundred ounces, the last being at this time considered the richest in Cardiganshire. This mine, too, produces a small quantity of copper-ore, as also do those of Ynys Cynvelin and Eurglawdd, near Tal y bont. On a waste in the manor of Creuddyn, near Cwm Ystwith lead mine, much copper-ore was formerly raised, but very little has been procured of late years. Sulphate of zinc, blende, or black-jack, is obtained in vast quantities in the mining districts, and is generally worked with the lead: in some mines the latter is in the greater proportion, as at Llywernog, Penbank, &c. ; but in others the ores of zinc predominate, as at Gwaith Côch, Nant y Meirch, Rhiw Regoes, Nant y Crair, and Llwyn Unhwch: some mines, indeed, are worked exclusively for the zinc. The quality, as well as the quantity, of lead-ore obtained from the different mines is very various ; and it is most likely that there are other valuable mineral veins yet unexplored.
The chief manufacture is that of coarse stockings and flannels, almost wholly for home consumption; and, though of a domestic nature, it is expedited by carding machines scattered over the country at convenient distances, and by spinning-jennies in the farmers' and cot-tagers' houses. The Cardiganshire wool has long been noted for its felting quality, owing to which, and to the cheapness and abundance of peat fuel, the hat-manufactories are very numerous: in these are made most of the common hats worn in South Wales, which are strong and durable: the wool of the Michaelmas shearing is the best for this purpose. The above manufactures consume the greater part of the wool produced in the county.
The fisheries, though formerly of considerable importance, are not now carried on extensively, though Cardigan bay affords great variety and abundance of fish: the kinds most sought after and taken are herrings and salmon, by a few boats belonging to Aberystwith and the other small ports : herrings generally make their appearance in the bay from the middle to the end of September. The salmon fishery in the river Teivy is very considerable, one hundred of the coracles described below being sometimes seen busily employed within the space of two miles in the navigable part of its course. The right of fishery, as far as the tide flows, which is to the weir at Llêchryd, is claimed by the crown; and a lease of the river was granted on that ground, but to no purpose, the peasant fishermen claiming it by immemorial prescriptive right.
This county not only produces sufficient grain for the supply of its own inhabitants, but also exports considerable quantities of barley and oats to the western and southern coasts of England. Its commerce, however, is on a very contracted scale : the chief exports are, its mineral produce of lead, sulphate of zinc, and argillaceous roofing slates ; cattle, sheep, and hogs to England; butter, as above-mentioned; wool, chiefly for the manufactures of the North of England ;hats, to other Welsh counties; and leather, to Bristol : the chief extraordinary imports are coal and limestone.
The external commerce of Cardiganshire is greatly facilitated by its maritime situation and the number of its ports, which are chiefly frequented by small coasting vessels. The most southern of these, namely that of Cardigan, is formed by the lower reaches of the Teivy, the entrance of which river is, however, much obstructed by a bar, covered at high water of neap tides by from ten and a half to eleven feet of water, and at ordinary spring tides from fifteen to sixteen feet. Aberporth, two leagues further eastward, has a secure road; and Llanina, or New Quay, has an excellently sheltered road, with a small pier. Aberaëron has a small harbour at the mouth of the Aëron, which has two piers, and the bar of which is dry at low water. The small port of Aberarth, almost contiguous to the latter, has likewise a bar, dry at low water. The port of Aberystwith, being greatly exposed to the south-west winds, is so much choked with sand as to prevent the entrance of ships of any considerable burden, except at spring tides, when the bar has about fourteen feet of water: this place, besides the articles above-mentioned, exports oak timber and poles to the Pembrokeshire collieries. The mouth of the Dovey also forms a harbour for small vessels, which has of late years greatly risen in importance.
The rivers, taking each an independent course to the sea, are numerous in proportion to the size of the county: the principal are the Teivy, the Ystwith, and the Rheidiol, or Rheidol. The Teivy issues in a very insignificant stream from the lake called Llyn Teivy, situated near the highest summit of the mountains in the eastern part of the county, and flows immediately southward, over a rocky bed, to the vicinity of the ruined abbey of Strata Florida: hence it winds first westward and then southward to Trêgaron receiving in this part of its course the Meyrig, Marchnant, Camddwr, and other small streams. Flowing south-south-westward from Trêgaron to Lampeter, a little above the latter town, and at the distance of eleven miles from its source, it becomes the southern boundary of Cardiganshire, which it continues to form throughout the rest of its course, separating it first for twenty-seven miles from Carmarthenshire, and afterwards from Pembrokeshire: a little below Trêgaron the Teivy is joined from the east by the romantic mountain stream called the Berwyn, which descends from a lake of the same name, five miles distant, and afterwards, before reaching Lampeter, receives from the same side the Brevi and the Clywedog. Below Lampeter it runs for the most part westward, until, after being joined successively from the north by the streams of the Croyddyn, Crannell, Clettwr, Cerdyn, and Cerry, and by another small stream at Cardigan, it turns nearly northward, a little below the latter town, and flows in a majestic stream into that expanse of St. George's channel called Cardigan bay, after a course of fifty-three miles. The Teivy is navigable up to Cardigan for vessels of rather more than two hundred tons' burden, and up to Llêchryd bridge, to which place the tide flows, for barges: its tributaries are more numerous than copious, and the greater part of its course is through narrow mountainous defiles.
The salmon of the Teivy are esteemed particularly fine and delicious, and have a peculiar marbled appearance: great quantities are annually caught, dried, and sent to the London and other English markets: this is the most northern of the Welsh rivers in which the fish called the sewin is found. Giraldus states, that in his time this river was inhabited by the beaver; and on this, more than most other rivers of Wales, is used a small fishing boat of singular construection, called by the Welsh corwg, and by the English corruptly coracle, which is not adapted to carry conveniently more than one person : in form it is nearly oval. but flattened at one end like the stern of a common ship's boat, its length being usually from five to six feet, and its breadth about four. The frame is formed of split rods, which are plaited like basket-work, and co-vered on the outside, sometimes with a raw hide, but more commonly with strong coarse flannel, which is made water-proof by a thick coating of pitch and tar: a narrow board is fastened across the middle, on which the fisherman sits and guides his little bark with a paddle. When proceeding to their employment, or returning from. it, the fishermen fasten these boats, the weight of which is generally from forty to fifty lb., on their backs, by means of a leathern strap attached to the seat, which they pass round their bodies.
The Ystwith has its source among the hills on the borders of Montgomeryshire and Radnorshire, and, rushing westward in an impetuous torrent past the mines of Cwm Ystwith, and through a deep precipitous gulph, afterwards flows over a more level bed through the rich scenes of Havôd, and still further pursues a picturesque, but less romantic, course to Cardigan bay, into which it falls, after a course of about twenty-two miles, a little southward of Aberystwith, to which place it gives name. The Rheidiol, or Rheidol, rises in a small lake, called Llygad Rheidiol, or "the Eye of Rheidiol," on the western side of the Plinlimmon group of mountains, near the sources of the Severn and the Wye: the early part of its course, which it pursues south-westward, is distinguished by no remarkable feature; but its bed, as it approaches Yspytty Cen Vaen, lies along the rocky bottom of a deep, precipitous, and woody gulph, where it is repeatedly thrown with prodigious violence, and in foaming torrents from a great height into natural basins, which foam like vast boiling cauldrons: immediately below the inn called the Havôd Arms it receives from the east the smaller river Mynach, which, darting through the deep cleft in the rocks which is crossed by the Devil's Bridge, throws itself into the Rheidiol over a succession of precipices, and in an almost unbroken cataract: thus augmented, the Rheidiol flows westward by Llanbadarn-Vawr, a little below which it turns southward by the town of Aberystwith, and falls into the sea near the mouth of the Ystwith. The town of Aberystwith has derived its name from its situation at the junction of the Ystwith with the Rheidiol : these two rivers, having, at a subsequent period, become divided by the operation of floods, which caused them to enter the bay of Cardigan in separate places, were, a few years ago, artificially reunited, by a cut made in order that the land floods of both might more effectually keep open the mouth of the harbour. The Dyvi, or Dovey, a Merionethshire and Montgomeryshire river, forms the northern boundary of this county for about seven miles, from Llyvnant to the mouth of its small aestuary and is navigable the whole distance. Between the Dovey and the Rheidiol the principal streams which discharge their waters separately into the sea are the Clarach and the Leri. Southward of the Ystwith occur successively the Gwyre, or Gwyrai, which rises near Llanvihangel-Lledrod, and, flowing south-westward through the Cardiganshire barley tract, falls into the sea at Llanrhystid; the Arth, which issues from a small lake in the upper part of the hundred of Penarth, to which it gives name, and. running due west, falls into the sea at Aberarth; and the Aëron, which is next in magnitude to the principal rivers above described, and waters the rich valley to which it gives name : the latter stream has its source in a small lake called Llyn Aedwen, in the parish of Llanrhystid, whence it flows southward to Llangeitho, and thence in a very devious course by Talsarn and Tyglyn, to the sea at Aberaëron. Various smaller streams also take each a distinct course to Cardigan bay. The celebrated river Tywy, or Towy, most of the course of which is in the county of Carmarthen, has its source in an extensive morass in the alpine valley of Berwin, in this county, near Llyn Teivy : thence it takes its course southward, at first through a rugged, dreary, and inhospitable region, and afterwards through a more romantic and occasionally wooded vale, until it enters Carmarthenshire near Ystrad Fin, about eleven miles from its source : the principal streams which join the Towy from this county are the Camddwr, the Dethia, and the Pyscottwr. The small river Claerwen, which issues from a lake called Llyn Rhuddon Vâch, among the mountains on the eastern border of the county, after separating it from Brecknockshire for a few miles, enters the latter in its course to the Irvon. The Elain, which rises near the summit of the mountains a little to the south of Cwm Ystwith, flows eastward to the Wye, which it joins a few miles below Rhaiadr in Radnorshire. The roads are now in general pretty good, although the communication between the different towns was formerly attended with considerable difficulty: the materials used in making and repairing them are the grey mountain rock and the more indurated of the slate strata. The passage over the Teivy has been more facilitated by the erection of bridges than that over most Welsh rivers, for it is crossed by thirteen above Cardigan: in those parts of the county where the grey mountain rock is not found, many of the old bridges are of timber.
Cardiganshire is traversed from east to west by two principal lines of road from England. The road from London to Cardigan, continued to St. David's, enters across the Teivy from Llandovery, in Carmarthenshire, and passes through Lampeter, and down the valley of that river to Cardigan, whence it re-crosses the Teivy into Pembrokeshire. That from London to Aberystwith enters from Rhaiadr, in Rad-norshire, and runs immediately westward to that town: the road from London to Trêgaron, in this county, branches from the latter at Presteign, in Radnorshire, through Radnor and Builth. A line of road extends from Aberystwith to Shrewsbury, by way of the Devil's Bridge, or Pont ar Vrynach; but it has not been so much used since the formation of a more level line up the valley of Rheidiol to Eisteddva Gurig, where it joins the old road to the Devil's Bridge, which was opened in the spring of 1831, and forms one of the greatest of modern improvements within the county. Another improved line of road from Aberystwith to Machynlleth is much wanted.
The remains of antiquity are numerous and of various periods. In the churchyard of Yspytty Cynvyn are four large stones standing upright in the ground, and forming part of a Druidical circle. Near the seat called Carrog, a few miles from Llanllwchairn, are two upright stones, about ten feet high and five thick, which, from the appearance of the ground in the vicinity, have evidently formed part of a circle of the same kind : and there are remains of another on a hill called Alltgôch, near the town of Lampeter. Another relic, of a no less remote period and of some celebrity, is that called Gwely Taliesin, " the Bed, or Grave, of Taliesin," situated on a mountain called Pen Sarn-ddû, in the parish of Llanvihangel-Geneu'r-Glyn : it consists of a rude stone chest, formed by five upright stones, with another of larger dimensions for a cover, or lid, measuring about six feet by three : this chest was placed in the centre of an artificial mound, surrounded by two concentric circles of stones, the larger about thirty feet, and the smaller twenty-seven feet, in. diameter. At Llanio-issa, about seven miles above Lampeter, in the Vale of Teivy, very extensive remains of Roman buildings have been discovered, which Sir R. C. Hoare and others consider as indicating the site of the station or city of Loventium, and where there has evidently been an important Roman settlement: the ground for a considerable extent is strewed with fragments of bricks and earthen utensils, and on one spot have been traced the foundations of a building, one hundred and fifty feet long, and seventy- two broad : various coins and inscribed stones have also been found here. There is a small Roman camp in the vicinity of Lampeter, near the banks of the little river Dulais; and a square intrenchment, probably formed by the same conquerors, is visible on a farm called Ty-cam, in the parish of Llanwenog. The remains of the Via Occidentalis, and its branches in this county, are every where called Sarn Helen, or " Helen's Causeway," a corruption of Sarn Lleon, or "the Legionary Way." Entering it on the north from the station at Penallt, near Machynlleth, the main road proceeded in a direct line to Loventium, at Llanio, and traces of it are yet visible, first on a farm called Llwyn-rhingyll, in the parish of Llanbadarn-Vawr, and afterwards on another, called Brenau, in the parish of Llanvihangel y Creiddyn: adjacent to its course, in the Vale of the Teivy, below Trêgaron, is an artificial mount, called Tommen Llanio, perhaps the site of a Roman watch-tower. From the last-mentioned station the main line of the Via Occidentalis proceeded direct to Menapia, at the western extremity of Pembrokeshire, and has been traced below Lampeter, running parallel with the course of the river Teivy, which it crossed in the vicinity of Pencarreg, and is again visible on the Carmarthenshire side of the valley, along which it proceeded through the parishes of Llanllwny and Penboyr, in the latter of which some parts of it still remain entire. A branch of this road may yet be traced in many places, crossing the Teivy at the village of Llanvair, above Lampeter, and ascending, immediately beyond it, the mountains in the parish of Kellan, which bound this county on the south, in its course to the station at Llanvair ar y bryn, in Carmarthenshire : another branch extended from the vicinity of Lampeter to the station at Carmarthen.
The number of British fortifications in Cardiganshire is very great: one of the most ancient, and certainly the most remarkable, is situated on a farm called Ciliau, or "the Retreats," in the neighbourhood of Llandysilio-Gogo, and is a large circular enclosure, about sixty-eight yards in diameter, divided into three compartments, and surrounded by rude ramparts of stones, from which it has acquired the name of Y Garn Wen, or " the White Heap." Near the church of the same parish is an ancient circular fortification, called Castell Llwyn Davydd, and sometimes Castell Caerwedros, about two hundred feet in diameter, defended by two deep ditches, with ramparts of corresponding height. In the parish of Llanvihangel-Penbryn is a very extensive British camp, called Castell Nadolig, formed by three ditches and embankments, near which is a large tumulus; and at the distance of about half a mile is another, of equal size and strength, called Castell Pwntan. Near the village of Blaenporth are, an encampment called the Gaer, and two others, called respectively Caer Lonydd and Castell Tydur, the latter of which is on the sea-coast. There are divers ancient intrenchments within the limits of the county, namely, one called Cribyn Clottas, in the parish of Llanvihangel-Ystrad ; another of considerable extent, called Castell Moeddyn, at the southern extremity of the parish of Llanarth ; a third called Pen y Gaer, in the same vicinity ; a fourth in the neighbourhood of the mansion called Llwyn Dyrys, on the banks of the Teivy, near which is a large artificial mound, or barrow; several in the parish of Lampeter, one of which is situated on the same eminence with the supposed Druidical stones above-mentioned ; and a variety of small ones on the hills in the parish of Kellan.
A short distance to the north-west of Trêgaron is an intrenchment of considerable extent, forming a segment of a circle, and strongly situated in the midst of a deep morass : it is commonly called Castell Fleming, from its having been considered as a work of some of the Flemish invaders of the country; but it is thought by antiquaries to be of British construction. The parish of Trêgaron besides several of the sepulchral heaps of stones called carneddau, contains also a singular embankment of earth, ex-tending from east to west a distance of several miles, called Cwys Ychain Banawg, or "the Furrow of the Ban-nog Oxen," from a fabulous tradition current in the neighbourhood: Dr.Meyrick, the historian of the county, considers it as the remains of an old British road. An ancient intrenched fortification, called Plâs Crûg, occupies the summit of a hill in a wide marsh, adjacent to the village of Llanbadarn. Near Wervilbrook, in the vicinity of Llandysilio-Gogo, are several carneddau, or sepulchral heaps of stones : divers monuments of the same kind are situated in the parish of Llanvihangel Penbryn, and many others on the mountains in the parish of Kellan. Near the little river Frwd, in this parish, is a large stone called Llêch Cynon or "Cynon's Stone;" and on a mountain to the north are several kistvaens, one of which is called Bedd y Vorwyn, or " the Maiden's Grave." Besides the carneddau, on these mountains, there are several single stones of great magnitude, only one or two of which, however, now retain their originally erect position. Various ancient upright monumental stones of large size, all bearing inscriptions much defaced, are visible near the church of Llandewy-Brevi ; and a single one in a field called Maes Mynach, in the parish of Llanvihangel-Ystrad, together with a remarkable monument of the same kind, ornamented with Runic knots, but without any inscription. In the vicinity of Llanwenog is a very large barrow, called Crûg yr Udon; near the passage over the river Clettwr, called Rhyd Owain, or " Owen's Ford, " is another, called Tommen Rhyd Owain; and on the summit of a hill in the vicinity of Llangranog is a third, which gives to the spot where it stands the name of Pen Moel Badell. About six miles from Llanrhystid is a lofty mountain, called Mynydd Trichrûg, from three tumuli near its summit. There are artificial mounts, supposed to be the sites of ancient fortresses, situated respectively at Castle Hill, near the point where the road from Aberystwith to Rhaiadr and that from Machynlleth to Trêgaron and Lampeter intersect each other ;and a little to the north of the church of Lampeter, near the banks of the Teivy, in the parish of Llanwenog ; besides which, in the parish of Llanbadarn-Vâch, near the seat called Mynachty, are several, called Hên Gastell.
At the time of the general dissolution of religious houses there were, at Cardigan, a small Benedictine priory ; at Llandewy-Brevi, a college of priests at Llanleir, a Cistercian nunnery ; and at Ystrad-Flur, a Cistercian abbey, commonly called that of Strata Florida. Inconsiderable fragments of the walls yet point out the site of the abbey of Strata Florida : the chief relic is a beautiful round-arched gateway. On the premises of a house in the town of Lampeter, called the Priory, are some small remains of an ancient monastic edifice. The most remarkable specimens of eccle-siastical architecture are seen in the churches of Cardigan ; Eglwys Newydd, or New Church, within the grounds of Havôd ; Llanarth, Llanbadarn-Vawr, Llandewy - Brevi, Llandyssil, Llansantfraed, and Trêgaron . There are striking remains of the castle of Aberystwith, and of those of Cardigan, Castell Gwalter (on the summit of a lofty hill near the church of Llanvihangel-Geneu'r-Glyn), and Ystrad-Meirig. There are also inconsiderable remains of an ancient fortress at Aberaêron, called Castell Cadwgan ; of Castell Stephan or "Stephen's Castle," at Lampeter; of a fortress on a hill near the church of Llandyssil, formerly called Castell Gwynionydd, but now Castell Coed-von ; and of an ancient fortress near Aberystwith, called Llanychaiarn Castle. On a mound near the village of Blaenporth anciently stood a fortress of great strength ; a moated hill near the river Clettwr, in the vicinity of the farm called Castle Howel, indicates the site of an ancient mural fortification of the same name ; at a place called Cîl y Graig, in the parish of Llandyssil, is an artificial mound, the site of a castle called in the Welsh annals Castell Aber-einon; near the church of Bangor is a moated mount called Castell Pistog; and near the village of Trêvilan is a lofty mound, on which anciently stood Trêvilan castle, though Dr. Meyrick has placed the site of this fortress at the small mounds called Hên Gastell, in the parish of Llanbadarn-Vâch, above mentioned. There are yet some fragments of the ancient town walls of Cardigan.
This county contains several remarkable old mansions; and on the eastern part of the Teivy, below Llandewy-Brevi, are the ruins of an ancient and magnificent mansion, called, from the parish in which it is situated, Plâs Llanvair-Clywedogau, once the residence of the ancestors of the late T. Johnes, Esq., of Havôd. The more modern seats most worthy of notice are, Alderbrook Hall, in the parish of Troedyraur, the residence of J. Lloyd Williams, Esq.; Blaenpant, in the parish of Llandygwidd, that of W. 0. Brigstocke, Esq.; Bronwydd, in the parish of Llangunllo, that of Thomas Lloyd, Esq.; Coedmore, near Llêchryd, that of T. Lloyd, Esq.; Crosswood, that of the Earl of Lisburne; Derry Ormond, in the parish of Bettws-Bledrws, that of I. Jones, Esq.; Falcon Dale, that of ---Harford, Esq.; Allt-yr-Odin, in the parish of Llandyssil, that of John Lloyd, Esq.; Gernos, in the parish of Llangunllo, that of Major Parry; Gelli dywyll that of W. 0. Brigstocke, Esq. ; Havôd, or Havôd -Uchtryd the elegant and justly celebrated residence of the late T. Johnes, Esq.; High Mead, in the parish of Llanwenog, the seat of Major Evans; Llanerchaëron House in the Vale of Aëron, that of Colonel Lewis; Llanlear, in the parish of Ystrad-Meirig, that of Colonel Lewes., Llan-vaughan, near Llanwenog, that of the late John Thomas, Esq., Rear-Admiral of the Red; Llwynduris, that of John Griffiths, Esq.; Mabus, in the parish of Llanrhystid, that of Colonel Lloyd ; Noyadd Llanarth, that of Lord Kensington; Noyadd Trêfawr, in the parish of Llandygwidd, that of Captain Webley Parry ; Pigeonsford, in the parish of Llangranog, that of G. B. I. Price, Esq.; Stradmore Vale, near the banks of the Teivy, below Newcastle-Emlyn, that of Dr. Sheriff; Troedyraur House, in the parish of Troedyraur, that of the Rev. Thomas Bowen; and Tyglyn, in the parish of Llandewy Aberarth, that of the late Mrs.Thomas Jones Gwynne.
Great improvements have of late years taken place in the appearance and comfort of the farm-houses and offices, which were formerly of a very inferior class, more particularly as wanting granaries. The appearance of the cottages is for the most part very wretched, to which the frequent want of good building materials greatly contributes : their walls are of mud, about five feet high, with a low thatched roof, surmounted at one end by a wattle and dab chimney, frequently held together by hay-rope bandages, and greatly inclining from the perpendicular. Fences of sods, or of stones and sods in alternate layers, are common in the tracts near the coast. The fences, which are entirely of sod and mould, are raised five or six feet high on a base of as many feet wide, from which they slope upwards to a breadth of three, two and a half, or two feet, with a double facing of green sods. These are effectual barriers, but the tracts where they are seen have a dreary and naked appearance, although of late years it has become a common practice to plant or sow furze and hawthorns on the tops of these mounds. The stones, sometimes placed in alternate layers in them, extend in length towards the centre of the bank; and those by which many of them are entirely faced are commonly laid according to the Roman method of building walls, as described by Vitruvius, and as seen in many old Roman edifices.
The favourite and ordinary bread of the peasantry is that made from barley-meal, unleavened, and baked in thin cakes on cast-iron plates over the ordinary fires. On some of the hills separating the vales of the Towy and the Teivy oats and barley are sown together, threshed, kiln-dried, and ground into meal, from which is made a kind of bread called sipris. Oaten bread is sometimes used in the up-lands, and rye bread is not uncommon in some parts of the county.
Servants are hired at the autumn or spring fairs, but for the most part at the former : at Aberystwith, the first Monday in November and the first Monday in May are called " hiring Mondays," on which great numbers from the surrounding country meet for the purpose.
This county contains several mineral springs, sulphureous, or powerfully chalybeate : two of the most remarkable are Fynnon y Graig, near Llyn Teivy, and Aberystwith spa. The other chief natural curiosities of Cardiganshire are its waterfalls, of which the most remarkable, besides those of distinguished romantic beauty in the grounds of Havôd, are those of the small river Mynach, a little below the Devil's Bridge, which are four in number, and in immediate succession, the first being twenty. the second sixty, the third twenty, and the fourth about one hundred, feet in perpendicular height ; those on the larger stream of the Rheidiol, into which the Mynach immediately falls, which are particularly sublime and romantic; and those on a tributary of the Teivy, near the church of Hênllan , called Frydiau Hênllan, or " the Hênllan Falls." There are also water-falls and a salmon leap at Cenarth, in the parish of Llandygwidd."
[Gareth Hicks: 1 Jan 2000 ]