Llanfihangel Genau'r-Glyn - Extract from 'A Topographical Dictionary of Wales'


By Samuel Lewis

"LLANVIHANGEL GENEU'R GLYN (LLAN-VI-HANGEL-GENAU-Y-GLYN), a parish in the upper division of the hundred of GENEU'R GLYN, county of CARDIGAN, SOUTH WALES, 5 miles (N. E.) from Aberystwith, comprising the townships of Ceulan and Maesmawr, Cyvoeth y Brenhin, Cynnullmawr, Hênllys , Scybor y Coed, and Tîrmynych, each of which supports its own poor, and containing 3576 inhabitants. This parish, which is situated on the shore of St.George's channel, is of considerable extent, and is watered by the rivers Lery, Ceulan , Maesmawr, Llyvnant, and Dyvi: the greater part of it is hilly, but that portion which is near the coast is rather flat, and was subject to partial inundation previously to the embankment of the Lery, which took place within the last few years, The river Dyvi, by which the parish is bounded on the north, separates Cardiganshire from Merionethshire, and also forms the boundary between North and South Wales ; and the river Llyvnant which rises in the Plinlimmon mountain, and falls into the Dyvi, separates it from Montgomeryshire. Walter l'Espec, one of the Norman invaders, who had acquired some lands in this part of the principality, erected a castle, for the security of his possessions, on the summit of a lofty eminence near the church : this fortress, called Castell Gwalter, from which the parish also derives a portion of its name, was destroyed in the year 1135, by Cadwaladr and Owain Gwynedd, sons of Grufydd ab Cynan, who also took the castle of Aberystwith. This parish is supposed to have been the place of sepulture of the eminent bard Taliesin, whose remains are thought to have been deposited in a kistvaen on the summit of the mountain Pen Sarn Ddû and thence called Gwely Taliesin or " Taliesin's Bed:" the popular tradition concerning this bed is that, should any one sleep in it for a night, he would become either a poet or an idiot. The gwely is composed of six stones, of which five are so placed as to form an oblong chest, and the sixth, which constituted the covering stone, and was more than six feet long and three feet six inches broad, has been removed and placed on one side: it is in the centre of a circle of stones twenty-seven feet in diameter, which is surrounded by another circle of thirty-one feet in diameter. Taliesin died about the year 570, but these relics are evidently of a much earlier date, and are without doubt of Druidical origin, like numerous other remains which are found in this place. A remarkable sand bank, termed Sarn Gynvelin, or Gwallog, stretches from the coast here, for several miles in a south-western direction, into the bay of Cardigan, and is covered at the ebb tide with only from one to two fathoms of water, though immediately contiguous the soundings vary from three to seven fathoms. Flannel is manufactured here, but on a very limited scale; and lead-ore is found in the parish, but the mines are not worked to any considerable extent. The number abandoned is very great ; and among the mines formerly worked were some respectively producing both copper and silver. The river Dyvi, which is navigable to this place, affords facility to the trade, which consists principally in the shipping of lead-ore and bark, and the importation of timber, coal, and limestone. The small village of Carreg, situated on the Dyvi, near its mouth, is well adapted for this purpose, as vessels of nearly three hundred tons' burden can approach its wharfs, where the craft employed are generally stationed. Talybont which stands on the road between Aberystwith and Machynlleth, at the junction of the river Ceulan with the Lery, is also another considerable village in this parish, the well wooded scenery surrounding which is remarkably pleasing and picturesque. The living is a discharged vicarage, in the archdeaconry of Cardigan, and diocese of St. David's, rated in the king's books at £12, and in the patronage of the Bishop. Part of the township of Cyvoeth y Brenhin pays the great tithes to the vicar, who receives only one-fourth part of the small tithes throughout the whole of this extensive parish. The church, dedicated to St. Michael, is an ancient and spacious cruciform structure, in the later style of English architecture, and is appropriately fitted up for the performance of divine service. A portion of land for an additional cemetery has recently been obtained through the influence of the commissioners for the building of new churches, without any appropriation of the funds entrusted to their management by parliament. There are places of worship for Baptists, Independents, and Calvinistic and Wesleyan Methodists. The interest of £100 bequeathed for the instruction of poor children is distributed among the neighbouring schools, by the vicar of the parish. Traces of part of the ancient Roman road, Sarn Helen, leading from one old mine to another, as well as remains of Roman stations and encampments, may be discerned on several of the hills in this parish. The average annual expenditure for the support of the poor is £ 1025.7."


Gareth Hicks 10 December 1999