Llanrhidian - Gazetteers


A Topographical Dictionary of Wales by Samuel Lewis 1833

"LLANRHIDIAN, or LLANRIDIAN (LLAN-RHIDIAN), a parish in the hundred of SWANSEA, county of GLAMORGAN, SOUTH WALES, 11 miles (W. by N.) from Swansea, consisting of a Higher and Lower division, which separately maintain their own poor, and containing 1445 inhabitants, of which number, 1033 are in the Higher, and 412 in the Lower, division.

This parish, which is situated in the peninsula of Gower, abounds with coal and iron-ore, but of these minerals no strata are at present worked within its limits. The village is pleasantly situated on the south bank of the river Burry, immediately opposite to the town of Llanelly, in the county of Carmarthen. The manufacture of woollen cloth is carried on, though upon a very confined scale, employing no more than from six to eight persons. At the village of Penclawdd, in the Higher division of the parish, were formerly extensive copper-works belonging to the Cheadle Copper Company ; but they are now neglected, that company possessing numerous others in more convenient situations, and are going to ruin.

A canal, called the Penclawdd canal, in connexion with which are some short rail-roads, opens a communication between the coal districts of Swansea, Loughor, and Llangyvelach, and joins the Burry river at Aberkiddy, in this parish.

A fair is held here on Palm-Monday.

The living is a discharged vicarage, in the archdeaconry of Carmarthen, and diocese of St. David's, rated in the king's books at £ 12. 13. 4., endowed with £400 royal bounty, and £1600 parliamentary grant, and in the patronage of John Morgan, Esq. The church is dedicated to St. Illtyd. In the Higher division of the parish is a chapel of ease, in which divine service is performed once a month by the incumbent, who also solemnizes marriages, christenings, and burials at this chapel, which is four miles distant from the parish church. In this division also there are places of worship for Baptists, a congregation in the late Countess of Huntingdon's connexion, and Independents ; and in the Lower division, another belonging to the Countess of Huntingdon's connexion. Sunday schools, connected with the established church and the several dissenting congregations, are supported by subscription.

Within a quarter of a mile of the river, and near the western extremity of the parish, are the ruins of Weobley castle, occupying an eminence commanding the navigable river Burry, and affording an extensive view of the adjacent country : it appears to have been anciently of great strength and extent, having formed the head of a considerable manor, and formerly belonged to Lord Mansel: part of it has been converted into a farmhouse. On Manselfold farm is a strong intrenchment in a very perfect state, which appears to have been thrown up to defend the passage of two valleys leading up to the castle. Several other intrenchments are visible within the parish, but by whom they were constructed is not known : one of these occupies the summit of a lofty hill just above the village, and is supposed to have been thrown up by Ivor ab Cadivor, a chieftain of Morganwg, about the year 1110, during his wars with the English, from which circumstance it has obtained the name of Cil Ivor, or " Ivor's Retreat."

On the summit of Cevn Bryn is a large cromlech, called Arthur's Stone, a vestige of Druidical antiquity, which Camden and other writers describe as being composed of a different species of stone from any found in this part of the country : this, however, appears to be erroneous, as it is the common pudding-stone, or millstone grit, of the country; and, within the recollection of persons still living, a huge fragment, which had been broken off with great labour, by means of wedges, and intended for a millstone, was found totally unfit for that purpose, from the cavities left in the surface by the falling out of the pebbles of which it consisted. The principal, or covering stone, is eleven feet in length and six feet and a half in its greatest breadth : it rests on twelve supporters, for fixing which the earth appears to have been excavated, and by the side of the cromlech lies the mass above noticed. A supposed miraculous well beneath this monument, which was said to ebb and flow with the sea, appears to be nothing more than a collection of water, after heavy rains, in the cavity formed for the insertion of the supporters, which fluctuates according to the weather, and which, as attested by intelligent persons residing near the spot, is frequently dry in hot summers. This cromlech is supposed to be alluded to in the historical triads of Wales, as one of the three Herculean labours. There are several mineral springs in the parish, to which medicinal properties are ascribed : of these, the most celebrated is Holy Well, on Cevn y Bryn mountain, to which, in former times, miraculous efficacy was attributed : it was generally frequented on Sunday evenings during the summer season by numbers of persons, who drank the water, and, according to an ancient custom, threw in a pin as a tribute of their gratitude.

On Llanrhidian salt-marsh a spring has been discovered within the last ten years, strongly impregnated with iron, and perhaps also with sulphur, and of a foetid smell, to which the inhabitants have given the name of the Stinking Well: it instantly discolours silver, and is thought to possess very powerful medicinal efficacy.

The average annual expenditure for the support of the poor amounts to £416. 5., of which sum, £ 227. 2. is raised on the Higher, and £ 189.3. on the  lower, division."

A Topographical Dictionary of The Dominion of Wales by Nicholas Carlisle, London, 1811.

"LLAN RHIDIAN, in the Cwmwd of Gwyr, Cantref of Eginog (now called  the Hundred of Swansea County of GLAMORGAN, South Wales: a discharged Vicarage valued in the King's Books at £12..13..4.: Patron, John Morgan, Esq.: Church dedicated to St. Rhidian. The Resident Population of this Parish, in 1801, (consisting of the Higher Division or The Welshery, and the Lower Division or The Englishery) was 1275. The Money raised by the Parish rates, in 1803, was, £248..3..10. It is 10 m. W. b. N. from Swansea. The Impropriation is in Lay Hands, and yields annually above £500. from the Tythes. The Vicar of this Parish (improperly so termed, as no Vicarial dues or privileges whatever belong to him) receives only a stipend of £10. per annum from the Impropriator, and about £25..13..0 per annum from Lands purchased by Queen Anne's Bounty, and from Surplice fees. The present Curate, under the Vicar, receives the small Salary of £20. per annum for the service of the Church, and of a Chapel of Ease (situate in the Higher Division, which is served once a Month in the Welsh Language), and the weekly duty, which is heavy. This Church was formerly attached to the Abbey at Neath. Here are two mineral Springs: that, which is on the Low Lands near the Church, is esteemed efficacious in Scorbutic cases; the other, on Cefn Bryn, called Holywell, is deemed serviceable in strengthening the Eyes. This Parish extends into the Hundred of Llan Gefelach. There are some curious subterranean Caverns in the Limestone Rocks here; and a Stream of water, which rushing from its concealed source, with great impetuosity, at the foot of a Hill near the Church, turns two Mills within the distance of two hundred yards only from its first appearance. On a Hill near the Village, called Cil Ifor Hill, there are vestiges of an intrenched Camp, supposed to have been thrown up by Ifor ab Cedifor, a Chieftain of Glamorgan, in his Wars with the English in the year 1110. Here are some good Freestone Quarries. Near the Western extremity of the Parish is situate the Castle, called Weobley, a considerable part of which still remains; and part of it is converted into a Farm-house. It appears to have been of great strength and extent. It stands on an Eminence, having a fine view and command of the navigable river Burry or Lloughor, which flows about a quarter of a mile below it. At Pen Clawdd, in the Higher Division of this Parish, are considerable Copper Works, erected about thirty years ago, and carried on by a Company, denominated The Cheadle Copper Company; they were at first supplied with Coals from a Colliery not far distant, which was stopped on account of some failure in the veins; when the Colliery at Lloughor was opened by the same Company, and the works are now furnished with Coals from Lloughor Colliery, by barges. The Ships, which bring the Ore from Cornwall, and other places, take back Coals from Lloughor, or Llan Elly, or Yspytty, on the Caermarthenshire side of the river."

[Last Updated : 13 Jan 2005 - Gareth Hicks]