Rhaeadr Gwy / Rhayader


"RHAIADR, a borough, market town, and parish, in the hundred of RHAIADR, county of RADNOR, SOUTH WALES, 16 miles (W. N. W.) from New Radnor, 23 (W.) from Presteign, and 177 (W. N. W) from London, containing 669 inhabitants. This place, the name of which signifies a cataract, is by the Welsh more commonly called " Rhaiadr Gwy," from its situation on the river Wye,................The town is evidently of great antiquity ..............The town is situated on the eastern bank of the river Wye, and on the turnpike roads leading respectively from Worcester through New Radnor to Aberystwith, and from Builth in Brecknockshire to Llanidloes, in the county of Montgomery...................The principal market is on Wednesday, and a smaller market, chiefly for butchers' meat and other provisions, is held on Saturday : here are also held great cattle markets, on the four Wednesdays next after Old May day (May 12th.) The fairs are on August 6th and 27th, September 26th, October 14th, and December 3rd. .............Rhaiadr anciently formed part of the parish of Nantmel, from which it was severed, and was erected into a parish of itself, co-extensive with the borough, about the year 1735,............. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the archdeaconry of Brecknock, and diocese of St. David's, endowed with half the tithes, and with £ 1000 royal bounty, and in the patronage of the Vicar of Nantmel. The church, dedicated to St. Bridget.............There are places of worship for Independents and Calvinistic and Wesleyan Methodists. .................The poor are maintained by an average annual expenditure amounting to £ 165. 12. ."( A Topographical Dictionary of Wales, Samuel Lewis, 1833)



Booth, Richard. Rhayader guide. Richard Booth Publications, 1981. 32p

Charities in the borough of Rhayader in the county of radnor... Brecon : E. Poole, pr., 1857.

Cotsell, Maureen P. Price and Pugh families of Rhayader. Cronicl Powys, No. 30 (December 1993), 31.

Evans, L H. Rhayader and the highlands and lakes of Mid-Wales. [Rhayader] : Rhayader Town Improvement Committee, [19--] 32p

Fenn, R W D & James Sinclair            'Our ubiquitous friend', S W Williams, FSA, FRIBA, FSI, 1837-1899        Radnorshire Society Transactions, vol. 59 1989    Welsh Journals Online   

Hamer, W Bowen              Treasurer Trove near Rhayader            Radnorshire Society Transactions      vol. 14  1944     Welsh Journals Online

Hinchcliffe, J B. 120 views of Builth Wells : Llandrindod Wells, Elan Valley Waterworks, Llanwrtyd Wells, Llangammarch Wells, Newbridge-on-Wye, Rhayader etc. Builth Wells : J.B. Hinchliffe, [1909] 36p

Hughes, Colin P F. Elementary schools in Rhaeadr and north-west Radnorshire. Radnorshire Society Transactions, vol. 64 1994    Welsh Journals Online

Jenkins, J Geraint. The Rhaeadr Tannery. [Cardiff] : Welsh Folk Museum, 1973. 30p

Lawrence, Bryan. New friendly society of Rhayader and Llansantffraid Cwmdauddwr. Cronicl Powys. No. 55 (Apr. 2002), p. 41-44

Percival, David            The boundary of the medieval grange of Dolhelfa                  Radnorshire Society Transactions, vol. 63 1993    Welsh Journals Online

Price, G          Rhayader Gwy: Bwgey -  my village, a cataract of the Wye             Radnorshire Society Transactions      vol. 19  1949     Welsh Journals Online   

Rhayader : gateway to the Elan valley : a useful and informative guide to 'The Lakeland of Wales'. Oxford : Rural Publications, 1994. 48p

Stratton, J A               Doldowlod Station, fifty years on              Radnorshire Society Transactions Vol 36 1966         Welsh Journals Online

The Rural District of Rhayader, Radnorshire : the official guide. Gloucester : British Publishing Co., [1972] 52p The Welsh spa album : containing artistic views, in colour, of Llandrindood Wells, Llangammarch Wells, Llanwrtyd Wells, Builth wells, Rhayader & Elan Valley, &c. Llandrindod Wells : W. Thomas, [1905?] 16 folded leaves

Williams, David H. Commander Horatio James, R.N. of Penralley, Rhayader (1789-1850).     Radnorshire Society Transactions, vol. 61 1991    Welsh Journals Online

Williams, Stephen W. Rhayader and its antiquities. London : Printed at the Bedford Press, 1898. 27p Reprinted from "Montgomeryshire Collections", Vol. XXX.


Business & Commerce Records

Details of extant records on Archives Network Wales for the following;

  • R. D. Ryder and Son, ironmongers and furniture sales, Rhayader, records 1903-1964


Victorian Powys for schools site - Census figures for Rhayader parish 1841-1901


Church History

Church and chapel data from The Religious census of 1851 : A Calendar of the returns relating to Wales, Vol 1, South Wales. Ed. by   I.G   Jones, & D. Williams. UWP,  Cardiff, 1976. The names given towards the end of each entry are those of the informants.

Rhayader Parish including the Borough of Rhayadr; Statistics; Area 188 acres; Population 384 males, 445 females, total 829

  • No Parish Church entry -  part of this parish's return is missing.
  • Tabernacle, Independents      Erected 1721, rebuilt 1836     Attendance -  morning 260 + 30 scholars,, evening 550 + 70 scholars            William Pugh, Deacon, Glanllyn
  • Mount Zion, Wesleyan Methodists         Erected 1836      Attendance - evening 60 + 30 scholars                John Jones, Minister, Llanidloes
  • Maes Chapel, Calvinistic Methodists         Erected before 1815     Attendance - morning 78, afternoon 82 scholars, evening 148          Evan Morgan, Deacon
  • North St, Chapel, Baptist          Erected 1839             Attendance - morning 31 scholars, afternoon 113, evening 41               Evan Powell, Deacon

See Welsh Chapels and Churches for a photograph of Rhayder St Clements

Church of St Clement, Rhayader on the Radnorshire Churches Survey site

Tabernacle United Reformed Church;Independent Chapel, Bridge St./West St., Rhaeadr, Rhayader, on the People's Collection Wales site

Rees, Thomas & John Thomas Hanes Eglwysi Annibynnol Cymru (History of the Welsh Independent Churches), 4 volumes (published 1871+). The Rhayader  section (in Welsh) has been extracted - with translation by Maureen Saycell (July 2009)


    Church Records

    Detailed information on deposited registers and transcripts for this parish is given on the Powys Archives page Radnorshire parish registers

    As a guide only, the principal extant parochial church records for this parish span the dates shown below (as detailed in Parish Registers of Wales, NLW 2000) but exact current holdings should be confirmed with the individual Archives;

    • Baptisms 1751-1992; Marriages 1761-1980; Burials 1759-1903, 1909-1992; Banns 1828-1968
      Parish Registers, or copies, for all or part of these dates are held at the NLW and/or Powys Archives.
      Some CMB 1737-8,1743 are entered in earliest extant vestry book (pp 256, 258) 
      Bishops Transcripts for various periods are held at the NLW  

    Description & Travel

    Rhayader Castle on the Castle Wales site

    Victorian Powys for schools - Rhayader and District

    Welcome to Rhayader online

    Rhaiadyr Bridge, Radnorshire on the People's Collection Wales site

    Elan Valley railway junction, c. 1900 on the People's Collection Wales site

    You can see pictures of Rhaeadr Gwy / Rhayader which are provided by:





    Details of extant records on Archives Network Wales for the following;

    • Penralley papers  1656-1991           "James Jones (d. 1774) left the Penralley property in Rhayader, Radnorshire, to his nephew, John James (1737-1790), a lieutenant in the Royal Navy. In 1780"   "Correspondence, deeds and papers of various members of the James and Williams families of Penralley in the town of Rhayader, Radnorshire, including ships' log books, ships' orders and other naval records, 18-19 cent., and the papers of Lieutenant John James RN (1737-1790), Commander Horatio James RN (1789-1850), Brigadier-General Horatio James Evans (1859-1932), and Stephen William Williams (1837-1899), county surveyor for Radnorshire and antiquarian"


    Rhayader War Memorial - on the Roll of Honour site

    Street scene in Rhayader, c. 1900 on the People's Collection Wales site

    A Welsh Longhouse: Nannerth-ganol  on the People's Collection Wales site


    Land & Property

    Details of extant records on Archives Network Wales for the following;

    • Lewis family, of Y Neuadd, Llansanffraid Cwmteuddwr , papers     "Records of the Lewis-Lloyd and Lewis families of Nantgwyllt and of their estates, mainly in Llansanffraid Cwmteuddwr , and Rhayader, Radnorshire and Llanwrthwl, Brecknockshire, including deeds and documents relating to the Nantgwyllt and Camdeuddwr estates in Radnorshire, 1579-1902,........"


    Kain, R.J.P., Oliver, R.R., Historic Parishes of England and Wales: an Electronic Map of Boundaries before 1850 with a Gazetteer and Metadata [computer file]. Colchester, Essex: History Data Service, UK Data Archive [distributor], 17 May 2001. SN: 4348. Here is a gazetteer/finding aid plus a set of overview maps to accurately identify the position of parishes within the county

    Family Search have an interactive map called "England and Wales Jurisdictions 1851" showing parish (and other) boundaries with optional background maps such as Ordnance Survey. There is also a Search facility, do read the guidance notes to get maximum benefit from this useful resource. See here for further background information to assist in the interpretation of this data

    Victorian Powys for schools site - Map of Rhayader in 1840, and 1904

    You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SN973681 (Lat/Lon: 52.301761, -3.507943), Rhaeadr Gwy / Rhayader which are provided by:


    Military History

    Rhayader war memorial on the People's Collection Wales site




    Poor Houses, Poor Law

    Rhayader Workhouse - on Peter Higginbotham's site

    Details of extant records on Archives Network Wales for the following;

    • Rhayader Poor Law Union records 1836-1948


    Victorian Powys for schools - Rhayader School Days


    Social Life & Customs

    Postcard of Rhayader Town Football Club winning a cup in 1920 on the People's Collection Wales site