Carnarvonshire - From 'A Topographical Dictionary of Wales' (1849)
CARNARVONSHIRE, a maritime county of North Wales, bounded on the east by Denbighshire; on the south by the north-westernmost part of Merionethshire, and by that portion of St. George's Channel called Cardigan bay; on the west by that portion of St. George's Channel included in the right angle formed by the promontory of Lleyn and the southern shore of Anglesey, and commonly called Carnarvon bay; on the north-west by the long, narrow, and rocky strait of the Menai, which separates it from Anglesey; and on the north, by the broad expanse of the Irish Sea. It extends from 52° 45' to 53° 18' (N. Lat.), and from 3° 58' to 5° 12' (W. Lon.); and comprises an area, according to Evans' Map of North Wales, of 319,520 statute acres, or nearly 500 square miles. The number of houses inhabited is 16,845, uninhabited 769, and in course of erection 133; and the population amounts to 81,093, of whom 39,624 are males, and 41,468 females. The annual value of real property assessed to the property and income tax, for the year ending April 1843, was as follows: lands, £150,047; houses, £32,980; tithes, £12,319; manors, £80; quarries, £51,735; mines, £1454; tramways, £2309; other property, £120: total, £251,044.
The patriotic exploits of the ancient inhabitants of this county, to whom, during the various successive attacks which they experienced from the Romans, Saxons, Normans, and English, its mountain fastnesses frequently afforded refuge, and the other events of importance in the Welsh annals of which it has been the scene, render its early history peculiarly interesting. It derives its name from the ancient province of Arvon, so called from its situation opposite to Môn, or Mona, the Isle of Anglesey, that name signifying "adjacent to Mona:" its principal town, from having been a fortified station of the Romans, obtained the British appellation of Caer-yn-Arvon, of which the present name of the town of Carnarvon is a contraction. On the conquest of Wales by Edward I., this name was also appropriated to the shire, then created, which comprises the whole of the ancient province of Arvon (excepting only the comot of Ardudwy, in the county of Merioneth), with the addition of the comot of Creuddyn, taken from the province of Perveddwlad.
The ancient British inhabitants were the Ordovices, who occupied the whole of North Wales; and it has been supposed by a writer in the Archæologia Cambrensis, that considerable commerce was carried on here, prior to the Roman invasion, in subserviency to the trading communities of Greece and Carthage. The same writer contends that the Segontiaci, a British state who solicited an alliance with Rome, should be placed here, and not in the south of England, as has commonly been done. After the Roman conquest of South Britain, which was first extended into this part of it by Suetonius Paulinus, soon after the year 58, the district was included in Venedotia, forming part of the great province of Britannia Secunda. Under the Roman dominion, the territory forming the present county of Carnarvon contained the station Segontium, situated close to the modern town of Carnarvon; and that of Conovium, at Caerhên, or Caerhun, near Conway; besides being traversed by two considerable roads, viz., the Via Occidentalis, which entered it from the station Heriri Mons at Tommen-y-Mûr in the parish of Festiniog, in Merionethshire, and proceeded to Segontium; and a branch of the northern Watling-street, which entered it from the northwestern parts of Denbighshire, and passed by Conovium, also to Segontium. The latter place, called by the Welsh Caer Segont; and Deganwy, on the eastern bank of the Conway river, at its mouth; were for a long period the residences of the Princes of North Wales, affording greater safety for their families than any other places in their dominions, during the almost perpetual warfare in which they were engaged. Caswallon, the first Prince of North Wales of whom we find any authentic account, had his seat of government at Aberfraw, in Anglesey; but his son and successor, Maelgwyn, usually resided at Deganwy; and it was he who, in the year 552, endowed the see of Bangor with lands and franchises, and built the town of that name near the shores of the Menai. Maelgwyn was succeeded by his son Rhun, who carried on a long and sanguinary war against the Saxons of Northumbria, and, on his return into Wales, bestowed great and peculiar privileges on the men of Arvon, as a recompense for having detained them so long from their families on that northern expedition: these are called in the Welsh Chronicles Breinniau Gwŷr Arvon. Deganwy, being destroyed by lightning in the year 809, thenceforward ceased to be a royal residence. About the year 819, Egbert, King of the West Saxons, invaded North Wales, desolating the whole country as far as the mountains of Snowdon, and then proceeded to attack the island of Mona, afterwards called Anglesey. Carnarvonshire was subsequently, in 853, entered by the hostile forces of the Mercian King Burrhed, who advanced through it into Anglesey.
In the division of Wales into three principalities, by Rhodri Mawr, or Roderic the Great, sovereign of all Wales, who left one of them to each of his three sons, the territory now forming this county was included in the principality of Gwynedd, or North Wales, the seat of the government of which he had fixed at Aberfraw, and which was inherited by his eldest son Anarawd, who also succeeded to the title of Brenhin Cymru Oll, or "King of all Wales." At this period the Snowdonian range of mountains, in the county, guarded by two rivers, the Conway on the north, and that which discharges itself through the Traeth Mawr on the south, and extending completely from the northern extremity of the bay of Cardigan to the bay of Beaumaris, formed a natural barrier, over which the Welsh usually retreated when pressed by the English forces, and the principal defiles of which were defended by strong fortifications. Thus the passage of the Conway was guarded by the castle of Deganwy, and the pass of Bwlch-yDdauvaen by that of Caerhên; a fort was constructed at Aber, Dôlwyddelan Castle and a watch-tower in the valley of Nant-Francon, and Dôlbadarn Castle in that of Nant-Peris; while the passage over the Traeth Mawr, or "great sands," was defended on one side by the strong castle of Harlech, in Merionethshire, and on the other by that of Criccieth, with a watch-tower at Castell Gyvarch, and a fort at Dôlbenmaen; the disposition of the whole displaying in that rude age considerable military skill.
About the middle of the tenth century, the sons of Hywel Dda, princes of South Wales, in their invasion of North Wales, then governed by two princes named Ievav and Iago, laid waste the whole country as far as the Conway; on the banks of which river, at Llanrwst, they were opposed by Ievav and Iago, who completely defeated them, and pursued them into their own dominions. About the year 1055, in the reign of Edward the Confessor, the Saxon leader Harold invaded North Wales, by command of that monarch, to inflict punishment for the ravages committed by the Welsh on the border, and advanced to the mountains of Snowdon without opposition; but soon after, having entered into terms of peace with Grufydd, Prince of North Wales, and his ally, Algar, Earl of Chester, he returned into England without proceeding further. Edward, however, soon received fresh provocation from the Welsh, in the conquest of whose country he determined to employ the whole force of his kingdom, entrusting the execution of the important enterprise to Harold. This leader, having first made a partial invasion of North Wales, and retired, fitted out a fleet at Bristol, with which he sailed round the Welsh coast, while his brother Tostig penetrated with a strong body of horse through the northern part of the principality, the Welsh fleeing to their accustomed retreat, the mountains of Snowdon. Harold, on receiving intelligence of the advance of his brother, landed, and joined him with his infantry; and with these united forces he made himself master of all the more level tracts. Sensible that, in a mountainous region, broken by rivers, defiles, and forests, his soldiers ought to feel as little encumbrance from their arms as possible, he provided his infantry with targets made of hides, and other lighter kinds of armour; and, leaving his cavalry on the plains, under the command of his brother (excepting only a few horse, which, supported by small parties of heavy-armed infantry, he ordered to follow as a body of reserve), he himself advanced at the head of his troops into the mountains. Here, having driven the Welsh with great slaughter out of their inmost recesses, he at length compelled them to sue for peace; thus subduing those who had never before yielded to the Saxon arms.
In the year 1073, Grufydd ab Cynan, son of Iago ab Edwal, a competitor for the sovereignty of North Wales, who had made a descent in the Isle of Anglesey with a body of Irish troops, crossed the Menai straits into Carnarvonshire. Trahaern, the reigning prince, upon this unexpected invasion, collected as many troops as he could, and marched to attack his rival, whom he encountered on Bron-yr-Erw, just beyond the south-eastern border of the county, near Harlech, in Merionethshire, when the latter was defeated, and compelled to recross the Menai in haste. The territory shared, with the rest of the northern parts of the principality, in the dreadful ravages committed upon them by Hugh, Earl of Chester, about the year 1079: this powerful Norman, in order to preserve the conquests that he had made in North Wales, erected different castles, among which was one situated near Bangor. In 1096, at the secret instigation of Owain ab Edwyn, lord of Englefield, and other chieftains of North Wales, a formidable army of English invaded this country, under the command of the Earls of Chester and Shrewsbury; and Grufydd, the reigning prince, unable in time to collect a force sufficient to oppose them, retired to the mountains. The two earls, meeting with no opposition, continued their march through Carnarvonshire to the shores of the Menai, and crossed that strait into Anglesey, into which Grufydd had further retreated: this county soon after, however, witnessed their retreat; but the Earl of Chester, in the course of the expedition, rebuilt the castle of Deganwy, the ancient seat of the Welsh princes. In 1115, Grufydd ab Cynan, Prince of North Wales, having agreed to deliver up to Henry I. Grufydd, the son of Rhŷs ab Tewdwr, Prince of South Wales, who had taken refuge in his court at Aberfraw, the latter, obtaining intelligence of his design, suddenly withdrew. Grufydd ab Cynan, discovering the place of his retreat, sent out a body of horsemen to take him prisoner and conduct him back; but fortunately for the young prince, he had just time to obtain sanctuary in the church of Aberdaron, a privileged place at the southern extremity of the county, from which the Prince of North Wales in vain commanded him to be taken out by force. The clergy, obstinate in defence of their immunities, so effectually resisted the efforts of his soldiers, that they were unable to complete his orders; and in the night the partisans of the young prince secretly carried him into South Wales, where he subsequently experienced a series of romantic adventures.
In 1210, the Earl of Chester made an inroad into North Wales, and rebuilt the castle of Deganwy, at the mouth of the Conway, which, a little before, had been destroyed by Llewelyn ab Iorwerth, the reigning Prince of North Wales, who, in return, invaded the earl's territories, and desolated a great part of them. This proceeding greatly irritated the English monarch, John, who, in revenge for it, invaded North Wales with a powerful army. Llewelyn, thinking it prudent to retire before the storm, ordered the inhabitants of the most exposed districts to remove with their goods and cattle to the mountains of Snowdon. The English army advanced along the sea-coast to Deganwy, lying opposite to these mountains on the other side of the Conway river, where it remained for some time. But Llewelyn so infested the road with light parties, as, by cutting off their supplies of provisions from England, to reduce John and his forces to the greatest distress: the soldiers, whenever they stirred from their camp, were exposed to massacre; the Welsh, from their knowledge of the country, and their being posted on the heights, having the advantage in almost every skirmish. From this situation, after considerable loss, the king thought it prudent to retreat into England; but, recruiting his forces, he repeated his invasion a few months after, and, crossing the Conway into this county, encamped on the banks of that river. Thence he sent a detachment of his army, with proper guides, to burn the town of Bangor, which they effected, at the same time seizing Rotpert, bishop of the diocese, before the high altar. After this, Llewelyn entered into negotiations for peace, through the medium of Joan, his wife, who was John's illegitimate daughter; but he obtained it only on hard conditions. Davydd, son of Llewelyn ab Iorwerth, taking advantage of the infirmities of his father's old age, seized on a great part of the territories belonging to his brother Grufydd, leaving him in possession only of the cantrêv of Lleyn, forming the southernmost part of the county. To allay the ferment that was at once produced by the division of interests, the Bishop of Bangor proposed a conference between the two princes. Grufydd, in consequence of this mediation, began his journey from Lleyn, in company with that prelate, to meet his brother; but the latter caused him to be seized on the road, and confined in Criccieth Castle, on the shore of Cardigan bay, in this county, a circumstance that gave rise to a long and bloody civil war.
On the invasion of North Wales by Henry III., in 1245, Davydd, the reigning prince, being unable to oppose him in the open country, retired to the Snowdon mountains, leaving the march of the English monarch unimpeded as far as the estuary of the Conway, where Henry halted, not venturing to pass that river and enter the mountain defiles, while the native forces were hovering about him in detached parties. Here he employed himself in rebuilding the castle of Deganwy; but the Welsh did not remain inactive spectators of a work of so hostile a nature, and which, if suffered to be completed, was likely to give a deadly blow to their independence. During the ten weeks that Henry was occupied in erecting this fortress, his army, which lay encamped in the open field, endured numberless hardships, being but thinly clad and ill-sheltered during the cold weather, which set in towards the close of the summer. They also suffered from a frequent scarcity of provisions, receiving only a precarious supply from Chester and Ireland; and were greatly harassed, and their numbers reduced, by the incessant attempts which the Welsh made to cut off their straggling parties, and, in the night to storm their camp: after one of these conflicts, however, in which the English had the advantage, the latter brought in triumph to their camp the heads of nearly a hundred Welshmen. While in this perilous condition, a vessel laden with provisions for their supply arrived from Ireland, but, owing to the mariners' want of caution, was stranded, on the ebb of the tide, on the shore westward from the mouth of the Conway, towards the mountains. The Welsh hastened to take possession of the prize, but received a check from its commander, Sir Walter Bisset, who with great spirit and ability defended the vessel until a reinforcement of Welshmen, the English sovereign's vassals in the Marches, had succeeded in crossing the river Conway to his assistance. Having repulsed the assailants, the English party pursued them with great slaughter up into the mountains, a distance of six miles; and on their return, flushed with success, pillaged of its books and plate the abbey of Conway, and set fire to its offices. With a rage bordering on phrenzy, the native forces rushed down the mountains to preserve this venerable pile, the object of their deepest reverence, and which had lately become the mausoleum of their princes. Finding the English loaded with plunder, they the more easily slew great numbers of them, wounded others, and made many prisoners, while the remainder, plunging into the river to escape the fury of their assailants, perished in the water: several gentlemen of rank, and about one hundred others of the English, fell by the sword. The prisoners were at first only placed in confinement; but the Welsh, being informed that their enemies had lately put to death some chieftains of their nation, subsequently hanged them all, and then, with barbarous rage, cut off their heads, and, tearing their dead bodies in pieces, threw the mutilated limbs into the Conway: many of these prisoners were Welshmen, under the command of the lords of Powys, who had joined the enemies of their country. The vessel, which was still aground, was again attacked with great violence, and as bravely defended until midnight, when, on the flowing of the tide, the Welsh were obliged to retire, and during the night the party commanded by Sir Walter Bisset, leaving the ship, escaped to the English camp. In the morning, it being then low water, the Welsh returned to the vessel, and, finding it quite deserted, carried away nearly the whole of the cargo, much of which consisted of wine; they then fired the ship, and effected their retreat: the only part saved by the English was seven tuns of wine, which they obtained by drawing them out of a part of the vessel not consumed by the fire. Henry, having at length completed the important fortress of Deganwy, in spite of all the efforts of the Welsh to prevent him, placed in it a numerous garrison, well supplied with provisions and all kinds of military stores, and then withdrew into England, with the harassed remains of his army, at the end of October.
The territories of the Welsh prince were now reduced to the present counties of Carnarvon and Merioneth, with the barren parts of the adjoining districts; and, sinking under the weight of his misfortunes, Davydd died at his usual residence at Aber, on the sea-coast near Bangor, and was buried in Conway Abbey. During the more prosperous course which the affairs of the Welsh took, in the first years of the reign of his successor, Llewelyn ab Grufydd, the latter, in 1257, laid siege to the newlyerected castle of Deganwy, on the possession of which he well knew the fate of his country in a great measure depended. Alarmed for the safety of this important fortress, Henry hastened to its relief; and, on the advance of the English army, Llewelyn raised the siege and retired across the Conway to the Snowdonian mountains, taking care to break down the bridges, obstruct the roads, plough up the meadows, render the fords impassable, and remove the women and children, with all the cattle and provisions, out of the adjacent country. Henry did not venture to advance further than on the former occasion, but was enabled to maintain his position at Deganwy until Michaelmas, by the aid of a fleet belonging to the Cinque-Ports, which supplied his army with provisions. The winter, however, coming on, and having suffered severely from a furious attack made by the Welsh from the mountains, he was at last compelled to abandon the field to Llewelyn, and, with the remnant of his army, to make a precipitate and inglorious retreat to Chester. Some time after, Llewelyn succeeded in capturing the fortress of Deganwy, which he immediately destroyed; but, in 1263, he was once more obliged to take refuge in the mountains of Snowdon, by the advance of an English army under Prince Edward, afterwards Edward I., who, however, was called from the campaign by other important affairs.
On his invasion of Wales, in 1277, after his accession to the crown, Edward advanced to Conway, and Llewelyn again sought refuge in the mountains of Snowdon, where the vigilance of the English monarch prevented him from receiving supplies of provisions from Anglesey and other places, whence he had formerly been accustomed to obtain them. Thus the Welsh prince was at length compelled by famine to implore the mercy of the king, with whom he concluded a peace on the most humiliating conditions; one of which was, that all the barons in Wales should hold their territories immediately of the king of England, excepting only the five barons in Snowdonia, who should acknowledge Llewelyn as their lord during his life, but after his death should likewise hold their estates of the king. Another condition was, that the cantrêv of Rhôs, in which stood the castle of Deganwy, with four others, should be given up to the English sovereign.
On the second invasion of Wales by Edward I., during the ineffectual negotiations which were carried on between the king and the Prince of North Wales, the latter was remaining at his palace at Aber, between Bangor and Conway, while the Welsh army was most probably stationed on the heights above Penmaen Mawr, where was the strongest fortification possessed by the Welsh in the Snowdonian mountains. Edward, about the first of November, advanced to Conway, near which town he stationed his army in advantageous situations, his horse being encamped on the plains at the foot of the mountains, while the infantry were posted on the sides of the hills, under cover of the woods. Being unable to bring the enemy to action, he despatched a fleet and a strong body of forces, which secured for him the Isle of Anglesey; and, with a view of gaining possession of the mountains in the rear of the Welsh army, or of opening a communication with the other part of the English army, he constructed a bridge of boats over the narrowest part of the Menai strait, from a point called Moel-y-Don, between Bangor and Carnarvon: the boats were fastened to each other by a chain, and a platform of boards was formed over them, broad enough for sixty men to march abreast. To counteract this design, the Welsh threw up intrenchments at some distance on the Carnarvonshire side of the Menai, to check the advance of the enemy from this quarter, and to secure the passes into their mountains. Before the bridge was entirely finished, a party of English, attended by the Gascon lords who, with a body of Spanish troops, were then in the service of Edward, despising the Welsh for the easy conquest which they had allowed them to make of Anglesey, imprudently passed over the Menai at low water in considerable force, to reconnoitre the enemy's works, or to display their own valour. Richard ab Walwyn, who commanded the Welsh forces on this side, knowing that the tide would soon flow, and cut off the retreat of the English to their unfinished bridge, remained quiet within his intrenchments, and offered no hindrance to their passage over, or to their advance into the country; but as soon as the water had risen so high as to prevent any communication with Anglesey, the Welsh rushed down from the mountains in multitudes, attacked their enemies with loud cries, and pursued them with great slaughter into the waves, in which many were drowned, encumbered with the weight of their armour. In this action fifteen knights, thirty-two esquires, and a thousand common soldiers, were either slain, or perished in the waters of the Menai. Lord Latimer, who commanded the English, had the good fortune to recover the bridge by the swiftness of his horse.
The situation of Edward became daily more critical. Besides the loss he had sustained, the winter was approaching, his two armies were unable to communicate with each other by land, and the design of a diversion was become impracticable; while the Welsh were strongly intrenched upon the mountains, and possessed abundance of provisions: so that the English monarch at length deemed it prudent to retreat to Rhuddlan, in the county of Flint. But the unfortunate and premature death of Llewelyn, immediately after, in South Wales, completely obscured the brightening prospects of the Welsh, whose forces in the mountains of Snowdon the king proceeded to press more closely, himself on the side of Conway, while his troops in Anglesey made good their passage across the Menai strait, and penetrated into the country on the side of Carnarvon. Davydd, Llewelyn's brother, who now regarded himself as the rightful Prince of North Wales, not choosing to risk a general engagement, at first contented himself with maintaining possession of all the strongholds of the mountains, but soon afterwards renewed active hostilities, though unsuccessfully. A fortress near the village of Llanberis, in the county, the ruins of which now bear the name of Castell Dôlbadarn, strong both by nature and art, standing near a morass the only approach through which was by a single causeway, and to attain the vicinity of which it was necessary to pass along narrow and rugged defiles, had been provided by Davydd with a strong garrison; but so sunk in spirit were the Welsh, that the castle was surrendered to the English king, after being closely invested for some time, and every other fortress in the district was immediately given up. The Welsh fled in dismay on every side; and the passes of the mountains being left wholly unguarded, Edward, stationing his mounted forces at the foot of the hills, and leaving in each defile a body of troops to intercept all who should attempt to escape, penetrated in person, with the remainder of his army, into the inmost recesses of the Snowdonian mountains, setting fire to the houses and slaying great numbers of the Welsh, who were discovered in the most retired solitudes, or intercepted in fleeing thither. Having subdued the whole of the mountainous districts, Edward collected his scattered forces, and proceeded to the easy subjugation of the more level tracts, slaughtering more than three thousand of their inhabitants.
The country being thus finally subdued, as a check to any future risings among the natives, Edward commenced the two vast and magnificent castles of Conway and Carnarvon, supplying each place with a suitable garrison; and in the latter town was born, about the same time, the first Prince of Wales of English blood, afterwards Edward II. Edward I. also incorporated Carnarvon and other towns in North Wales; redressed the grievances of the Welsh clergy; and, having settled the other affairs of his newly acquired territories, gave orders that a tournament should be held at Nevin, on the western coast of the promontory of Lleyn, which was attended by a great number of English and foreign knights. On the 2nd of January, 1285, Edward issued a writ from Bristol, where he was then staying, by which the inhabitants of Carnarvon and Conway, in common with those of some other towns, were declared to be for ever free from the payment of the tax called talliage, which Carnarvon, at least, had been freed from at its incorporation. But having engaged in a war against the French monarch, he, in 1294, made an experiment of taxation on his new subjects, the Welsh, which proved the immediate cause of three insurrections in different parts of the principality, these breaking out nearly at the same time, and apparently not directed by any unity of design. Carnarvonshire was the principal scene of one of these revolts, which was headed by Madoc, an illegitimate son of the late gallant Llewelyn, and who himself assumed the title of Prince. The insurgents seized on Sir Roger de Puleston, a man of great power in this quarter, who stood high in Edward's favour, had been commissioned by him to exact a fourteenth of the people's moveables, and possessed a mansion in the town of Carnarvon, called, after his name, Plâs Puleston: they at once caused him to be hanged, and afterwards cut off his head, which fate was shared by all his associates in the collection of this odious tax. About the middle of July, Madoc proceeded against Carnarvon, at that time crowded with English assembled there at a great fair, and, taking possession of the place, slaughtered them all in cold blood, plundered and fired the town, and took the castle: the strongest fortress in Snowdon also fell into the hands of Madoc, who soon after gained full possession of Anglesey.
A revolt so daring and so widely spread, determined Edward to suspend his intended expedition to the Continent, and to recall the forces that were ready to embark. Advancing to the Conway river, he crossed with a part of his troops, to the town of Conway, and, retiring into the castle, waited for the remainder of his army to follow; having lost, in the passage, many wagons and other carriages laden with provisions, which were intercepted by the Welsh, who descended in great multitudes from the mountains, and invested the castle on the land side. A sudden rise of the waters likewise prevented Edward's troops from passing the river, or affording him any assistance, thus rendering his situation very perilous. The Conway, however, subsiding as suddenly as it had risen, his forces were enabled to cross to his assistance, and the Welsh, abandoning the siege, retired to the Snowdon mountains, leaving the king to spend his Christmas at Conway without molestation. While the English forces were lying here, the Earl of Warwick, receiving intelligence that a large body of the enemy was encamped in a valley inclosed on each side by a wood, at no very great distance, determined to attack them unawares. For this service he selected a squadron of horse, with a detachment of cross-bowmen and archers; and with this force, marching silently in the night, he suddenly surrounded the Welsh, who, although little expecting such an assault, fixed their spears in the ground, and, presenting a formidable front, maintained for some time their position, and kept off the English horse. Unable to make any impression, Warwick placed a cross-bowman, or archer, alternately with the horsemen, in the ranks of the latter; and these, fighting at a distance, slew great numbers with their arrows: then charging the remaining body with his horse, the Welsh phalanx was broken, and soon routed with much slaughter. After this action, Edward, finding no enemy to resist him, advanced to the shore of the Menai, which he crossed into Anglesey. Then, after laying the Carnarvonshire territory more open by cutting roads through the woods, and severely punishing some of the persons concerned in the murder of Roger Puleston, he returned with his army into England, without having reduced to obedience the insurgent Madoc, who, however, was soon after taken prisoner, while engaged in a predatory incursion on the English border.
In 1402, Carnarvon was besieged by an army of insurgents, under the celebrated Welsh leader, Owain Glyndwr, but was bravely defended for the English king, Henry IV., by Ievan ab Meredydd, to whom, with Meredydd ab Hwlkin Llwyd, of Glynllivon, under the command of an English captain, the custody of the castle had been entrusted. In the same year the cathedral of Bangor was pillaged and laid in ruins by the revolters. Dôlbadarn Castle, near Llanberis, was occasionally in the power of each party during this protracted warfare, and the possession of it was often warmly contested as the master key to the Snowdon mountains.
On the breaking out of the civil war of the seventeenth century, Conway Castle was garrisoned for King Charles by Dr. John Williams, Archbishop of York; while on the other hand Carnarvon was seized on behalf of the parliament, in 1644, by Captain Swanley, who took in it four hundred prisoners and a considerable store of arms and ammunition. In May, 1645, Prince Rupert superseded the archbishop in the command of North Wales, under circumstances injurious and offensive to that prelate, who thereupon, having received an offer of protection from General Mytton, joined the party to which he had before been opposed, and assisted Mytton in the reduction of Conway. This town was taken by storm on the 15th of August, 1646; and the castle surrendered on the 10th of November following. In the same year Carnarvon was besieged by the parliament's troops under Generals Mytton and Laugharne, to whom it was surrendered on honourable conditions by the governor, Lord Byron. In 1648, General Mytton was in turn besieged here by a small force under that zealous royalist, Sir John Owen, who, however, receiving intelligence that Colonels Carter and Twisselton, with a superior force, were marching to its relief, raised the siege and advanced to meet them. The encounter took place on some ground called Talar hîr, in the vicinity of Aber-Gwyngregyn, near the foot of the mountain of Penmaen Mawr; and in the furious battle that ensued, Sir John was defeated and made prisoner; after which, the whole of North Wales submitted to the authority of the parliament.
This county is ecclesiastically in the diocese of Bangor, except only the parishes of Eglwys-Rhôs, Llancystenyn, and Llŷsvaen, which are in the archdeaconry and diocese of St. Asaph. The parishes in the diocese of Bangor are comprised in the deaneries of Arlêchwedd and Arvon, archdeaconry of Merioneth; and in the deaneries of Eivonydd and Lleyn, archdeaconry of Bangor and Anglesey. Both dioceses are included in the province of Canterbury. The number of parishes in Carnarvonshire is sixtysix, of which twenty-four are rectories, twelve vicarages, and the rest perpetual curacies. For purposes of civil government the county is divided into the ten hundreds of Commitmaen, Creuddyn, Dinllaen, Evionydd, Gaflogion, Isgorvai, Llêchwedd Isâv, Llêchwedd Uchâv, Nantconway, and Uchgorvai. It contains the city and newly-created borough of Bangor; the borough, market, and sea-port towns of Carnarvon, Conway, and Pwllheli; the borough and market towns of Criccieth and Nevin; and the market-town of Trêmadoc, with its harbour, Port-Madoc. One knight is returned to Parliament for the shire, and one representative for the rest of the boroughs collectively: both the county member and the member for the boroughs are elected at Carnarvon: the polling-places for county elections are Carnarvon, Conway, Capel-Curig, and Pwllheli. The county is in the North Wales circuit; the assizes and quarter-sessions are held at Carnarvon, where stands the county gaol and house of correction. There are about thirty acting magistrates. It comprises the poor-law union of Pwllheli; parts of the unions of Bangor and Beaumaris, Carnarvon, Conway, and Llanrwst; and a few parishes in Festiniog union.
The aspect of the county is for the most part wild and mountainous, and its scenery throughout remarkably various and striking. The principal of the MOUNTAINS constitute the Snowdonian range (so called from its central and loftiest summit, Snowdon), whose elevated peaks, from their height and shape, form characteristic features in the scenery of the surrounding districts to a great distance. This range, the loftiest and most remarkable in the principality, commences in a tremendous precipice overhanging the sea, a few miles west of Conway, called Penmaen Mawr, and thence extends south-westward in the same direction as the other great mountain ridges of Wales. It includes the mountain called Carnedd Llewelyn, the Peak of Snowdon, and a long tract of mountains to the south of Llanllvyni; and terminates in the lofty and triple-peaked Reivel (in Welsh called Yr Eivl, in allusion to its furcated outline), whose base is washed by the waves of Carnarvon bay, to the south-west of Clynnog. The length of this mountainous range, following the zigzag direction of its summit, is forty-six miles, but the distance between its extreme points, in a straight line, is only twenty-five miles. Upon this chain, Yr Wyddva, commonly called the Peak of Snowdon, is the highest summit, and the most elevated point in South Britain, rising to the height of 3571 feet above the level of the sea. The second in height is Carnedd Llewelyn, which attains an elevation of 3469 feet above the same level. Carnedd Davydd rises to the height of 3427 feet, while the two extremities of the range are of far less elevation, Penmaen Mawr being only 1540 feet high, but remarkable as forming its abrupt termination; and the Yr Eivl mountain, 1866 feet high. Other mountains, connected with this chain, are Trevaen, Moel Ogwen, Moel Siabod, the two Glyders, the two Llyders, Moel Llyvni, Moel Mynydd y Nant; Gerwyn Gôch, 1723 feet high; Bwlch-Mawr, 1673 feet high; and Rhiw, 1013 feet high; over all of which tower the three pre-eminent summits of Snowdon, called Yr Wyddva, or "the conspicuous summit," Crib-y-Distyll, or "the dripping peak," and Crib Gôch, or "the red summit." This mountain, called by the English in modern times Snowdon, from its summit being frequently covered with snow for a long period, when the plains beneath are entirely free from it, was anciently called by the Welsh Creigiau'r Eryri, by some translated to signify "the snow-clad rocks," while others consider the latter part of the name to be derived from eryr, an eagle, and the whole to signify "the eagle rocks," from the number of those birds that here fixed their alpine abode. To a spectator looking from the summit of Yr Wyddva it has the appearance of being propped by five immense rocks, as buttresses; namely, Crib-y-Distyll and Crib Gôch, between Llanberis and Capel-Curig; Lliwedd, towards Nant-Gwynant; Clawdd Côch, towards Bethgelart; and Llêchog, the mountain that forms the southern side of the vale of Llanberis, towards Dôlbadarn. These nearly impassable heights for centuries formed an almost unassailable refuge for the overpowered but unsubdued Britons, when obliged to retreat before the Roman, Saxon, or English forces. Many of the mountains extend in length from north to south, while others take a line from east to west, and nearly all range in one of these directions. The precipitous declivities of the summits of the Snowdonian chain for the most part face towards the Menai strait; but the declivities in every other direction vary with the inclinations of the strata. The vegetation of these elevated regions, in the multifarious variety of plants of which it is composed, presents a rich field for the botanist: it peculiarly abounds with that species of herbaceous plants called by Linnæus ethereæ, as being found only towards the summits of mountains; and numerous other genera display their beauties in these wilds, of which many are rarely found in any other situation. Amidst the mountains are very deep hollows, and narrow dells and valleys called cwms, along which the streams that issue from the various lakes above rush with impetuous violence to a lower level, forming the most romantic cataracts, and then pursuing a calmer and more meandering course to the ocean.
The lakes, though generally small, are upwards of fifty in number; and many of them abound with fish of different species, of which some are peculiar to alpine waters, and others are of extraordinary conformation. Those most distinguished for their extent, or the beauty of the surrounding scenery, are the following: viz., the two that nearly fill the narrow valley of Llanberis, called Llynau Llanberis, the upper of which, about a mile long and half a mile broad, though the smaller in extent, is the finer piece of water, and has a depth in some places of no less than one hundred and forty yards; the other is about a mile and a half long, but so narrow as to have the appearance of a river rather than a lake: Llyn Cawellyn, forming a fine expanse of water at the foot of Mynydd Mawr, a vast precipice that recedes in a semilunar form from the shores of the lake, which is more than a mile and a half long, and nearly three-quarters of a mile broad; Llynau Nanlle, two fine sheets of water adjacent to each other, and situated in the same part of the county as the last-mentioned; and Llyn Ogwen, Llyn Idwal, &c.
Westward from the mountains, and between them and the Menai, lies an extensive plain, almost a perfect level, but not low. It is thickly strewed with large rounded fragments of rock, of the same kind as the rocks of the mountains. Indeed, over nearly all the lands adjacent to the mountains are scattered immense masses of stone, the removal of which, a process that can only be effected with the aid of gunpowder, is an essential step towards the improvement of the estates which they encumber. The scenery on the rocky shores of the Menai is particularly bold and pleasing.
The Vale of the Conway, on the eastern border of the county, and to the east of the Snowdonian chain, abounds with interesting prospects. It is watered by a river whose natural beauties and historic interest have often made it a theme for poetry, and presents all the diversity of prospect afforded by a wellwooded and highly cultivated country, strikingly contrasting with the bare and rugged aspect of the cloud-capped mountains which rise in frowning grandeur to the west of it, and down the declivities of which, through innumerable chasms, fissures, and gullies, rush the superfluous waters of the elevated mountain lakes, to swell the more pacific stream of the Conway. The scenery in this part of the county is most varied in the vicinity of Pont Dôlgarrog and Pont Porth Llwyd, which are simply alpine bridges thrown across the streams that respectively issue out of Llyn Cowlyd and Llyn Geirionydd. This vale, though stretching parallel with the Vale of Clwyd, from south-east to north-west, is inferior to it in extent and fertility, having only the sloping argillaceous hills of Denbighshire on the east, while on the west it receives deposits of soil only from the hard, steep, primitive rocks of Carnarvonshire. The peninsula on the eastern side of the mouth of the Conway forms the hundred of Creuddyn, and terminates in the promontory of Great Orme's Head, or Llandudno rocks. The cliffs at this extremity are of limestone, very lofty, and almost perpendicular: during the summer months they are frequented by countless flocks of various sea-birds of passage, such as peregrine falcons, cormorants, razor-bills, guillemots, oyster-catchers, stormy peterels, divers, terns, curlews, gulls, and puffin-auks, or coulternebs.
The Promontory of Lleyn is so called from the ancient cantrêv which comprised the greater part of it, while that of Evionydd contained the rest. This district, forming the southernmost part of Carnarvonshire, and beyond the south-western extremity of which is situated Bardsey Island, is almost the only continental part of North Wales that bears any remarkable similarity to the Isle of Anglesey; a similarity, in this instance, extending to the various particulars of surface, soil, climate, course of tillage, agricultural implements, live stock, &c. Its surface, though varied, is no where mountainous; nor does it contain any of those deep glens which form so striking a feature in the scenery of most other parts of the county. It consists chiefly of what in England would be denominated upland pasture, here and there intersected by narrow marshy valleys, and interspersed with conical hills, isolated or in small groups. The fences, as in most other inclosed districts in Carnarvonshire, are formed of stone walls or earthen mounds: the small valleys are watered, as Mr. Pennant observes, "by a thousand little rills;" and the coast consists of a rocky boundary, the regularity of which is broken by several small creeks, affording safe shelter during storms to boats and inferior vessels employed in fishing. The small and once distinguished Island of Bardsey is separated from the termination of this promontory (which is composed of the vast piles of rock forming the bold headland of Braich-y-Pwll, the Canganorum Promontorium of the Roman geographer) by the "Race of Bardsey," a strait about a mile broad, through which is a rapid current. From this natural circumstance it originally received the British name of Ynys Enlli; but the Saxons afterwards called it Bardsey, probably from its having formed a place of refuge for the British bards. It is upwards of two miles long and one broad, and comprises 370 acres of land, of which nearly one-third is a mountainous ridge affording food only for a few sheep and rabbits. On the south-east and south-west it is much exposed to violent blasts from the ocean, but on the north and north-east is sheltered by the abovementioned elevation of Braich-y-Pwll, which on its sea front presents high, perpendicular, and rocky cliffs, resorted to by numerous flocks of various kinds of sea-fowl, the eggs of which are taken from their nests on the face of the cliff by some of the adventurous islanders, who descend from the summit by means of ropes carefully secured.
The innermost creek of the northern part of Cardigan bay forms extensive sands, called the Traeth Mawr, formerly overflowed by the tides, and through which the river Glâslyn pours its waters into the ocean. The late W. A. Madocks, Esq., of Tan-yrAllt, in the immediate vicinity, having, about the commencement of the present century, succeeded in securing an extent of nearly 2000 acres of rich land, called Penmorva Marsh, on the western side of the Traeth Mawr, was induced to attempt the more arduous task of reclaiming the whole, by forming an embankment from side to side across its mouth. This gentleman, in the year 1808, obtained an act of parliament vesting in him and his heirs, or assigns, the whole of these sands, reaching from Pont Aberglâslyn, at their head, to the point at Gêst, at their lower extremity; and he shortly afterwards proceeded to execute the bold design that he had formed, in spite of great and unforeseen difficulties. He thus secured from the flow of the tides a tract of about 2700 acres, previously subject to periodical overflow, besides the great extent of land adjoining, which will in consequence be drained or secured from the injuries of floods. Of the land so drained and secured, Mr. Madocks was to have 2000 acres in fee, and one-fifth of the rent of 1500 more, or one-fifth of the land, the remainder to go to the freeholders who claim right of common upon the adjoining marshes. On a part of the tract first secured stands the modern town of Trêmadoc.
The northern shore of the county, from the mouth of the Conway westward, borders on Beaumaris Bay, a fine expanse of sea, which is so completely sheltered on one side by the promontory of Creuddyn, terminated by Great Orme's Head, as above described, and on the other by the easternmost extremity of Anglesey and the little island of Priestholme, that it forms a fine roadstead for ships navigating the Irish Sea, and one in which they may ride in safety during the most violent tempests. The greater part of the bay is left dry on the reflux of the tide, for several miles adjoining the shore, forming a tract called the Lavan Sands. These sands are supposed to have once constituted a habitable hundred belonging to the territory of Arvon, and are said to have received their ancient name of Wylovain, or "the place of weeping," from the shrieks and lamentations of the inhabitants on the district being suddenly overwhelmed by the sea in the sixth century. Lavan is thought to be an abbreviation of Traeth Trelaven, or "the fermenting sand," from the advancing tide boiling up through the quicksands; nor is the tradition of the inundation of this tract unsupported by natural circumstances, one of the most remarkable of which is, that trunks of oak-trees, nearly entire, have been discovered in it at low water, lying in an extensive tract of hard loam, far below the present high-water mark.
The climate, owing to the maritime situation of the county, and the great variety of elevation in its surface, has many peculiarities. In some years the winter's snow remains on the highest summits of the Snowdonian chain until the month of June, though in the more immediate vicinity of the sea, and especially in the great promontory of Lleyn, it seldom continues long upon the ground, even in the depth of winter. The rains among the mountains are frequent, generally sudden, and often very heavy, swelling the otherwise insignificant streams which descend from them into powerful torrents. Grain, on the lighter soils and in the lower vales, ripens early in August; and it is remarkable that this county, so great a portion of which is occupied by the loftiest and most rugged mountains of South Britain, should also contain the ground which of all in North Wales is the earliest in its seasons, viz., Talar hîr, a piece of sandy soil with some gravel, on a substratum of sea-beach pebbles, at the foot of the mountain of Penmaen Mawr. But corn sown in elevated situations approaching the mountains, although it may for some time give promise of a good crop, frequently never ripens, or, if at all, only very late in the season; in which latter case the sudden gusts of wind and tornadoes, so often bursting from the dells and hollows of the mountains at this season, sometimes beat off the ears, and leave little but the bare straw. The climate of the promontory of Lleyn is the driest and warmest of any district in the county, and consequently the most favourable to the success of agriculture. All attempts to introduce the profitable culture of fruit-trees have hitherto proved unsuccessful; the spring, even in the vales, owing to the contiguity of the mountains, being seldom mild enough to preserve the blossoms from the destructive effects of frost, while the wetness and coldness of the summer, from the same causes, should the trees escape the first danger, vitiate the flavour of the most delicious fruits. The westerly winds prevail three-fourths of the year, and are experienced in their utmost fury about the equinoxes. The inhabitants of the county are remarkable for their longevity, numerous gravestones in the churchyards being inscribed with ages exceeding ninety years: this circumstance is ascribed to the frugality of their fare, and the bracing effects of a cold, sharp, oxygenated atmosphere.
The soils are extremely various. The best are the strong loams, excellently adapted for the culture of wheat and for permanent pasture, which are found on the banks of the Conway near Marl, and thence upwards towards Maenan and Trêvriw, as also on the shores of the Menai near Llanvair-is-Gaer, &c. The soil of Bardsey Island is also chiefly argillaceous, and of considerable fertility, producing excellent wheat and barley, and having a small quantity of good grass land; whilst the whole hundred of Creuddyn, lying on the eastern side of the mouth of the Conway, is occupied by strong cohesive loams, forming some of the best wheat soils in North Wales, and being perhaps not inferior to any in Britain. Next to these rank the dry, free, and rather stony soils, adapted for the general purposes of tillage, which occupy the middle parts of the larger vales, the lower parts of the smaller valleys, and the interior of the promontory of Lleyn. The greater part of Lleyn has also a still lighter soil, consisting of various admixtures of sandy loam, rounded pebbles, shivery gravel, peat, &c., peculiarly suited for the culture of barley, peas, turnips, &c.; as have also the valleys of the other parts of the county in their upper levels, and the slopes of vales having a southern aspect. The substratum of the soils near the Menai consists of limestone, and hence the soil towards and amidst the mountains is of two kinds. First, where the ground is dry, it consists of a reddish loam, much intermixed with pebbles and stony fragments, but which, when well manured, is very productive in corn, or almost any other agricultural crop: ascending higher, this surface soil becomes gradually shallower, and less promising for culture. The soil of the great levels lying between the Snowdonian chain and the Menai is alluvial, consisting of gravel and sand, or shingle. The other soils in the county are peaty, and are widely spread over many of the meadows and heathy wastes and commons, which, being generally wet and boggy, produce in wet summers nothing of value either as pasturage or for hay: this peat is found even on the summit of Carnedd Llewelyn, but is of the greatest depth in the flats and hollows favourable to its production, and of less depth upon moderate slopes, where the substrata will not readily admit the filtration of water. In this latter situation it is generally covered with a coarse matted herbage, characterizing what is provincially called rhôsydd, the surface of which, when the elevation is not too great, is sometimes pared and burned for a crop of rye, and then laid down again with grass seeds. Most of the cwms, or narrow valleys among the hills and mountains, have also a peaty soil, producing an abundance of the kind of hay here called gwair y rhôsydd, which is composed of several kinds of alpine grasses, thickly intermingled with various species of rushes, and frequently besprinkled with a few varieties of sedges: the hay produced in the bottoms and lower meadows, is particularly fine and soft, consisting chiefly of bent and fescue grasses. Till, a hungry light mould, tinged by the orange oxyde of iron, is occasionally found on the uplands having a slaty substratum; and a ferny soil, or hazel loam, occurs in various upland situations among the soils above described. The most extensive tract of entirely sandy soils is that of the Traeth Mawr, already mentioned, on the south-eastern confines of the county.
Of the whole extent of Carnarvonshire, little more than 7000 acres are actually under tillage, and these are almost entirely in the hundred of Creuddyn, the Vale of Conway, the promontory of Lleyn, and the vicinity of the Menai. Wheat is grown on the stronger soils above described; oats are seldom sown upon them, and a dry spring makes them quite unfit for barley. On the lighter soils oats and barley are chiefly cultivated, frequently in very impoverishing rotations, in which the same grain is sometimes sown for two or three years successively, and with the last crop are always sown grass seeds: oats are the principal crop on the poorer lands. The average return of wheat in the hundred of Creuddyn, near Conway, is nine or ten times the quantity of the seed sown; that of barley, on warm soils, somewhat more; but of oats in the uplands, not more than from three to five times the quantity. In Lleyn the naked scythe is the only instrument used to cut all kinds of corn; in other parts of the county the reaping-hook is most commonly used to cut wheat, though the scythe is used to cut the barley and oats. Rye is sometimes grown by some of the small farmers on patches of the wastes, which they pare and burn for the purpose, and afterwards throw open again. Peas and beans are seldom cultivated as agricultural crops; but potatoes are grown to a considerable extent in different parts of the county, and Carnarvonshire ranks next to Anglesey in the neatness of its potato culture: the inhabitants of the Vale of Conway and the vicinity of Carnarvon formerly imported this useful root from Lancashire, but at present they grow more than is required for their own consumption, and the surplus is exported for the partial supply of Liverpool, where the Welsh potatoes obtain a preference in the market, on account of their superior flavour. Turnips are frequently cultivated on the soils best adapted for the purpose: a few small patches of hemp are seen scattered in different places. Artificial grasses are a common agricultural crop: the most ordinary kind is the common red clover, with which other grasses are often intermingled, such as white clover, trefoil, and rye-grass.
Rather more than one-half the surface of the county, besides the amount of land under tillage, is inclosed, and constitutes meadows and pastures of very various quality: the rest, forming its waste lands, is also for the most part depastured during the summer. Indeed the farmers are chiefly herdsmen, who pay their rents out of the profits of their butter, wool, and lambs, their stock consisting of small cows, and numerous herds of diminutive sheep. During the summer months these are taken to pasture on the hills and mountains; and such has been the opinion entertained of the extent of pasturage on the mountains of the county, that, according to an old proverb, "As Mona could supply corn for all the inhabitants of Wales, so could the Eryri mountains afford sufficient pasture for all its herds, if gathered together." The purpose to which the grass lands are more peculiarly applied is the rearing of great numbers of cattle and sheep, which are sold lean to the graziers of districts having richer pastures. The landowners of the county introduced into it, about the commencement of the present century, professed improvers of land, who advertised an offer of their services in draining, irrigating, &c.; and much land has since been brought under irrigation in some of the valleys. As fattening cattle forms no part of the rural economy of Carnarvonshire, and as the whole stock of the farm, both cattle and sheep, during the spring and summer, feed on the open commons and the cow-lights on the sides of the mountains, the inclosed meadows are regularly hained up and reserved for crops of hay. These, where the land is occasionally manured, are tolerably good; but in numerous instances the crops are scanty, and the hay of a poor quality.
Owing to the general coldness of the atmosphere among the mountains and in their vicinity, the hay harvest is usually late, and the frequency of the rains, that fall from the clouds attracted by their elevated summits, renders it highly precarious, the hay being often spoiled before it can be got in. Even should the weather continue dry, liability to damage arises from another quarter; whirlwinds or tornadoes are not unusual, the approach of which is first indicated by a distant rumbling noise, which becoming louder and louder, they are perceived advancing up the narrow valleys and hollow ravines, whirling in a circular direction, and carrying in their vortices the light and loose objects that lie within their influence. It is also necessary to secure the hay with great care in the stacks, which are thatched, first, by spreading thinly over them straw, coarse hay, or rushes, which covering is fastened down, not, as in most parts of England, with hazel rods pegged down by spars or double splinters, but with hay-ropes stretched horizontally at small distances from each other, and the intervals crossed by similar bands, the whole having the appearance of net-work, and exhibiting a peculiar degree of neatness.
The extraordinary manures employed in the county are various. The following are the principal, viz., shell-sand, which is found on different parts of the coast, and is carried many miles inland in carts and wagons, and coastwise in sloops; sea-weed, which is collected on the coast in large quantities after storms, more particularly on the shores of Bardsey Island, and is commonly spread on the fields to be immediately ploughed in, though sometimes made into various composts; and lime, in the vicinity of the limestone rocks, hereafter described. Carnarvonshire has also some marl on the coast of the Menai. The old Welsh plough is still the most common implement of the kind used in the county; but the Lummas and Scotch ploughs, of a lighter construction, have been introduced in a few instances.
Most of the farmers, by the aid of the mountain and other commonable pastures, are enabled to keep a greater quantity of cattle and sheep, during the summer half of the year, than the produce of the farm will maintain through the winter; consequently, on the approach of the latter season, they sell off a considerable portion of stock, in order that they may have sufficient winter food for the remainder. The promontory of Lleyn and Evionydd, having the same kind of undulating surface, though not altogether so good a soil, as Anglesey, has likewise a breed of cattle similar in most respects to those of that island, and annually supplies for the consumption of England about 1500 yearlings, and 4500 cattle of two years old and upwards. The cattle of the rest of Carnarvonshire, with the exception of a few select stocks, seem to be diminutives of the above breeds of Anglesey, Lleyn, and Evionydd, and have little to recommend them except that they are extremely hardy and may be reared with little expense. These, though not in high esteem with the graziers or carcass-butchers, exhibit a pleasing symmetry of form, being compact, short-legged, and deep-bodied; their colour is chiefly black, and the cows are in considerable esteem for the dairy. For the improvement of this breed, various importations of the best kinds of cattle from England have been made at different times.
The sheep are of the ancient diminutive alpine breed, which also occupies the mountainous tracts of the other counties of North Wales, but is here found in its purest state, unchanged by any foreign mixture. In proportion to their size they have long legs, with slender bodies, and handsome necks and faces, some of them in symmetry resembling the Spanish Merino breed. Like these also they are migratory, though not to so boundless a degree; ranging the mountains during the summer months, and at the approach of winter descending to the lowland pastures. Their faces and legs are generally white, and some of the sheep are horned. The smaller sort weigh from seven to nine Ib. per quarter, and bear a fleece weighing from three-quarters of a pound to a pound and a half; the larger weigh from nine to twelve Ib. per quarter, and yield from a pound and a half to two pounds and a half of wool. This wool is generally coarse and of a short staple, though in many instances that of the neck and shoulders possesses a considerable degree of fineness; it is chiefly used in the flannel manufacture of North Wales, for which it is peculiarly adapted. From their mode of existence, these sheep are of a very different character from those of an inclosed country. Roaming wherever inclination leads them, confined by no fences, and frequently unattended by a shepherd, they are in the first instance obliged to use their own exertions against the attacks of their formidable enemies, the foxes, so numerous among the mountains of the county; as also for their defence from the ravens and large birds of prey. Instead of assembling in large flocks, they form parties, generally consisting of ten or twelve, and if one of the number perceives any thing advancing towards the little flock, he turns and faces the object, which he permits to approach within about a hundred yards, when, if its appearance be hostile and it continues to advance, he warns the party by a shrill whistling noise, which he continues until they have taken the alarm, when the whole scamper off to the more inaccessible parts of the mountains. The instinctive powers of the shepherds' dogs employed in collecting these flocks are no less remarkable. Some few minor crosses have been introduced among the sheep in the more inclosed districts.
Formerly numerous goats were bred amongst the mountains of the county, many of which were so far domesticated as to be regularly milked. They are now no longer considered as forming part of the farmers' stock, their value having been greatly lessened, on account of their destructiveness to young plantations, and of the general disuse of the bushy wigs that were usually made from the hair of these shaggy animals, which was distinguished for its length and fineness. The few remaining in Carnarvonshire are principally confined to the mountain of Moel Siabod, where they run entirely wild. The native breed of hogs much resembles that of several districts in Ireland; they are thin-bodied, tall, and ill-shaped, with long heads and large ears: more valuable kinds, however, have been introduced from England, chiefly the Berkshire breed, which is now become very common. Three thousand hogs are annually sent to the English markets from the promontory of Lleyn and Evionydd, and great numbers are sold in the autumn from other parts of the county. The horses are of mixed breeds; the best bred in the county are those of the promontory of Lleyn. Tender furze bruised with mallets armed with iron, or ground in mills erected for the purpose, was formerly a common article of fodder for the horses, but it is now seldom given. Little corn being raised, few domestic fowls are kept; the county is supplied with poultry from Anglesey, as it is also for the most part with rabbits from the extensive warrens between Llanveirian and Llanvaelog, in that island, although there are considerable numbers in some places in this county near the sea-coast, where the sandiness of the soil favours their burrowing, more especially on Morva Dinlle, near Carnarvon.
Of such animals, being feræ naturâ, as formerly inhabited the grand Snowdonian chain of mountains, the principal were the wolves, deer, goats, and foxes: the wolves were exterminated several ages ago, and the deer, which in Leland's time appear to have prevented the growth of corn, were extirpated about the year 1626. Numerous foxes still find shelter in the holes and clefts of the rocks and crags so abundant in the district, and by their nocturnal depredations on the poultry, lambs, and sheep, are a great annoyance to the farmers. Among the rare and curious birds, the golden eagle is known to have bred among the Snowdonian mountains; those, however, which are generally seen there, are occasional visiters in quest of prey. The ring, or rock, ouzel, though in most places a migratory bird, here takes up its constant abode. Seals are native on the coast of Carnarvonshire, and are seen most frequently between Lleyn and the shores of Anglesey; many are found about Carreg-y-Moelrhon, to the west of Bardsey Island, moelrhon being the Welsh name for a seal.
This county, owing to the general unfavourableness of its climate and aspect, is not distinguished for its horticultural productions, and great numbers of the cottages are entirely without gardens. One circumstance, however, is worthy of notice, viz., that sea-kale grows wild on its coasts, being found in the greatest abundance from the mountain of Penmaen Mawr westward to Bangor, and thence along the whole western coast to Nevin and Aberdaron. It has, in various instances, been transplanted into gardens, where it is found to be an excellent substitute for asparagus, which it also precedes in the spring.
In Leland's time the sides of the Snowdonian mountains were covered with timber, but at present they are almost entirely bare, excepting the woods above Gwydir, on the eastern side of them, which add greatly to the picturesque beauty of the Vale of Llanrwst; and those of Thomas Assheton Smith, Esq., in a very high situation at Talmignedd, near Bethgelart. To these may be added the woods belonging to the latter gentleman at Vaenol, near Bangor, occupying about 200 acres; and the plantations on the Pant Glâs estate, on the south-eastern side of the county. Very extensive plantations were also made in the county, towards the close of the last century, by Lord Penrhyn; and more recently, large tracts have been planted in different parts. In the promontory of Lleyn and Evionydd, the principal plantations are those in the vicinities of Llanystyndwy, Gwynvryn, and Plâs Hên. The hundred of Creuddyn, forming the north-easternmost division of the county, from the rest of which it is separated by the river Conway, is well wooded in the vicinities of Marl, Bôdyscallen, and Gloddaeth. The trees are of various kinds, consisting of oak, ash, beech, &c., with several species of fir.
The whole of the extensive region formed by the Snowdonian mountains was, on the conquest of Wales by Edward I., studiously depopulated by the policy of that monarch, who well knew the asylum it might afford to any of the native malcontents, and who therefore converted the chief part of it into a royal forest. In consequence of this, much of the mountainous part of the county still belongs to the crown; and numerous warrants, issued at different periods, for killing and appropriating the deer, are yet extant. One of these, signed by Henry Sidney, in 1561, arbitrarily extended the boundaries of the forest of Snowdon into Anglesey and Merionethshire, with the view of gratifying Queen Elizabeth's favourite, the Earl of Leicester, who had been appointed chief ranger; although, in the reign of Henry VIII., it had been ascertained to be wholly included within the county of Carnarvon. Presuming on this authority, the Earl of Leicester, as ranger, proceeded to tyrannise over the three counties, which he pretended were included in his commission, with the most rapacious injustice and insufferable insolence. It having been suggested to him that by constructive evidence nearly the whole of the surrounding freehold property might be brought within the boundaries of the forest, commissioners were appointed, and juries impanelled, to inquire into the numerous encroachments made on the royal property; but the integrity of both caused them to come to a decision contrary to the ranger's wishes. After this disappointment, a special commission was appointed, in 1578, composed of persons immediately dependent on the earl; and a jury equally subservient to his views, was subpœnaed to attend at Beaumaris, and directed to survey the Malltraeth marsh, in Anglesey, after which they delivered their verdict, declaring that they found that tract to lie within the verge of Snowdon forest, notwithstanding its being in the county of Anglesey, and separated from the county in which that forest was situated by an arm of the sea. This decision was chiefly obtained from the jury by the instruction of the commissioners, who told them that in the Exchequer of Carnarvon they had found a document, stating that a stag had been roused in the forest of Snowdon, in Carnarvonshire, which, being pursued to the banks of the Menai, swam over that strait, and was killed at Malltraeth, "infra forestam nostram de Snowdon." Sir Richard Bulkeley, who had been one of the former commissioners, conscious of the rectitude of their resistance, and relying on the justice of the cause he had espoused, personally laid before the queen, on behalf of the landholders of the three counties, a representation of the unparalleled oppressions inflicted upon the Welsh by the power exercised under the commission; and at length prevailed upon the queen to recall the commission grant, which was done by public proclamation at Westminster, in the year 1579. The remonstrance, however, caused Leicester to pursue Sir Richard with an inveterate animosity, which ceased only with the life of the former.
Although numerous large and small freeholds escaped the grasp of despotism on the subjugation of the principality by Edward I., and the transfer of property has, in few instances, received any disturbance from the crown for many years, yet several of the estates in Carnarvonshire are at the present day held by regal grant, and most of its vast extent of waste lands is still the property of the queen, is enumerated among the sources of her ordinary revenue, and is subject to inquisition from the Exchequer. The county, as before described, the promontory of Lleyn excepted, seems for the most part to be one vast assemblage of huge rocky mountains, some of which, including Snowdon itself, are common, while others, by grants from the Welsh princes, are claimed as private property up to their very summits. No less than 100,000 acres of land are not only unfit for cultivation, but are wholly incapable of receiving it, consisting of rugged mountains and moors, deep rocky dells, and horrid chasms. There are few farms without a common right on some of these wastes, and the right attached to those in the vicinity of the mountains is almost unlimited; but the rocks of which the mountains consist not being decomposable by the action of the atmosphere, their sterility is very great: the hollows and slopes upon peat, or clay, are the chief spots which produce any herbage for the support of the hardy race of sheep and cattle that are pastured in these alpine tracts during the summer. Several of the more improvable wastes, such as Rhôs Hirwaen, in Lleyn, consisting of about 3000 acres; Penmorva Marsh, on the south-eastern border of the county, comprising about 2700 acres; Morva Dinlle, a sandy marsh with some clay, extending from Dinas Dinlle, an ancient British encampment, to the entrance of the Menai, near Carnarvon, and containing 2560 acres; and the wastes in the parishes of Llandeiniolen and Llanrûg, have been inclosed in pursuance of acts of parliament obtained since the commencement of the present century. The common fuel is peat, an abundance of which is obtained in the morassy parts of the wastes and commons, and stored up for winter use. Much of this valuable material contains a large portion of bituminous matter, which renders it a tolerable substitute for coal, an article of very limited consumption in the county, being only procured at a great price from the collieries of Lancashire, Flintshire, &c. Almost every farm has its appropriated turbary, and such as have no right of common buy peat by the load. The Carnarvonshire Agricultural Society, instituted in the year 1807, and consisting of the principal landed proprietors, has exercised considerable influence in the improvement of the husbandry.
The geological features of Carnarvonshire are peculiarly varied and interesting, though they have received but little illustration; and its mineral productions are of great importance, consisting for the most part of copper and lead ores, slates, limestone, and other kinds of stone used for building. The mountains are in general of the primitive siliceous kind, steep, and rugged. The highest peaks of the Snowdonian chain are composed of porphyritic rocks, belonging to the trap formation, passing into nearly compact, or schistose, hornblende: these, on the western side, form numerous basaltic columns on a bed of hornstone, or chert; and large coarse crystals, cubic pyrites, and various mineral bodies, are frequently found in the fissures. The columns are perpendicular, and more or less regularly pentagonal: their length is various; their diameter about four feet, with transverse joints from six to eight feet asunder, and considerable depositions of thin laminated quartz in the joints. Near the summit of Snowdon, there is reason to believe that schistose rocks belonging to the greywacké formation are also to be found, inclosing impressions of shells. The rocks composing the higher parts of the chain are said to include granite and the granitel of Kirwan, schistose hornblende, and schistose mica; and contiguous to these, on each side, are vast beds of clayslate, forming secondary mountains, which constitute the first parapet of the Snowdonian chain, and accompanying which are found beds of chert, quartz, burrstone, serpentine, and an endless variety of combinations of other mineral substances of less bulk: the promontory of Lleyn is formed almost entirely of clay-slate, but the hills on the north-eastern coast, to the west of the river Conway, are composed in a great measure of chert; and several of the mountains, the bases of which consist of argillaceous schistus, have their middle parts covered with blocks of chert, and their summits surmounted by masses of a granitic character. The argillaceous schistus supports a range of mountain limestone strata on the shores of the Menai; and the substrata of the hundred of Creuddyn consist mostly of the same kind of limestone, being part of a formation which also occupies portions of the counties of Denbigh and Flint, and terminates westward in the cliffs overhanging the sea near Llandudno, commonly called Great Orme's Head, which is the eastern boundary of Beaumaris bay.
Of ores, the mountains appear to contain more copper than lead. The primitive rocks in mass contain no metals, but copper is found in several of the hornstone stratified mountains, of which those at Llanberis and Pont Aberglâslyn are examples: in these mines the ore is for the most part sulphate of copper, and yields from eight to ten per cent. of pure metal. The mines, however, are not worked at present. Oxydated carbonate of copper, with some specimens covered with lancet-pointed crystals of an amethystine colour, is obtained at Derwen-dêg, to the south-west of Conway; and sulphate both of copper and lead is found at Havod-y-Llan, near Dinas Emrys. Some copper-mines are worked with spirit in the limestone strata of the hundred of Creuddyn, near Great Orme's Head, in the parish of Llandudno, producing beautiful specimens of malachite, or mammillated green carbonate of copper, of which all the ore there raised consists. There is another copper-mine extensively worked near Llynau Dinlle, to the north-west of Bethgelart, from which the ore is sent to Carnarvon, and there shipped for Swansea. At Bwlch-haiarn, near Gwydir, on the road from Llanrwst to Capel-Curig, are some leadmines, the veins of ore crossing each other, from north to south and from east to west: the matrix is of quartz and calcareous spar, though the surrounding rocks consist of slate, bituminous shale, and trap, or whinstone: the ores chiefly lie about twelve feet beneath the surface; calamine is found in conjunction with the lead, and the whole is intermingled with ferruginous ochre and a small quantity of copper pyrites. Ores of copper and calamine also exist at Capel-Curig, and there are veins of lead-ore at Penrhŷn dû, adjoining St. Tudwal's Islands, near the southern extremity of the county; and at Gêst, near Penmorva, on its south-eastern frontier. The smelting of iron-ore appears to have been carried on at a remote period in Lleyn, as heaps of scoria still testify.
Great quantities of the argillaceous schistus, so abundant in the county, are converted into SLATES for roofing houses and other purposes. Slates are raised between Conway and Bwlch-y-Ddeuvaen, at Trêvriw, in the Llanberis and Llanllyvni hills, on both sides of the promontory of Lleyn, and in the parish of Llandeiniolen; but the principal works of the kind are those of Cae Braich-y-Cavn, near Dôlawen, on the road between Capel-Curig and Llandegai. These quarries about the year 1780 produced only 1000 tons annually, and gave employment to only sixty men; but coming into the possession of Lord Penrhyn, that nobleman, in 1782, opened a vast quarry, which has ever since been worked, and now yields daily several hundred tons of slates. The produce is conveyed by means of an iron tramway to Port-Penrhyn, which was formed by his lordship for the convenience of the vessels engaged in this trade, and at which large quantities of slate are shipped to all parts of the united kingdom, and different parts of the world. The next largest quarries are those of Llanberis, belonging to T. Assheton Smith, Esq., which in 1844 produced 74,000 tons of slate, and have since been much enlarged: the produce is shipped at PortDinorwig, on the Menai straits, where there is excellent accommodation for vessels of considerable burthen. These works employ nearly as many men as the Dôlawen works. Among the numerous quarries of inferior importance are those of Kîlgwyn, in the parish of Llandwrog, which are known to have been worked for 300 years. The Carnarvonshire slates are exceedingly smooth and of a fine grain, generally of a beautiful blue colour, and may be separated into laminæ as thin as required; properties which render them the best for roofing, and for manufacturing into writing-slates: they consist of forty-eight parts of silex, twenty-six of argil, eight of magnesia, four of calx, and fourteen of iron. Of the three quarries above-mentioned, that of Kîlgwyn produces slates of the coarsest quality, which are also of a deep-red colour; those of Dôlawen are exceedingly smooth and of a brilliant blue, or slate-grey; while those of Llanberis are of an intermediate quality, and generally of a reddish-purple hue. The slates of a deep-blue colour are the best adapted of any in Europe for writing-slates; and those obtained from the Dôlawen quarries are planed and framed of various sizes, in a manufactory established by Lord Penrhyn, near Bangor, to the number of about 18,000 dozen annually: these are not only distributed over all parts of the united kingdom, but considerable quantities are also exported, without frames, to the continent. Ink-stands and other fancy articles are also manufactured here of the same material. The slates raised in the Carnarvonshire quarries are divided by the manufacturers into the following classes: viz., duchesses, measuring twenty-four inches by twelve; countesses, twenty by ten; ladies, sixteen by eight; doubles, twelve by six; queen slates, large and of various sizes: and patents, or imperials, with square heads; besides intermediate sizes; all which are sold by the thousand, except the queens and imperials, which are sold by the ton. In some of the quarries are also other classes, called respectively singles, rags, and kiln-ribs. The slate is also converted into tombstones, dados and plinths for stables and passages, chimney-pieces, hearth-stones, sinkstones, dairy tables, sideboards, panels for doors, shutters, &c., fences, and washball stands. It is likewise used to form cases for the outside of buildings, as a defence against the weather; and in such situations, by being painted and sanded, is made to bear the appearance of stone.
A quarry of burr, for millstones, has been opened since the commencement of the present century, near Conway, in a vein running from east to west along the hill called Mynydd-y-Drêv. Near Cwm Idwal is a large quarry of the novaculite of Kirwan (of the second and third varieties of that species), where great quantities of scythe-hones are cut, and sent to London, Dublin, &c.: hones are also obtained from a rock on the eastern side of the valley of NantFrancon. Steatite, or soap-rock, is found in different places, especially at Craig-y-Sebon, and on the hill to the north of Penmorva. Serpentine abounds in the vicinity of Capel-Curig. Ochre is dug out of a mine near the Dôlawen slate-quarries, and is then separated from the sand with which it is intermixed by grinding and successive filtrations, being finally collected in a sediment, which is dried by the sun and air in summer, and upon kilns during the winter: the general colour of this earth is yellow, but in the same manufactory, and also for the use of painters, others of various hues are ground, with which, in their raw state, the Snowdonian shepherds mark their sheep. Large siliceous crystals, commonly called rock diamonds, are found in the fissures of the rocks among the mountains; they are washed down by the violent torrents caused by the heavy rains frequently experienced in these alpine tracts, and being collected by the poor inhabitants, are presented by them for sale to tourists, as extraordinary and valuable productions. Some curious specimens of cubic pyrites and crystallized tin have been discovered at different times.
The manufactures and commerce of Carnarvonshire are various, and the latter is increasing. Besides supplying themselves with wearing-apparel, the inhabitants annually send a few pieces of blue cloth into Merioneth, and some of a peculiar drabcoloured cloth, called Brethyn sir Von, into Anglesey, the latter to be sold at the Llanerchymedd fairs: these cloths are generally seven-eighths of a yard wide. The flannels manufactured here are coarse. The employment of the mountaineers, both in summer and winter, besides tending their herds, and the labours of the dairy, consists in carding and spinning the wool produced by their flocks, of which they make cloth for their own wear, and for sale at the neighbouring fairs and markets, more particularly at those of Carnarvon and Llanrwst. They also make great quantities of striped linsey-woolsey, of different patterns, which they call stuff, and which is used for the women's gowns. Those who have more wool than the family can manufacture sell it at the neighbouring fairs, of which that of Llanrwst is the principal mart for this article, and is attended by the English buyers: the price obtained for the wool at this fair is usually the standard for the year. A considerable quantity of coarse linen yarn is spun and woven by the inhabitants of the mountainous districts, both for their own use and for sale, but chiefly for the latter. The spinners and weavers have a measure peculiar to themselves, commonly called the Welsh yard, which is forty inches long, and by which all their milled cloth, flannels, linseys, and linen are measured when sold. The knitting of woollen stockings and socks is carried on most extensively in the south-eastern extremity of the county, in the neighbourhood of Llanrwst and Penmachno, which is included in the great manufacturing district for those articles, of which the town of Bala in Merionethshire is the centre. Formerly all the wool that was not home-spun and customwove, after being sold, was exported to be manufactured in different parts of the kingdom; but since the commencement of the present century, various establishments have been formed on some of the numerous small streams, for carrying on different branches of the woollen manufacture. Thus, in the parishes of Llanrûg, Llanwnda, &c., are slubbing and carding engines, with jennies and billies for luffing and spinning, which prepare the worsted yarn, and in some instances manufacture it into cloth. At Trêmadoc, on the south-eastern confines of the county, was formerly a large manufactory for weaving druggets and coarse army-cloth. There are about fifty nailers in the county. In the parish of Llanrûg is a paper-mill, and another at Porth-Llwyd, on the Conway, below Llanrwst; and to this list of manufactures may be added the important one of slates, above described. The commerce, until of late years, was almost wholly confined to the port of Carnarvon; but the trade in the article of slates, which form the chief exports in the county, is now chiefly carried on from Port-Penrhyn and Port-Dinorwig.
Although its commerce is comparatively unimportant, yet the harbours of the county are numerous. In the promontory of Lleyn are several creeks, affording safe retreats from storms to boats and small craft engaged on the coast during the fishing season. Among these are Porth-Towyn, Porth-Colman, PorthGwylan, Porth-Ysgadan, and Aberdaron, the last of which is a village chiefly inhabited by fishermen, and the place whence the passage is usually made to Bardsey Island, on the south-eastern side of which is a well-sheltered harbour for vessels of from twenty to forty tons' burthen. The small bay between Porth Towyn and Ceiriad Road is vulgarly called by mariners "Hell's Mouth," from the danger, in rough weather, of being driven into it and wrecked, in attempting to gain St. Tudwal's Road, near Pwllheli, which as a haven is deemed inferior to none in Britain, being not only commodious, but extensive enough to receive the largest fleet, well defended on one side by the promontory of Lleyn, and on the other by two islets, called St. Tudwal's Islands. Pwllheli, having a harbour capable of admitting vessels of sixty tons' burthen, forms the grand depôt for articles imported for the supply of the southwestern part of the county. The small harbour of Porth-Dinllaen was improved early in the present century, by subscription, and has recently undergone some further alterations. Carnarvon has a very commodious harbour: it is impeded by a bar; but the tide rises so high here, that, with proper attention, ships of almost any size may pass and repass in safety. This port carries on a very considerable coasting-trade with London, Bristol, Liverpool, and Ireland, and is by far the most important in this part of Wales. Port-Dinorwig, situated on the Menai, about half-way between Carnarvon and Bangor, opposite Moel-y-Don ferry, has been considerably enlarged and improved within the last few years; it is of good size, and generally contains a number of vessels from all parts, waiting for cargoes. Several hundred tons of slate are daily brought here for shipment. Port-Penrhyn, formerly called Abercegin, close to the town of Bangor, being naturally only a small inlet, was converted by Lord Penrhyn into a commodious harbour, capable of admitting vessels of 300 tons' burthen, for more conveniently exporting the slates from his quarries, about six miles distant. Conway, situated on the left bank, and within a short distance of the mouth, of the river Conway, has a dry harbour, frequented by a few coasting-vessels. The chief exports through the medium of these ports, more particularly of those of Carnarvon, Port-Dinorwig, and Port-Penrhyn, are, slates for roofing; writing-slates; ores of copper; ground chert, &c., for the English potteries; and ochre: the principal exports by land are cattle, sheep, hogs, and raw wool. The imports, besides those of groceries, and other ordinary articles of retail trading, consist chiefly of grain and coal. The principal fishery is on that part of the coast between Pwllheli and Bardsey Island, where the bays and creeks are frequented in the season by vast shoals of herrings, some of which, when taken, are salted on shore, and the rest chiefly sold to Irish vessels of small burthen, which come hither for the purpose of purchasing them. Great numbers of dories are caught here, as also are smelts near Pwllheli; and a small kind of lobster is frequently found burrowing in the sands.
The rivers, owing to the peninsular situation of the county, for the most part run only a short course, from the mountains immediately to the sea; though the waters of some of them are very copious. The Conway, which is the principal, forms an exception, taking a longer course, down a spacious and delightful valley extending parallel with the Vale of Clwyd in Denbighshire, between which county, and that of Carnarvon, the stream forms the line of division during the greater part of its course. Issuing from Llyn Conway, near the point of junction of the three counties of Carnarvon, Denbigh, and Merioneth, it takes a southern, afterwards a northeastern, and lastly a northern, course, at first precipitating its waters in successive falls, until, emerging from under the high wooded cliffs of Gwydir, it rushes into the Vale of Nantconway, and, flowing under the elegant bridge of Llanrwst, meanders in beautiful curves to the town of Conway. Here it swells into a noble tide-river, and soon after mingles its waters with those of the Irish Sea, in the eastern part of Beaumaris bay, after a course of about twenty miles, in which it has been joined by almost as many smaller streams, of which the principal are, the Machno, the Ceirio, and the Llugwy, all from Carnarvonshire. The Conway meets the tide and becomes navigable at Trêvriw, about two miles below the town of Llanrwst, and at its mouth is about a mile broad, and capable of admitting vessels of great burthen. Although it forms the boundary between Carnarvonshire and Denbighshire, during the early part of its course, yet a small portion of the former county, below Llanrwst, is situated on its eastern bank; and from the vicinity of the village of Llansantfraid, in the latter, the remainder of its course is wholly in the former, in which it separates the hundred of Creuddyn from the rest of the county. In the lower reaches of this river, the silt brought up and deposited by the tides has raised its bed above the level of the vale on each side, a circumstance that greatly tends to the injury of the adjacent meadows. A ledge of rocks called the Arrow, crossing the Conway about a furlong above Tàl-y-cavn ferry, forming a great obstacle to its navigation, and over which, at low water, there was a fall of no less than three feet, has been partially removed.
The Seiont, a small and rapid river, has its source in a lake on the eastern side of Snowdon, whence, suddenly turning towards the north-west, it flows through the two beautiful lakes of Llanberis, from the lower of which it proceeds westward, at first under the name of Rythel. Afterwards assuming the name of Seiont, it passes the site of the ancient Segontium to the town of Carnarvon, where it discharges its waters into the Menai, its estuary making a safe and commodious harbour. The lakes and the channel between them were formerly navigated by boats, which conveyed slates, &c., to the lowest extremity of the lower lake, whence they were forwarded by carts to Carnarvon. The Gwyrvai, a stream much resembling the Seiont in size and character, takes a course nearly parallel with it a few miles further southward, and falls into the Menai, near the southwestern entrance of that strait. The Ogwen, a small river from Llyn Ogwen, is equally rapid in its current, and, running north-westward, falls into the Menai, about two miles north-east of Bangor. Lleyn is watered only by inconsiderable streams; and the Gwynedd, or Glâslyn river, is the only one on the southern side of the county worthy of especial notice: it has its source in one of the wildest parts of the Snowdonian mountains, and, after forming the lake of Llyn Gwynedd, pursues a southern course by the village of Bethgelart, and then rushes through a vast chasm in the mountains, which separates the counties of Carnarvon and Merioneth. In the rest of its course it forms the boundary between the two shires, flowing through the now secured and inclosed sands of the Traeth Mawr, once its great estuary, and pouring its waters into the northernmost part of Cardigan bay, a few miles north-eastward of the borough of Criccieth. Carnarvonshire has no artificial inland navigation.
The great Chester and Holyhead railway enters the county from near Abergele, in Denbighshire, and passes along the coast, through the detached parish of Llŷsvaen, running close to some large limestone-quarries. For some distance here the cuttings are exceedingly heavy, and the line afterwards enters Penmaen Rhôs tunnel, 1629 feet in length, and cut through the solid rock; then, passing by the improving village of Colwyn, in Llandrillo, re-enters Denbighshire, and runs along the small vale of Mochdre. Again entering the county of Carnarvon, the line proceeds on the south of Llancystenyn church, and approaches the river Conway, where a most magnificent landscape presents itself: the fine old town of Conway, with its ancient castle, appears in front, with the Carnarvonshire mountains for a background. The line runs on an embankment of 600 or 700 yards, parallel with the Chester and Holyhead road, and then passes into the grand tubular bridge over the river, emerging close under the walls of the castle, and proceeding by the dilapidated town-walls to the Conway station. It then runs along a tunnel of 112 yards, under one of the towers of the ancient walls, and thence by some deep cuttings to Conway Marsh. The railway now skirts the sea-shore; passes along a tunnel 630 yards in length, cut through a hard flinty rock; intersects the fertile plain of Dwygyvylchi, and passes at the foot of Penmaen Mawr, where the Carnarvonshire range of mountains is terminated by the waters of Beaumaris bay. Here the line proved very difficult and expensive, comprising a sea-wall, a tunnel of 220 yards, and other works. After intersecting the parish of Llanvair-Vechan, it reaches the delightful village of Aber; and a few miles beyond, quitting the coast line, runs close to Penrhyn Park and Llandegai, east of Bangor. In this part it is carried over the Ogwen river and valley by two extensive viaducts, and through the Llandegai hills by a tunnel 440 yards in length; after which, the Cegin river and valley are crossed by a viaduct 200 yards long, supported by nine arches, sixty-two feet above the level of the stream. The Bangor station is approached by a tunnel of about 920 yards, cut at a depth of from 160 to 200 yards, through the solid rock, consisting chiefly of slate and greenstone. Leaving the station, the line almost immediately enters the Belmont tunnel, 726 yards long, and having four shafts: this conducts to the Menai strait, which is crossed by a tubular bridge on a still more gigantic scale than that at Conway; and thus the railway is carried into the county of Anglesey. The two bridges are noticed under the heads of Bangor and Conway, and some particulars of the line generally are given in the article on Holyhead: see also the articles on Anglesey, Denbighshire, and Flintshire. The North Wales railway, wholly in the county, was to commence at Bangor in junction with the Chester and Holyhead line, and proceed along the shore of the Menai, through Llanvair-is-Gaer, to Carnarvon. Thence it was to take the coast line of Carnarvon bay, crossing the river Llyvni, and passing by the town of Nevin, to its terminus at Porth-Dinllaen, on the bay, in the parish of Edern; which is the same distance (sixty miles) from Wicklow, on the Irish coast, as Holyhead is from Kingston Harbour, Dublin. This line was twenty-eight and a half miles long; it was to have one tunnel, 704 yards in length, and the steepest gradient was 1 in 203. The royal assent was given to the company's bill on July 21st, 1845, and they obtained a deviation act in the session of 1846; but the design is now altogether abandoned. In the county is a tramroad for the conveyance of slates from the quarries near Dôlawen to the vessels at Port-Penrhyn, the length of which is six miles; also a railway of four feet gauge, on which a locomotive engine is employed, for the conveyance of slates from Llanberis to Port-Dinorwig, a distance of eight miles; and a tramroad from Llynau Dinlle to Carnarvon, for conveying copper-ore and slates.
The roads, which were formerly among the worst in the principality, have undergone great improvements, notwithstanding the difficulties experienced in the execution of such undertakings in so mountainous a country. Amongst the instances most worthy of notice may be mentioned, the construction, in the year 1770, of a good road over the vast precipice of Penmaen Mawr, as part of the road to Ireland by way of Chester and Holyhead, and in which the government afforded considerable assistance; the formation, by Lord Penrhyn, of an excellent road from Capel-Curig, through Nant-Francon and the romantic interior of the Snowdon mountains, to Dôlawen and Bangor, and which now forms part of the nearer route from the metropolis to Ireland; the formation of a new road from Carnarvon to Clynnog, Pwllheli, and Nevin; that of one under the direction of the late Mr. Madocks of Tan-yrAllt, from Aberglâslyn bridge through Trêmadoc to Nevin; and that of another from Llanrwst and Capel-Curig, over Bwlch-yr-Eisteddva, or Gorphwysva, and through Nant Peris, on the western side of the lakes, to Carnarvon. Besides these may also be mentioned the construction of the magnificent suspension bridge over the Menai, near Bangor, and that over the broad channel of the river Conway, at Conway. The road from Carnarvon to the Aberglâslyn bridge, which forms the entrance into Merionethshire, running a distance of upwards of twelve miles through the romantic wilds of Snowdon, was reconstructed by subscription, about the commencement of the present century; and the communication with Merionethshire is now excellent, by means of a good road across the Traeth Mawr to Tan-y-Bwlch. In 1826, a new line of road, above four miles long, was carried round Penmaen Mawr, instead of the road formed in 1770 over it. Carnarvonshire, as has been already noticed, abounds throughout with excellent materials for making and repairing roads. Its numerous streams, when swelled by the frequent and sudden rains that fall in the mountains, require the roads to be carried over them by bridges of a greater length than would be requisite in a champaign country; which increase of size is obtained sometimes by extending the span of a single arch, and sometimes by continuing the structure in the manner of an arcade. Thus diversified in their shapes, and in most instances erected, not at right angles across the stream, but obliquely, they form very ornamental objects in the picturesque scenery of the district.
The road from London to Holyhead by way of Chester enters the northern part of the county, from Abergele in Denbighshire, and passes through Conway, and by the Penmaen Mawr mountain, to Llandegai and Bangor, from which latter place it is carried over the Menai strait by the chain bridge. That from London to Holyhead by way of Shrewsbury, which is shorter than the former by fourteen miles, enters from Pentre-Voelas in Denbighshire, and becomes identified with the line made by Lord Penrhyn, passing by Capel-Curig to the village of Llandegai, near Bangor, where it forms a junction with the road by Chester: the branch from this at Capel-Curig to Carnarvon has been noticed above. Another road from London reaches the county by way of Welshpool and Harlech, entering it from the latter town, in Merionethshire, at Pont Aberglâslyn, whence the main line is continued to Carnarvon, and over the Abermenai ferry into Anglesey; while a branch extends into the promontory of Lleyn, communicating with the towns of Criccieth, Pwllheli, and Nevin.
The remains of antiquity are numerous, various, and interesting. Some are of the class usually considered Druidical; such as the great circle of upright stones, in the parish of Dwygyvylchi; the small Druidical circle, of which some of the stones are deranged and others fallen, situated above Penmorva; the larger circle on Bwlch Craigwen, which is almost entire, and is composed of thirty-eight upright stones; the three cromlechs near Ystum Cegid; the uncommonly large cromlech, in a field near the sea-shore, about half a mile from Clynnog, about thirty yards from which stands a single rude pillar of stone; and the large cromlech situated near the old mansion of Cevn Amlwch, called by the common people Coiten Arthur.
Remains of the Roman stations Segontium and Conovium (described under the heads of Carnarvon and Caerhên), with vestiges of a few detached outposts, and of the connecting roads between them, are yet visible. Part of a Roman road is seen extending from the ancient Segontium to the strong post of Dinas Dinlle, which latter comprises the summit of a large mount, apparently artificial, on the sea-shore, and on the verge of an extensive level, formerly a marsh. It is of a circular shape, four hundred feet in diameter, and surrounded by a vast rampart of earth, within which are included vestiges of buildings of an oblong form, constructed of loose stones, and a tumulus formed of the same materials. Here have been found Roman coins; and on a stream designated Y Foriad, that runs at a little distance, are two fords, still called respectively by the mixed British and Roman names of Rhŷd pedestre and Rhŷd equestre, "the passage for the infantry," and "the passage for the cavalry." The works of Dinas Dinlle appear to have been constructed by the Britons, and afterwards used by the Romans. In connexion with this great centre of observation and action were several other forts, lying diagonally across the country, some towards the north, and others towards the south. The most considerable are, Dinas Dinorwig, in the parish of Llandeiniolen, which is still entire, and consists of an extensive area, including the remains of a circular stone building, supposed by some to have been a prætorium, surrounded by two ramparts of loose stones, within which are two valla formed of earth, and two very deep fosses; Yr hên Gastell, or "the old Castle," near the brook Carrog, in the parish of Llanwnda, which is a small intrenchment with a single rampart, about fifty paces long; Dinas Gorvan, near Pont Newydd, in the same parish, the only vestige of which is its name; and Craig-y-Dinas, on the river Llyvni, a mile and a half distant, and about a mile south-west of the road leading from Carnarvon to Pwllheli, a quarter of a mile from the seat called Lleiar, which is a circular encampment, about a hundred paces in diameter, and the ramparts of which, defended by a treble ditch, are very strong, and composed of uncemented stones: the entrance is towards the north, very narrow, and forty paces in length. All these works are British, but they are supposed by some writers to have been afterwards connected, like Dinas Dinlle, with Roman occupation. Further on, towards the extremity of this southern diagonal line, at the foot of Llanelhaiarn mountain, is a small fort on the summit of a high rock, called Caer, a Roman post of observation: smaller intrenched camps are seen on the western side of the county. Porth-Dinllaen, near Nevin, is thought, from vestiges of strong intrenchments in the vicinity, to have been a harbour made use of by the Romans; and in the parish of Llaniestyn, a little further southward, various Roman urns have been found. The Via Occidentalis entered the county from Merionethshire, at Pont Aberglâslyn, near Bethgelart: some inconsiderable traces of it are yet visible in its progress to Segontium; and it gives name to a farm over which it passes, called Ystrad, or "the Street." Another Roman road, entering the county from Denbighshire, ran through the station Conovium, ascended the hill by Bwlch-y-Ddeuvaen, and thence passed towards the coast, where it ran nearly parallel with the Menai to Segontium.
Carnarvonshire contains several other large intrenched camps of British origin. On the mountainous ridge of the Reivel, forming the southernmost of the more distinguished summits of the Snowdonian chain, is one of the grandest and most artfully constructed British posts in the kingdom, called Tre'r Caeri, or "the town of fortresses." The only accessible side seems to have been defended by three walls, the first of which is now imperfect, the second nearly entire, and the third range