Caer-Sws - From 'A Topographical Dictionary of Wales' (1849)
CAER-SWS, a hamlet, in the parish of Llanwnnog, union of Newtown and Llanidloes, hundred of Llanidloes, county of Montgomery, North Wales, 5 miles (W.) from Newtown; containing 342 inhabitants. This is said to have been a Roman city of considerable extent, though unnoticed as such by early writers; its Roman name is not even known, and few vestiges of its grandeur have been traced. Sufficient remains, however, exist to shew, apart from tradition, that it must have been a place of some importance at a remote period. Upon a rising ground nearly in the centre of an opening of the valley, are vestiges of a Roman camp: the elevation is about 100 yards from the village, and peculiarly well chosen, commanding the surrounding tract and the passes, while on the adjacent high grounds were several military posts. The camp is of rectangular form, nearly square, and rounded at the corners, comprising an area of about four acres, now divided into four cultivated fields, and intersected almost at right angles by lanes, seemingly indicating the situations of the ancient streets. It is probable that, if excavations were undertaken on a considerable scale, Roman buildings would be discovered. Various relics have been turned up at different times, principally about the year 1777 and in 1832: they consist of several Roman bricks with impressions on them, one of which is said to have been purchased by Captain Wemyss, of Aberystwith; a gold chain, found in a field near the Park, and sold to a stranger in the neighbourhood for a few shillings; a small number of coins, some Roman masonry, a quern, fragments of stained glass, &c.
The station was connected with other stations by five ancient roads, of which that principally mentioned is the Via Devana, or Sarn Swsan or Swsog, pointing hence in a north-eastern direction towards the station Mediolanum. Another road leads towards Pont-y-Ddolgoch, crossing the Newtown turnpike-road on Henblas farm, and taking the direction of Plasau-duon and Bwlch-y-Garreg to the hill called Mynydd Llynmawr: this road may have passed by Bala, to the station Mons Heriri, both in Merionethshire. The other roads were, one leading to Maglona near Machynlleth, passing by Trêveglwys; a road to the station at Cwm on the river Ython, near Builth; and a road proceeding eastward along the course of the Severn, towards the station of Caer Flôs near Montgomery. Some of the existing traces of these ways are noticed in a paper on Roman remains in Montgomeryshire, in the Archæologia Cambrensis for April 1848, from which the above particulars of the station and its roads are abridged.
Caer-Sws had formerly a castle also, and at least one church, and is said to have been the residence of the lords of Arwystli. It is situated on the northern bank of the river Severn, across which a new stone bridge of three arches was built some years ago; and the village has been enlarged, within the last seventy years, by the erection of some decent houses and cottages. A new road, leading from the Newtown and Llanidloes road through Caer-Sws to join that of Newtown and Machynlleth at the Mytton Arms inn, about a mile from the village of Llanwnnog, was lately constructed: along this road is much travelling to those fashionable and well-frequented wateringplaces, Aberystwith, Aberdovey, and Towyn. There are places of worship for Baptists, and Calvinistic and Wesleyan Methodists. About a quarter of a mile northward of Caer-Sws, adjoining the old Via Devana, a workhouse for the Newtown and Llanidloes union was built in 1840, which cost the union, comprising seventeen parishes, about £11,000; it contains above 200 inmates, most of whom are children, who are well maintained, clothed, and educated: the officiating minister of the parish is the chaplain to the workhouse.