Knighton - From 'A Topographical Dictionary of Wales' (1849)
KNIGHTON, a borough, market-town, and parish, and the head of a union, in the hundred of Knighton, county of Radnor, South Wales, 9� miles (N. E. by N.) from New Radnor, and 158 (W. N. W.) from London; containing 1404 inhabitants, of whom 1237 are in the borough. The Welsh name of this place is Tr�v-y-Clawdd, signifying "the town upon the dyke," and is derived from its situation on that stupendous rampart of earth which Offa, King of the Mercians, raised as a line of separation between the territories of the Cambrian princes and his own widely-extended dominions. The town is beautifully situated on an eminence rising boldly from the southern bank of the river Teme, and at the head of a deep vale sheltered on all sides by hills of lofty elevation, crowned with timber of luxuriant growth, and commanding extensive and finely varied prospects over the surrounding country. The two principal streets, which intersect each other at right angles, are regularly formed; they contain some well-built houses, and, owing to the declivity of their situation, they are constantly clean, adding much to the neat appearance of the place, which is inhabited by many families of respectability. The parish has almost every where an undulated surface; but the lands, notwithstanding the loftiness of their elevation in some parts, are mostly well cultivated. The total area is 2612 acres.
There are neither manufactures nor trade carried on in the town, with the exception of what arises from its situation on a public thoroughfare, and what is necessary for the supply of its inhabitants. The turnpike-roads from Builth, in the county of Brecknock, and from Kington, in that of Hereford, through Presteign, after uniting within two miles and a half to the south of this town, form the high road from those places, through Knighton, to Shrewsbury. An establishment for dressing and dyeing the wool which the peasants spun in their own houses was formerly carried on, but, together with the spinning, has been discontinued, it having been found cheaper to get the wool from Yorkshire. Flannels and whittles (a Flemish term for shawls) are brought hither from Newtown in Montgomeryshire. A large woolstapling establishment was also kept up here, which failed in 1811; there is still a little business done in this branch of trade, but some warehouses that were used for it have either been converted into dwellinghouses, or are altogether unoccupied. The market, which is on Thursday, is plentifully supplied with provisions, and is attended by dealers even from Birmingham and its vicinity, who come hither to purchase meat, poultry, eggs, butter, cheese, &c. Fairs are held annually on the first Saturday in March, on May 17th, June 21st, August 18th, October 2nd, and the Wednesday before November 12th.
The parish is divided into three parts, namely, the borough, the lordship of Farrington, and the township of Cwmgilla. The borough is co-extensive with the manor, its common title being "The Manor and Borough of Knighton." It is under the superintendence of a bailiff, burgesses, and constables. The bailiff is appointed annually at the court leet held for the manor, which belongs to the crown; his duty extends to little more than collecting the chief-rents of the manor, and receiving in trust, as chief municipal officer, the tolls of the market. The burgesses are made by a presentation of a jury of burgesses, selected by the steward of the manor. Knighton, together with Cnwclas, Kevenlleece, Rhaiadr, and (by the act of 1832, for "Amending the Representation of the People") Presteign, contributes, with the borough of Radnor, to send one representative to parliament. The right of election was extended by the act of 1832 to every male person of full age, occupying either as owner, or as tenant under the same landlord, a house or other premises in the borough of the annual value of �10 and upwards, provided he be capable of registering as the act directs. The number of tenements of this value is seventy-seven, and the total number of voters in the borough is 143. A court for the recovery of small debts was anciently held here, once in three weeks, which, having been discontinued for several years, was revived about twenty-five years ago, but was again discontinued in 1830, in consequence of the death of the presiding officer. The petty-sessions for the hundred are held here; and Knighton is one of the polling-places in the election of a knight for the shire.
The living is a perpetual curacy, endowed with �600 private benefaction, �600 royal bounty, and �600 parliamentary grant; net income, �155; patron, the Earl of Powis. The tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of �290, and there is a glebe of above nine acres, valued at �30 per annum. The church, which is dedicated to St. Edward, and pleasantly situated on the bank of the river Teme, is a comparatively modern edifice. Thomas Meyrick, in 1770, bequeathed �40, and Ralph Dimwood gave �50, with which sums a rent-charge of �4 was purchased, now applied in aid of some National and infant schools, established in the year 1846: the children are also instructed on Sundays, when a few additional scholars attend. There are six small almshouses for the poor, the founder of which is unknown; and several charitable donations and bequests for distribution have been lost, among which are a bequest of �50, by Mary Barnsley, in support of the school, and for the general benefit of the poor; a grant of land of the annual value of �2, by Lieut.Colonel Ralph Winwood; another, of �4. 5., by Judith and John Price; and a rent-charge of �2.10., bequeathed by Andrew Clark, in 1752. The poorlaw union of which this town is the head, was formed November 9th, 1836, and comprises within its limits the following parishes and townships; namely, Knighton, Beguildy, Blethva, Heyop, Llanano, Llanbadarn-Vynydd, Llanbister, Llandewi-Ystradenny, Llangunllo, Llanvihangel-Rhyd-Ithon, and Stanage, in the county of Radnor: Adforton with Stanway, Paytoe, and Grange; Brampton-Bryan; Buckton with Coxwall; and Walford with Letton and Newton; in the county of Hereford: and Bedstowe, Bettws-y-Crwyn, Bucknell, Llanvair-Waterdine, and Stowe, in the county of Salop. It is under the superintendence of twenty-three guardians, and contains a population of 9315 persons, of whom 6484 are in the Welsh portion. Of an ancient castle that commanded the town, the only remains are some vestiges of its site, which can be for the most part accurately pointed out: there are two tumuli in the parish; and on the summit of a steep hill, about three miles from the town, are the remains of a very extensive British camp.