Llandrindod - From 'A Topographical Dictionary of Wales' (1849)
LLANDRINDOD, a parish, in the poor-law union of Builth, hundred of Kevenlleece, county of Radnor, South Wales, 4 miles (S. by W.) from Pen-y-Bont; containing 270 inhabitants. This place derives its name from the dedication of its church to the Holy Trinity, and is celebrated for the variety and efficacy of its mineral springs, the virtue of which appears to have been discovered at a remote period, most probably by the Romans, of whose occupation of this part of the country numerous vestiges are found in the immediate vicinity. The parish is bounded on the west by the river Ithon, a stream noted for its trout and graylings, and which separates it from the parish of Llanyre; on the east it is bounded by the parish of Kevenlleece, and on the south by that of Disserth. It comprises by computation 2800 acres, consisting of nearly equal portions of arable, meadow, pasture, and waste or common land; the surface is generally hilly, with several extensive commons of lower elevation. The horizon is bounded by an entire amphitheatre of hills, the sides of some of which are agreeably diversified by small plantations; and although the prevailing aspect of the country is remarkably wild, it has in its more retired parts numerous scenes of picturesque beauty. The soil is for the most part exceedingly barren, and extensive tracts are allowed to remain uncultivated: wheat, barley, and oats are raised; and the timber consists of oak and ash. Lead-ore has been found at different periods, and some tons of it were dug up in 1790.
The MINERAL Waters to which the place owes its importance, appear to have been used from time immemorial by the inhabitants of the immediate neighbourhood; but their efficacy was not generally known till about the close of the seventeenth century, when, their reputation being published at a distance, the village first became the resort of strangers. Its rise, notwithstanding, was very slow, and frequently interrupted; and it was not till about the year 1749 that it attained any note as a place of fashionable resort for invalids. About this period, Mr. Grosvenor, of Shrewsbury, took the leases of several houses in the parish, with a considerable tract of land. One of the buildings he converted into a spacious hotel, capable of accommodating numerous families; and among the alterations and additions which he made was a suite of rooms for balls, concerts, and billiards, with shops for supplying various articles of use or luxury for which the visiters might have occasion during their residence at the place. The land he laid out in pleasure-grounds, with plantations, shrubberies, and walks, tastefully disposed and ornamented; fishponds were formed in different parts, and a portion of the land was appropriated for a race-course. This extensive and complete establishment, which formed one of the most fashionable places of resort in the principality, continued to flourish for nearly fifty years, when, becoming a rendezvous chiefly for gamesters and libertines, the then proprietor of the estate, from religious motives, caused the greater part of the house to be taken down, and nothing now remains to remind the visiter of its former attractions but the sites of the fishponds, and a small farmhouse occupying the site of one of the old dining-rooms of "Llandrindod Hall."
In the course of a few years, the place began to recover from the decay into which it had fallen, and the reputation of its waters attracted the attention of numerous visiters. The want of accommodation, however, continued to be a subject of reiterated complaint, and a great obstacle to its prosperity, until remedied by the exertions of the proprietor of the Pump-House Inn and Boarding-House. This establishment makes up from forty to fifty beds, and though there is no other boarding-house, lodgings can be obtained at the Rock House, a comfortable place in the dingle below Llanerch inn, and also at several farmhouses in the vicinity.
Here are three different springs, called, respectively, the rock or chalybeate, the saline pump water, and the sulphureous spring; there is also a spring called the eye water, supposed to be efficacious in diseases of the eye. The rock, or chalybeate, water issues from a slaty rock, near the lodging-house to which it gives name. According to an analysis to which it has been subjected, a gallon of this water contains fifty-seven grains of muriate of lime, fortyeight grains and three-fourths of muriate of magnesia, two hundred and thirty-nine grains of muriate of soda, three grains and two-fifths of carbonate of lime, one grain and a third of silex, and nearly six grains and one-fifth of carbonate of iron. The saline spring is within the grounds of the Pump-House. One gallon of this water contains sixty-seven grains of muriate of lime, twenty-five grains of muriate of magnesia, two hundred and forty-two grains of muriate of soda, five grains and one-fifth of vegetable matter, and three-fifths of a grain of carbonate of magnesia. The sulphureous spring is situated within a hundred yards to the south of the saline spring. One gallon of the water contains fifty-four grains of muriate of lime, thirty-one grains and twofifths of muriate of magnesia, two hundred and sixteen grains and three-tenths of muriate of soda, and six grains of vegetable matter. This water is best adapted for artificial baths, but, like the saline water, is also taken internally. The Llandrindod waters are recommended to be drunk in the morning, and upon an empty stomach, in moderate quantities; and, when used both internally and externally, have been found very beneficial in numerous chronic cases, among which may be enumerated rheumatism, gout, inveterate ulcers, and scrofula. The saline and sulphureous springs have been recommended by the most eminent physicians, and their efficacy is thoroughly established in the following disorders; namely, diseased liver, indigestion, gravel, cutaneous distempers, and general debility, whether arising from sedentary habits, or from too free a use of vinous and spirituous liquors. The rock water is only drunk in particular cases, and then after a course of the former. The sulphur water is considered to be the best adapted to external applications, and is therefore sometimes used as a bath. Medical advice should be obtained before using the springs.
The air is remarkably salubrious, and the sequestered retirement of the situation is highly favourable to the attainment of health: the neighbourhood affords interesting equestrian excursions, and to sportsmen unlimited range for shooting and fishing; and in the vicinity of the village are numerous pleasant walks. These advantages, uniting with the powerful efficacy of the waters, have rendered the place a favourite resort of invalids; and the comfortable accommodations which are provided, and the agreeable society to be found in this secluded spot, attract to it in the season a considerable number of visiters. The season commences about the beginning of May, and generally continues to the middle or end of October, and is enlivened by occasional balls, under the arrangement of the parties living at the Pump-House. The turnpike-road from Builth, in the county of Brecknock, to Newtown, in that of Montgomery, passes through the parish, along which a coach from Bristol, Swansea, Merthyr-Tydvil, and Brecknock, runs three days in the week to the Pump-House: the inhabitants receive their letters from the post-office at Pen-y-Bont.
The living is a perpetual curacy, endowed with £600 royal bounty, and £200 parliamentary grant; net income, £48; patron, the Bishop of St. David's: the tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £100, and there is an impropriate glebe of one acre and a half, valued at £1. 2. per annum. The church, dedicated to the Holy Trinity, and situated at the edge of an extensive common, near the river Ithon, is a very rude edifice, built in 1603, without mortar, and covered with tiles; it measures sixty feet by twenty-four, and contains accommodation for 150 persons. A school in union with the Church was commenced in the year 1846. Two benefactions of £10 each, one of which was given by the Rev. Philip Lewis, and the other by Mr. John Bevan Meredith, are now secured on lands, and the interest is annually divided among decayed farmers: two other charities, one by John Jones of £10, and another by Evan Jones of £8, have been lost in consequence of the insolvency of a party entrusted with the principal.
Within the limits of the parish are several remains of British and Roman antiquity. On the common, just below the church, is a quadrilateral intrenchment, nearly one hundred yards in circuit, defended by a vallum, the angles of which are all rounded off: the remains of the rampart are still visible on the south and west sides. At the eastern extremity of the common, above the village of Howy, are some tolerably perfect remains of an encampment, nearly circular in form, inclosing an area about fifty yards in diameter, surrounded by an exterior vallum, and having entrances only on the east and west. It occupies the gentle declivity of an undulating surface, and, from its form, and contiguity to other Roman works, has been supposed to be the remains of a circus or amphitheatre for the celebration of games; but the area is quite inadequate to that purpose, and its position and construction are ill adapted for the accommodation of spectators. Near it are some very faint traces of another encampment, nearly square, with two of the angles rounded, and having the appearance of projecting bastions.
These various remains, which have been described in the Transactions of the Society of Antiquaries as "campi æstivi," are placed at irregular distances along the common, contiguous to the track of an ancient paved road, which is supposed to have been a vicinal way from a station on the banks of the Ithon, in the parish of Llanvihangel-Helygen, on a farm called Cwm. The form of the camps is quadrilateral, with the angles rounded off, and each generally contains within the embankment an area twenty-five or thirty yards square. They have entrances on each of the four sides, and adjacent to those in a few of them may be distinguished a slightly elevated spot, thought by some to have been the station of a centinel; but the valla, which in no instance are more than two feet in height above the ground, are very indistinct. The common on which they are situated is so deeply furrowed in every direction with the turf spade, and marked by embanked inclosures, that, except in some particular places, where the lines of the camps are very strongly defined, it is extremely difficult to ascertain their precise form, or to discover their origin.
On the same common are the remains of seven barrows, five of which are near each other, and the other two at a small distance from them; they have been opened, and were found to contain some rudelyformed urns, with ashes of human bones. Near the church is an ancient lead-mine, which is supposed to have been originally worked by the Romans: the shaft is three feet square, and is said to be 300 feet in depth, with a level three-quarters of a mile in length; it has been worked of late years, but is not at present in operation. The foundations of an old chapel were discovered in a corn-field some time since; it was called "Capel Vaelog," but nothing is known of its history. In a field belonging to the farm rented with the Pump-House, many silver coins of the reigns of Elizabeth, James I., and Charles I. and II., have been dug up.