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“ compelled to perform the duties of the “ church. against the customs and rules of the “ order. Sometimes they had no breeches, " and could not attend divine service." Thus it appears, that eventually the condition of the monks, though sore against their wills, reverted to the intention of their founder. The monastery continued in this unthriving state till the dissolution of those concerns ; when, according to Dugdale, the abbey near Gloucester was valued at 6481. 195. 11d. and this in Monmouthshire at 711. 3s. 2d.
OLDCASTLE, a little village on the eastern slope of the Black mountains which skirt the vale of Ewias on the right, is supposed by Gale and Stukeley to have been the ancient Blestium, but upon grounds that are very inconclusive : true it is, however, that several encampments near the spot wear a Roman character, and they were in the habit of raising such camps near their station. But the place is more noticed as having been the residence of Sir John Oldcastle, Lord Cobham, the companion of Henry the Fifth, and afterwards chief of the Lollards, and martyr to their religious views. His ancient mansion, called the court-house, was taken
down about thirty years ago; so that nothing now remains to satisfy the antiquary.
But the picturesque traveller will hardly fail of a lively interest, while, traversing the superior heights of the neighbouring mountains, he views the grand extent of the Monmouthshire wilds, and traces the different combinations of its majestic hills, which in some parts range into the most sinuous forms, in others extend for many miles into direc longitudinal ridges; or, when, withdrawing from the sterile dignity of the high lands, his eye gratefully reposes on the gentle vallies that sweep beneath their brows, enlivened by glistening streams, and rich in all the luxuriance of high cultivation.
THE road from Abergavenny to Brecon, bordering the clear and lively Usk in a romantic valley, soon leaves the charming county of Monmouth; but is attended with such a continuance of agreeable scenery as may diminish in a considerable degree the regret of the tourist.
Among the verdant accompaniments of the serpentizing river, the rich groves and smiling lawns of Dany
Park are conspicuous, swelling above a fertile vale, and backed by a range of wild mountains. Nearly opposite this, in a field to the right of the road and the fifteen mile-stone from Brecon, is a single upright stone, about fourteen feet high, conjectured to be a monument of the druidical ages.
CRICKHOWELL, about two miles farther, is an old mean-built town; but, hanging on the steep declivities of a fine hill, and dignified with the picturesque ruin of a castle, it is an interesting object in the approach. The extent of this fragment of antiquity (of obscure origin), sometimes called Alashby Castle, is by no means considerable; the foundation of the keep, seated on a high artificial mound, denotes much original strength, and all the standing walls shew a very remote .erection ; although a few enrichments of later times may be perceived beneath the thickly-woven ivy. A narrow Gothic bridge crosses the Usk here to the pleasing village of Langottoc, the neighbourhood of which is enlivened with several handsome seats; but no one is more remarkable for the excellence of its position and the singularity of its de
sign than a lately-erected residence of Admiral Gell's.
The road continues scenic and entertaining to the small village of TreTOWER, only to be noticed for a few picturesque fragments of its castle, once the residence of Mynarch lord of Brecon. Then winding round a conical eminence, the road ascends a mighty hill called the Bwlch, which term signifies a rent in a mountain : during which ascent, a farewel view of the vale of the Usk, with a small tributary valley, and its appendant stream descending from some gloomy mountains tó the north, and joining it near the castle of Tretower, is truly interesting and grand. But from these wide-ranging views, and all external scenery, the tourist becomes shut up on entering the pass of the mountains, a sterile hollow, from which he emerges on a subject of an entirely opposite and very singular description. Surrounded by dark mountains, melancholy and waste; appears an extensive lake called LANGOR's Pool, upwards of six miles in circumference; which, as the natives assure you, is the site of a large city swallowed up by an earthquake, and is