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DINAS MOWDDWY-MALLWYD.

177

DOLGELLY TO MACHYNLLETH BY DINAS

MOWDDWY AND MALLWYD.

This road for the first three miles is the same as the direct road from Dolgelley to Machynlleth.

DINAS MOWDDWY

Is a small town rather more than 10 miles distant from Dolgelley. This was formerly a place of some importance, but it has long since dwindled into insignificance; it consists principally of one street of meanly built houses, and is situated at the junction of three vales, each of which is enclosed by lofty mountains. A mile and a half further on is

MALLWYD, A village delightfully situated in a small but fertile valley, watered by the Dovey, and abounding with diversified and picturesque scenery. The views in every direction are interesting, and in various parts of the parish are waterfalls, one of the principal of which is at Pont Vallwyd, in the township of Camlam, and close to the village of Mallwyd; this fall is formed by the river Dovey rushing through a narrow and rocky channel against a high slate rock in the centre of its bed, whence its waters are precipitated into a pool beneath. The church is dedicated to St. Tydecho; its eastern end is in Merionethshire and its western in Montgomeryshire; the communion table is singularly placed in the centre. In the church-yard are some remarkably fine yew trees. From Mallwyd to Machynlleth the distance is 11į miles.

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CHAPTER XVIII.

MACHYNLLETH TO ABERYSTWITH.

(18 Miles.)

Road to Aberystwith— Tre Taliesin--- Aberystwith-- History of Abe

rystwith Castle.

The entire road from Machynlleth to Aberystwith is well worthy of notice. About four miles from Machynlleth the road crosses the river Llysnant, which separates North from South Wales; a mile or two further is a small waterfall to the left of the road; eight miles and a half from Aberystwith is Tre Taliesin, the place where the celebrated bard Taliesin* was buried. Soon afterwards, plantations to a vast extent, and the beautiful vale of the Rheidol, present themselves to the view; two miles from Aberystwith the sea becomes visible, and then the town and castle of

ABERYSTWITH,

The Conflux of the Istwith. This is now a celebrated seabathing place, frequented by much company. It contains 4128 inhabitants, and is situated at the mouths of the rivers Ystwith and Rheidol. The houses, especially those let for lodgings, are for the most part extremely good. The best of these are in the Marine Terrace, which forms the east side of the Marine Parade, an elegant crescent close to and commanding a fine view of the sea. At the north end of the

* For an account of this person see chap. 31.

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parade is Craiglais, or Constitution Hill; and at the south end is a gateway, forming the entrance to the castle house, a gothic building, erected by the late Sir Uvedale Price, after designs by Mr. Nash. It is now the property and the occasional residence of Sir Robert Price. Beyond the castle house, on a lofty rock projecting into the sea, are the ruins of the castle; these are interspersed with walks, from parts of which, at high water, the sea may be seen to burst finely upon the rock, at the same time yielding a peculiar hollow sound, like the distant firing of cannon.

The custom house is a suitable building overlooking the harbour. The church is a capacious building, in the form of a cross; it has been recently erected. The assembly rooms stand on an elevated spot near the church. Aberystwith likewise contains a market-place, a town hall, baths, two dispensaries, a national school, a grammar school, and several meeting-houses.

The harbour, which was formerly extremely bad, has been much improved within these last few years, by joining the mouths of the rivers Ystwith and Rheidol ; but within these last few months still more active measures have been taken for preventing the formation of the bar which accumulates at the entrance, and for rendering the harbour a safe retreat for vessels during bad weather. For this purpose, on Easter Monday, 1838, the first stone was laid of the new pier; this is to consist of two branches, one extending in a north-westerly direction to a distance of 300 yards, and the other in an opposite direction to a distance of about 100 yards; the width of these two branches will be 40 feet at the top, and 90 feet and more, progressively, at the bottom; the estimated expense is 13,0001.; there are a great many workmen employed, and the undertaking is proceeding most rapidly. The beach near Aberystwith abounds with valuable pebbles, which are cut, polished, and sold by the lapidaries in the town. Within a few hundred yards to the east of the town, upon a common, close to the river, is a chalybeate spring. The races take place annually, about August, in a field near Goggerdan, three miles from the town. At Aberystwith the autumnal fishing for salmon and sewin is excellent. There is also good lake fishing within a day's excursion; and the Aberlery, a river about six miles to the north, and the river Teiy, eighteen miles to the east of the town, likewise afford capital sport.

In the vicinity of Aberystwith silver and lead mines were formerly worked to a great extent, and even at this present day a considerable quantity of lead is procured from them. From one of these called Cwmswmlog, Sir Hugh Myddleton, in the reign of Elizabeth, accumulated a fortune sufficient to enable him to bring the New River from Hertfordshire to London.

The Belle Vue at Aberystwith is an excellent hotel, besides which are the Talbot Inn, the Goggerddan Arms, and the Lion Hotel.

History of Aberystwith Castle. The castle was founded at the commencement of the 12th century by Gilbert Strongbow, to protect the possessions which, by permission of Henry I., he had acquired from Cadwgan ab Bleddyn. In 1135 it was taken by Owen Gwynedd and Cadwalader, his brother, and utterly demolished. Cadwalader soon afterwards, marrying Alice daughter of Richard Earl of Clare and Lord of Cardigan, rebuilt the castle and made it his chief place of residence ; but Owen Gwynedd, after his accession to the sovereignty of North Wales, in revenge for his brother's contumacy, besieged it and burnt it to the ground. After having been restored and destroyed several times, we find that Edward I. rebuilt it in 1277, in order to secure the fulfilment of the conditions of the

peace

which he had concluded with Llewelyn, and placing in it a strong

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garrison, returned to England. Shortly afterwards the Welsh, breaking the peace, captured the castle. They did not, however, retain it long, but soon delivered it up to the English. In the fifth year of the reign of Henry IV.it was taken by Owen Glyndwr, but it was finally recovered by the English in 1408. Mr. Bushel, who succeeded Sir Hugh Myddleton in the possession of the mines royal of Cardiganshire, having obtained permission of Charles I., in the year 1631, established a mint in the castle for the convenience of paying the men employed in the mines; and several of the silver coins there struck, bearing the impression of an ostrich feather (the crest of the Prince of Wales), have been discovered. At the commencement of the contest between Charles I. and his parliament, the castle was strongly garrisoned for the king, and strengthened with additional fortifications. In 1647 it was besieged, and taken by the parliamentarians, and soon afterwards dismantled, since which time it has remained in ruins.

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