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CHAPTER XX.

LLANIDLOES TO MONTGOMERY.

(22 Miles.)

l'iew of the Country-Anecdote of Edward Herbert, Esq.- Newtown—

Cataract-Castell Dolforwyn— History of the Castle— View near Abermule— Montgomery-Church - Castle--History of Castle-Leland's Description of the TownThe Cucking Stool formerly in use there.

On leaving Llanidloes the country plainly indicates an approach towards England. The road winds along a vale much flatter and more highly cultivated than any in the interior of Wales.

The river Severn is here but a few yards across, and it glides silently and smoothly along, reflecting brightly the green impending foliage of its banks.

Fields, lawns, hills, vallies, pastures, all appear
Clad in the varied beauties of the year.
Meand'ring waters, waving woods are seen,
And cattle scatter'd in each distant green.
The curling smoke from cottages ascends,
There towers the hill, and there the valley bends.

About seven miles from Llanidloes is the village of Llandinam, here mentioned only for the purpose of relating an anecdote of the valour of Edward Herbert, Esq., the grandfather of the celebrated Lord Herbert of Chirbury. This gentleman was a strenuous opposer of the outlaws and thieves of his time, who were in great force among the mountains of Montgomeryshire.

In order to suppress them he often went with his adherents to the places which they frequented. Some of them having been seen in a public house at Llandinam, Mr. Herbert and a few of his servants proceeded thither to apprehend them. The principal outlaw aimed an arrow at him, which struck his saddle, and stuck there. Mr. Herbert, with his sword in his hand, and with undaunted courage, galloped up to him, and took him prisoner. He pointed to the arrow, requesting the fellow to observe what he had done. “ Ah !” (replied the man) “ had not my best bow been left behind, I should have done a greater deed than shoot your saddle.” He was tried for the crime, found guilty, and hanged.

At the distance of 13 miles from Llanidloes is

NEWTOWN, Or, as it is called by the Welsh, Tre Newydd, a town of considerable size, containing 4550 inhabitants, and famous for the manufacture of flannel. To this town extends the western branch of the Montgomeryshire canal. In 1827 a handsome stone bridge was erected here over the Severn, but it is deficient in width ; adjoining to this are commodious public rooms, which were completed in 1832.

In the church is a screen said to have been brought from some neighbouring abbey, and a small altar piece, which bears the reputation of having been painted by Dyer, the poet. The subject is the Last Supper, but it is in part a copy from Poussin, and is bad.

The principal inns at Newtown are the Bear's Head and the Red Lion.

A glen about a mile from the town, on the right of the road, leading to Builth, contains a cataract and some beau

tiful scenery.

CASTELL DOLFORWYN.

189

The old road from Newtown to Montgomery passes

all the way through a finely cultivated country. The infant Severn accompanies the road nearly half the distance, in some places approaching in others receding from it and hidden by intervening trees and hedges. Three miles and a half from Newtown, on the north-west bank of the Severn, are to be found the remains of

CASTELL DOLFORWYN, The Castle of the Virgin's Meadow. These are situated upon a lofty hill that commands the whole of the adjacent country. From hence there is a lovely and extensive prospect of the vale of the Severn, through which the river glides in elegant curves, blackened by its high and shady banks. The landscape is enlivened by the luxuriance of woods and meadows, and the towns and villages around lend their aid to decorate the scene.

The castle has been a four-sided building, of no great strength, about fifty yards long, and twenty-five wide ; and the exterior walls appear to have been about four feet in thickness. A small part of the north wall, with some trifling remains of the interior of the building, are yet left. The south and east walls are entirely demolished, and the other parts that are yet standing are greatly shattered.

History of the Castle.—There have been various conjectures respecting the founder of this castle. Dugdale attributes it to David ap Llewelyn, Prince of Wales, about the middle of the 13th century. Stowe says it was the work of Llewelyn, and Mr. Evans, who is now generally thought to be right, that it was indebted for its origin to Bleddyn ap Cynvyn, some time between the years 1066 and 1073.*

he

stitutiones Linguæ Cym

* Evans's Dissertatio de Bardis, 92, fro raecæ of John David Rhys.

In the sixth year of the reign of Edward I. Bogo de Knovill was made governor; and, in the following year, the castle was granted to Roger Mortimer, Earl of March, to hold to himself and his heirs by the service of one knight's fee. His son was attainted of high treason, but afterwards, on the reversal of the attainder, it was restored to the family in the person of the grandson. By the marriage of Anne, the sister to the last Earl of March, with Richard Plantagenet, Earl of Cambridge, this and some other Welsh castles became the property of the House of York, and then descended to the crown.

It cannot, at this distance of time, be readily ascertained how this castle first took the name of Dolforwyn, or the Meadow of the Virgin.

The few houses at Abermule, the Conflux of the River Mule, about four miles from Newtown, are delightfully situated on the bank of the Severn, surrounded by hills, and decorated by woods. Shortly afterwards the road gently ascends, and from the eminence a view so extensive and beautiful bursts on on the sight, as to defy the utmost expression of the pencil to represent it. A vale in high cultivation is seen to extend for several miles, the Severn appearing in different parts from among the trees and meadows; the whole scene is bounded by distant hills. The descent continues still beautiful; and, near the town of Montgomery, the fine ruins of its castle form a very interesting addition to the prospect.

MONTGOMERY, Though small, is rather a neat town, and pleasantly situated; it contains 1188 inhabitants, and is nine miles distant from Newtown. All the adjacent country is decorated with the most lively and luxuriant scenery.

The church is an elegant cruciform structure, dedicated

MONTGOMERY CASTLE.

191

to St. Nicholas; the tower was erected in the

year

1816 by the present Lord Powis. This church, the interior of which is particularly chaste and neat, contains a fine ancient monument to the memory of Richard Herbert, Esq. (the father of the celebrated Lord Herbert of Chirbury,) and his lady. The two figures are recumbent under a magnificent and much ornamented canopy. In an adjacent corner of the church are the helmet and banner said to have been used by Lord Herbert. The monument

The monument to Richard Herbert, together with two recumbent figures on the floor adjoining it, were restored under the auspices of the late rector.

The county gaol is a compact and well arranged stone building.

The Dragon is the principal inn.

MONTGOMERY CASTLE

Is situated upon an eminence on the north side of the town, and appears to have been once a grand and majestic building. It is, however, at present so much demolished, that it is impossible to trace its extent with any degree of accuracy. It stood on a rock, precipitous on one side, and so elevated as to overlook all the immediately adjacent country. The present remains consist of a small part of a tower at the south-west angle, and a few low and shattered walls. This fortress seems to have been defended by four fosses, cut in the rock, each of which had formerly its drawbridge.

History of Montgomery Castle.- Montgomery was built and fortified with a castle during the reign of William the Conqueror, by Baldwin, Lieutenant of the Marches: and in 1092 the place was fortified afresh by its then owner, Roger de Montgomery, Earl of Shrewsbury. In the following year the Welsh, mustering all their force, rose in arms, and seized and ransacked the castle. William Rufus marched with an army to the relief of the English, and retook and

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