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HE last Country of the Silures was that, I thinke, which wee at this day call Glamorganshire, the Britans Morganuc, Glath-Morgan and Glad Vorganuc, that is, The Region of Morganuc, so named, as most suppose of one Morgan a Prince, as others thinke of Morgan an Abbay. But if I derived it from mor, which in the British tongue signifieth The sea, I know not verily whether I should dally with the truth or no. Howbeit, I have observed that a towne in little Britaine standing upon the sea-coast, now called Morlais, was of Ptolomee and the ancient Gaules termed Vorganium or Morganium (for M and V consonant are often changed one for another in this tongue), and whence I pray you but from the sea? And this our Morganoc also lieth upon the sea. For, stretching out more in length than it spreadeth in bredth, on the South-side it is accosted with the Severn sea. But where it looketh toward the Land, it hath on the East-side Monmouth-shire, on the North Brechnochshire, and on the West Caermardenshire bordering upon it. The North part by reason of the mountaines is rough and unpleasant, which as they bend downe southward by little and little become more mild and of better soile, and at the foote of them there stretcheth forth a plaine open to the South-Sunne, in that position of situation which Cato judged to bee the best, and for the which Pliny so highly commendeth Italy. For this part of the County is most pleasant and fruitfull, beautified also on every side with a number of townes.
2. Jestine a great Lord in the reigne of William Rufus, after he had rebelled against Rhese his Prince, and not able to make his part good with him, very rashly and inconsideratly (which hee afterward repented to late) sent Enion, a noble man to whom he had affianced his daughter, to procure Robert Fitz-Haimon, sonne to Haimon Dentatus Lord of Corboil in Normandy, to come out of England and aide him against Rhese. Who forthwith having mustered certaine forces, and taking for to associate him in this journey twelve knights, first gave Rhese Battaile and slew him, and afterwards, being allured with the fertility of the Country, whereof beforehand hee had made full account to be Lord, turning his powre upon Jestine him selfe because hee had not kept touch with Enion nor performed his promise, easily thrust him out of his ancient inheritance and shared the Country among his companions. The hard and baraine hill Country hee granted tot he said Enion, the more fertile parts hee devided betweene him and those twelve knights whom he termed Peres, on this condition, that they should hold them in fee and vasallage of him as their cheife Lord, to maintaine one another in common with their aides and auxiliary forces, to defend every one his owne ward in his Castle of Caerdiff, and to be present and assist him in his courts in the administration of Justice. It shall not bee amisse to put downe their names out of a little pamphlet which Sir Edward Stradling or Sir Edward Maunsel, both knights, men of ancient descent, and most skilful in Antiquity, I wot not whether (for it goeth abroad under both their names) wrote concerning this matter. And these be their names.
William of London or de Londres
Oliver Saint John
Robert de Saint Quintin
William Easterling, for that he was borne in Germanie, whose
heires are now called Stradlings
3. The river Rhemnie, falling from the mountaines, is the limite on the Eastside, whereby this Country is divided from Monmouthshire, and rhemni in the British tongue signifieth to Divide. Not farre from it were the river holdeth on his course through places hardly passable, among the hills, in a marish ground are to be seene the tottering wals of Caer-philli Castle, which hath beene of so huge a bignesse, and such a wonderfull peece of worke beside, that all men wel nere say it was a garison-fort of the Romans. Neither will I denie it, although I cannot as yet perceive by what name they called it. And yet it may seeme to have beene re-edified anew, considering it hath a chappell built after the Christians maner (as I was enformed by John Sanford, a man singular well learned and of exact judgment), who diligently tooke view of it. In later ages it was the possession of the Clares Earles of Glocester descended from Haimon aforesaid; neither do any of our Chronicles make mention thereof before King Edward the Seconds time. For then, after that the Spensers by underhand practises had set the King, Queene, and Barons at debate, the Barons besieged a long time Hugh Spenser the younger, whom they called Hugolin, herein, and could not prevaile. By this river also (but the place is not certainely knowne) Faustus, a very good sonne, as Ninnius writeth, of Vortigern so bad a father, built a great place where with other holy men hee praied daily unto God that him selfe, whom his father, committing most abominable incest, had begotten of his own daughter, might not be punished grievously for his fathers faults, also that his father might at length repent heartily, and his native Country be eased from the bloudy wars of the Saxons.
4. A little beneath hath Ptolomee placed the mouth of Ratostabius or Ratostibius, using a maimed word in steed of Traith-Taff, that is, The sandy Trith of the river Taff. For the said river Taff, sliding downe from the hilles, runneth toward the sea by Landaff, that is, the Church by Taff, a small Citie and of small reputation, situate somewhat low, yet a Bishops See, having within the Dioecesse 154 parishes, and adourned with a Cathedral Church consecrated to Saint Telean Bishop of the same. Which Church German and Lupus, French Bishops, then erected, whenas they had suppressed the haeresie of Pelagius that was dangerously spred all Britaine over, and preferred Dubricius a most holy man to be the first Bishop there, unto whom Meuricke a British Lord freely gave all the land that lieth betweene the rivers Taff and Elei. From hence goeth Taff to Caerdiff, called of the Britans Caer-did, a proper fine towne (as townes goe in this country) and a very commodious haven, which the foresaid Fitz-Haimon fortified with a wall and Castle, that it might bee both a seat for warre and a Court of Justice: wherein, beside a band of choise soldiers, those twelve Knights were bound to keepe Castle-gard. Howbeit a few yeers after, Yvor Bach, a British Mountainer, a little man of person but of a great and resolute courage, marching with a band of men by night without any sturre, suddenly surpised, tooke prisoner William Earle of Glocester, Fitz-Haimons daughters sonne, together with his wife and young sonne, and detained them in hold with him untill he had made him full satisfaction for all wrongs and losses. But how Robert Curthose, William the Conquerours eldest sonne, a man overventerous and foole hardy in Warlicke exploits, quite put by his hope of the Crowne of England by his younger brethren and bereft of both his eies, lived untill he was an old man in this Castle, you may see if you please in our Historians, and understand withall that roiall parentage is never assured either of ends or safe securitie.
5. Scarce three miles from the mouth of Taff, in the very bending of the shore, there lie aflote as it were two small but pleasant Ilands, separated one from another and from the maine land with narrow in-lettes of the sea. The hithermore is called Sullie of the towne right over against it, which tooke the name name, as it is thought, of Robert Sully (for it fell to his part in the division), if you would not rather have him to take his name of it. The farthermore is named Barry of Baruch, an holy man buried there, who as hee gave name to the place, so the place gave the surname afterwards to the Lords thereof. For that noble familie of Vicounts Barries in Ireland had their originall from hence. In a rocke, or cliffe hereof by the sea side, saith Giraldus, there appeereth a very litle chinck, into which if you lay your eare you shall hare a noise as it were of Smithes at worke, one while the blowing of bellowes, another while the striking of sledge and hammer, sometime the sound of the grindstone and iron tooles rubbing against it, the hissing sparkes also of steele-gads within holes, as they are beaten, yea and the puffing noise of fire burning in the furnace. Now , I should easilie bee perswaded that such a sound may come of the sea-water closely getting into the rocke, were it not the same continued as well when the sea ebbeth at low water when the shore is bare, as it doth at an high water when it is full sea. Not unlike to this was the place which Clemens Alexandrinus maketh mention of in the seventh booke of his Stromata in these words: They that have written histories doe say that in the Isle of Britaine there is a certaine hole or cave under the botome of an hill, and on the toppe thereof a gaping chaune or chinke. And whensoever the winde is gathered into that hole and tossed too and fro in the wombe or concavity thereof, there is heard above a sound of cymballs. For the winde driven backe gives the stronger sound. Beyond these Islands, the shire runneth directly westward and giveth entrance and passage to one river, upon which more within land standeth Cowbridge (the Britans of the Stone-bridge call it Pont-van), a mercate towne, and the second of those three which Fitz-Haimon the Conqueror kept for himselfe. Now, whereas Antonine the Emperor in this very coast, at the same distance from Isca, placed Bovium, which also is corruptly read Bomium, my conjecture liked me so well that I have beene of opinion this towne was the said Bovium. But seeing that three miles from hence there standeth Boverton, which fitly accordeth in sound with Bovium, so love me truth, I dare not seeke for Bovium elsewhere. And that it is no strange and new thing that places should be fitted with names from Kine and Oxen, I report mee to Bosporous in Thracia, Bovianum in Samnium, and Baulie in Italie, as it were, Boalia, if wee may beleeve Symmachus But let this one argument serve for all. Fifteene miles from Bovium hath Antonine placed, even with a Latine name, the towne Nidum, which though our Antiquaries have beene this great while a-hunting after in vaine, yet at the very same distance there sheweth it selfe Neath, a towne very well knowne, retaining still the old name, in manner, whole and sound, and here at Lantwit, that is, The Church of Iltut, that joyneth close thereto, are seene the foundations of many houses, for it had divers streetes in old time. A little from hence in the very bout [bend] well nere of the shore standeth Saint Donats Castle, a faire habitation of the ancient and notable familie of the Stradlings, neere unto which were lately digged up antique peeces of Roman money, but those especially of the thirty Tyrants, yea and some of Aemilianus and Marius, which are seldome found. The river Ogmor, somewhat higher, maketh him selfe way into the sea, falling downe from the mountaines by Coitie, which belonged sometimes to the Turbevills, afterwards to the Gamages, and now to Sir Robert Sidney Vicount Lisle in right of his wife: also by Ogmore Castle, which came from the familie of London to the Duchy of Lancaster. Some few miles from hence there is a well at Newton (as Sir John Stradling, a verie learned knight, hath signified unto me), a little towne on the banke of the river Ogmor Westward, an hundred paces well neere from Severn side, in a sandie plaine. The water thereof is none of the cleerest, yet pure enough and good for use. It never springeth and walmeth up to the brinke, but by certaine staires folke goe downe into the well. At any flowing of the sea (in summer time) you shall hardlie gette up a dish full of water, whereas if you come anon when it ebbeth, you may well lade uppe water with a good bigge bucket or paile. The like instability remaineth also in Winter time, saving that it nothing so evident by reason of the veines of water coming in from above by shewres and otherwise. Many of the inhabitants thereabout, men of good credite, constantly avouched thus much into mee. But I, distrusting Fame, that often time doth but prate, went my selfe of late once or twice to the said well. For even then had I great desire to write thus unto you. When I was first come unto the place, and had staied the third part of an houre vewing and considering every thing (while Severn surged and rose high, and nobody came thither to draw) the water was fallen about three ynches. I goe my waies. And not long after when I was returning againe, I finde it to be risen a foote higher. The compasse of this well beneath within the walles is almost six foote. Concerning which my Muse also enditeth this Ditty:
With troublous noise and roaring loud, the Severn Nymph doth cry,
New-towne, on thee, and bearing spite unto the ground thereby,
Casts up and sends with violence maine drifts of hurtful sand.
The neighbour-parts feel equall losse by this her heavy hand,
But on thy little well she laies the weight, which she would woo
And faine embrace, as Virgin she along the shore doth goe.
Call’ d though he be, he lurkes in den, and striveth hard againe.
For ebbe and flow continually by tides they keepe, both twaine,
Yet diversly. For as the Nymph doth rise, the spring doth fall.
Go she back, he com’ s on, in spite and fight continuall.
6. The like fountaine Polybius reporteth to bee at Cadys, and this reason hee giveth thereof, namely, that the winde or aire, when it is deprived of his wonted issues, returneth within forth, and so by shutting and stopping up the passages and veines of the spring, keepeth in the waters, and contrariwise when the surface thereof is voide and empty of water, the veines of the source or spring are unstopped and set free, and so the water then boileth up in great abundance. From hence coasting along the shore, you come within the site of Kinefeage, the castle in old time of Fitz-Haimon him selfe; also of Margan, hard by the sea side, sometime an Abbay founded by William Earle of Glocester, but now the habitation of the worshipfull family of the Maunsells, knights. Neere unto this Margan, in the very top of an hill called Mynyd Margan there is erected of exceeding hard grit a monument or grave-stone, foure foote long and one foote broad, which an Inscription,which whosoever shall happen to read, the ignorant common people dwelling about give it out upon a credulous error that hee shall be sure to die within a little while after. Let the reader therefore looke to him selfe, if any dare read it, for let him assure himselfe that he shall for certaine die after it.
These latter words I read thus: AETERNALI IN DOMO, that is, In an eternall house. For Sepulchres in that age were termed AETERNALES DOMUS, that is, Aeternall habitations. Moreover, betweene Margan and Kinfeage by the high way side there lieth a stone foure foote long with this Inscription:
Which the Welsh Britans, by adding and changing letters, thus read and make this interpretation, as the right reverend Bishop of Landaff did write me, who gave order that the draught of this Inscription should bee taken likewise for my sake. PIM BIS AN CAR ANTOPIVS, that is, The five fingers of friends or neighbours killed us. It is verily thought to be the Sepulchre of Prince Morgan, from whom the Country tooke name, who was slaine, as they would have it, eight hundred yeeres before Christs nativity. But Antiquaries know full well that these Characters and formes of letters be of a farre later date.
7. After you are past Margan, the shore shooteth forth into the North-easy by Aber-Avon, a small mercate town upon the river Avons mouth (whereof it tooke the name) to the river Nid or Neath, infamous for a quick-sand, upon which stands an ancient towne of the same name, which Antonine the Emperour in his Itinerary called Nidum. Which when Fitz-Haimon made himself Lord of this Country, fell in the partition to Richard Granvills share, who having founded an Abbay under the very townes side, and consecrated his owne portion to God and to the Monkes, returned againe to his owne ancient and faire inheritance which he had in England.
Beneath this river Neath, whatsoever lieth betweene it and the river Loghor, which boundeth this shire in the West, we call Gower, the Britans and Ninnius Guhir, wherein, as he saith, the sonnes of Keian the Scot planted themselves, and tooke up a large roome, untill that by Cuneda a British Lord they were driven out. In the reigne of Henrie the First, Henrie Earle of Warwick wonne it from the Welsh, but by a conveiance and composition passed betweene William Earle of Warwick and King Henrie the Second, it came to the crowne. Afterward King John have it unto William Breos, ‡who had taken Arthur Earle of Britaine prisoner,‡ to be held by service of one knight for all service, and his heires successively held it, not without troubles, unto King Edward the Seconds daies. For then William Breos, ‡when he had alienated and sold this inheritance to many,‡ and in the end by mocking and disapointing all others, set Hugh Spenser in possession thereof, to curry favour with the King. And this was one cause, among other things, that the Nobles hated the Spensers so deadly, and rashly shooke off their allegiance to the King. ‡Howbeit this Gower came to the Mobraies by an heire of Breos.‡ This is now divided into the East part and the West. In the East part Swinesey is of great account, a towne so called by the Englishmen of Sea-Swine, but <by> the Britans Aber-Taw of the river Taw running by it, which the foresaied Henry Earle of Warwick fortified. But there is a towne farre more ancient than this by the river Loghor, which Antonine the Emperor called Leucarum, and we by the whole name, Loghor. Where, a little after the death of King Henry the First, Howell Ap Meredic, invading the Englishmen on a sodaine with a powre of the mountainers, slew divers men of quality and good account. Beneath this lieth West-Gower, and by reason of two armes of the sea winding in, on other side one, it becommeth a Biland, more memorable for the fruitfulnesse than the townes in it, and in times past of great name in regard of Kined, canonized a Saint, who lived heere a solitarie life, of whom if you desire to know more, read our countryman Capgrave, who hath set out his miracle with great commendation.
8. Since this Country was first conquered by the English, the Lords thereof were those that lineally descended from Fitz-Haemon, as Earles of Glocester, Clares, Spensers, Beauchamps, and one or two Nevills, and by a daughter of Nevill, who came likewise of Spensers bloud, Richard the Third King of England. But when he was slaine, King Henry the Seventh entered upon the inheritance of this Country, and gave it to his unkle Jaspar Duke of Bedford; and when hee died without issue, the King resumed it unto his owne hands and left it to his Sonne King Henrie the Eighth: whose sonne King Edward the Sixth sold the greatest part thereof to Sir William Herbert, whom hee had created Earle of Pembrock and Baron of Cardiff. But of the race of those twelve Knights there remaine onely in this shire the Stradlings, a notable house and of long continuance, the Turbervills, and some of the Flemings, the greatest man of which house dwelling at Flemingston, now corruptly called Flemston, as one would say, Flemingstone, which tooke the name of them. And in England there are remaining yet the Lord Saint John of Bletso, the Granvills in Devonshire, and the Siwards, as I am enformed, of Somersetshire. The issue male of all the rest is long since extinct and worne out, and their lands by daughters passed over to divers houses with sundrie alterations.
LINIE was of opinion that the Silures inhabited also the other part beside of this country, which, bearing out farther Westward, is called in English by some West-wales, and containeth Caermardenshire, Pembrockshire, and Cardiganshire. But Ptolomaee, who knew Britaine farre better, placed heere another people, whom he called Dimetae and Demetae. Gildas likewise and Ninneius have used the name of Demetia for this tract. Whereupon the Britans that inhabit it, changing M in to F according to the propriety of their tongue, commonly call it at this day Difed. If it would not be thought strained curiousity, I would derive tis denomination of the Demetae from Deheu Maeth, that is, A plaine champion toward the South, like as th Britans themselves have named all this South-wales Deheu-barth, that is, The Souith part. Yea and those verily who inhabited another chamption country in Britaine were called in old time Meatae. Neither, I assure you, is the site of this region disagreing from this signification. For whe you are come hither once, by rason that the high hilles gently setle downward and grow still lower and lower, it spreadeth by little and little into a plaine and even champion country.
AERMARDEN-SHIRE is plenteous enough in corne, stored abundantly with cattaile, and in some places yeeldeth it cole for fewell. On the East side it is limited with Glamorgan and Brecknockshires, on the North with Cardiganshire severed from it by the river Tivie running betweene, and on the South with the Ocean, which with so great a bay or creeke getteth within the land that this country seemeth as it were for very feare to have shrunke backe and withdrawne it selfe more inwardly.
2. Upon this Bay, Kidwelly first offreth it selfe to our sight, the Territorie whereof Keiani the Scot his sonnes held for a time, untill they were driven out by Cuneda the Britan. But now it is counted part of the inheritance of the Dutchy of Lancaster by the heires of Maurice of London or De Londres: who making an outroad hither out of Glamorganshire, after a dangerous war made himselfe Lord heereof, and fortified old Kidwelly with a wall and Castle to it, which now for very age is growen to decay and standeth, as it were, forlet [abandoned] and forlorne. For the inhabitants, having passed over the little river Vendraeth Vehan, built a new Kidwelly, entised thither by the commodity of the haven; which notwithstanding, being at this day choked with shelves and barres, is at this present of no great use. Whiles Mauric of London invaded these parts, Guenliana the wife of Prince Gruffin, a stout and resolute woman in the highest degree, to recover the losses and declining state of her husband, came with displaied banner into the field and fiercely assailed him, but, the successe not answerable to her courage, she with her sonne Morgan and other men of especiall note (as Girald recordeth) was slaine in battaile. By Hawis or Avis the daughter and heire of Sir Thomas of London, this passing faire and large patrimonie, together with the title of Lord of Ogmore and Kidwelly, came unto Patricke Chaworth, and by his sonne Patrickes daughter, unto Henrie Earle of Lancaster. Now the heires of the said Maurice of London (as we learn out of an old inquisition) for this inheritance were bound to this service, that if their Soveraigne Lord the King, or his chiefe Justice came into the parts about Kidwelly with an armie, they should conduct the foresaid armie with their banners and their people through the mids of Nethland as farre as to Loghar. A few miles beneath Kidwelly, the river Tovie, which Ptolomee calleth Tobius, falleth into the Sea after he hath passed through this region from North-east to South, first by Lanandiffry, so called, as men thinke, of rivers meeting together, which Hoel the sonne of Rhese overthrew for malice that he bare unto the English; then by Dinevor, a princely castle standing aloft upon the top of an hill and belonging unto the Princes of South-wales whiles they flourished; and last of all by Caer-Marden, which the Britans themselves call Caer-Firdhin, Ptolomee Maridunum, Antonine Muridunum, who endeth his Journeies there, and through negligence of the transcribers is in this place not well used. For they have confounded the Journeys from Galena to Isca, and from Maridunum to Viriconium. This is the chiefe Citie of the country, for medowes and woods pleasant, and in regard of antiquity to be respected, compassed about very properly, as Giraldus saith, with brick-walles which are partly yet standing upon the famous river Tovy, able to beare small ships, although there be now a barre of sand cast up against the very mouth thereof. In this Citie was borne the Tages of the Britans, I meane Merlin. For like as Tages, being the sonne of an evill Angell, taught his countrimen the Tuscans the art of Soothsaying, so this Merlin, the sonne of an Incubus Spirit, devised for our Britans prophesies, nay rather meere phantastical dreames. Whereby in this Iland he hath beene accounted among the credulous and unskilfull people a most renowned Prophet. Straight after the Normans entring into Wales, this Citie was reduced (but I wote not by whose conduct) under their subjection, and for a long time sore afflicted with many calamities and distresses, being oftentimes assaulted, once or twice set on fire, first by Gruffin ap Rise, then by Rise the said Gruffins brother. At which time, Henrie Turbervill an Englishmen succoured the castle and heawed downe the bridge. But afterwards by the meanes of Gilbert de Clare, who fortified both the walles thereof and the castles adjoining, it was freed from these miseries; and being once eased of all grievances, and in security enduring afterwards more easily from time to time the tempests of warre and all assaults. And the Princes of Wales of the English bloud, I meane the first begotten sonnes of the Kings of England, ordained heere their Chauncery and Exchequer for all South-wales.
3. Neere unto this Citie on the Eastside lieth Cantred Bichan, that is The lesse Hundred (for the Britans terme a portion of land that containeth 100 villages a Cantred), in which, beside the ruins of Careg Castle, situate upon a rocke rising on every side steepe and upright, there are many under-mines or caves of very great widenesse within the ground, now covered all over with green-sord and turfe, wherein it is thought the multitude unable to beare armes hid themselves during the heate of warre. There is also heere a fountaine that, as Giraldus writeth, Twice in foure and twentie houres ebbing and twice flowing, resembleth the unstable motions of the maine Sea.
4. But on the North-east side there stretcheth it selfe a great way out Cantred Maur, that is, The great hundred, a most safe refuge for the Britans in times past, as being thicke set with woods, combersome to travaile in by reason the waies are intricate by the windings in and out of the hils. Southward stand Talcharn and Lhan-Stephan Castles upon rockes of the Sea, which are most notable witnesses of martiall valour and proesse as well in the English as in the Welsh. Beneath Talcharn, Taff sheddeth it selfe into the Sea, by the side whereof was in times past that famous Twy Gwn ar taf, that is The white house upon the river Taf, because it was built of white hazels for a summer house, where in the yeere of our redemption 914 Hoel, surnamed Dha, that is is, Good, Prince of Wales, in a frequent assembly of his States (for there met there, besides others, of the Cleargie one hundred and fortie), abrogated the ancient ordinances and established new lawes for his subjects, as the Prooeme to the very lawes themselves doe witnesse. In which place afterward a little Abbay named White Land was built. Not farre from whence is Killmayn Lhoyd, where of late daies certaine country people hapned upon an earthen vessell, in which was hourded a mighty deale of Romaine coine of embased [debased] silver, from the time of Commodus the Roman Emperour who first embased silver unto the fifth Tribuneship of Gordian the Third, which fell just with the yeere of Christ 243. Among these were certaine pieces of Helvius Pertinax, of Marcus Opellius, of Antoninus Diadumenianus, of Julius Verus Maximus the sonne of Maximinus, of Caelius Balbinus, of Clodius Pupienus, of Aquilia Severa the wife of Elagabalus, and of Sall. Barbia Orbiana, which among Antiquaries are of greatest price and estimation, as being most rare of all others. Now it remaineth that I should relate how upon the river Tivy that separateth this County from Cardiganshire, there standeth New-castle (for so they call it at this day), which Sir Rhise ap Thomas, that warlicke Knight who assisted Henrie the Seventh when he gat the Crowne, and was by him right worthily admitted unto the Society of the Knights of the Garter, renewed, whereas before time it was named Elmelin. Which name, if the Englishmen gave unto it of elme-trees, their conjecture is not to be rejected who wil have it to be that Loventium of the Dimetae, whereof Ptolomee maketh mention. For the Britans call Elmes llwiffen. Bunt whenas I can find by no record in histories which of the Normans first wrested this country out of the hands of the Prince of Wales, I am to proceed now orderly to the description of Pembrokshire.
It hath Parishes 87.
HE Sea now retyring South-ward, and with a mighty compasse and sundry baies incurving the shores, preasseth on every side upon the Countie of Penbroke, commonly called Penbrockshire, which in the old bookes is named The lawfull County of Pembroch, and of some, West-wales, unlesse it be in the East side, where Caermardenshire, and on the North, where a part of Cardiganshire boundeth upon it. A country plentifull in corne stored with cattaile, and full of marle, and such kind of fatty earth to make the ground fertile, and not destitute of pit cole. The Land, as saith Giraldus, is apt to beare wheat, plentifully served with sea-fish and saleable wine, and (that which is farre before the rest, by reason that Ireland confineth so neere upon it) of a very temperate and wholsome aire.
2. First and formost upon the shore descending Southward, Tenby, a proper fine towne well governed by a Major, and strongly walled toward the land, looketh down into the sea from a drie cliffe, very famous because it is a commodious road for ships, and for abundance also of fish there taken, whereupon in the British tongue it is called Tenby-y-Piscoid, and hath for Magistrates a Maior and a Bailiffe. From thence the shore, giving backe Westward, sheweth the reliques of Manober Castle, which Giraldus calleth the mansion of Pyrhus, in whose time, as himselfe writeth, It was notably fortified with towres and bulwarkes, having on the West side a large haven, and on the Northwest and North under the very walles an excellent fish-poole, goodly to behold as well for the beauty thereof as the depth of the water.
3. From hence runneth the shore along not many miles continuate, but at length the land shrinketh backe on both sides giving place unto the sea, which, encroching upon it a great way, maketh the haven which the Englishmen call Milford haven, than which there is not another in all Europe more noble or safer, such variety it hath of nouked bayes, and so many coves and creekes for harbour of ships, wherewith the bankes are on every side indented, and, that I may use the Poets words,
The sea disarmed heere of winds, within high banke and hill
Enclosed is, and learnes thereby to be both calme and still.
For, to make use of the mariners words and their distinct termes, there are reckoned within in 16 Creekes, 5 Baies, and 13 Rodes, knowen every one by their severall names. Neither is this haven famous for the secure fastnesse thereof more than for the arrivall therein of King Henrie the Seventh a Prince of most happy memory, who from hence gave forth unto England, then hopelesse, the first signall to hope well and raise it selfe up, whenas now it had long languished in civill miseries and domesticall calamities within it selfe. Upon the innermore and East creeke of this haven, in the most pleasant country of all Wales, standeth Penbroke the Shire-towne, one direct street upon a long narrow point, all rock, and a forked arme of Milford haven ebbing and flowing close to the Towne walles on both sides. It hath a Castle, but now ruinate, and two Parish-churches within the walles, and is incorporate of a Maior, Balives and Burgesses, But heare Giraldus, who thus describeth it: A tongue of the Sea shooting forth of Milford haven, in the forked end encloseth the principall towne of the whole country and chiefe place of Dimetia, seated upon the ridge of a certaine craggy and long shaped rocke. And therefor the Britans called it Penbro, which signifieth as much as a head of the Sea, and we in our tongue Penbroke. Arnulph of Montgomery, brother to Robert Earle of Shrewsbury, first in the time of King Henrie the First fortified this with a Castle, a very weake and slender thing, God wote, of stakes and turfes, which afterwards he, returning into England, delivered unto Girald of Windesor his Constable and Captaine, to be kept with a garison of few soldiers, and immediatly the Welshmen of all Southwales laid siege unto the said Castle. But such resistance made Girald and his companie, more upon a resolute courage than with any forcible strength, that they missed of their purpose and dislodged. Afterwards, the said Girald fortified both towne and Castle; from whence hee invaded the countrie round about it far and neere, and at length, that as well his owne estate as theirs that were his followers and dependants might the better grow to greatnesse in these parts, he tooke to wife Nesta sister to Gruffin the Prince, of whom he begat a goodly faire Progeny, by the which (as saith that Giraldus who descended from him) the Englishmen both kept still the Sea costs of South-wales, and wonne also the walles of Ireland. For all those noble families of Giralds or Giraldines in Ireland, whom they call Fitz-Gerald, fetch their descent from the said Girald. In regard of the tenure of this castle and towne, of the Castle and towne likewise of Tinbigh, of the Grange of Kineswood, of the Commot of Croytarath, and of the Manors of Castle Martin and Tregoire, Reinold Grey at the the Coronation of King Henrie the Fourth made suit to carry the second sword, but in vaine, for answere was made that those Castles and possessions were in the Kings hands, as Penbroke towne still is.
Upon another creeke also of this haven, Carew Castle sheweth it selfe, which gave both name and originall to the notable family de Carew, who avouch themselves to have beene called aforetime de Montgomery, and have beene perswaded that they are descended from that Arnulph de Mont-gomery of whom I spake erewhile.
4. Into this have there discharged themselves, with their out-lets joined almost in one, two rivers, which the Britans tearme Gledawh, that is, if you interpret it, Swords, whereupon themselves use to tearme it Aber du gledhaw, that is, The outlet of two swords. Hard by the more Easterly of them standeth Slebach, a Commandery in times past of Saint Johns Knights of Jerusalem, which with other lands Wizo and Walter his sonne gave in old time unto that holy order of Knighthood that they might serve as Gods Knights to recover the holy Land. That part of this country which lyeth beyond the haven, and hath onely these two rivers to water it, the Britans doe call Ros, making the name answerable to the thing, for that it lieth for the most part all low in a flat and greene plaine.
5. That tract was inhabited by Flemings out of the Lowcountries, who by the permission of King Henrie the First were planted heere when the Ocean, by making breaches in the bankes, had overwhelmed a great part of the said Low-countries. These are distinctly knowen still from the Welsh, both by their speech and manners, and so neere joined they are in society of the same language with Englishmen, who come nighest of any nation to the low Dutch tongue, that this their little country is tearmed by the Britans Little England beyond Wales. A nation this, as saith Giraldus, strong and stout, and continually enured in warred with the Welsh: a nation most accustomed to seeke gaine by clothing, by trafficke also and merchandise by sea and land, undertaking any paines and perills whatsoever. A nation of very great powre, and as time and place requireth, ready by turnes to take plough in hand and till the ground, as ready also to goe into the field and fight it out. And that I may adde thus much moreover, a nation most loyally devoted to the Kings of England, and as faithfull to Englishman, and which in the time of Giraldus was wonderfull skilful in Sooth-saying by the Inspection of Beasts inwards: whose worke also is heere seene (as they are a people passing industrious), namely The Flemish Highway reaching out a great length. The Welshmen have many a time banded all their forces in one, and to recover this country belonging sometimes unto their ancestors, have violently set upon these Flemings and overrunne their lands, spoiling and wasting wherever they went, yet they most courageously have alwaies from time to time defended their estates, their name, and life. Where upon concerning them and King William Rufus, the Historian Malmesbury writeth thus: Many a time and often King William Rufus had but small successe against the Welsh men. Which any man may wel mervaile at, considering that alwaies otherwise hee sped most fortunately in all adventures of warre. But I take it that as the unevennesse of the ground and sharpnesse of the aire maintained their rebellion, so the same empeached his valour. But King Henry, who now reigneth, a man of an excellent wit, found meanes to frustrate all their devises, by placing Flemings in their Country, who might bee alwaies ready to represse and keepe them in. And in the fifth Booke, King Henry with many a warlike expedition went about to force the Welsh men, who ever and anon rose up in rebellion, for to yeeld and submit them selves. And resting in the end upon this good and holsome pollicy for to take downe and and abate their swelling pride, hee brought over thither all the Flemings that dwelt in England. For a number of them who in those daies, in regard of his mothers kinred by her fathers side, flocked thither, were closely shrowded in England, in so much as they for their multitud seemed but densome [overpopulous] unto the realme. Wherefore he sent them altogither with their substance, goods, wives, and children unto Ros a country in Wales, as it were into a common avoidance [draining], thereby both to purge and clense his owne Kingdome, and also to quaile and represse the rash bouldnesse of his enemies there.
6. By the more westward of these two rivers is Harford West, called by the Englishmen in times past Haverford, and by the Britans Hulphord, a faire towne and of great resort, situat upon an hil side, having scarce one even street, but is steepe one way or another, which, being a County by it self, hath for magistrates a Major, a Sheriff, and two Baliffs. The report goeth that the Earles of Clare fortified it with rampier and wall on the North side, and wee read that Richard Earle of Clare made Richard Fitz-Tancred Castellan of this Castle.
7. Beyond Ros, there shooteth out with a mighty front farre into the Western Ocean a great Promontorie, which Ptolomee called Ocltopitarum, the Britans Pebidiauc and Candred Devi, we Saint Davids land. A stony, barraine, and unfruitfull ground, as Giraldus saith, Neither clad with woods, nor garnished heere and there with rivers, ne yet adorned with medowes, lying alwaies open to winds onely and stormes. For Caphurnius a Britaine priest, as some (I know not how truly) have written, heere in the vale of Roas begat of his wife Concha, sister to Saint Martine of Tours, Patricke the Apostle of Ireland and Devi, a most religious Bishop, translated the Archiepiscopall see from Isca Legionum into the most remote and farthest angle heereof, even to Menew or Menevia, which afterwards the Britains of his name called Tuy Devy, that is Devi his house, the Saxons Davy S. Mynster, the Englishmen at this day Saint Davids, and was for a long time an Archbishops See. But by occasion of a pestilence that contagiously raged in this country, whereby the Pall was translated into little Britaine in France, to Dole, this Archiepiscopall dignity had an end. Yet in the foregoing ages the Welshmen commensed an action heereabout against the Archbishop of Canterbury, Metropolitane of England and Wales, but they were cast [defeated] in the law. What this Saint Davids was and what maner of thing in times past, a man can hardly tell, considering it hath beene so often by pirates raised. But now it is a very small and poore Citie, and hath nothing at all to make shew of but a faire Church dedicated to Saint Andrew and David, which, having beene many times overthrowen, Petre the Bishop, in the reigne of King John, and his successours erected in that forme which now sheweth, in the vale (as they tearme it) of Ros under the towne, and hard by it standeth the Bishops pallace, and faire houses of the Chaunter (who is next unto the Bishop, for there is no Dean heere), of the Chauncellor, Treasurer, and foure Archdeacons, who be of the number of the XXII Canons, all enclosed round within a strong and seemely wall, whereupon they call it the Close.
8. This Promontorie thrusteth it selfe so far Westward that in a cleere Sunshine day a man may from thence see Ireland, and from hence is the shortest cut to Ireland, and by Plinies measure, which he tooke fals, was from the Silures (for he thought that the Silures reached thus far) thirty miles. But that this land ran out farther, and that the form of the promontory hath bin changed, it may bee gathered out of these words of Giraldus. What time (saith he) as King Henry the Second made his abode in Ireland, by reason of an extraordinary violence of stormes, the sandy shores of this coast were laide bare as farre as to the very hard ground, and the face of the earth which had lien covered many ages before was discovered. Also the trunkes of trees standing in the very sea, that had afore time bin lopped on every side, yea and the strokes of axes, as if they had bin given but yesterday were seene apparently. Yea and the earth shewed most black, and the wood withall of the said trunkes like in all the points to Hebenie, so as it seemed now no shore but a lopped grove, as well empaired through the wonderfull changes of things, either haply from the time of Noahs floud or long after, but, doubtlesse, long ago, was worne by little and little and so swallowed up with the rage of the sea getting alwaies more ground and washing the earth away. Neither were these two lands severed here with any great sea betweene, as may appeere by a word that King William Rufus cast out, who when he kenned Ireland from the rocks and cliffs of this Promontory said (as we read in Giraldus) that he could easily make a bridge with English ships, on which he might passe over sea on foote into Ireland.
9. A noble kinde of falcons have their Airies here and breed in the rocks, which King Henry the Second, as the same Giraldus writeth, was wont to prefer before al others. For of that kinde are those, if the inhabitants thereby doe not deceive mee, which the skilful faulconers call Peregrines, for they have (that I may use no other words than the verses of Augustus Thuanus Esmerius, that most excellent Poet of our age, in that golden booke entituled Hieracosophiou,
Head flat and low, the plume in rewes along
The body laid, Legges pale and wan are found.
With sclender clawes and talons there among,
And those wide spred. The bill is howked round.
But from this promontorie, as the land draweth backward, the sea with great violence and assault of waters inrusheth upon a little region called Keimes, which is reputed a Barony. In it standeth, first, Fishgard, so called in English of the taking of fish, in British Aber-gwain, that is, The mouth of the river Gwain, situate upon a steepe cliff, where there is a very commodious harbour and road for ships. Then Newport at the foote of an high mountaine by the river Neverns side, in British Tref-draeth, i. e. The towne upon the sands, and in Latine Records Novus Burgus, which Martin of Tours built, his posterity made an incorporation, adorned with priviledges, and set over it for government a Portreve and Bailive; erected also for themselves a Castle over the towne, which was their principall seat. Who founded likewise Saint Dogmaels Abbay according to the order of Tours, by the river Tivy low in a vale environed with hils, unto which the Borrough adjoyning (as many other townes unto Monasteries) is beholden for the original thereof. This Barony Martin of Tours first wrested out of the Welshmens hands by force and armes, from whose heires, successively called Martins, it came by marriage to the Barons of Audley, who held it a long time, untill that in the reigne of Henry the 8 William Owen, that derived his pedigree from a daughter of Sir Nicolas Martin knight, after long suite in law for his right, in the end obtained it, and left it to his sonne George: who, being a singular lover of venerable antiquity, hath enformed mee that in this Barony over and above three Borroughs, Newport, Fishgard, and Saint Dogmaels, there are twenty knights fees and twenty sixe parishes.
10. More inward, upon the river Tivy aforesaid is Kilgarran, which sheweth the reliques of a castle built by Girald, but being at this day reduced unto one only street, it is famous for nothing else but the most plentifull fishing of Salmon. For there have you that notable Salmon Leap, where the river from on high falleth downright, and the Salmons from out of the Ocean, coveting to come up further into the river, when they meet with this obstacle in the way, bend backe their taile to the mouth, otherwhiles also to make a greater leap up hold fast their taile in the mouth, and as they unloose them selves from such a circle, they give a jirke, as if a twig bended into a rondle [circle] were sodainly let go, and so with the admiration of the beholders mount and whip themselves aloft from beneath, as Ausoniaus hath most elegantly written:
Nor can I thee let passe, all red within
(Salmon) that art, whose jerkes and friskes full oft
From mids of streame and chanell deepe therein
With broad taile flirt to floating waves aloft.
11. There have beene divers Earles of Penbroke out of sundry houses. As for Arnulph of Montgomery, who first wonne it, and was afterwards outlawed, and his Castellan Girald, whom King Henry the First made afterward President over the whole Country, I dare scarcely affirme that they were Earles. The first that was stiled Earle of Penbroke was Gilbert, surnamed Strongbow, sonne of Gislebert de Clare, in the time of King Stephen. And he left it unto his sonne Richard Strongbow, the renowned Conqueror of Ireland, who, as Giraldus saith, was descended ex clara Clarensium familia, that is, out of the noble family of Clare or Clarence. His onely daughter Isabell brought the same honour to her husband William named Mareschal (for that his ancestours had beene by inheritance Mareschals of the Kings Palace), a man most glorious both in war and peace, ‡and protector of the kingdome in the minority of King Henry the Third.‡ Concerning whom this pithie Epitaph is extant in Rodburns Annales:
Whom Ireland once a Saturn found, England a Sunne to be,
Whom Normandie a Mercury, and France Mars, I am he.
After him his five sonnes were successively one after another Earles of Penbroke, viz., William, called the Younger; Richard, who after he had rebelled against King Henry the Third went into Ireland, where he was slaine in battaile; Gilbert, who in a tournament at Ware was unhorsed and so killed; Walter and Anselm, who enjoyed the honor but a few daies, who every one dying in a short space without issue, King Henry the Third invested in the honor of this Earledome William de Valentia, of the house of Lusignian in Poictou, his brother by the mothers side, who had to wife Joan the daughter of Gwarin de Mont-Chesny, by the daughter of the foresaid William Mareschal. After William of Valence succeeded his sonne Airmar, who under King Edward the First was Regent of Scotland: whose eldest sister Elizabeth and one of his heires wedded unto John Lord Hastings brought this dignity unto a new family. For Laurence Hastings his grandsonne, Lord of ‡Welshford and‡ Abergevenny, was made Earle of Penbrock by vertue of King Edward the Third his brieffe. The copy wherof I thinke good to set downe here, that we may see what was the right by heires generall in these honorary titles. Rex omnibus ad quos &c. salutem. The King, to all whom &c. Greeting. Know yee that the good presage of circumspection and vertue which we have conceived by that towardly youth and happy beginnings of our most welbeloved Cousin Laurence Hastings induce us worthily to countenance him with our especiall grace and favour, in those things which concerne the due preservation and maintenance of his honor. Whereas therefore the inheritance of Aimar of Valence, sometime Earl of Pembroke (as he was stiled), deceased long since without heire begotten of his body, hath bene devolved unto his sisters, proportionably to be devided among them and their heires, because we know for certaine that the foresaid Laurence who succeedeth the said Aimar in part of the inheritance is descended from the elder sister of Aimar aforesaid, and so, by the avouching of the learned with whom we consulted about this matter, the prerogative both of name and honor is due unto him. We deeme it just and due that the same Laurence, claiming his title from the elder sister, assume and have the name of Earle of Penbroke, which the said Aimar had whiles he lived. Which verily wee, as much as lieth in us, confirme, ratifie, and also approve unto him, willing and granting that the said Laurence have and hold the prerogative and honor of Earl Palatine in those lands which he holdeth of the said Aimars inheritance, so fully and after the same maner as the same Aimar had and held them at the time of death. In witnesse the King, at Mont-Martin, the thirteenth day of October, and in the thirteenth of our reigne. After Laurence succeeded his sonne John, who beeing taken prisoner by the Spaniards in a battaile at sea, and in the end ransomed, died in France in the yeere 1375. After him followed his sonne John, who in a running at Tilt at Woodstock was slaine ‡by Sir John Saint John casually in the yeere 1391.‡ And it was observed that for five generations together in this family (I know not by what destinie) the father never saw his sonne. Now for default of his issue there fell very many possessions and faire revenewes into the Kings hands, as our Lawiers use to speake, and the Castle of Penbrok was granted unto Francis At-Court, a courtier in especiall great favour, who thereupon was commonly called Lord of Penbrock. Not long after, Humfrey sonne to King Henry the Fourth, before he was Duke of Glocester, received this title of his brother King Henry the Fift, and before his death King Henry the Sixth granted the same ‡in reversion (a thing not before heard of)‡ to William De-la-Pole Earle of Suffolk, after whose downefal the said King, when he had enabled Edmund of Hadham and Jasper of Hatfield, the sonnes of ‡Queene Katharin‡ his mother to bee his lawfull halfe brethren, created Jasper Earle of Penbroke ‡and Edmund Earle of Richmond with praeheminence above al Earls. For kings have absolute authority in dispensing honours.‡ But King Edward the Fourth, depriving Jasper of his honors by attaindour and forfeiture, gave the title of Penbrok to Sir William Herbert ‡for his good service against Jasper in Wales,‡ but he shortly after lost his life at the battaile of Banbury. Then succeeded his sonne, bearing the same name, whom King Edward the Fourth when he had recovered the kingdome invested in the Earldome of Huntingdon, and bestowed the title of Penbrok, being surrendred, upon his eldest sonne and heire Edward Prince of Wales. A long time after King Henry the Eighth invested Anne Bollen (to whom he was affianced) Marchionesse of Penbroke ‡with a mantle and coronet in regard both of her nobility and also her vertues (for so runne the words of the Patent). At length King Edward the Sixth adorned Sir William Herbert Lord of Caerdiffe with the title of Earl of Penbroke; after whom succeeded his sonne Henry, who was Lord President of Wales under Queene Elizabeth. And now his sonne William, richly accomplished with all laudable endowments of body and minde, enjoyeth the same title. This familie of the Herberts in these parts of Wales is honorable and of great antiquity, as lineally propagated from Henry Fitz-Herbert Chamberlaine to King Henry the First, who married the said kings Paramor, the mother of Reginald Earle of Cornwal, as I was first enformed by Robert Glover, a man passing skilfull in the study of Genealogies, by whose untimely death that knowledge hath susteined a great losse.
There are in this shire Parishes 145.
ROM Saint Davids Promontorie the shore, beeing driven backe aslope Eastward, letteth in the sea with a vast and crooked baye, upon which lieth the third region of the Dimetae, in English called Cardiganshire, in British Sire Aber-Tivi, by old Latin writers Ceretica, if any man thinke of King Caratacus this may seeme a conjecture proceding out of his owne braine, and not grounded upon any certaine authority, and yet we read that the worthy Caratacus, so worthily renowned, was the soveraigne ruler in these parts. A plaine and champion Country it is Westward, where it lieth to the sea, as also on the South side, where the river Tivy seperateth it from Caermardenshire. But in the East and North sides, which bound upon Brecknock and Montgomerieshires, there is a continued range or ridge of hills that shoot along, yeelding goodly pasture ground, under which there bee spred sondrie large pooles. That in ancient times this shire, as the rest also of Wales, was not planted and garnished with Cities but with little cottages, it may bee gathered by that speech of their Prince Caratacus, who beeing taken prisoner, when hee had thoroughly viewed the glorious magnificence of Rome, “What mean you (saith he) when yee have these and such like stately buildings of your owne, to covet our small cotages?” Howbeit, the places here of most antiquity let us briefly view over.
2. The river Tivy, which Ptolomee calleth Tuerobius, but corruptly in steed of Dwy-Tivius, that is, The river Tivy, issueth out of the poole Lin-Tivy, beneath the hils whereof I spake before: first combred, as it were, with stones in the way, and rumbling with a great noise without any chanel, and so passeth through a very stony tract (nere unto which at Rosse the mountainers keepe the greatest faire for cattaile in all those parts), untill it come to Strat-fleur, a monastery long since of the Cluniack monks, compassed about with hils. From thence, being received within a chanel, it runneth downe by Tregaron and Lhan-Devi-brevi, built and so named in memoriall of David Bishop of Menevia, where he in a frequent [crowded] Synode refuted the Pelagian heresie springing up againe in Britaine, both by the holy scriptures and also by a miracle, while the earth whereon hee stood as he preached arose up under his feete, by report, to a hillock. Thus farre and somewhat farther also Tivy holdeth on his course Soutward to Lan-Beder a little mercate towne. From hence Tivie, turning his streame Westward, carith a broader chanell, and maketh that Salmons Leape whereof I spake ere while. For exceeding great store of Salmons it yeeldeth, and was in times past the onely British river, as Giraldus Cambrensis was of opinion, that had Bevers in it. This Beaver is a creature living both on land and water, footed before like a dog and behind like a goose, with an ash-coloured skin somewhat blackish, having a long taile, broad and gristly, which in his floting he useth in lieu of a sterne. concerning the subtile wilinesse of which creatures, the said Giraldus hath observed many things, but at this daie none of them are here to be seene.
3. Scarce two miles from hence standeth upon a steepe banke Cardigan, which the Britans name Aber-tivy, that is, Tivy-mouth, the shire towne, strongly fortified by Gilbert the sonne of Richard de Clare, which afterwards being by treason yeelded up, Rhise ap Gruffen raised, when hee had taken prisoner Robert Fitz-Stephen, whom some call Stephanides, who (after hee had stood a long time at the devotion [in the power] of the Welshmen, his heavy friends for his life, beeing at length delivered on his condition that he sould resigne up into their hands all his possessions in Wales) was the first of the Norman race that with a small powre of men fortunately set foote in Ireland, and by his valour made way for the English to follow and second him for subduing Ireland under the Crowne of England.
4. From Tibv mouth the shore gently giveth back, and openeth for itself the passage of many riverets, among which in the upper part of this shire Stuccia, whereof Ptolomee maketh mention, is most memorable, whenas the name of it continueth after a sort whole at this day, being called in common speach Ystwith: at the head whereof are veines of lead, and at the mouth the towne Aber-y-stwith, the most populous and plentuous place of the whole shire, which that noble Gilbert de Clare also fensed with walles, and Walter Bec an Englishman defended a great while against the Welsh right manfully. Hard hereunto lieth Lhan Badern vaur, that is, The Church of Patern the Great, who being borne in little Britaine, as we read in his life, both governed the Church by feeding, and fed it by governing. Unto whose memorie the posterity consecrated heere as well a church, as also an Episcopall see. But the Bishoprick, as Roger Hoveden writeth, quite decayed many yeares since when the people had wickedly slaine their pastour. At the same mouth also the river Ridol dischargeth it self into the Irish sea. This river, descending out of Plinlimon, an exceeding steepe and high hill that encloseth the North part of this shire, and powreth out of his lap those most noble rivers Severn and Wy, whereof I have already often spoken. And not much above Y-stwith mouth the river Dev, that serveth in steed of a limite betweene this and Merionithshire, is lodged also within the sea.
5. Scarce had the Normans setled their kingdome in Britaine when they assailed this coast with a fleete by sea, and that verily with good succese. For by little and llittle in the reigne of King William Rufus they wrested the maritime coasts out of the Welshmens hands, but the greatest part thereof they granted unto Cadugan Ap Blethin, a right wise and prudent Britain, who was highly esteemed and of great powre throughout all Wales, and evermore shewed much favour and friendship to the English. But when his sonne Oen, a furious and heady yong man who cold at no hand away with peace [who could not abide peace], infested the Englishmen and Flemings newly come thither with continuall invasions, the unhappy father was fined with the losse of his lands, and punished for the offenses of his sonne, who was himselfe also constreined to relinguish his native Country and to flie into Ireland. Then this Cardiganshire was given by King Henry the First unto Gilbert de Clare, who placed garisons and fortified Castles there. But Cadugan, with his sonne Oen received into favour againe by the English, recovered also his owne lands and inheritance. But Oen, returning to his old bias and rebelling afresh, was slaine by Girald the Castellan of Penbrock, whose wife Nesta he had carried away and ravished. And his father, being had away into England, long expected for a change of better fortune, and at length in his old age, being restored to his owne home and friends, was upon the sodaine by Madoc his nephew stabbed through his body. After this, Roger de Clare through the liberality of King Henry the Second had Cardiganshire bestowed upon him. But when Richard of Clare, his nephew, if I bee not deceived, whiles hee came hither by land was slaine by the Welsh, Rhise Prince of Southwales, having made a great massacre of English and driven them out, at length with his victorious army became Lord thereof. Neverthelesse it fell againe by little and little into the hands of the English without any bloudeshed.
There are in this shire parishes 64.
HESE countries of the Silures and Dimetae which wee have hitherto travailed over, the Posteritie, when Wales was subject to three Princes, called in their tongue De-heu-barth, that is, The part lying on the right hand, and Englishmen South-wales, as hath beene said before. The other two principalities, which they tearme Guineth and Powis, wee North-wales and Powisland, were inhabited in ancient times by the Ordovices, who also be named Ordevices, Ordovicae, and in some places, although most corruptly. Ordolucae. A puissant and courageous nation, by reason they keepe wholly in a mountanous country and take heart even of the soile, and which continued the longest free from the yoke both of Romans and also of English domination, neither was it subdued by the Romanes before the daies of the Emperour Domitiane (for then Julius Agricola conquered almost the whole nation), nor brought under the English before the daies of King Edward the First. For a long time they lived in a lawlesse kind of libertie, as bearing themselves both upon their owne valour and the strength of the country, hard to be wonne, and which may seeme after a sort naturally accomodated for ambushments, and to prolong warres.
2. To lay out and limite the bounds of the Ordevices in a generalitie is not so hard a matter, but to set downe the true Etymologie and reason of their name, I thinke it very difficult. Yet I have conceived this conjecture, that, seeing they were seated over the two rivers Devi, that, arising from two springs neere togither, take their course divers waies, and considering that Oar-Devi in their British tongue signifieth Upon or Above Devi, they were thence named Ordevices, like as the Arverni had that name because they dwelt upon the river Garumna, the Armorici their name for that they inhabited upon the Sea-side, and the Horesci theirs because their inhabitation was upon the river Eske. Neither is the very name of Ordevices quite vanished without any remaines thereof in this tract. For a great part of it which lieth to the Sea-side is yet by the inhabitants usually called Ardudwy, whereof it may seeme the Romanes have made these tearmes Ordovic and Ordevices, carrying a softer and gentler sound. But the whole country (excepting one small shire) is called of the Latin writers by one name of a later stampe, Guinethia and Venedotia, and of the Britans Guineth, and the same, from the Veneti of Armorica, as some thinke, who, as Caesar writeth, were wont very oft to saile unto Britaine. But if I might be allowed to change one onely letter, I would suppose that this name was knowen to the Greekes, and to Pausanias, who in his Arcadica recordeth that Antoninus Pius the Emperour grievously punished the Brigantes for that they had made inrodes into Genounia, a province of the Romanes in Britaine. Certes, if it might be lawfull to read Genouthia for Genounia, so neere in sound commeth that word to Guinethia, and this Guinethia bordereth so neere to the Brigantes, that unlesse Pausanias ment this region, let Sibylla her selfe declare were it was and what it should bee. But these Countries belonged to the old Ordevices, which are now called in English by new names, Montgomeryshire, Merionethshire, Carnaveron-sire, Denbighshire, and Flintshire.
ONTGOMERYSHIRE, in British Sire-Tre Faldwin, so called of the principall towne therein, bounded on the South-side with Cardigan and Radnorshires, on the East with Shropshire, on the North with Denbighshire, and on the West with Merionith, although it hath many an high hill in it, yet by reason of plentifull Valleis it is a good country as well for corne as pasture, and in old time a fruitfull breeder of the best kind of horses, which, as Giraldus saith, by natures workmanship pourtraying, as it were, in a picture their noble shapes, were very commendable as well for the Majestie of their making and big limmes, as for their incomparable swiftnesse. In the utmost corner of this shire Westward, where it endeth point wise in a maner of a cone or pine apple, standeth Machleneth, haply that which the Romans called Maglona, where under the Generall of Britaine in the time ‡of the Emperour Theodosius the Younger‡ lay the Captaine of the regiment of the Solenses, for to represse and keepe under the mountainers, and two miles from hence neere unto Penall there is a place to be seene named Keven Caer, that is, The back or ridge of a Citie, where peeces of Romane coine are other whiles digged up, and a circular forme of walles of no small circuit are apparently seene by the remaines.
2. Five miles hence, the Hil Plinlimon, whereof I spake, raiseth it selfe up to a wonderfull height, and on that part where it boundeth one side of this shire, it powreth forth Sabrina, the greatest river in Britaine next to Thamis, which the Britains tearme Haffren, and Englishmen Severn. Whence the name was derived I could never read. For that seemeth to smell of a fable which Geffrey hath devised of the Virgin Sabrina therein drowned, and which a late Poet following his steps hath delivered thus in verse:
Into the streame was Abron headlong cast,
The river then taking that Virgins name,
Hight Abren, and thereof Sabrin at last,
Which tearme in speech corrupt implies the same.
This river immediatly from his spring head maketh such a number of windings in and out in his course that a man would thinke many times he returns againe to his fountaine, yet for all that hee runneth forward, or rather slowly wandereth through this Shire, Shropshire, Worcestershire, and last of all Glocestershire, infusing a certaine vitall moisture into the soile every where as he passeth, untill at length hee mildely dischargeth himselfe into the Severn sea. But in this shire, it being overshadowed with woods, after much strugling hee getteth out Northward by Lanidlos, Trenewith or Newtowne, and Caer-fuse, which, as they say, is both ancient and enjoieth also ancient priviledges, and not farre from his East banke leaveth behind him the Castle and towne of Montgomery upon the rising of a rocke, having a pleasant plaine under it. The Englishmen named the Castle Montgomery, and the Latins Mons Gomerius, of Roger de Montgomery Earle of Shrewsbury, who, winning much land heere about from the Welsh, built it, as we find in Domesday booke. ‡But when his sonne Robert was attainted for rebellion, King Henrie the First gave this Castle, Castle and the honor of Montgomery to Baldwin Bollers in marriage with Sibill of Falais his niece.‡ According to whose name the Welshmen cal the town standing a little from the Castle Tre-Faldwin, that is, Baldwins towne. ‡From this Baldwin descended Vital Engain, who claimed this Honor as right heire in the time of King Henrie the Third.‡ About which time, the said King Henrie the Third raised it up againe out of the very ashes. For the Welsh had slaine the garison soldiers and overthrowen it, and so it lay desolate for many yeeres, and Florilegus fableth that he, of the situation of the place, then first named it Montgomery. Certaine it is that the said King then granted by his Patent That the Burrough of Montgomery should be a free Burrough, with other Liberties. ‡Now the Herberts are heere seated, branched out from a brother of Sir William Herbert the first Earle of Penbroke of that name.‡
3. Hard by this, Corndon Hill mounteth up to a very great height, in the top whereof are placed certaine stones in a round circle like a coronet, whence it taketh that name, in memoriall as it should seeme of some victorie. A little higher, Severn glideth downe by Trellin, that is, The towne by a poole, whereupon it is called Welch Poole in English. It hath a Castle joining unto it on the South-side, called Castle Coch of a kind of reddish stone wherewith it is built, which within the compasse of one wall containeth two Castles, the one belonged to the Lord of Powis, the other to the Baron Dudley. Cadugane the son of Blethin, that renowned Britan of whom I spake, whiles he was busie about the building of this Castle, was, as we find in the Epitome of Lancarbanensis, slaine by his nephew Madocke. Right over against this Castle on the other side of the river standeth Buttington, well knowen by reason of the Danes wintering there, out of which Adhered Earle of the Mercians expelled them in the yeere of Christ 894, as Marianus writeth. Severn, being past these places, turneth by little and little Eastward, that he may the sooner entertaine the small river Thanet, which being once received into his society, he goeth on forward to Shropshire.
4. That Mediolanum, a towne of the Ordovices which both Antonine the Emperour and Ptolomee speake of, stood in this shire, I am in a maner perswaded upon probabilitie. The footings [vestiges] whereof I have sought after with all diligence, but little or nothing have I found of it. For time consumeth the very carcasses even of Cities. Yet if we may ground any conjecture upon the situation, seeing the townes which Antonine placeth on either side be so well knowen, to wit, Bonium, now Bangor by Dee, on the one side, and Rutunium, now Rowton Castle, on the other side (for he setteth it twelve Italian miles distant from this, and the other twenty). The lines of Position, if I may so tearme them, or of the distance rather, doe cut one another crosse betweene Matrafall and Lan-vethlin, which are scarce three miles asunder, and shew as it were demonstratively the site of our Mediolanum. For this cannot chuse but be an infallible way to find out the situation of a third place, by two others that are knowen, whenas there are neither hils interposed, nor any troublous turnings of the waies. As for this Matafall, which standeth five miles Westward from Severn, although it be now but a bare name, was some time the regall seat of the Princes of Powis (which may bee an argument <of the antiquity> thereof), and the same much spoken of by writers, who record that after the Prince had once forspoken it, Robert Vipont an Englishman built a Castle. But Lan-vethlin, that is, Vethlius Church, being a little mercate towne, although it be somewhat farther off from the crosse-meeting of the said lines, yet commeth it farre neerer in resemblance of name to Mediolanum. For of Methlin, by the propriety of the British tongue, is made Vethlin, like as of Caer-Merdin is come Caer verden, and of Armon, Arvon. Neither doth Methlin more jarre and disagree in sound from Mediolanum than either Millano in Italie, Le Million in Xantoigne, or Methlen in the Low-countries, which cites no man doubteth were all in times past knowen by the name of Mediolanum. Which of these conjectures commeth neerer to the truth, judge you: for me it is enough to give my guesse. If I should say that either Duke Medus or Prince Olanus built this Mediolanum of ours, and those cities of the same name in Gaule, or that whiles they were a-building sus mediatim lanata, that is, That a sow halfe fleeced with woole, was digged up, might I not be thought (thinke you) to catch at clouds and fish for Nirles [skin-rashes]. Yet notwithstanding the Italians write as much of their Mediolanum. But seeing that most true it is that these Cities were built by nations of the same language (and that the Gaules and Britans spake all one language I have proved already), it is probable enough that for one and the same cause they had also one and the same denomination. Howbeit, this our Mediolanum in nothing, so farre as I know, agreeth with that of Italie, unlesse it be that both of them are seated upon a plaine betweene two riverets, and a learned Italian derived the name of their Mediolanum hence, because it is a Citie standing in the mids betweene lanas, that is, little rivers, according to his owne interpretation. ‡But this may seeme overmuch of Mediolanum, which I have sought heere, and about Alcster not farre off.‡
5. This Countie hath adourned no Earle with the name, title, and honor thereof untill of late our Soveraigne King James created Philip Herbert, second sonne of Henrie Earle of Pembroke by Marie Sidney, for the singular love and affectionate favour toward him, and for the great hope that he conceived of his vertues, both Baron Herbert of Shurland and also Earle of Montgomery, upon one and the same day at Greenwich in the yeere 1605. But the Prince of Powis, descended from the third sonne of Rotherike the Great, held this shire with others in a perpetuall line of succession (although Roger and Hugh of Montgomery had encroched upon some part thereof) untill the daies of King Edward the Second. For then Oen ap Gruffin ap Guenwinwyn, the last Lord of Powis of the British bloud (for the name of Prince had long before beene worne out of use) left one onely daughter named Hawise whom Sir John Charleton an Englishman, the Kings Valect [valet, gentleman of the bedchamber] married, and in right of his wife was by King Edward the Second made Lord of Powise, who (as I have seene in very many places) gave for his Armes a Lion Geules Rampant in a shield Or, which he receaved from his wifes Progenitours. Of his posterity there were foure males that bare this honorable title, untill that in Edward the succession of males had an end: for he, the said Edward, begat of Aeleonor the daughter and one of the heires of Thomas Holland Earle of Kent, Jane, wife to Sir John Grey Knight, and Joice married unto John Lord Tiptoft, from whom the Barons of Dudley and others derive their descent. The said Sir John Grey, for his martiall proesse and by the bountifull favour of King Henrie the Fifth, received the Earldome of Tanquervill in Normandie, to have unto him and his heires males, by delivering one Bassinet at the Castle of Roan every yeere on Saint Georges Day. This John had a sonne named Henrie, Lord of Powis, in whose race the title of Powis with the honour thereof continued untill Edward Grey died well neere in our time, leaving no issue lawfully.
This shire hath Parishes 47.
ROM the backside of Montgomeryshire, Merionethshire, in British Sire-Verioneth, in Latin Meruinia and, as Giraldus calleth it, Terra filiorum Canaeni, that is Canaens sons Land, reacheth to that crooked Bay I spake of, and to the maine sea, which on the West side beateth so sore upon it that it is verily thought to have carried away by volence some part thereof. Southward for certaine miles together it is severed from Cardiganshire by the river Dovy. On the North it boundeth upon Caer-narvon and Denbighshires. As for the in-land part, it so riseth with mountaines standing one by another in plumps [bunches], that, as Giraldus saith, it is the roughest and most unpleasant Country to see to in al Wales. For it hath in it mountaines of a wonderfull height, yet narrow and passing sharpe at the top in manner of a needle, and those verily not scattering, here and there one, but standing very thicke together, and so even in height that shephards talking together or railing one at another on the tops of them, if happely they appoint the field to encounter and meet together, they can hardly doe it from morning till night. But let the reader herein relie upon Giraldus credit. Great flocks of sheepe graze all over these mountaines, neither are they in danger of wolves, who were thought then to have beene ridde quite out of all England and Wales when King Eadgar imposed upon Ludwall Prince of these Countries to present three hundred solves yeerly unto him by way of Tribute. For when, as William of Malmsbury writeth, hee had for three yeares performed this, at the fourth yeere he gave over, upon his protestation that hee could finde no more. Yet long time after this there remained some still, as appeereth for certaine by irreprovable testimonies of Record.
2. The inhabitants, who for most part wholy betake themselves to breeding and seeding of cattaile, and live upon white meates [dairy foods], as butter, cheese &c. (however Strabo mocked our Britans in times past as unskilfull in making cheese) are for stature, cleere complexion, goodly feature and lineaments of body, inferiour to no nation in Britaine, but they have an ill name among their neighbours for being so forward in the wanton love of women, and that proceeding from their idlenesse. They have but few townes. Eastward where Dovy runneth standeth Mouthwy a Commot very well knowne, which fell for a childes part of inheritance to William alias Wilcock of Mouthwy, a younger sonne of Gruffith Ap Gwenwynwin Lord of Powis, and by his sons daughter it came unto Sir Hugh Burgh, and by his sons daughters likewise unto the familes of Newport, Leighton, Lingein, and Mitton, of especiall respect in these parts.
3. Where the river Avon runneth downe more Westward there is Dolegethle a little mercat town, so called of the vale wherein it is built. Hard by the sea in the little territory named Ardudwy, the castle Arlech, in times past named Caer Colun, standeth advanced upon a very steepe rock and looketh downe into the sea from aloft, which being built, as the inhabitants report, by King Edward the First, tooke name of the situation. For Arlech in the British tongue signifieth as much as upon a Stony rocke. Whiles England was disjointed and lay torne with civil broiles, David Ap Jenkin Ap Enion a noble gentleman of Wales, who toke part with the house of Lancaster, defended it stoutly against King Edward the Fourth, until that Sir William Herbert Earle of Pembrock, making his way with much adoe through the midest of these mountains of Wales, no lesse passable than the Alpes, assaulted this castle in such furious thundering manner that it was yeelded up into his hands. Incredible it is almost what a combersom journy he had of it, and with what difficulty he gat through whiles he was constreined in some places to climbe up the hils creeping, in others to come downe tumbling, both hee and his company together. Whereupon the dwellers thereabout call that way at this day Le Herbert. A little higher, in the verie confines of the shires, two notable armes of the sea enbosom thermselves within the land, Traith Maur and Traith Bachan, that is, the Greater wash, and the Lesse. And not farre from hence neere unto a little village called Fastineog, there is a street or Port-way paved with stone, that passeth through these combersome and, in manner, unpassable mountaines. Which, considering that the Britans name it Sarn Helen, that is, Helens street, it is not to bee thought but that Helena mother to Constantine the Great, who did many such like famous workes throughout the Roman Empire, laied the same with stone. Neither standeth farre from it Caer-Gai, that is, the Castle of Caius, built of one Caius a Roman, touching whom the common people dwelling thereby report great wonders.
4. In the East side of this shire the river Dee springeth out of two fountaines, whence some thinke it tooke the name, for they call it Dwy, which word importeth also among them the number of two (although others would needes have it so termed of some Divinity, others of the blacke colour), and forthwith passeth entier and whole through Lhinteged, in Engish Pimble-Meare and Plenlin-meare, a lake spreding far in length and breath, and so runneth out of it with as a great a streame as it entred in. For neither shal a man see in Dee the fishes called guiniad, which are peculiar to the Meare, nor yet Salmons in the Meare, which neverthelesse are commonly taken in the river. But see if you please the description of the Lake or Meare in verse by the Antiquarian Poet:
On th’ East side of Merioneth, a Country rough that is,
A place there lies by ancient named cleped Penlin, ywis,
Whereas within a valley deepe there spreadeth farre a lake
With waters cleere, without all mud, which compasse hugh doth take.
reciveing sundry pirles [eddies] to it and many a running rill,
That spring and fall continually from every neighbour hil.
And with shrill noise and pleasant sounds allred eares doe fill,
And verily a wonder ’tis, of this lake strange to tall,
Although the raine powre downe a maine, the waters never swell.
But if the aire much troubled be, and windes aloft doe blow,
It swels at once, no streame so much, and bankes doth overflow.
On the browe or edge hereof standeth Bala, a little towne endowed with many immunities, but peopled with few inhabitants, and as rudely and unhandsomely built, neverthelesse it is the chiefe mercate towne for these mountainers.
5. Hugh Earl of Chester was the first of the Normans that tooke this Country and held it withplanting garrisons, what time as he hept Gruffin Ap Conan, that is, the Son of Conan, prisoner. But Gruffin afterwards recovered it withthe rest of his principality, and left it unto his heires, untill it came unto the fatall Periode, and so ended in Lhewellin.
It reckoneth Churches 37.
BOVE Merionithshire lieth that Country which the Britans call Sir Caer-ar-von, and Englishmen Caer-nar-vonshire, of the principall towne therein, and before that Wales was laied out into shires they termed it by the name of Snowden Forest, and the Latin historians Snaudonia of that Forest, and Arvonia out of the British name, because it hath Mona, that is, Anglesey, just over against it. The North side and the West butteth upon the Irish sea, the South-side is enclosed with Merionethshire, and the East with Denbighshire, from which it is severed by the river Conwy. On that part which looketh toward the sea, especially where it shooteth forth a great Southwest with a Promontorie and stretcheth out the shores with crooked turning full against Octopitarum, or Saint Davids Land, it is of a verie fruitfull soile and garnished all along with prety townes.
2. As for the more in-land part of the shire, Nature hath loftily areared [raised] it up farre and nere with mountaines standing thick one by another, as if she would here have compacted the joints of this Island within the bowells of the earth, and made this part thereof a most sure place of refuge for the Britans in time of adversitie. For there are so many roughes and rocks, so many vales full of woods, with pooles heere and there crossing over them, lying in the way betweene, that no armie, nay not so much as those that are lightly appointed, can finde passage. A man may truely, if hee please, terme these mountaines the British Alpes: for, besides that they are the greatest of the whole Island, they are no lesse steepe also with cragged and rent rockes on every side than the Alpes of Italie, yea and all of them compasse one mountaine round about, which over-topping the rest so towreth up with his head aloft in the aire as hee may seeme not to threaten the skie, but to thrust his head up into heaven. And yet harbour they the Snow, for all the yeere long they bee hory with snow, or rather with an hardened crust of many snowes felted [compacted] together. Whence it is that all these hilles are in British by one name termed Craig Eriry, in English Snow-don, which in both languages sound as much as Snowye Mountaines, like as Niphates in Armenia and Imaus in Scythia tooke their names, as Plinie witnesseth, of Snow. Neverthelesse, so ranke are they with grasse that it is a very comon speech among the Welsh, that the mountaines Eriry will yeeld sufficient pasture for all the cattaile in Wales, if they were put upon them together. Concerning the two Meare [lakes] on the toppe of these, in the one of which floteth a wandering Island, and in the other is found great store of fishes, but having all of them but one eye apeece, I will say nothing lest I might seeme to foster fables, although some, confident upon the authority of Giraldus, have beleeved it for a verity. Yet certaine it is that there bee in the very top of these mountains pooles indeed and standing waters, whereupon Gervase of Tilbury in his booke entituled Otia Imperialis, writeth thus: In the land of Wales within the bounds of great Britain there bee high hilles that have laied their foundations upon most hard rockes, and in the toppe thereof the earth is crusted over with such a coate of waterish moisture that wheresoever a man doe but lightlie set his foote hee shall perceive the ground to stirre the length of a stones cast from him: whereupon when the enemies came, the Welsh with their agility and nimblenesse lightly leaping over that boggie ground ether avoid the enemies assaults, or to their losse resolutely expect their forces. These mountainers John of Salisbury in his Polycraticon, by a new forged Latin name termed Nivicollinos, that is, Snow-down inhabitants, of whom in King Henry the Second his daies he wrote thus: The Snow-downe Britans make inrodes, and being now come out of their Caves and lurking holes of the woods, enlarge their borders, possesse the plaines of the noble men, and whiles themselves looke on, they assault, they winne, and overthrow them, or else keepe the same to their owne behoufe [advantage], because our youth, which is so deintily brought up, and loves to be house-birds and to live lazie in the shade, beeing borne onely to divour the fruits of the earth and to fill the belly, sleepes untill it is broad day light &c.
3. But come wee downe now from the mountaines into the champian plaines, which because wee finde no where else but by the sea side, it may suffice to coast onely along the shore. The Promontory, which I said before shooteth out toward the Southwest, is in Ptolomee called, according to the diversity of copies, Canganum, Langanum, and Langanum. Which is the truest name I know not, but Langanum it may seeme, considering that the inhabitants name it at this day Lhein, which runneth forth with a narrow and even by-land, having larger and more open fields than the rest of the Country, and the same yeelding barley most plentuously. Two little townes it sheweth, and no more, that are memorable. Farther within upon the creeke is Pullhely, that is, that salt Meare or Poole. More outward, by the Irish sea (that beateth upon the other side of the Biland) is Nevin, a village having a mercate kept in it, wherin the Nobility of England in the yeere of Lord 1284 in a triumph over the Welsh did celebrate the memory of Arthur the great, as Florilegus writeth, with Justes, Tournaments, and festivall pomp. If any other townes flourished here, then were they destroyed, when Hugh Earle of Chester, Robert of Rudland, and Guarin of Salop, entring into this Country first of all the Normans, so wasted this promontory that for the space of seven whole yeeres it lay dispeopled and desolate.
4. From Nevin the shore, pointed and endented with one or two elbowes lying out into the sea, tendeth Northward, and then, turning afront North-east, by a narrow sea or Firth (they call it Menai), it severeth the Isle of Anglesey from the firme land. Upon this straight or narrow sea stood Segontium, a City which Antonine the Emperour maketh mention of. Some reliques of the walles I saw neere unto a little Church built in honour of Saint Publicius. It tooke the name of a river running by the side of it, which yet at this day is called Seiont, and issueth out of the poole Lin-Peris. In which there is a kinde of fish peculiar to that water, and seene no where else, called by dwellers there tor-coch, of the bellie that is somewhat red. Now, seeing that in an ancient copie of Ptolomee Setantiorum Portus is here placed, which according to other copies is set father of, if I should read in steed of it Segontiorum Portus, that is The haven of the Segontians, and say it stood upon the mouth of this river, I should perhaps aime at the truth; if not, yet should I obtaine pardon for my conjecture of a courtuous reader. This Citie Ninnius called Caer Custenith, and hee that wrote the life of Gruffin the sonne of Conan recordeth that Hugh Earle of Chester built a Castle in Hean Caer Custenith, that is, as the Latin Interpreter translateth it, in the ancient Citie of Constantine the Emperour. And Mathew of Westminster writeth (but let him make it good if hee can) that the bodie of Constantius, father to Constantine the Great, was heere found in the yeare of our Lord 1283 and honourably bestowed in the Church of the new Citie by the commandement of King Edward the First. Who out of the ruines of this towne at the same time raised the Citie Caer-narvon somewhat higher upon the rivers mouth, so as that on the West and North-sides it is watered therewith. Which, as it was called Caer-narvon because it standeth right over against the Island Mona (for so much doth the word import), so it hath communicated that name unto the whole Country, for heereupon the English men call it Caer-narvonshire. This is encompassed with a verie small circuite of walles about it and in manner round, but the same exceeding strong, and to set it the better out, sheweth a passing faire Castle which taketh up the whole West side of it. The private buildings (for the manner of that Country) are sightly enough, and the inhabitants for their courtesie much commended, who think it a point of their glorie that King Edward the First founded their City, that his sonne King Edward the Second was heere borne and surnamed of Caer-narvon: who also was of the English the first Prince of Wales, and also the Princes of Wales had heere their Chauncerie, their Exchequer, and their Justice for North-Wales. About seven miles hence by the same narrow sea standeth Bangor or Banchor low seated, enclosed on the south side with a mountaine of great height, on the North with a little hill, so called a choro pulchro, that is, of a faire quire, or as some would have it, quasi locus chori, that is, as if it were the place of a quire. Which, beeing a Bishops See, hath within the Diocese thereof 96 parishes. The Church was consecrated unto Daniel sometime Bishop thereof, but that which now standeth is of no especiall faire building. For Owen Glendoverdwy, that most notorious rebell, who had purposed utterly to destroy all the Cities of Wales, set it on fire for that they stood for the King of England, and defaced the ancient Church, which albeit Henry Deney Bishop of the same repaired about the time of King Henry the Seventh, yet it scarcely recovered the former dignity. Now the towne is small, but in times past so large that for the greatnesse thereof it was called Banchor Vaur, that is, Great Banchor, and Hugh Earle of Chester fortified it with a Castle, whereof I could finde no footings at all, though I sought them with all diligent inquiry. But that castle was situate upon the verie entry of the said narrow sea. Over the Menay or streight hereby, King Edward the First, that hee might transport his army into Mona or Anglesey (whereof I must treat anon in due order) went about with great labor to make a bridg, but al in vaine, albeit Suetonius Paulinus conveighed over his Romane soldiors long before into Mona, his horsemen at a fourd, and the footemen in little flat botomed boates, as we read in Tacitus.
5. From thence the shore, raising itself with a bending ascent, runneth on by Pennaen-maur, that is the great stony head, a very exceeding high and steep rock, which, hanging over the sea when it is floud, affourdeth a very narrow path way for passengers, having on the one side huge stones over their heads, as if they were ready to fall upon them, on the other side the raging Ocean lying of a wonderfull steepe depth under it. But after a man hath passed over this, together with Pen-maen bychan, that is, the lesser stony head, he shall come to an open broad plaine that reacheth as farre as to the river Conwey, which limiteth this shore on the East side. This river in Ptolomee after a corrupt manner of writing Greeke is called Toisonvius for Conovius. It issueth out of a poole of the same name in the South border of the shire, and beeing pent in and, as it were, strangled, runneth apace within a very narrow chanell, as farre almost as to the mouth thereof, breeding certaine shelfishes which, being conceived of an heavenly deaw, bring forth pearles, and there giveth hee name unto the towne Conovium which Antonine mentioneth. And although it now lie al along, and that name there be utterly extinct, yet by a new name it doth covertly implie the antiquity. For a very smal and poore village standing among the rubbish thereof is called Caer hean, that is, the ancient City. Out of the spoile and ruines whereof King Edward the First built a new towne at the very mouth of the river, which thereupon they call Aber-Conwey, that is, the Mouth of Con-wey, which place Hugh of Chester had before time fortified. But this New Conovium or Aber-Conwey, being strongly situated and fensed both with wals and also with a very proper castle by the rivers side, deserveth the name rather of a pety City than of a towne, but that it is not replenished with inhabitants.
6. Opposite unto this towne, and yet on this side of the river, ‡which is passed by ferry and not by bridge,‡ reacheth out a huge Promontory with a bending elbow (as if nature purposed to make there a road and harbour for ships), which is also counted part of this shire and is named Gogarth, wherein stood Diganwy, an ancient City just over the river Conwey, where it issueth into to the sea, which was burnt many yeeres ago with lightning. And I am of opinion that it was the City Dictum, where under the later Emperours the Captaine over the band of the Nervians Dictenses kept their gard. And for that afterwards it was called Digonwy, who seeth not that the said Ganwey came of Conwey, and from thence the English name Canoc? For so was that Castle called which afterward King Henry the Third built in that place to bridle the Welsh.
7. Streight after the Normans comming into this Island, Gruffin Ap Conan governed this Country, who, being not able to represse the English troupes who swarmed into Wales, yeelded otherwhiles unto the tempest, and at length when with his integrity and uprightness he had regained the favour of King Henry the First, he easily also recovered his owne lands of the English, and left them to his heires successively, untill the time of Lhewelyn ap Gruffith, who when he had provoked is owne brethren with wrongs, and the Englishmen with inrodes, was brought to this passe, that hee held this hilly Country, together with the Isle Anglesey, of King Edward the First as Tenant in Fee, and paied for it yeerely a thousand Markes. Which conditions afterward when hee would not stand unto, and following rather his owne and his brothers stubberne wilfulnesse than any good hope to prevaile, would needes put all once againe to the hazard of warre, he was slaine, and so both ended his owne life, and withall the British government in Wales.
It hath in it parish Churches 68.
HE county of Caer-Nar-von, which I last ranne through, tooke name, as I said erewhile, of the chiefe towne therein, and the said towne of the Isle of Mona, which lieth over against it and requireth, as it were of right, that I should treat of it in his due place, which unwillingly heeretofore (I confesse) I referred to the out Ilands, whereas by right it is to be placed among the Shires. This Isle, called of the Romans Mona, of the Britans Mon and Tir-Mon, that is the land of Mon, and Ynis Dowil, that is, A shadowy or darke Iland, of the ancient Anglo-Saxons Moneg, and at last, after that the Englishmen became Lords of it, Engles-ea and Anglesey, as one would say, The Englishmens Iland, being severed from the continent of Britaine with the small narrow streight of Menai, and on all parts besides beatten upon with that surging and troublous Irish sea, lieth in forme unequall, in length from East to West reaching out twenty miles, in bredth scarce 17. And albeit, as Giraldus saith, the ground may seeme dry and stony, nothing sightly and unpleasant, and for the outward quality resembleth wholy the land Pebidiane, that lieth hard unto Saint Davids, yet for the inward gift of nature it is far unlike. For above all the coasts of Wales it is without comparison most plentifull of wheat, in so much as by way of Proverbe they are wont to say of it in the Welsh language, Mon mam Cymbry, which is as much in English as Mon is the mother of Wales, because when all other countries round about doe faile, this alone with the exceeding fat soile and plentifull encrease of corne was wont to sustaine all Wales. In cattaile also it is passing rich, and sendeth out great multitudes. It yeeldeth also grind-stones, and in some place an earth standing upon Alum, out of which some not long since beganne to make Alum and Coperose. But when they saw it not answerable to their expectation at first, without any further hope they gave over their enterprise.
2. This is the most notable Isle Mona, the ancient seat of the Druides, attempted first by Paulinus Suetonius, and brought under the Roman Empire by Julius Agricola. This Suetonius Paulinus under the reigne of Nero, as Tacitus writeth, made all preparation to invade the Isle Mona inhabited by <a> strong and stout nation, and then the receptacle of fugitives. He built Flat-bothom vessels, because the sea is shalow, the landing-shore uncertaine. Thus their footmen passed over, and after them the horsemen following by the shallow fourd, or swiming where the waters were deepe with their horses. Against them stood the enemies armies on the shore thicke set in aray, well appointed with men and weapons, and women also running in too and fro among them, like furies of hell, in mourning attyre, their haire about their eares, and with firebrands in their hands. Round about them also were the Druidae, who lifting up their hands to heaven and powring out deadly curses, with the strangenesse of the sight so daunted the souldiours as they stood stock-still, and, not able to stirre their joints, presented their bodies unto wounds. At length, what with the exhortation of their Captaine, and what with encouraging and animating one another not to feare a flocke of franticke women and fanaticall persons, they displaied and advanced forward their Ensignes. Downe they goe with all in their way, and thrust them within their owne fires. Which done, garisons were placed in their townes, and the groves consecrated to their cruell superstitions cut downe. For they accompted it lawfull to sacrifice with the bloud of captives, and by inspection of mens fibres and bowells to know the will of their Gods. But as Paulinus was busie in these exploits, newes came unto him s of a sudden revolt through the whole province, which stayed his enterprise. Afterwards, as the same Tacitus writeth, Julius Agricola purposed with himselfe to subdue the Iland Mona, from the possession whereof, as I said before, Paulinus was revoked [recalled] by a generall rebellion of all Britaine. But (as in a purpose not praepensed [planned] before) vessels being wanting, the policie and resolutenesse of the Captaine divised a passage over, causing the most choise of the Auxiliaries, to whom all the shallowes were knowen, and who after the use of their country were able in swimming, to governe themselves with their armour and horses, laying aside their carriage [baggage], to put over at once and suddenly to invade them. Which thing so amazed the enemies, who supposed they would passe over by shipping, and therefore attended for a fleete and the tide, that they beleeved verily nothing could bee hard or invincible to men that came so resolute to warre. Whereupon they humbly entreated for peace and yeelded the Iland. Thus by this service Agricola became famous indeed, and of great reputation.
3. Many ages after, it was conquered by the Englishmen and tooke their name, as being called in old time in the Saxons language Engles-ea, now commonly Anglesey, as one would say The Englishmens Island. But seeing that Humfrey Lhuid in a very learned Epistle to that learned Ortelius hath restored this Iland to the due name and dignity, there is no reason that any man heere should require my diligence. Yet thus much will I adde unto the rest. When the Empire of the Romans in Britaine now was in declining and going downward, some out of Ireland entred in by stealth into this Isle also and nestled there. For besides certaine mounts of earth entrenched about, which they call the Irishmens cotages, there is a place also named Yn Hericy Gwidil of the Irishmen, who, as we find it recorded in the Booke of Triades, under the leading of Sirigus put the Britans to flight in that place. Neither was it grievously infested onely by the Englishmen, but also by the Norvegians. LIkewise in the yeere of our redemption 1000 King Aethelreds fleet, having skoured the seas round about the said Isle, wasted it in all hostile maner. After this the two Norman Hughes, the one Earle of Chester, and the other Earle of Shrewsburie, greatly afflicted it and built Castle Aber-Llienioc for to restraine and keepe under the inhabitants. But Magnus the Norwegian, arriving heere at the very same time, shot the said Hugh Earle of Shrewsbury through with an arrow, and after hee had ransacked the Iland, departed. The Englishmen moreover afterward from time to time invaded it, untill that King Edward the First brought it wholly under his subjection. There were in ancient time reckoned in it 363 Villages, and even at this day it is well peopled. The principall towne therein at this time is Beaumarish, which King Edward the First built in the East-side of the Isle upon a marish ground, and for the situation therof gave it this goodly faire name, whereas before time it was called Bonover, who also fortified it with a castle, which notwithstanding may seeme never to have beene finished, the governour whereof is the right worshipfull Sir Richard Bulkley Knight, by whose courtesie toward me when I came to visite these places, I cannot chuse but evermore acknowledge with most hearty thankfulnesse. Hard unto Beau-Marish lieth Lhan-vays, a famous religious house in times past of the Friers Minors, unto whom the Kings of England shewed themselves very bountifull Patrons, as well in regard of the Friers holiness, who there conversed, as also because there (that I may speake out of the publicke records of the Kingdome) were buried a daughter of King John, a sonne of the King of the Danes, the bodies also of the Lord Clifford and other Lords, Knights, and Squires who in the time of the noble and renowned Kings of England were slaine in the warres against the Welsh.
4. The next town in name to Beau-Marish is Newburg, called in British Rossur, standing ten miles off Westward, which having bin a long time greatly annoyed with heaps of sand driven in by the sea, complaineth that it hath lost much of the former state that it had. Aber-fraw is not far from hence, which is now but an obscure and meane towne, yet in times past it excelled all the rest farre in worth and dignity, as having beene the Royall seat of the Kings of Guineth or North-wales. And in the utmost Promontorie Westward, which wee call Holy-head, there standeth a little poore towne, in British Caer-Guby, so named of Kibie, a right holy man and a disciple of S. Hilarie of Poitiers, who therein devoted himselfe to the service of God, and from whence there is an usuall passage over into Ireland. All the rest of this Iland is well bespred with villages, which because they have in them nothing materially memorable, I will crosse over into the Continent and view Denbighshire.
N this side of the river Convey Denbighshire, in Welsh Sire Denbigh, retyreth more within the country from the Sea, and shooteth Eastward in one place as farre as to the river Dee. On the North North west, first the Sea for a small space, and then Flintshire, on the West Merionith and Montgomery shires, on the East Cheshire and Shropshire incompasse it. The West part is barraine, the middle, where it lieth flat in a vally, most fruitfull. The East side, when it is once past the valley, hath not nature so favourable unto it, but next unto Dee it findeeth her farre more kind.
2. The West part, but that it is somewhat more plentifull and pleasant toward the sea side, is but heere and there inhabited, and mounteth up more with bare and hungry hils, but yet the painfull diligence and witty industrie of the husbandmen hath begunne a good while since to overcome this leannesse of the soile where the hils setle anything flattish, as in other parts of Wales likewise. For after they have with a broad kind of spade pared away the upper coat, as it were, or sord [sward] of the earth into certaine turfes, they pile them up artificially on heapes, put fire to them, and burne them to ashes, which being throwen upon the ground so pared and flayed, causeth the hungry barainnesse thereof so to fructifie that the fields bring forth a kind of Rhie or Amel corne in such abundance as it is incredible. Neither is this a new devise thus to burne grouind, but very ancient, as we may see in Virgil and Horace. Among these hilles there is a place commonly called Cerigy Drudion, that is, The stones of the Druidae, and certaine little columnes or pillers are seen at Yvoellas, with inscriptions in them of strange characters, which some imagine to have beene erected by the Druides, and not farre from Clocainog this Inscription is red in a stone:
3. By the vale side whre these mountaines begnne now to wax thinner, upon the hanging of a rocke standeth Denbigh, called of our Britans by a more ancient name Cled Fryn-yn Ross, that is A rough hill in Ross, for so they call that part of the Shire, which King Edward the First gave with other faire lands and possessions to David the brother of Lhewellin. But when hee soone after being found guilty of high treason was beheaded, Henry Lacie Earle of Lincolne obtained it by the grant of the said King Edward, and he fortified it with a wall about, not large in circuit, but strong, and on the Southside with a proper castle, strengthned with high towres. In the well whereof, after that his onely sonne fortuned to be drowned, the most sorrowfull father conceived such griefe that hee gave over the worke and left it unfinished. After his death, the towne with the rest of the possessions descended unto the house of Lancaster by his daughter Alice, who survived. From whom notwithsanding it came first through the liberality of King Edward the Second (when the said house was dejected [extinct]) unto Hugh Spenser Earle of Wincheser, then to Roger Mortimer by covenant and composition with King Edward the Third, and the said Mortimers Armes are to be seene upon the chiefe gate. But after that he was executed, it ‡with the Cantreds of Ross and Riewinoc &c.‡ were graned to William Montacute, after Earle of Salisbury, for supprising of Mortimer, and shortly after it was restored unto the Mortimers, and by them at length descended to the family of Yorke. At which time, they of the house of Lancaster for the malice they bare unto Edward the Fourth, who was of the family of Yorke, did much hurt unto it. And then, either because the inhabitants like not the steep situation therof (for the cariage up and down was very incommodious), or by reason that it wanted water, the removed downe from thence by little and little, so as that this ancient towne hath now few or none dwelling in it. But a new one farre bigger than it sprung up at the very foote of the hill, which is so well peopled and inhabited that by reason that the Church is not able to received the multitude, they beganne to build a new one in the place where the old towne stood, partly at the charges of their Lord Robert Earle of Leicester, and partly with the mony which they have gathered of many well disposed throughout England. For the said Robert in the yeere 1564 was created by Queene Elizabeth Baron of Denbigh, to him and the heires of his body lawfully begotten. Neither is there any one Baronie in all England that hath more gentlemen holding thereof in fee and by service.
4. Now are we come into the very hart of the shire, where Nature, having removed the hilles out of the way on both sides to shew what she could doe in a rough country, hath spred beneath them a most beautifull pleasant vale reaching 17 miles in length from South to North and five miles or thereabout in bredth, which lieth open onely toward the sea and the cleering North Wind: otherwise environed it is on every side with high hills, and those from the Eastside, as it were, embatled [fended off]. For such is the wonderfull workmanship of nature that the tops of these mountaines resemble in fashion the battlements of walles. Among which the highest is Moilenlly, on the top whereof I saw a warlicke fense with trench and rampier, also a little fountaine of cleere water. This vale for wholsomenesse, fruitfulnesse and pleasantnesse excelleth. The colour and complexion of the inhabitants is healthy, their heads are sound and of a firme constitution, teir eie sight continuing and never dimme, and their age long lasting and very cheerefull. The vale it selfe, with his greene medowes, yellow corne-fields, villages, and faire houses thicke, and many beautifull Churches, giveth wonderfull great contentment to such as behold it from above. The river Cluid, encreased with beckes [streams] and brookes resorting unto it from the hilles on each side, doth from the very spring-head part it in twaine running through the midst of it, whence in ancient time it was named Strat Cluid. For Marianus maketh mention of a King of the Strat Clud of the Welsh, and at this day it is commonly called Diffryn Cluid, that is, The vale of Cluid, wherein, as some have recorded, certaine Britans which came out of Scotland, after they had driven forth the English, erected a pettie Kingdome. On the East banke of Cluid, in the South part of the vale, standeth Ruthin, in Latin writers Ruthunia, in British Ruthun, the greatest market towne in all the vale, full of inhabitants and well replenished with buildings, famous also not long since by reason of a large and very faire Castle able to receive and entertaine a great houshold. Which wtih the towne Reginald Grey, to whom King Edward the First granted it, and Roger Grey built, having obtained licence of the King, the Bishop of Saint Asaph, and the parson of the Church of Lhan-Ruth, in whose parish the place is sited. Unto him in recompense for his part of the good service performed against the Welsh, King Edward the First had given in maner the whole vale, and it was the seat of his heires, men of great honor, and at length stiled with the title of Earle of Kent, untill that Richard Grey Earle of Kent and Lord of Ruthin, having no issue nor care of his bother Henrie, passed away for a sum of mony this is ancient inheritance unto King Henrie the Seventh. But of late daies the bounteous magnificence of Queene Elizabeth bestowed it upon Ambrose Dudley Earl of Warwicke, together with rich revenewes in the Vale.
5. When you ascend out of the vale Eastward, you come to Yale, a little hilly country, and in comparison of the regions beheath and round about it passing high, so that no river from elswhere commeth into it, and it sendeth forth some from it. By reason of this high situation it is bleake, as exposed to the winds on all sides. Whether it tooke that name of the riveret Alen, which rising first in it, undermineth the ground and once or twice hideth himselfe, I know not. The mountaines are full of neat [cattle], sheepe, and goats, the vallies in some places plenteous enough of corne, especially Eastward, on this side of Alen. But the more Westerly part is not so fruitfull, and in some places is a very heath and altogither barraine. Neither hath it any thing memorable, save onely a little Abbay, now wholy decaied, but standing most richly and pleasantly in a vale, which among the woody hils cutteth it selfe overthwart in maner of a crosse, whereupon it was called in Latin Vallis Crucis, that is, the vale of the Crosse, and in British Lhane-Gwest.
From hence more Eastward, the territory called in Welsh Mailor Cymraig, that is, West Mailor, in English Bromfield, reacheth as far as to the river Dee. A smal territory, but verie rich and pleasant, plentiful withal of lead, especially nere unto Moinglath, a little towne which tooke the name of mines. Heere is Wrexham to be seene, in the Saxons tongue Writtles-ham, much spoken of for a passing faire towre steeple that the Church hath, and the Musical Organs that be therein. And neere unto it is Leonis Castrum, happily so called of the twenty Legion denominated Victrix, which a little higher on the other banke of Dee lay garrisoned. Now it goeth commonly under the name of Holt, and is thought to have beene re-edified of late by Sir William Stanley, and long since by John Earle of Warren, who, being a guardian of trust unto Madock a Welsh Lord, conveighed falsly from his ward this Lordship togither with Yale unto himselfe. But from the Earles of Warren it came unto the Fitz-Alans Earles of Arundel, and from them to Sir William Beauchamp Baron of Abergevenny, and afterward to Sir William Stanley Chamberlane to King Henry the Seventh, who, ‡contesting with his soveraigne about his good services (when hee was honorably recompensed),‡ lost his head, ‡forgetting that soveraignes must not bee beholding to subjects, how soever subjects fancy their owne good services.‡
6. Beneath Bromfield Southward lieth Chirke, in Welsh Gwain, being also very hilly, but wel knowne in elder ages for two Castles, Chirk, which gave it the name, built by Roger Mortimer, and Castle Dinas Bran, situate in the hanging of a mighty high hill pointed in the top, where of note there remaineth nothing but the very ruines. The common sort affirme that Brennius the Generall of the Galles both built and so named it. Others interpret the name to this sense, The Castle of the Kings palace. For bren in British signifieth a King, whence perhaps that most puissant King of Gaules and Britans both was by way of excellency called Brennus. But others againe draw this name from the high situation upon an hill, which the Britans terme bren, and in mine opinion this their conjecture carrieth with it more probability. In the time of King Henry the Third it was the mansion of Gruffith ap Madoc, who when hee tooke part with the English against the Welsh was wont heere to make his abode, but after his death Roger Mortimer, who had the charge and tuition of his sonne Lhewellin, like as John Earle of Warren, of whom I spake, seized Bromfield, so he seised also this Chirck into his possession.
When the state of the Welsh, by reason of their owne civill dissensions and the invasions of English, now ready to ruine, could not well subsist, the Earles of Chester and of Warren, the Mortimers, Lacy, and the Greies, that I spake of, first of all the Normans brought this little Country of Denbigh by little and little into their owne hands and left possession thereof to their heires. Neither was it made a shire before King Henry the Eighth his daies, at which time Radnor, Brechnock, and Montgomerie by authority of the Parliament were ordained to be shires.
In this shire there be Parishes 57.
IGHT over against Denbighshire North-weast-ward lieth Flintshire, a small territory, more in length than in bredth: hemmed in on the North-side with the Irish-sea, or rather with an arme of the same, on the East with Cheshire, on other parts with Denbighshire. It is no mountain Country to speake of, yet rising somewhat with the bearing up of hilles, and gently falleth and slopeth it selfe downe with fruitfull fields, which toward the sea especially, every first yeere that they bee new broken uppe and sowne, beare in some places barley, in others wheat, but generallie throughout rie with twenty fold increase and better, and afterwards foure or five crops together of otes.
2. In the Confines of this shire and Denbighshire, where the hils grow more flat and plaine with a softer fall and an easier descent downe into the vale, in the verie gullet and entry thereof the Romans placed a little Citie named Varis, which Antonine the Emperour placeth nineteene miles from Conovium. This without any maime of the name is called at this day Bod-Vari, that is, Mansion Vari, and the next little hill hard by, which the inhabitants thereabout commonly call Moyly Gaer, that is, The Mountaine of the City, sheweth the footings of a City in deed that hath beene destroied. But what the name should signifie it appeereth not. I for my part have beene of opinion else where that Varia in the old British language signified a Passage, and accordingly have interpreted these words Durnovaria and Isannaevaria, The passage of a water and the passage of Isanna. And for this opinion of mine maketh well the situation of Varis in that place where only there lieth open an easie passage betwixt the hils. And not three miles from hence standeth Caer-wisk, the name whereof although it maketh some shew of antiquity, yet found I nothing ancient there, nor worth the observation.
3. Beneath this Varis, or Bodvari, in the vale glideth Cluid, and streightwaies Elwya, a little riveret, conjoineth it selfe with it, where there is a Bishops see. This place the Britains call according to the river Llan-Elwy, the Englishmen of Asaph the Patron thereof Saint Asaph, and the Historiographers Asaphensis. Neither is the towne for any beauty it hath, nor for the Church for building or braverie memorable, yet some thing would bee said of it in regard of antiquity. For about the yeere of our redemption 560 Kentigern Bishop of Glasco, beeing fled hither out of Scotland, placed heere a Bishops See and erected a monasterie, having gathered together sixe hundred three score and three in a religious brotherhood. Whereof three hundred, beeing unlearned, did give themselves to husbandry, and as many moe to work and labour within the monasterie, the rest to divine service. Whom hee divided so by Covents that some of them should continually give attendance in the Church to the service of God. But when hee returned into Scotland, hee ordained Asaph a most godly and upright man governour over this monasterie, of whom it tooke the name which now it hath. The Bishop of this See hath under his jurisdiction about 128 parishes, the Ecclesiasticall benefices whereof were wont to bee bestowed, when the See was voide, by the Archbishop of Canterbury without interruption, untill the time of King Henry the Eighth, and that by his Archiepiscopall right, which now is counted a regality. For so we read in the history of Canterbury.
4. Above this, Rughlan, taking the name of the ruddy and red banke of Cluid on which it stands, maketh a good shew with a Castle, but now almost consumed by very age. Lhewellin Ap Sisil Prince of Wales first built it, and Robert surnamed de Ruthland, Nephew of Hugh Earle of Chester, was the first that by force wonne it from the Welsh, as being Captaine Lieutenant to the said Hugh, who fortified it with new workes and bulwarkes. Afterwards (as Robert Abbat de Monte hath written) King Henry the Second when hee had repaired this Castle gave it unto Hugh Beauchamp. Beneath this we saw the little down of Haly-well, as one would say Holy-well, where there is that fountaine frequented by Pilgrimes for the memoriall of the Christian Virgin Winefride, ravished there perforce and beheaded by a tyrante, as also for the mosse there growing of a most sweet and pleasant smell. Out of which well there gusheth forth a brooke among stones, which represent bloudy spottes upon them, and carrieth so violent a streame that presently it is able to drive a mill. Over the very well there standeth a Chappell built of stone right curiously wrought, whereunto adjoineth a little Church, in a window whereof is portraied and set out the history of the said Winifride, ‡how her head was cut off and set on againe by Saint Benno.‡ Nere unto this place in the time of Giraldus, ‡who yet knew not this well,‡ was, as him selfe writeth, a rich veine and gainefull mine of silver, where men in seeking after silver pierced and pried into the very bowels of the Earth.
5. This part of the Country, because it smileth so pleasantly upon the beholders with a beautifull shew, and was long since subject unto Englishmen, the Welsh named Teg-Engle, that is, Faire England. But whereas one hath termed it Tegenta, and thought that the Igeni there planted themselves, take heede I advise you that you bee not overhasty to beleeve him. Certes, the name of the Iceni wrong put down heere deceived the good man. Then upon the shore you may see Flint Castle, which King Henry the Second beganne and King Edward the First finished, and it gave the name unto this shire, ‡where King Richard the Second, circumvented by them who should have beene most trusty, was cunningly induced to renounce the crowne as unable for certaine defectes to rule, and was delivered into the hands of Henry Lancaster Duke of Hereford, who sonne after claimed the Kingdome and crowne, beeing then voide by his cession, as his inheritance descended from King Henry the Third, and to this his devised claime the Parliament assented, and he was established in the kingdome.‡ After Flint by the East border of the shire, nere to Cheshire, standeth Hawarden, commonly called Harden-Castle, not far from the shore, out of which when David Lhewelins brother had led away prisoner Roger Clifford, Justice of Wales, hee raised thereby a most bloudy warre against himselfe and his people, wherein the Princedome of the Welsh nation was utterly overthrowne. But this castle, anciently holden by the Seneschalship of the Earles of Chester, was the seat of the Barons de Mont-hault, who grew up to a most honorable familie, and gave for their Armes in a shield Azure a Lion rampart Argent, and bettered their dignity and estate by marriage with Cecile, one of the co-heires of Hugh D’Albeney Earle of Arundell. But in the end, by default of male issue, Robert, the last Baron of this race, made it over, as I have said already, to Isabel Queene of England, wife to King Edward the Second. Howbeit the possession of the Castle was transferred afterward to the Stanleys, now Earles of Darbie.
6. Through the South part of this shire, lying beneath these places above named wandereth Alen, a little river, neere unto which in a hill hard by Kilken, a small village, there is a well, the water whereof at certaine set times riseth and falleth after the manner of the sea-tides. Upon this Alen standeth Hope Castle, in Welsh Caer-gurle, in which King Edward the First retired himselfe when the Welshmen had upon the sodaine set upon his soldiers, being out of array, and where good milstones are wrought out of the rocke; also Mold, in Welsh cuid Cruc, a castle belonging in ancient time to the Barons of Monthault, both which places shew many tokens of Antiquity. Neere unto Hope a certaine gardiner, when I was first writing this worke, digging somewhat deepe into the ground happened upon a very ancient peece of worke, concerning which there grew many divers opinions of sundry men. But hee that will with any diligence read M. Vitruvius Pollio shall verie well perceive it was nothing else but a Stouph or hote house begunne by the Romans, who as their riotous excesse grewe together with their wealth, used bathes exceeding much. In length it was five elns [cubits], in bredth foure, and about halfe an eln deepe, enclosed with walles of hard stone, the paving laied with bricke pargetted [plastered] with lime morter, the arched roufe over it supported with small pillers made of bricke, which roufe was of tiles pargetted over likewise verie smooth, having holes heere and there through it, wherein were placed certaine earthen pipes of potterie, by which the heat was conveied, and so, as hee saith, volvebant hypocausta vaporem, that is, The Stuphes did send away a waulming [rising] hote vapor. And who would not thinke this was one of these kindes of worke which Giraldus wondered at especially in Isca, writing thus as hee did of the Roman workes, that (saith hee) which a man would judge among other things notable, there may you see on every side stouphs made with mervailous great skill, breathing out heat closely at certaine holes in the sides, and narrow tunnels. Whose worke this was the tiles there did declare, beeing imprinted with these words, LEGIO XXX, that is, The twentieth Legion, which, as I have shewed already before, abode at Chester scarce sixe miles aside from hence.
7. Neere unto this river Alen, in a certaine streight set about with woods, standeth Coles-hall, Giraldus termeth it Carbonarium collem, that is, Coles Hill, where when King Henry the Second had made preparation with as great care as ever any did to give battaile unto the Welsh, the English ‡by reason of their disordred multitude drawing out their battalions in their rankes, and not ranged close in good array,‡ lost the field and were defeited, yea and the very Kings standerd was forsaken by Henrie of Essex, who in right of inheritance was Standard-bearer to the Kings of England. For which cause hee, beeing afterwards charged with treason, and by his challenger overcome in combate, had his goods confiscate and seized into the kings hands, and hee, displeased with himselfe for his cowardise, put on a broule [hood] and became a monke.
Another little parcell there is of this shire on this side the river Dee, dismembred, as it were, from this, which the English call English Mailor. Of this I treated in the County of Chester, whiles I spake of Bangor, and there is no reason to iterate the same heere which hath beene already spoken of before. Neither doth it affourd any thing in it worth the reporting, unlesse it bee Han-mere, by a Meres-side [lakeside], whereof a right ancient and respective familie there dwelling tooke their sur-name.
8. The Earles of Chester, as they skirmished by occasions and advantage of opportunity with the Welsh, were the first Normans that brought this Country under their subjection, whereupon wee reade in ancient records the County of Flint appertaineth to the dignity of the sword of Chester, and the eldest sonnes of the Kings of England were in old time styled by the Title of Earles of Chester and Flint. But notwithstanding that King Edward the First, supposing it would bee very commodious both for the maintenance of his owne powre and also to keepe under the Welsh, held in his owne hands both this and all the sea coast of Wales. As for the in-land Countries, hee gave them to his Nobles as hee thought good, following herein the policy of the Emperour Augustus, who undertooke himselfe to governe the provinces that were strongest and lay out most, but permitted Proconsuls by lot to rule the rest. Which he did in shew to defend the Empire, but in very deed to have all the armes and martiall men under his owne commande.
In this County of Flint there be Parishes in all 28.
S concerning the Princes of Wales of British bloud in ancient times, you may reade in the Historie of Wales published in print. For my part I thinke it requisite and pertinent to my intended purpose to set downe summarily those of latter daies, descended from the roiall line of England. King Edward the First, unto whom his father King Henrie the Third had granted the Principalitie of Wales, when hee had obtained the Crowne and Lhewellin Ap Gryffith, the last Prince of the British race, was slain, and therby the sinewes as it were of the principalitie were cut, in the twelft yeere of his reigne united the same unto the Kingdome of England. And the whole province sware fealty and alleageance unto Edward of Caernarvon his sonne, whom hee made Prince of Wales. But King Edward the Second conferred not upon his sonne Edward the title of Prince of Wales, but onely the name of Earle of Chester and of Flint, so farre as ever I could learne out of the Records, and by that title summoned him to Parliament, being then nine yeres old. King Edward the Third first created his eldest sonne Edward surnamed the Blacke Prince, the Mirour of Chivalrie ‡(being then Duke of Cornwall and Earle of Chester), Prince of Wales by solemne investure, with a cap of estate and Coronet set on his head, a gold ring put upon his finger, and a silver vierge [rod] delivered into his hand, with the assent of Parliament:‡ who in the very floure of his martiall glory was taken away by untimely death too too soone, to the universall griefe of all England. Afterwards King Edward the Third invested with the said honour Richard of Burdeaux the said Princes sonne, as heires apparent to the Crowne, who was deposed from his Kingdome by King Henrie the Fourth, and having no issue was cruelly dispatched by violent death. The said King Henrie the Fourth ‡at the formall request of the Lords and Commons bestowed this Principalitie with the title of Chester and Flint, with solemne investure and a kisse in full Parliament.‡ upon his eldest sonne, who gloriously bare the name of King Henrie the Fifth. His sonne King Henrie the Sixth, who at this fathers death was an infant in the cradle, conferred likewise this honor, which he never had himselfe, upon his yong sonne Edward, whose unhappy fortune it was to have his braines dashed out cruelly by the faction of Yorke, being taken prisoner at Tewkesbury field. Not long after King Edward the Fourth, having obtained the Crowne, created Edward his yong sonne Prince of Wales, who was afterwards in the lineall succession of Kings Edward the Fifth of that name. And within a while after his Unkle King Richard the Third, who made him away, ordained in his roome Edward, his owne sonne, whom King Edward the Fourth had before made Earle of Salisbury, but hee died quickly after. Then King Henrie the Seventh first created his sonne Arthur Prince of Wales, and when he was dead, Henrie his other sonne, well knowen in the world by the name of King Henrie the Eight. Every one of these had the Principality of Wales given unto them by the foresaid solemne investiture and delivery of a Patent, to hold to themselves and their Heires, Kings of England. for Kings would not bereave themselves of so an excellent an occasion to doe well by their eldest sonnes, but thought it very good pollicie by so great a benefit to oblige them when they pleased. Queene Marie, Queene Elizabeth, and King Edward, the children of King Henrie the Eighth, although they never had investiture nor Patent, yet were commonly named in their order Princes of Wales. For at that time Wales was by authority of Parliament so annexed and united to the Kingdome of England that both of them were governed under the same law, ‡or, that you may read it abridged out of the Act of Parliament, the Kings country or dominion of Wales shall stand and continue for ever incorporated, united, and annexed, to and with the realme of England, and all and singular person and persons borne and to be borne in the said principalitie, countrie, or dominion of Wales, shall have, enjoy, and inherit all and singular freedomes, liberties, rights, priviledges, and lawes within the Realme, and other the Kings dominions, as other the Kings subjects naturally borne within the same have, enjoy, and inherit, and the lawes, ordinances, and statutes of the Realme of England for ever, and none other shall be had, used, practised, and executed in the saide country or dominion of Wales, and every part thereof, in like manner, forme, and order as they be and shall be in this Realme, and in such like maner and forme as heereafter shall be further established and ordained. This Act, and the calme command of King Henrie the Seventh preparing way for it, effected that in a short time, which the violent power of other Kings armes, and especially of Henrie the Fourth with extreme rigour also of lawes, could not draw on in many yeeres. For ever sithence the British nation hath continued as faithfully and dutifully in their loyall allegiance to the Crowne of England as any other part of the Realme whatsoever.
Now am I to returne out of Wales into England, and must goe unto the Brigantes.