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Builth, Breconshire

Historical Description

Builth, a small market-town, a parish, and the head of a union and county court district in Breconshire. The town stands on the right bank of the river Wye, 14½ miles SW of New Radnor, 16 N of Brecon by road, 26 by rail, and 184 from London. It has a station (Builth Wells) on the opposite side of the Wye on the Cambrian railway, and another station on the same line about 2 miles NW (Builth Road or Llechryd), close to which is the Builth Road station of the L. & N.W.R. The Welsh name is Buallt, and the parish is sometimes called Llanfair-yn-Muallt. It occupies the site of the Roman station Bullaeum, and had a castle in the 11th century, said to have been built by Bernard de Newmarch. It was held by the De Braose family for some time, and was captured by Llewelyn in 1260 from Sir Roger Mortimer, who was holding it for the Crown. Llewelyn retained possession of it till his death, which came about through the refusal of the inhabitants to admit him on his return from an expedition to collect auxiliaries; he was surprised by the English, and slain in a dingle 3 miles to the west, since called Cwm-Llewelyn. A fragment of the N wall is all tliat remains of the masonry, but the site of the castle can still be traced and the moat is nearly perfect, and there are earthworks, probably pre-Norman. The town consists chiefly of two parallel streets, which form irregular terraces on the side of a steep declivity. The castle and the greater part of the town were destroyed by fire in 1691. A bridge of six arches spans the Wye, and connects the town with Radnorshire. The parish church of St Mary (Llanfair-in-Builth) was entirely rebuilt in 1875, with the exception of the massive 14th century tower, and consists of chancel, nave, S aisle, and S porch; it contains a monument to John Lloyd, gentleman of the bodyguard to Queen Elizabeth. There are Congregational, Baptist, Wesleyan, and Calvinistic Methodist chapels. Builth enjoys some celebrity for its medicinal springs. The Park Wells, three mineral springs, severally saline, chalybeate, and sulphurous, are about 1½ mile to the NW, near the junction of the Yrfon with the Wye; there is a pump-room and baths. The Glanne Wells, less than a mile to the W, have chalybeate and sulphurous springs, and are provided with baths, &c. The environs generally are picturesque, the climate salubrious, and the sport for anglers good. The town is governed by a local board, and is well drained, lighted, and paved, and has a good supply of water. It has a post, money order, and telegraph office (R.S.O.), a workhouse, a police station, and an endowed school. There is a market-house near the bridge, the upper portion of which is used for public meetings, concerts, &c. There is a weekly market on Mondays, and fairs are held on 2 Feb., the Friday before 12 May, 27 June, the Monday following the third Sunday after 12 Aug., 2 Oct., and 6 Dec. It is a seat of petty sessions. The parish includes the town, and comprises 701 acres; population, 1414; area of the urban sanitary district, 391 acres; population, 1383. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of St Davids; net value, £230 with residence.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Registration districtBuilth1837 - 1974

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Land and Property

A full transcript of the Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Breconshire is online.


Online maps of Builth are available from a number of sites:

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following newspapers online: