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Montgomeryshire, Wales

Historical Description

Montgomeryshire or Montgomery, an inland county of Wales, bounded on the N by Merionethshire and Denbighshire, on the E by Salop, on the S by Radnorshire, on the SW by Cardiganshire, on the W by Cardiganshire and Merionethshire. Its outline is somewhat irregular, with variety of indentations and projections, but may be described as pentagonal, with the sides facing the N, the E, the ESE, the SW, and the WNW. Its boundary lines are mostly artificial. Its greatest length, from NE to SW, is 37 miles; its greatest breadth is 29 miles; its mean breadth is about 21 miles; its circuit is about 135 miles; and its area is 510,111 acres. The surface in most of the E, to the mean breadth of about 5 miles, is a mixture of rich vale and pleasant hill, luxuriant, warm, and low; but the surface all elsewhere is chiefly mountain and moorland, bleak and wild. The Berwyn Mountains range along the NW boundary, and have a culminating altitude of 2104 feet; the Breidden Hills, with Moel-y-Golfa particularly conspicuous, form a striking group in the E; the Llandinam Hills, with culminating altitude of 1898 feet, are in the S; a great tableau, with average altitude of about 1000 feet, is in the centre; and the magnificent Plinlimmon, with altitude of 2469 feet, is on the SW boundary. Many of the heights, though less picturesque than those of some other Welsh counties, are more valuable, not a few of them being clothed with verdure to the summits. Comparatively low grounds also hang on the skirts of many of them, while numerous vales intersect them in all directions ; and these, taken with the rich tracts in the E, form a much larger proportion of fertile land than might be expected to exist in so prevailingly upland a region.

A line of watershed, dividing the basin of the Dovey from the basins of the Severn and the Wye, runs from N to S, and separates about one-fifth of the county on the W from about four-fifths on the E. The streams in the W portion, therefore, are all affluents of the Dovey, while those of the E are chiefly the Severn and its W affluents on to the influx of the Vyrnwy. The Wye rises under Plinlimmon, near the SW border, and has a run of only about 10 miles within the county. The Severn rises very near the source of the Wye, a little to the N; courses around and along the S, the SE, and the E, seldom further than 3 1/2 miles from the boundary; and receives, from within the county, the tributaries of the Clywedog, the Tarannon, the Rhiw, and the Vymwy; the last of which has the important affluents of the Banw, the Bechan, the Einion, the Brogan, the Cain, and the Tanat. Most of the streams are very fine, for at once their scenery, their water, and their fish. About a dozen small lakes, chiefly Begnelin, Glaslyn, LIyngwyddior, Llyn Hir, and Llyn-yr-Afange, add to the variety. Mineral springs are at Llanfair and Meifod. Silurian rocks form, with slight exceptions, the entire county; the lower Silurian throughout the NE and SW thirds, and the upper Silurian throughout the central third. Slate and limestone are worked, and millstones are quarried. Lead, zinc, and copper are found.

About one-eighth of the area is arable land, about one-third is pasture, and about one-half is common or waste. The soils in the vales are chiefly argillaceous, becoming more and more loamy and rich in the course of their descent; and those in the uplands consist chiefly of the detritus of schistose rocks. Agriculture, considering the natural disadvan-tageousness of the region, is in a very advanced condition. Cattle, butter, and cheese are exported in considerable quantities; a little cider is made; and oak plantations, to supply an exportation of oak for shipbuilding, are maintained. Flannel and woollen cloth are the chief manufactures.

According to the census returns issued in 1893. the chief occupations of the people of the county were:–Professional, 1032 males and 476 females; domestic, 172 males and 5025 females; commercial, 1241 males and 23 females; agricultural, 10,358 males and 608 females; fishing, 11 males; industrial, 8082 males and 2565 females; and "unoccupied," including retired business men, pensioners, those living on their own means, and others not specified, 4226 males and 18,146 females; or a total in the county of 25,122 males and 26,843 females. The number of men employed in the leading industries was as follows:–Agricultural labourers,. 4234; farmers, 3331; general labourers, 1466. The chief occupations of women were–domestic service, with a total of 4435 ; millinery and dressmaking, 952. There were also in the county 58 blind persons, 21 deaf, 40 deaf and dumb,. and 106 mentally deranged. There were 16,414 persons able to speak only the Welsh language, and 15,846 who could speak both Welsh and English.ambrian railway, coming from Oswestry, enters the NE corner of the county, and passes S and SW by Buttington, Welshpool, and Abermule, to Moat Lane Junction, whence one line goes SW to Llanidloes, while another goe& NW and W to Glandovey Junction. There are several branch lines in various parts, and from Bnttington the Shrewsbury and Welshpool Joint (L. & N.W.R. and G.W.R.) line runs. eastwards, giving important connections with other railways. The Montgomeryshire Canal is owned by the Shropshire Union Railway and Canal Company, and gives a communication of 24 miles along the valley of the Severn, with a branch of 3 miles to Gnilsfield. From Newtown the canal runs by Garth-myl, Berriew, and Welshpool to a junction with the Ellesmer& Canal at Carreghofa.

The county contains sixty-nine entire civil parishes and part of one other civil parish; and fifty-nine entire ecclesiastical parishes and parts of eleven others. It is included. chiefly in the diocese of St Asaph, but partly also in the dioceses of Bangor and Hereford. It contains four municipal boroughs–Llanfyllin, Llanidloes, Montgomery, and Welsh-pool. It has one court of quarter sessions, and is divided. into fourteen petty sessional divisions; the borough of Welsh-pool has a separate commission of the peace, but no separate-court of quarter sessions. It is governed under the Local Government Act of 1888 by a county council consisting of 14 aldermen and 42 councillors. One member is returned to the House of Commons by the county, and one by the Montgomery district of Boroughs, consisting of Montgomery, Llanfyllin, Llanidloes, Machynlleth, Newtown, and Welsh-pool. The market-towns are Welshpool, Newtown, Montgomery, Llanfair, Llanfyllin, Llanidloes, and Machynlleth. The chief seats are Lymore Park, Nantcribba, Bodfach,. Gregynog, Aberfechan, Aberiarth, Llwydiarth, Broadway, Bryngwyn, Dolforwyn, Dolgnog, Garth, Garthmill,Glanhafren, Greenhill, Leighton, Mathavarn, Mellington, Newtown House,. Rhiwport, Trelydan, and Vaynor. The county is in the western military district and the North Wales judicial circuit.

The territory now forming Montgomeryshire was part of the country of the ancient Ordovices; was included by the Romans in their Britannia Secunda; became part of the Welsh kingdom of Powys or Mathraval; was the scene of sanguinary struggles between the princes of that kingdom and the Saxon princes of Mercia; was overrun by the famous Saxon king Ofia, who built the dyke of his name along its E border, and included the eastern belt in his kingdom of Mercia; took afterwards the name of Sir Tre Faldwyn, signifying Baldwin's Towns-shire, from the same Baldwin, lord of the marches, who built a castle at Montgomery; was constituted a county directly under the English Crown by Henry VIII.; and made considerable figure in the Civil War of Charles I. Ancient British camps, cairns, and tumuli are numerous. The Sarn Hir Roman Way traversed the county by Meifod and Mathraval, and vicinal or diverging ways went from their Caer Sws station on the Sam Hir Way near Newtown. Another Roman, station was at Meifod, and Roman, camps are at Cefn Caer, Castell Caereinion, and Moelddelwyn. Old castles or remains of them are at Montgomery, Dolforwyn, and Powys; and Owen Glendower's old parliament house is in Machynlleth. Several of the oldest existing churches are curious structures, with ancient wooden upper storeys to the towers, and with wood-covered spires.

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

Archives and Libraries

Gwent Record Office
County Hall
Cwmbran
Torfaen
NP44 2XH
Tel: 01633 644886
Fax: 01633 648382
E-mail: gwent.records@torfaen.gov.uk


Civil Registration

For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.

List of Registration Districts in Montgomeryshire from 1837 to 1974.


Land and Property

The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Montgomeryshire is available to browse.


Maps

Old map of Montgomeryshire circa 1895 (Gazetteer of England and Wales)

Old map of Montgomeryshire circa 1848 (Samuel Lewis)


Newspapers and Periodicals

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


Parishes & places

Aberhafesp
Abermule
Ackley
Arddleen
Aston
Bacheldre
Bausley or Bauseley
Berriew or Aber Rhiw
Bettws or Bettws Cedewain
Blowty
Bodfach
Breidden Hills
Brithdir (Berriew)
Brithdir (Llanhaiadr yn Mochnant)
Brithdir (Llanidloes)
Bryn Gwaeddan
Brynglas
Bryngwyn
Brynllywarch
Bryntalch
Brynuchel with Tafolog
Burgedin
Buttington
Bwlch y Cibau
Caereinion Fechan
Caerseddfan
Caersws
Cann Office
Carno
Carreghova
Castle Caereinion
Castlewright
Cefen Coch
Cefn y Beren
Cefndeisiog
Cefnhafodan
Cefnilyfnog
Cemmaes
Cemmaes Road
Ceri
Church Stoke
Cletterwood
Coedtalog
Colhugh
Collfryn
Commins Coch
Comorion
Crane
Criggion
Cwmgoron
Cwmllech
CwmnrwT
Cyffin
Cyfronydd
Cynhinfa
Darowen
Derlwyn
Dethynydd
Dol Gwden
Dolforwyn
Dolgadfan
Dolgwyn Felyn
Dolvor or Dolfor
Dolwar
Dolwen
Domgay
Drevor
Dulas or Dulais
Dwyffrwd
Dwyriew
Dyffryn
Dyffryn Llanfair
Dyliffe
Dysserth
Esgob with Castle
Eskinuaen
Eskirgilog
Eskirieth
Ffrydd
Forden
Gaer
Garth
Garthbeibio
Garthbwich
Garthgynfawr
Garthmill or Garthrnyl
Gelligasson
Glynbrochau
Glyngynwith
Glynhafren uch Coed
Glynoeiriog
Graig
Greenhall
Guilsfield
Gungrog Fawr
Gungrog Fechan
Gwaenynog
Gwenthrew
Gwernerim
Gwernybvlch
Gwestydd
Halfen
Hem
Hendidley
Hengynwydd
Heniarth
Himant
Hope
Hurdley
Hyssington
Issa and Ucha Vaynor
Isycoed
Isygarreg or Iscarneg
Keel (Berriew)
Keel (Meifod)
Keyliber, Issa and Doha
Kilthriew
Lake Vyrnwy
Leighton
LIanfechan
Llaethbwich
Llan (Guilsfield)
Llan (Himant)
Llan (Llandrinio)
Llan (Llansaintffraid)
Llan (Llanwddyn)
Llanbadarn Fynydd
Llanbrynmair
Llandinam
Llandinir
Llandrinio
Llandyssil
Llanerchila
Llanerchrochwell
Llanerchydol
Llanerchymris
Llanerfyi
Llanfair Caereinion
Llanfechain
Llanfihangel
Llanfyllin
Llangadfan
Llangurig, Llangwrig, or Llangirrig
Llangyniew
Llangynog
Llanidloes
Llanitheon
Llanllugan
Llanllwchalam
Llanmerewig
Llanrhaiadr yn Mochnant
Llansaintffraid or Llansaintffraid yn Mechan
Llanwddyn
Llanwnog
Llanwrin
Llanwyddelan
Llanyfyny
Llanywared
Lledrod
Llivior
Llwydiarfch
Llyn Ebyr
Llyn Gwyddior
Llysyn
Lower and Upper Hopton
Machynlleth
Maeslemystan
Maesmawr
Maestrefgomer
Main
Manafon
Mathrafal
Meifod
Mellington
Middletown
Moat Lane
Mochdre or Moughtre
Moel y Dolwen
Moelfelliarth
Montgomery
Montgomeryshire Canal
Munlyn
Mynydd Digoll
Nantfort
Nantfyllon
Nanthalan
Nantymeichied
Newmills
Newtown
Noddfa
Pangwem
Penarth
Penegoes
Peniarth
Pennant
Pennant or Pennant Melangell
Penrhos
Penstrowed
Penthryn
Pentyrch
Penybont Fawr
Pont Dolanog
Pont Robert
Pontdolgoch
Pool Quay
Pwllan
Rhandir
Rhiewargor
Rhiewlas
Rhiewnachor
Rhiewsaison
Rhosgoch
Rhusnant
Sam
Snead
Surnant
Sylfaen
Tafolog
Teirtref
The Brugham or Burgham
The Mule
The Rhiw
The Tanat
The Tarammon
The Vyrnwy
Tirymynach
Tirymynech
Trallwmgollen
Trederwen
Trefeglwys
Treflys
Trefnant
Trefnany
Trefolwern
Treganol
Tregynon
Trehelig
Trellan
Trelydan
Trelystan
Trewern
Trowscoed (Carno)
Trowscoed (Guilsfield)
Trwstywelin
Tylwch
Ucheldre
Uchllawrcoed
Uchygarreg
Uppington
Uwchycoed
Varchol
Weeg
Weeg Dolvor
Welshpool
Weston Madoc
Wropton
Map of Montgomeryshire