Kington (St. Michael)

KINGTON (St. Michael), a market-town and parish, and the head of a union, in the hundred of Huntington, county of Hereford; comprising the townships of Barton with Bradnor and Rushock, Both-Hergests, and Lilwall with Pembers-Oak and Chickward; and containing 3131 inhabitants, of whom 2091 are in the town, 19 miles (W. N. W.) from Hereford, and 154 (W. by N.) from London. This town, which is of considerable antiquity, is situated on the banks of the river Arrow, and consists of two spacious streets. Charles II. is said to have visited it prior to the fatal battle of Worcester, and to have slept at an inn then called the Lion, but now the Talbot. In a barn still standing, the celebrated tragic actress, Mrs. Siddons, made her first appearance on the stage. The manufacture of woollencloth, which was formerly carried on, has entirely ceased; and glove-making, which, until a recent period, furnished employment to a considerable number of the inhabitants, has much declined. There are, however, an iron-foundry, a nail-manufactory, and an extensive tannery; and stone of good quality for building is quarried. A railroad has been constructed from the foundry to Brecon, joining the canal at Newport, and extending to the lime rocks at Old Radnor. Here is a good market for provisions on Wednesday; and fairs are held on the Wednesdays before Candlemas-day and Easter, on Whit-Monday, August 2nd, and September 4th, for horses and cattle. Courts leet and baron for the manor, at the former of which a bailiff is appointed, take place annually; and the county magistrates hold petty-sessions for the hundred of Huntington every Friday. The powers of the county debt-court of Kington, established in 1847, extend over the greater part of the registration-district of Presteign and Kington, and over the parish of Almeley.

The parish comprises by measurement 6733 acres, of which about 500 are coppice-wood, 1600 open common, and the remainder inclosed and under cultivation. The soil is various; on the east and south of the town a reddish clayey loam, and to the north and west light and gravelly: the surface is generally hilly, and the lower grounds are watered by the river Arrow and a stream called Back Brook, which are both well stocked with trout, and which unite a little below the town. The living is a vicarage, with the rectories of Huntington and Michael-Church, and the vicarage of Brilley, valued in the king's books at £25. 2. 11.; net income, £666; patron and appropriator, the Bishop of Hereford. The church, an ancient structure in the early English style, was enlarged and thoroughly repaired in 1829. There are places of worship for Baptists and Wesleyans. A free grammar school was founded pursuant to the will of Lady Hawkins, who in 1619 bequeathed money for the purchase of an estate, now producing £224 per annum. The union of Kington comprises 26 parishes or places, 11 being in the county of Hereford, and 15 in that of Radnor, Wales; the whole population amounts to 15,738. On Bradnor Hill, about a mile north of the town, are traces of an ancient camp: there is a rocky eminence in the vicinity, called Castle Hill; and about a mile to the west of the town is a mound, which was once fortified. These works are supposed to have formed parts of a series of strongholds between Huntington Castle and the castle of Lyon's Hall, to the south of the parish.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.