Montgomeryshire, Wales


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.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England and Wales, 1894-5
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Archives and Libraries

Gwent Record Office
County Hall
NP44 2XH
Tel: 01633 644886
Fax: 01633 648382

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.


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 and places

The towns and parishes have now been moved to a separate page.