Historical description of Wales

Map of England and Wales

Wales, a principality adjoining the W of England. It was formerly more extensive than now, and included besides its present area all of what is now Monmouthshire and considerable portions of what are now Herefordshire, Salop, and Cheshire. It now comprises Anglesey, Carnarvonshire, Merionethshire, Denbighshire, Flintshire, and Montgomeryshire, forming North Wales, and Cardiganshire, Radnorshire, Brecknockshire, Glamorgan, Carmarthenshire, and Pembrokeshire, forming South Wales. It is bounded on the N by the Irish Sea and the estuary of the Dee; on the E by Cheshire, Salop, Herefordshire, and Monmouthshire; on the S by Bristol Channel; and on the W by St George's Channel. Its length from N to S is 136 miles, its breadth varies from 37 to 92 miles, and its circuit is about 540 miles, of which 390 are coast. Acreage, 4,779,325, population in 1881,1,360,513; in 1891, 1,519,035. The surface is very mountainous in the N, and hilly in the S. It is intersected by beautiful valleys traversed by numerous rivers, and is rich in minerals, particularly copper in the N, and coal and iron in the S. Slate also abounds in the N. Details as to contour, waters, rocks, minerals, soils, agriculture, manufactures, commerce, railways, roads, government, statistics, history, and antiquities are given in our articles on the several counties. The principality contains the entire dioceses of Bangor and St Davids, the greater part of those of St Asaph and Llandaff, and part of those of Chester and Hereford.

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