Robert Williams.

The history and antiquities of the town of Aberconwy and it neighbourhood : with notices of the natural history of the district online

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Online LibraryRobert WilliamsThe history and antiquities of the town of Aberconwy and it neighbourhood : with notices of the natural history of the district → online text (page 1 of 11)
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B ERK ELEr

LIBRARY

UNIVERSITY OF
CAlll^OKNIA



/




THE

HISTORY AND ANTIQUITIES



THE TOWN



ABERCONWY



NEIGHBOURHOOD.



WITH NOTICES OF THE NATURAL HISTORY OF THE DISTRICT.



BY TH K



REV. ROBERT WILLIAMS, B.A.

Christ Chiirch, Oxford, Curate of Llangernyw.



IBenttgf),

PRINTED l-OR THE AUTHOR BY THOMAS GEE.
1835.






«»«•
^



TO

COLONEL LLOYD

Of Marl,

THIS VOLUME

IS INSCRIBED,



A TRIBUTE OF RESPECT AND GRATITUDE,



BT



THE AUTHOR.



wS'?A80G



HI STORY



OF



ABERCONWY.



The obvious advantages derived by fixing their
residence on the banks of a river would naturally
occur to the early inhabitants of this country, and
the importance of the Conwy, in this respect, has
been duly appreciated from the most remote times,
of which we have any records. Its name Conwy,
or more properly Cynwy, is derived from Cyn
chief, and wy water, and it is allowed to be one
of the finest of its length in Europe. The earliest
author who makes mention of any place in this
neighbourhood is Tacitus, whose Cangorum Ci-
vitas is fixed by the learned antiquary Humfrey
Llwyd at Dyganwy. Every British nation had
its own Cano-i, whose office was to attend to the
herds, and they resided in different pastures at
various periods of the year. Benren is recorded

A



2 HISTORY OF

as tlie chief of the lierdsmen, or Cangi, who looked
after tlie herds of Caradog and his followers about
(iorwennydd, in Siluria; the Triads assert the
niunher of milch cows in these national herds to
be twenty thousand. Some learned antiquaries
place the summer residence of the Cangi of the
Ordovices near theCanganorumPromontorium,or
Braich y Pw 11 in Llyn, or more probably extend-
ing along the coast from that point to Bangor; and
in that case Dyganwy was their winter (juarters:
but tluit it was a town of the Ordovices before the
invasion of the Romans, is corroborated by the
discovery of a number of brass celts, or battle-axe
Ik ads, weapons peculiar to the ancient Britons;
they were found here some years ago, placed
lieads and points, under a large stone.

When the Romans had subdued this country,
they also built a town on the Conway, but its site
was at tlie distance of five miles higher up the
river at Caer rliun.' Its name of Conovium was,
according to their general practice, the latinized
form of the Welsh term Cynwy. According to
Anlunine's Itinerary, Conovium was twenty-four

' So called from llliuii, the son of Maelgwn Gwynodd. who snb-
(ieqiiently resided (liere.



ABER(()NWY. 3

Roman milts diistaiit from Segontinm, or Caernar-
von, and nineteen from Varac, in the neighbour-
hood of tiie present Bodfari. The name is dif-
ferently given by Ptolemy, who calls the river
Toisobius : why he thus calls it cannot be satis-
factorily accounted for ; it is certain, however, that
this is the river meant, for, when describing this
side of the island, he proceeds from North to South
along the coast, and by naming Toisohii jimninis
ostia before Cancanorum promontorium, he shews
that the mouth of this river lies between that pro-
montory and Seleia eestuarimn, or the mouth of
the river Dee, below Chester; and this is the only
river of any considerable magnitude in the inter-
vening space of country. Richard of Cirencester
also, in his Itinerary, expressly calls the river by
the two names of Toisobius and Conovius. The
legion stationed here was the tenth, not the same
which Julius Caesar brought with him, but that
called Antoniana, which served under Ostorius
against the Silures and Ordovices, as appears by
a coin dug up in Caermarthenshire, having on
one side a triremis ANT. AUG. and on the
other three standards L E G.' Several bricks



* See Plate 19. fig 11. of Gibson's Camden, by Gmigh.

A 2



4 HlhTOiM OF

liave bt^eii fomul litre inscribed L R(i. X. There
are still to be seen tVauiuents of Koiiiaii l)iicks,
and part ofa hypocanst; and on removing the soil
in 1801, the foundation of a Uonian \ ilia >\as also
discovered, consisting of live rooms in front, in-
cluding- a sudatorj . Some articles of Uoman pot-
tery, and a small round shield, ornamented witli
seveial circles of brass studs, have been tliscovered
here, and are preserved at Caer rhun. Among the
y.



ABKUCONWV. J)

fetid sweat, in consequence of tlu; corn liavinj;
been injured by wet in the time of the oppression
of the Nornums Ijy William the Bastard/'

In the year 880, a severe battle was fought near
Aberconwy between Anarawd, prince of North
Wales, and Eadred duke of Mercia; where tlie
Welsh gained a complete victory : it was called
" Gwaitli Cymryd Conwy,' because the engaoe-
nient took place in the township of Cymryd, near
Conwy; the prince, however, called it Dial
Hodri, because he had there avenged his father
Rodri, who had been slain by the Saxons in
Anglesey; the cause of the war between the
Welsh and Mercians was this : the northern Bri-
tons of Stratclwyd and Cumberland were greatly
haiassed and weakened by the continued incur-
sions of the Danes, Saxons, and Scots, insomuch
that those, who were unwilling to lose their inde-
pendence, were compelled to quit their native
country, and seek for more peaceful and secure
habitations. Under the conduct of one Robert,
several of them came to Gwynedd or North Wales
in the beginning of Anarawd's reign ; who, com-
miserating the suflerings of a kindled nation,
granted them all the country between Chester and



10 HISTORY OF

the Conwy, if they coukl expel the Saxons, who
had lately taken possession of it : they accordingly
attacked them, and speedily drove them out. For
three years they had enjoyed peaceful possession,
when Eadred, duke of Mercia, called by tlie
Welsh, Edryd Wallt-hir, the long-haired, eager to
avenge his ignominious ejection, made a treaty
with the Danes, and in conjunction with them
made preparations to regain tiie country. The
northern Britons, who were settled there, in the
mean time removed their cattle and effects beyond
the Conwy ; and Anarawd, having collected his
forces, met them at Cymryd, and after a gallant
resistance on the part of the Saxons, and a bloody
fight, he gave them a complete overthrow. Those
who escaped were pursued by the Britons into
Mercia, and the victors, having laid waste their
borders, returned liome laden with booty. The
northern Britons were thus enabled to repass
the Conwy, and return to their former possessions,
which they enjoyed in peace for several years. Jn
this action Tudwal, son of Rodri Mawr, signally
distinguished himself, and he was rewarded by his
brother with a grant of Uchelogoed or Uchelgoed
(iwyncdd : from :i wound which he received in
his knee, h


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Online LibraryRobert WilliamsThe history and antiquities of the town of Aberconwy and it neighbourhood : with notices of the natural history of the district → online text (page 1 of 11)