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There is no town in Wales with a longer and more eventful history than Carnarvon. It marks one of the furthest points in the west inhabited by the Roman; it was the home of the mysterious crown of Arthur, and of what was fondly believed to be a portion or Christ's true cross; it has the traditional birthplace of the first English Prince of Wales ; it was besieged by Owen Glendower, who raised his golden dragon outside its walls; it has taken its place long ago as an important centre of Welsh literature and aspirations.
With a view to those who attend the National Eisteddfod of 1894, which will be held in this ancient and most interesting town. I give a description of Carnarvon in July, 1799. It shows what the Prince of Wales and other visitors are not to expect at Carnarvon in July, 1894. It shows how absurd the mighty religious revival of that year was even to a most sympathetic Englishman. The author was W. Hutton, F.A.S.S., of Birmingham.
degai; Dol Badarn, at Nant Beris; and HE situation Cidwm, at Nant Tal y Llyn, between Moel of the country Elian and Mynydd Mawr. which sur This vast meadow, thus guarded, was rounds Car- thought the most secure retreat against the narvon is re
South, or stronger Britons, the Romans, markable, and Saxons, Danes, and Normans; and this, no merits the doubt, induced the cautious Druids to fix attention of
their emporium in Anglesey, which is said the traveller. to be a modern island, once joining the The whole Isle main land till the ravages of the sea deof Anglesey, stroyed the isthmus, near Bangor ferry. twenty four Ciose within the range of mountains,
miles over, and mentioned above, runs a range of lesser seven miles in Carnar- mountains, forming a kind of lining, which
vonshire, east of the still adds to the strength of the barrier.
Menai, may be consider This guard is further strengthened by a ed as one vast meadow, guarded by the sea line of about twelve forts, and these are on three sides, and by a range of rocky and placed the nearest together where the majestic mountains on the south, forming grand fence was the least secure.
Seven of a curve like a bow, the two extremities of these were pointed out to me. which, Penmaen Mawr and the Rivals, pro Carnarvon is a handsome town. The ject into the sea, and are distant from each streets are regular, though the buildings other about thirty five miles. Upon any are not, and exceedingly well paved. It is of the eminences in the neighbourhood of the only place I have seen so in Wales; Carnarvon, we have a complete view of neither can any place be handsome that is this beautiful meadow.
not. The passenger should always be acThe observer, at one glance, may count commodated, whether he rides or walks, thirty one of these mountains, ranged in with an easy and safe passage. Most of front; but how many thirty-ones compose
the Welsh towns have the two faults of the rear ranks is not easy to determine. narrow streets and bad pavement; faults
This natural barrier admits but of five not to be excused. narrow and dangerous passes, guarded by The parade between the castle and the five castles,—Deganwy, at the opening of sea is beautiful, clean, convenient, and the Conway, which leads to Sychnant, at much frequented, but the Bangor turnpike the foot of Penmaen Mawr; Caer Hun or road, which is delightful, is more, being Bwlch y Ddeufaen, enters at Aber; Doly- unimpeded with dirt, dust, or sea winds. ddelen, at Nant Ffrancon, opens at Llan I found the inhabitants much more civil
than I had a right to expect, and though a end. I was curious to examine the room stranger, was indulged with books, inform which gave birth to one of the most unation, &c., and found myself happy among fortunate sovereigns that ever existed, a them.
title to an illustrious race of princes, and Owing to various enquiries after druidical the means of uniting and making peace remains in Anglesey, which I intended to between two quarrelsome nations,—that visit, several gentlemen of Carnarvon offer where Edward the Second was born. This ed to conduct me to the various places, and I could only see, for no man has entered it, showed me every attention; this I declined, perhaps, for ages, having no floor or ceilas it would have led me to the tables of ing, but is open to the cellar and the sky. the gentry, and deprived me of a treasure I Upon expressing my disappointment, the could ill spare, although I have received guide told me he could take me to that more than most men, time. The savoury room in the other tower which exactly dish and sparkling glass were inadequate matched it, and which I found to be thirty to liberty and my own plan. I had no three feet diameter. This fortunate, and doubt of meeting, in the island), with some unfortunate rooin, which gave birth to intelligent person who could speak English. Edward, is in the Eagle Tower, and seems, But in this I was disappointed; I found to an eye without the castle, to be a the land in a low state of cultivation, the chamber of considerable elevation, but inhabitants thinly scattered, and the few I within is a ground floor, because the land saw knew no language but their own. An is much higher, and rises only three or antiquary does not deserve the name who four steps. It is nearly circular, or rather cannot fast half a day, and live hard the an octagon, is fifteen or twenty feet high, other half. When the guide was conduct has one tire place, and seems, according to ing me over Moel Elian, between the lakes the fashion of the day, short of light, nor of Llanberis and Quellyn, I held forth a do the few and small windows there are piece of bread and cheese and said, with appear ever to have been glazed, or the à smile,—“ This is my dinner.” “Thank walls wainscotted, painted, or white-washye,” says he, supposing I had asked him to ed, or the least remains of tapestry or partake. I trust for drink till I meet with a plaster! What would a queen of England, spring, or an ale-house. The pursuit is en or the ladies of 1799, think of lying in among tertainment for the head, not the appetite. cold and bare walls? It would shock even
the wife of a tailor, make a tinker's grumble, THE CASTLE.
and that of a cobbler strap her husband.
Three roads proceed from Carnarvon, all When Edward the First, about five excellent on the south, that to Pwllheli, hundred and fifteen years ago, erected which communicates only with the penCarnarvon castle, it served the old city insula that stretches into the sea about Segontium (Old Carnarvon) as St. Alban's thirty miles, and lies between Traeth Mawr served Verulam; drew it into its own and the bay; on the east, that to Beddvortex. Houses began to shelter them- gelert, which is a beautiful ride; and a third selves, for security, within the castle walls, on the north, to Bangor, more beautiful. which I apprehend is about five or six The trade of this place, I should think, acres, and there are now one hundred and was considerable; for I saw one morning seventy two houses, which compose nine a fleet of twenty two ships sail from the streets. As the powers of the castle failed, bay to pursue their several voyages. A the houses increased without the walls, place of commerce, situated upon the sea, and there appears about six streets, and like that of Carnarvon, necessarily induces about three hundred houses more.
the inhabitants to venture
that these are on the east side of the fortress, uncertain element, consequently upon for the others are guarded by water. The melancholy accidents; but most of those castle, at a distance, makes a grand and accidents which came to my knowledge awful appearance, but within,
ke a man
originated in imprudence. They excite in a consumption, is drawing towards an both censure and pity.
Some time back, I believe about the year A young attorney had come from 1783, sixty one people, -men, women, and Anglesey to transact business, which held children, who had come from Anglesey to him till a dark hour. He would not wait Carnarvon fair, were about to return. It till morning, but, contrary to the advice of was ten o'clock of a dark and tempestuous friends, the water being very low, would night, the tide was out, and the sand beds ride his horse over; I believe near Llanvair not easily discovered. Under these un church. The horse found his way home, favourable circumstances, their friends en but his rider the way to the bottom. A treated them to stay; but people elevated short time after, he was discovered, standwith liquor are not easily persuaded. ing upright in the sand. They ventured, swerved from the usual While musing in my chamber over a pass, got about three miles to the south, book, in August, 1799, I was alarmed by near Abermenai, and struck again-t a sand a shrieking in the street. Looking out, I bed. The most lamentable cries of distress saw people running to the beach, in the
were now extended both to Anglesey and utmost terror. I followed, and found about Carnarvon, but no vessel durst venture to a dozen people in great consternation, their assistance. The tide was flowing in. which, in three or four minutes, increased What then must be the horror of their to five hundred. Upon enquiry, I was told feelings, who saw inevitable death ap boat had just sunk, with two men ; proaching by inches ! Sixty of these
Sixty of these that they were bringing stone, had over, one only
, to floatable matter. This
and not multitude was lost through obstinacy. waves, they flowed in, and instantly sunk While my family were at Carnavon, in her.
her. One only could swim; the other 1797, the man who guided the helm of the laid hold of the plank, which bore him up. ferry bo t in crossing to Anglesey, being I saw their. heads, like two small black intoxicated, fell overboard, and was lost. spots, just above water, a considerable He perished by the ale barrel.
distance asunder, and more than half a
mile from the shore. Seven boats issued timber for beauty, profit, and use.
Whofrom various parts of the beach, to give ever visits Wales, sees her nakedness. assistance. I saw them brought to land. British timber has been long declining, and They seemed a couple of sturdy fellows, there are two reasons why the generations advanced in years, who did not much re of trees, like those of men, do not succeed gard their late situation. The most cir each other. The landlord is too inattentive cumspect may fall
, but he who voluntarily to plant, because no advantage can accrue enters into evils, with his eyes open, may
in his life time; and the tenant will premeet with dreadful consequences; he who vent the growth except he can make free plays with danger may win destruction. with the crop. This neglect will soon be
The market at Carnarvon is nunerously come a national grievance. attended with supplies for the town for the The coal which supplies Carnarvon may ensuing week. It is difficult to procure a be said to be purchased from the sea, for joint, or even necessaries for family use, on the carts run up to the axle-tree, to load any other day. Standing in a shop where foreign coal from the vessel. The inprovisions were sold, a person applied for habitants suffer great inconvenience when some cheese. The mistress took up a piece a supply is detained by contrary winds. which lay on the counter, nearly two The remedy would be found in a coal pounds. ""How much do you choose ?" wharf.
The whole.” “I cannot spare more than half a pound, for this is all there is in
There is as much necessity to change a porters of the market, with the productions mode of religion as a coat; for both, by of the island; and, I believe, often pinch using, become feeble, and wear out; they themselves to supply others; for money may, with safety, be renewed by a skilful must be had. The ferry boat, at Tal y preacher, and an able tailor. Time will Foel, is fully employed on Saturday morn again wear both to rags, and call for ing and evening, to bring and return them. another renewal. Whenever a new religion I saw it unload thirty eight persons at one is broached, or rather, the renovation of an time, every one with a luggage for the old one, it gives umbrage to the world, but market, and each solicitous to quit the the philosopher will examine whether it is vessel ; and who does not rejoice to leave a monstrous in itself, or only in his own eye. prison? The men were assiduous, I ob No people, in a free state, were more cruelserved, to assist the young women, but the ly treated than the Methodists, and yet old, who stood most in need of assistance they taught the original doctrines of their were left to shift for themselves. Some of
persecutors; as if the world would not these poor helpless things, in jumping on suffer a new religion, or preserve the shore, jumped into the water, but instantly purity of the old. Time, however, induces walked off, and a little ashamed; but I the professors to bend a little to the world, think the men ought rather to have taken and the world to them, which promotes shame to themselves. Perhaps the English harmony; thus the Quakers were as much fair are treated with more attention than abused as they are now venerated. Before the Welsh. They are, however, treated we censure, we ought to be certain we are with less labour.
right, and the censured wrong: Observing the sea very rough, and the Perhaps many of the people in Carnarvon, wind strong, on a succeeding market day, like those of every other place, are not atI said to a gentleman, “ Dare the people of tached to any society of religionists. The Anglesey venture over?" "Yes, but they
“Yes, but they higher class cast an eye to the bottle, and cannot return.”
the lower to the stroll. I attended prayers Neither coal nor wood are in the neigh- twice at the church, where the congregation, bourhood of Ca arvon. Half this arises the first time, consisted of sixteen persons, from the neglect of public good, and of the and the second, of eighteen. landlord's private interest, in not planting I also visited a dissenting meeting-house;