J. Barber delin. et Sculp.


—Of Antres vast, and Desarts idle,
[...]ough Quarries, Rocks, and Hills, whose Heads touch Heav'n,
[...] was my Hint to speak.

LONDON, [...]rinted for T. DAVIES, Russel-Street Covent-Garden; and T. CADELL, in the Strand. MDCCLXXVII.



EVERY one will see the propriety of dedicating an Account of North Wales to You, who possess so consider­able a part of that Country, and yet, Sir, this is not the motive of my Address;—it is from a [Page iv] high regard to that public and private Character which has hitherto been an ornament to Society, and which I trust will continue to adorn the Age with those Virtues, of which your Ancestors were such emi­nent Examples.

I have the Honour to be, with great respect, Sir, your obedient servant, JOSEPH CRADOCK.


BRUTE gave to CAMBER his Third sonne, CAMBRIA with theise Armes Tres Leones Gradientes facies [...] ad terga uertentes in Campo Argent [...]. In Frenche, Is portoit d'Argent trois Inons passants regardantes de Genses, The which Armes the Kinges and Prynces of Wales and theire ofsprynge, used for a song tyme after, untill the Country was deuided into three distant Pryncypalytyes viz: North Wales South Wales and Powes Lande. And then they tooke seuerall Arme.

[royal blazon or coat of arms of Wales]
North Wales.

South Wales.

Powes Land.


AS every one now who has either traversed a steep [...]ountain, or crossed a small [...]annel, must write his Tour, it [...]ould be almost unpardonable [...] Me to be totally silent, who [Page 2] have visited the most uninhabite [...] regions of North Wales—wh [...] have seen lakes, rivers, sea [...] rocks, and precipices, at unmeasurable distances, and who from observation and experience can inform the world, that high hill [...] are very difficult of access, an [...] the tops of them generally ver [...] cold.

But ancient Britain has a kin [...] of hereditary claim upon me, [...] I have the honour to boast of m [...] origin from thence; and as th [...] [Page 3] name and exploits of my an­cestors continually occur through the wild heroic pages of Welsh fable or history.

This journey was undertaken rather late in the autumn 1776; [...]he season proved remarkably favourable, neither rains not winds impeded my progress— [...]he air on the mountains was [...]ft rarified by the summer's heat, [...]e sun shone out all the day [...] Cader, and Snowdon had not [Page 4] begun to fortify himself agains [...] this almost winter approach.

I set out from Shrewsbury fo [...] Welsh Poole,—the last eigh [...] miles afforded a most beautifu [...] prospect of a rich vale in Mon [...] gomeryshire. The Vales through out this county are remarkabl [...] pleasant; but they have bee [...] so frequently described, that [...] is almost superfluous to observ [...] that they abound with corn, a [...] are luxuriant in pasturage.

[Page 5]Welsh Poole is a place of some note—it is one of the five Boroughs in Montgomeryshire, which jointly send a member to Parliament. It has a good mar­ket, but though the Severn is navigable within two miles of it, there is scarce ever any fish—even salmon is never under twelve pence a pound. It takes its name from a contemptible black pool, which is said to be unfathomable, and of which there is a prophecy, that it shall [Page 6] some time or other overflow and deluge the town. This prophecy is still believed in Wales.

About a mile from hence stands Powis castle, or Red castle, from the colour of the stones of which it is built. The situa­tion of it is certainly very noble, but I cannot agree with Lord Lyttelton, that three thousand pounds would make it the most august place in the kingdom; there is much to be done in the mere approach, and at pre­sent [Page 7] you are obliged to ask where the Severn runs. The ground is laid out in that formal style of gardening, that was brought in at the Revolu­tion, and there will be much difficulty in altering it with propriety. A common Under­taker in Taste, would imme­diately convert the clipt hedges [...]nd true-love-knots, into a gau­ [...]y and unmeaning shrubbery, [...]ut to decorate this place to [...]dvantage, the Genius of this [Page 8] place only must be consulted, ‘"th [...] * parts should every where b [...] connected with each other, an [...] must likewise bear a referenc [...] to the whole."’ On my retur [...] to Poole, I ordered a carriage t [...] convey me to Llanvair—this wa [...] to be my last stage on know [...] ground,—the road was perfectl [...] good, the people in general spok [...] English, and their civility was [...] remarkable, that the very turnpike man was grateful for th [...] [Page 9] toll. I was here most strongly recommended to a good house, about twelve miles distant, but found it only a miserable hut; I therefore pressed onwards as fast as possible, and after some difficulties arrived at Dynys-Mouthy.

This City (for Dynys is Welsh for City) is possessed of many and great advantages; there is no body-corporate to divide it into faction, there is not a single Office that can possibly be con­tended [Page 10] for—the rent of houses will be the same at all seasons and even in August you are never incommoded by the sun The river is not large, but it wil [...] never be encroached upon by the inhabitants; their sequestered walks will never be injured by any fresh Dealers in Taste,—in deed they have only one tree to cut down, an oak planted in th [...] reign of Charles the Second; an [...] I believe they have never hear [...] of any King since.

[Page 11]As to Fashions, they are simi­lar to those in Town—the head­dress of the Females is very high, [...]nd in a morning they generally [...]ear the Half Palonese.

The Inns too, like the London [...]nes, are dark and dirty, but [...]ere is very little noise in them; [...]d as to provisions, the people [...] not attempt to make what na­ [...]e has not bestowed upon them. [...]hey gave me whatever they [Page 12] had, Bread, uncontaminated wit [...] spurious mixtures, and Milk, tha [...] was absolutely from the cow.

I did not see a Cathedral, no [...] heard of either bishop or palace [...] probably he might reside at [...] great distance, and have consigne [...] his flock over to a chapel of eas [...]

There is no court of judicature open here. This city is a [...] free from attornies as ancie [...] Thebes; indeed the two neve [...] failing sources of litigation, t [...] Poor laws and the Game law [Page 13] are entirely unknown. There is not even a Quack; so that those whom liquor spares, generally die at a very advanced age.

The Theatre is held in great repute. I had the pleasure to be present at one play, which is here called an Anterlute, probably a corruption from our term Inter­lude. The piece was said to have been written by a celebrated Mr. Evan something, who lived at Bala; but, from the actions, ges­tures, and emblems, I conceived it [Page 14] to have been modelled from be­fore Shakespeare's time. The plot was in part similar to a burletta, which has frequently been exhi­bited in London, called La Serva Padrona, but the music was cer­tainly not Pergolen. The or­chestra, to be sure, was exceed­ingly contracted; but we must reflect, that some of our best, as well as earliest dramas, were only accompanied by a Harp. The price of admittance to this ele­gant entertainment, would have [Page 15] been termed by the Romans, De­narius.

The road from Dynys Mouthy afforded but little amusement, and the first cast of Cader Idris greatly disappointed me; but I soon recollected, that as I was then on very high ground, it must have been from some other point of view that this mountain had rendered itself so remark­able. In the course of this re­flection, I was on a sudden de­lighted with the country round [Page 16] Dolgelly,—woods, rocks, a ric [...] vale, a fine river, and, at that dis­tance, the appearance of rathe [...] a decent town, surrounded wit [...] many gentlemen's seats,—these contrasted with the barrenness had just travelled through, al [...] joined to render the prospec [...] truly delicious. But how was [...] disgusted on my arrival at the interior parts of this miserable place [...] there is no street in it; you pas [...] from dungeon to dungeon through a multiplicity of hog [...] [Page 17] yards;—before I reached the inn [...] heard a cracked trumpet sound­ [...]ng every where about, and im­mediately concluded that I might [...]ee, in the evening, another farce [...]r anterlute; but was informed it [...]as only intended to call the [...]ustices to the quarter-sessions. [...] the inn there was nothing to [...]e obtained; so that as soon as [...]ssible I sent out for a Guide, [...]at I might retire to the moun­ [...]ns;—whilst I was in waiting, [...]nquired about the only toler­able [Page 18] building I then saw, an [...] was told it was for cock-match [...] such as we had in England;—that they were just over, but th [...] I might go immediately and [...] a famous man from London sh [...] tricks of slight of hand. I chie [...] wished for some refreshme [...] having greatly suffered from [...] ­tigue and illness the preced [...] day; but as I was a stranger, people shewed me little or novility, and on my enquiring horses, took every advantag [...] [Page 19] my distress. I was now almost [...]nclined to have bestowed upon [...]hem some rather ungracious epi­ [...]hets; but I considered, that as we [...]emed to be teaching them no­ [...]ing from England but cruelty [...]nd fraud, I ought rather to la­ [...]ent the cause than insult the [...]ect of their brutality.

On the arrival of the Guide, I [...]t out immediately for Cader [...]ris, and found the tract ex­ [...]edingly good, till I came to a [...]ominent part of the mountain, [Page 20] and here, I must acknowledg [...] my head was too giddy suff [...] ciently to admire the amazin [...] scene that was opening to m [...] view. At length, having gaine the summit, (the whole asce [...] being near three miles,) on [...] fine piece of level ground, I cou [...] with comfort survey the sea, t [...] Carnarvonshire shore, Snowd [...] without a cloud upon his to lakes, rivers, rocks, and precipi [...] which were every way spre [...] before me;—at the bottom [...] [Page 21] the hill, on the opposite side, was a small Village, to which several were returning heavy loaden from Dolgelly market; this Vil­lage is remarkable for nothing but the remains of a small castle, whose miserable situation could not secure it from the de­predations of Cromwell's army. In the course of my survey of the Mountain, it seemed to take a thousand capricious forms, but the most wonderful part of it is [...]he tremendous peak, which over­hangs [Page 22] the Lake of the * Thre [...] Grains,—but here I shall forbear description, as a fine representation of it, has been latel [...] executed, by the ingenious an [...] accurate pencil of Mr. Wilson.—On my return I discovered, fai [...] out of any tract, on the steepes [...] part of the hill, a man gathering rock-moss to dye baizes red,—‘"dreadful trade!"’ one coul [...] [Page 23] only exclaim;—this excrescence is chiefly sold to Dublin—it af­fords a most beautiful colour at first, and if mixed with proper ingredients and distilled, will, it is said, become permanent. Be­ing very thirsty from heat and fatigue, I enquired for some goat's milk, but to no purpose; the Guide, however, informed me, that he could procure me, from a neighbouring cottage, a liquor, peculiar to that part of North Wales, which infinitely [Page 24] exceeded Stirom cyder—I tasted it, and found it was made of mountain-ash berries and crabs or sloes*,—it should remain at least half a year in the vessel be­fore it is bottled off, and if it were then kept to a proper age, it would not be altogether con­temptible. [Page 25] The tediousness of my return to Dolgelly, was somewhat beguiled by the con­sequential information of the Guide, and I must own he great­ly entertained, and at the same time shocked me with the respect he paid me as an English gen­tleman,—whenever he replied to Me, he thought it necessary to [...]nterlard his answer with fre­quent oaths, whereas I found when he spoke to my servant only, it was entirely in an un­adorned [Page 26] style, without the least display of these sensible embel­lishments.

The next morning being Sun­day, I went to eight o'clock prayers here—the area of the church is spacious, and the pews neat—there is a coving roof of wood which is necessary to aid th [...] voice, as the floor is only clay covered deep with rushes; th [...] congregation was large, and th [...] service was read with devotion and tolerable propriety.

[Page 27]My stay was prolonged at Dolgelly, that the master of the Inn, who was absent on my first arrival, and who was justly re­commended to me as an intel­ligent Person, might attend me to see the three wonderful water­falls in this neighbourhood—one of them is in so obscure a place, that the minister of an adjoining Parish, whom I after­wards met with, had never till that time even heard of it:—about five miles on the road towards [Page 28] Tan y Bwlch, we turned on the left hand to see the first, which I take to be a part of the river Dery—this is not more than fifty feet in height, but you may afterwards trace it, for near a mile, through crags and trees, before it reaches its rocky bed at the bottom; the others, are falls of whole rivers, the Moth­waye and the Cayne, over the tops of two rocky moun­tains;—the former perhaps may not be above one hundred fee [Page 29] in height, but the latter is cer­tainly at least an hundred yards—both of them are shaded with beautiful woods on the sides of hills, whose summits are in the clouds, and whose feet are white­ned by the foam of these tre­mendous cataracts.

Before we reached Tan y Bwlch, we stopped to look into a small church; where some clean­ly villagers were assembled at evening prayers,—the women were by far the handsomest of [Page 30] any I saw in this country; the clergyman was reading the lesson concerning David and his Con­cubines, and I could not help reflecting, that if these ignorant people should any way confound the Old with the New Law, they might here find some excuse for that Gallantry, which sacrifices the virtue of so many females in this neighbourhood: to prevent such a mistake, would it not be proper to have an exposition made of this chapter, and trans­lated [Page 31] into Welsh,—I mean only, provided the learned labour could be confined within the narrow limits of five volumes in folio.

I was much struck with the situation of Mrs. Griffith's house at Tan y Bwlch,—at first fight it somewhat resembled Matlock Bath, but the hills in front are thrown to a fine distance, and behind the house they are co­vered with wood;—through a very spacious valley the river Dryryd runs, and from the tops [Page 32] of the mountains are frequen [...] and not inconsiderable cataracts—indeed most of the romantic prospects of North Wales, taken separately, are infinitely superio [...] to those of Derbyshire; but where shall we find within the same distance, such amazing contras [...] as the high polish of Kedleston opposed to the bleak horrors of the Peak.

Mrs. Griffith is possessed of a considerable fortune,—she has an only daughter, to whom a [Page 33] sensible clergyman, who resides in the house, is tutor, and who, though a chaplain, is treated as independent. A lady, it is true, in such a country cannot be eve­ry day interrupted with visitants, but Mrs. Griffith has generally a select party of friends,—these form a rational society, whereas in many places, a good neigh­bourhood means little more than [...]eeping an inn at your own ex­ [...]ence.

[Page 34]At the distance of about three miles (the road most beautifully diversified) the scene changes on a sudden to some dark and naked precipices; at the bottom is a large rocky bason, which receive the Rhaidr-du, or Black Cataract as it is called,—this, I am confident, is exactly similar to th [...] spot where Hecate appointed he [...] sister-witches to assemble, an [...] offer their choicest incantation [...] to complete the ruin of Macbet [...]

[Page 35]
And at the pit of Acheron
Meet me i'th' morning; thither He
Shall come, to know his destiny.

The mistress of the little inn [...] Tan y Bwlch, has lived many [...]ears servant in considerable fa­milies, and from her attentive [...]ivility, has received great com­mendations from the few Eng­ [...]ishmen that have hitherto visit­ [...]d this country.—Her house is [...]his year much improved;—Lord [...]adnor, having staid a day or [...]wo there, has made her a pre­sent [Page 36] of the fitting up of her parlour: two sash-windows add great chearfulness to the room and each grateful passenger readily joins with the landlady in celebrating the kindness of th [...] public-spirited young nobleman

The road to Harlech afforde [...] great variety; there could scarc [...] be more within the compass of ten miles. For the first thre [...] we surveyed ‘"the Happ [...] Valley*,"’ we then passed b [...] [Page 37] a beautiful lake, and having gained the next mountain saw the Castle, situated on a high rock, which projects into the Irish sea. It must be confessed, however, that the last two miles were rather ‘"a stair-case path;"’ but I have frequently travelled for twenty miles together in the midland counties of England with more danger and difficulty. In Wales one has the pleasure of seeing that they are making daily improvements in roads; but in [Page 38] England the farmers are so rich that, by the aid of some petty attorney in the neighbourhood they can generally protect perverseness by knavery.

Harlech stands on the north-west side of the county of Merioneth; its houses are mean, and its inhabitants uncivilized. There is a good harbour for ships, bu [...] no ships for the harbour. It is remarkable only for its old de­cayed castle, which was defend­ed by a British nobleman against [Page 39] Edward the fourth, till an earl of Pembroke, after almost incredi­ble difficulties, compelled it to surrender. It has been confi­dently asserted that this castle was built before Edward the first's time, and that all he did was the making some additions, especial­ly to the fortifications; but I should be rather inclined to think. that it was planned at least by Edward. A tradition goes, that the workmen, after they had got to a considerable height, were [Page 40] all taken off to build the castles of Aberystwith and Carnarvon; and indeed there are evident marks of a Separation.

An unpolished people, it is observed, have little or no curio­sity,—I had seated myself by the fire-side in one of the houses at Harlech without the inhabitants expressing the least surprize at it; the Guide and attendants began to be rather clamorous for some refreshment, and the people at length brought them some oat­meal [Page 41] bread, sour porter, and linking cheese. On my leaving he house, I believe I gave the mistress of it more than she ex­ [...]ected, for she immediately re­ [...]alled me to share some cockles with her, that were stewing on [...]he hearth, and whilst I was [...]asting them, she super-added a [...]ook of such native kindness [...]nd good-will, as infinitely sur­ [...]assed all the artifices of refine­ment.

[Page 42]From Harlech a fresh guid [...] conducted me over the top o [...] the mountain, and I found a [...] entire good road on my retur [...] to Tan y Bwlch.

Leaving my little Inn the [...] with regret, I passed a drea [...] cloud-capt country, till I cam [...] to a road which, for near a mi [...] was cut through a barren roo [...] and finely preparative for t [...] scene that was to open up [...] me. On a sudden I came up [...] [Page 43] Pont Aberglaslyn, the bridge that divides the counties of Merioneth and Carnarvon. It consists of only one wide stone arch, thrown over a considerable water-fall, from two perpendicular pre­cipices; beyond it is a semicircle of rock, which forms a salmon- [...]eap, above which, in spawn­ing time, the fish frequently at­ [...]empt to lodge themselves, at [...]he amazing height of five or in yards; they are frequently taught here in the season with [Page 44] nets, and sometimes with spea [...] that are barbed for the purpose but having passed the bridg [...] how shall I express my feelings—the dark tremendous prec [...] pices, the rapid river roarin [...] over disjointed rocks, blac [...] caverns, and issuing cataracts,—all serve to make this the noble specimen of the Finely Horri [...] the eye can possibly behold,—the Poet has not described, n [...] the Painter pictured so gloom [...] a retreat,—'tis the last Approa [...] [Page 45] to the mansion of Pluto through the regions of Despair.

Having staid too long in con­templating this amazing pass, I posted as fast as possible over a rocky desert to gain some re­freshment at Bethkelert; the blacksmith's house appearing the nearest, I alighted, and was able to obtain two eggs, which might here be considered as a most luxurious repast. At Tan y Bwlch I had been informed, that I should really meet with [Page 46] very decent accommodations at Bettus, and might with comfort take up my abode there for an evening. As I travelled, I re­flected on Burnet's Description of a part of Carnarvonshire, that it was ‘"the fragment of a de­molished world,"’ and on making some slight observation to the Guide of the dreariness that sur­rounded me, ‘"Aye, master, says he, this must have been an an­cient country indeed, for you see it is worn out to the [Page 47] [...]ery stones,"’ this remark how­ever, is probably rather good [...]han new;—but we were now arrived at Bettus, and the Guide pointed to the house, where I was to get lodging and entertain­ment;—the violent stench did not prevent my looking in,—the [...]avages sat lapping their oatmeal [...]nd milk, and the swine were [...]ttendant at the table. In such [...] situation, only one question [...]ould properly be asked, which was, how many miles to Car­narvon? [Page 48] Finding the distanc [...] only six miles, I determine [...] to hazard being lost in th [...] night, rather than to be su [...] focated in this nauseous dungeon. I must own I did her [...] expatiate a little on recommendations, and said it was imposs [...] ­ble that the Guide, as well as th [...] mistress of the Inn at Tan [...] Bwlch, could be so intolerabl [...] mistaken; the man apologize with great frankness, that he di [...] [Page 49] [...]ot think the house altogether [...]o bad, as my Honour would [...]ave been sure to have gotten [...]ome good ale;"—however, a­midst all my vexation, I could [...]ot help doubting, whether Man [...]ink into a Savage at Bettus, or polished into an Ape at Paris, was altogether the more respect­ [...]ble animal.

Within three miles of Car­narvon I was agreeably surprised with a very fine road, and a new [...]ridge, which will open a free [Page 50] communication with these unfrequented regions, and induce th [...] Curious to visit the Wonders o [...] the British Alps, in preference t [...] the Mountains of Switzerland, o [...] the Glaciers of Savoy.—Mr. Ba [...] rington, who, to a consummat [...] knowledge in the formation o [...] Laws, adds Zeal and Propriety i [...] the execution of them, has now indicted all the parishes betwee [...] Carnarvon and Bethkelert; an [...] indeed, unless men of great ran [...] or the justices of each distric [...] [Page 51] [...]ill take upon them this office, [...]at Bill, which was in many [...]rts so excellently framed by [...]r. Gilbert about two years ago, [...]ust become totally void and in­ [...]icacious;—I know that it will [...] immediately said, that any [...]ivate gentleman has the same [...]ans within his own power; [...]t what private gentleman, for [...] sake of a road, will live in [...]petual warfare with five or six [...]ishes around him?—Who, for [...] convenience of rolling his [Page 52] carriage a quarter of an ho [...] sooner to some neighbouring m [...] ket-town, will endanger his pl [...] tations being cut down, or [...] cattle to be either maimed or [...] stroyed?

I passed my evening at a v [...] good inn at Carnarvon, and h [...] ing procured an intelligent Gu [...] returned early next morn [...] through Bettus to the foo [...] Snowdon.—Having left my h [...] at a small hut, and hired a m [...] taineer to carry some cor [...] [Page 53] [...]d provisions, with a spiked [...]ck, but imprudently without [...]ils in my shoes, about ten [...]clock I began to ascend the [...]ountain.—The two first miles [...]ere rather boggy and disagree­ [...]ble, but when the prospect open­ [...]d, I soon forgot all difficulties;—in the course of the two last I [...]assed by six precipices, which I [...]elieve were very formidable, [...]ut as I was near the brink, and [...]e wind very high, I did not [...]enture to examine too narrowly. [Page 54] —On the summit, which is a pla [...] about six yards in circumferen [...] the air was perfectly mild and [...] rene, and I could with pleasu [...] contemplate the amazing m [...] that was unfolded to my view.—From hence may be distinct [...] seen, Wicklow Hills in Irelan [...] the Isle of Man, Cumberland, La [...] cashire, Cheshire, Shropshire, a [...] part of Scotland;—all the cou [...] ties of North Wales, the Isle [...] Anglesea;—rivers, plains, wood rocks, and mountains, six an [...] [Page 55] twenty lakes, and two seas;—it is doubted whether there is an­other circular prospect so exten­ [...]ive in any part of the terraqueous globe.—Who could take such a Survey, without perceiving his Spirits elevated in some propor­tion to the Height?—Who could behold so bountiful a Display of Nature without Wonder and Ec­stacy?—Who but must feel even a Degree of Pride from having gained an eminence, from which he could with ease overlook the [Page 56] Nest * of the Eagle, and the Ne [...] of the Hawk?

But as the level walks of Lif [...] are best suited to the generality [...] Mankind, it became necessary t [...] consider that this was no sp [...] where I could properly make an [...] lasting Abode, and that the Return would be attended with a least as much difficulty as th [...] Ascent.—Having descended [Page 57] mile or two, I did not think it amiss to enquire about an ex­hausted Mine that I saw at a dist­ance; and I could make this en­quiry with the better grace, as the Guides had hitherto quite won­dered at my prowess;—the Mine I was informed was only Copper; and happy was it for the Welsh that their Mines did not consist of choicer Metals;—had they been cursed with either Gold or Silver, Foreign Nations long since, in the name of the [Page 58] God of Peace, and under pretence of teaching them an immaculate Religion*, had laid waste their country, and murdered its inha­bitants.

At the Foot of Snowdon I turn­ed about half a mile out of the way to see a Water-fall;—the [Page 59] Side-rock was exceedingly beau­tiful, but the Cataract itself was rather contemptible, after the no­ble ones I had seen in the neigh­bourhood of Dolgelly.—As the Guides seemed to think a floating island, about two miles distant, was a most wonderful phaenome­non, and related many singular and surprising tales concerning it, I indulged their credulity so far as to go and inspect it;—the Lake, as they called it, was some­what bigger than a common [Page 60] duck-pond; and the Island was a knotty piece of Bog, which, after very heavy rains, might very possibly float in it.

On my return to Carnarvon I examined the Town and Castle.—The town was built by the com­mand of Edward the First, out of the ruins of the ancient city of Segontium, that stood a little be­low it;—it is situated between two rivers, and has a beautiful prospect of the Isle of Anglesea;—it was formerly of very great [Page 61] account when the Princes of Wales kept their Chancery and Exchequer Courts there.—On the west side of it stands the Castle, which was built to curb the Welsh moun­taineers, and secure a passage to the opposite shore—In a part of it, called the Eagle Tower, you are shewn the remains of a chamber in which Edward the Second * is [Page 62] said to have been born; about ten years after his birth it was besieged by the Welsh, but was afterwards repaired; and both the town and castle had divers Pri­vileges confirmed to them by different Sovereigns, down to the reign of Elizabeth; during the last civil war they were held for King Charles, but were after­wards surrendered on conditions to the Parliament. On viewing these spacious Ruins, I could [Page 63] only ruminate on the Changes they had undergone;—strange Reverse!—to think that those Walls, which heretofore resound­ed with Acclamations on the Birth of the first English Prince of Wales, should now afford Shelter only to a few miserable Cottages, from the tempestuous Blasts of the Bristol channel!

I made several Excursions into the Isle of Anglesea, the well-known Seat of the Druids;— [Page 64] this may now be considered as Classical Ground; for though Mona is destroyed, and her Al­tars abolished,—though Fires have consumed her Groves, and her Priests have perished by the Sword, yet, like the Phoenix, she rises more glorious from Decay; her Ashes have given Birth to the Caractacus of Mason, and the Fate of her Bards to the Inspiration of Gray.

[Page 65]Nothing could be more de­ [...]ightful than the Ride from Car­ [...]arvon to Bangor; to the right [...]and were Snowdon Hills, and to [...]he left the River Menai, or more [...]roperly speaking, the Strait be­ [...]ween the Continent and the [...]land of Anglesea; I had now [...]ot into Day-light and the polite World again;—there had been a [...]iversion the night before at Car­ [...]arvon, and the road was covered [...]ver with Carriages.

[Page 66]Bangor lies at the north en [...] of the same Frith, or arm of th [...] Sea, which is the passage to Anglesea, where it has a Harbo [...] for Boats. It was once so lar [...] as to be called Bangor the Grea [...] and was defended with a powe [...] ful Castle, built by Hugh Earl [...] Chester, which has long sin [...] been demolished. The Town [...] now of very little Note, except f [...] being the See of a Bishop; t [...] Palace is neat, but deplorab [...] [Page 67] [...]ituated;—this is doubly morti­ [...]ying in a Country where every [...]art of the neighbourhood is [...]icturesque and pleasing; his [...]ordship however has the happi­ness of being so much beloved in his Diocese, that it would have [...]een almost Treason there to have wished him a Removal.

Between Bangor and Conway I [...]assed over the famous Mountain [...]alled Penmaen Mawr—the road [...]ust formerly have been very [...]ightful, but a Wall is now built [Page 68] to the Sea side, to which it is said the City of Dublin very largely contributed;—to form this roa [...] it has already cost upwards o [...] two thousand pounds, and it ca [...] be kept open only at a continua [...] expence, for vast Fragments o [...] Rock are frequently falling fort [...] fathom from above, which entirely block it up, till they a [...] forced through the Parapet int [...] the Sea, which lies perpendicularly full as deep below.

[Page 69]From hence the Country opens into a Plain, which extends as far as the River Conway, the eastern Limit of the County of Carnar­von. It rises out of a Lake of the same name, and runs with a north-west Course, receiving in the short space of twelve miles more than as many Rivers, so that at Aberconway, where it discharges its waters into the Irish Sea, it is full a mile broad, and capable of bringing Ships of almost any Size up to the Town; [Page 70] at present Conway bears only some melancholy Marks of wha [...] it once was, and to what a wretch­ed State, by a total Decay o [...] Trade, it is now reduced.

The Castle still remains one o [...] the noblest Monuments of Anti­quity; it is built in the sam [...] Style with that of Carnarvon, bu [...] is far more regular. The Out­side is the same as in the tim [...] of Edward the First, except on [...] Tower, and that was not demolished with either battering engines [Page 71] or cannons, but by the peo­ple of the place taking Stones from the foundation of it. Some Remains of the principal Rooms are still to be seen, the Dimensions of which have been accurately given by Lord Lyttelton, and an elegant View of them in Antiqui­ties by Mr. Grose; but I had never seen the Outside of this most venerable Ruin to advantage had I not walked over some po­lished Ground about a quarter of a mile from it, which I be­lieve [Page 72] belongs to a Gentleman o [...] Conway;—there You see the Castl [...] finely sheltered by an Oak Wood—on one side the Chief of River, opening into the Irish Sea, and on the other the Mountains sur­rounding Penmaen, with a distan [...] Country most beautifully diver­sified.—Art and Nature cannot combine to form a more various and more delicious Prospect.

I could not possibly leave this part of the Country without see­ing the Vale of Llanryst, the [Page 73] Bridge built by Inigo Jones, and the Chapel supposed to have been planned by him, which con­tains the rich monuments of the Guedir Family.—The Vale upon the whole I thought inferior to that I had seen in Montgomery­shire, but the Bridge is certainly a very elegant Structure, and speaks itself to be the Work of a great Architect, most probably of Jones, for I incline to the opinion that Llanryst was the Place of his Nativity.

[Page 74]The Chapel which adjoins the Parish Church, was erect­ed by Sir Richard Wynne, one of the Grooms of the Bed­chamber to Charles the First when Prince of Wales, and was chiefly made use of for the Alms-House in the neighbourhood, which was endowed by the Guedir Family. I took the Pains of copying the different Inscriptions in it, and as they are not contained in the History of that Family lately pub­lished, [Page 75] they may not be unaccept­able to the curious Antiquary.

"This Cappel was erected Anno Do­mini 1633. By Sir Richard Wynne of Gwydir in the County of Carnavon Knight and Baronet, Treasurer to the High and Mighty Princess Henrietta Maria Queen of England, Daughter to King Henery the Fourth King of France, and Wife to our Soveraing King Charles. Where lieth Buried his Father Sr John Wynne of Gwydir in the County of Caernarvon Knight and Baronet, Son and Heyre to Maurice Wynne, Son and Heyre to John Wynne, Son and Heyre to Meredith, Which Three lye Buried in the Church of Dolwyddelan with Tombes over them. This Meredith Son and Heyre to Evan, Son and Heyre to Robert, Son and Heyre [Page 76] to Meredith, Son and Heyre to Howel, Son and Heyre to David, Son and Heyre to Griffith, Son and Heyre to Carradock, Son and Heyre to Thomas, Son and Heyre to Roderick Lord of Anglesey, Son to Owen Gwynedd Prince of Wales, and and younger to David Prince of Wales, who married Eme Plantagenet Sister to King Henery the Second. There suc­ceeded this David Three Princes, His Nephew Leolinus Magnus, who married Jone Daughter to King John, Davil his Son, Nephew to King Henery the Third, and Leoline the Last Prince of Wales of that House and Line who lived in King Edward the First his time. Sr John Wynne married Sydney who lieth buried here, the Daughter of Sr William Gerrard Knight, Lord Chancellour of Ireland, by whom he had Issue Sr John Wynne who died att Lucca in Italy. Sr Richard [Page 77] Wynne now living, Thomas Wynne who Lieth here, Roger Wynne who Lieth here, William Wynne now living, Maurice Wynne now living, Ellis Wynne who lieth Buried att Whitford in the County of Flint, Henery Wynne now liveing, Roger Wynne who lieth here, and Two Daughters, Mary now living married to Sr Roger Mostyn in the County of Flint Knight, and Elizabeth now liveing mar­ried to Sr John Bodvil in the County of Caernarvon Knight."

On the Floor are four Brass Plates, with Drawings of Figures upon each of them in the Dresses of the Times, one of Maria Mostyn, Wife of Roger Mostyn, [Page 78] another of Sir Owen Wynne, an­other of Sir John Wynne, and a Fourth of Lady Sydney Wynne, Wife of Sir John Wynne. And in the Corner of the Chapel a Stone Coffin, which was remov­ed from the Abbey of Conway, about two miles from hence, on which is the following Inscrip­tion: ‘"This is the Coffin of Leolinus Mag­nus Prince of Wales who was bu­ried in the Abbey of Conway, and upon the Dissolution, remov'd from thence."’ [Page 79] On each Side are six carved Re­cesses in the figure of Flower de Luces, which bear evident Marks of having contained Brass Plates, and two at the bottom of the Coffin.

There is now erected in the Church a Gallery of exquisite Workmanship, which was re­moved likewise from the Abbey; and I was at the trouble of hav­ing a large quantity of Rubbish taken away from under an old Staircase, that I might inspect a [Page 80] Stone Effigy, which is said to be of Hoel Coetmore, who sold the Guedir Estate to the Wynne Fa­mily; the Word Gwedir is sup­posed to signify Glass, and tha [...] Family probably was the firs [...] who in these parts had a House with glazed Windows.

I ought to make some Apology for the foregoing heavy Articles but elaborate Inscriptions frequently illustrate History, an [...] These will at least shew that Som [...] [Page 81] of the Welsh were not totally re­gardless of Pedigree.

I made diligent enquiry through all Carnarvonshire, and this part of Denbighshire, for the Glyder Mountain, which Gibson has particularly described, and which, from its singularity, (say the Authors of a Tour through Wales,) we more wished to have seen, than the Summits of either Plinlimmon or Snow­don.

[Page 82]

"On the utmost top of this Mountain, according to the Con­tinuator of Camden, who saw it, is a prodigious pile of Stones, many of which are of the mag­nitude of those at Stonehenge. They lie in such an irregular manner, crossing and supporting each other, that some people have imagined them to be the remains of a vast building; bu [...] Gibson more naturally suppose [...] them to be the skeleton or ruin [Page 83] of the Mountain; the weaker parts of which may have been worn away in a series of ages, by the rains and meltings of the Snow.

"On the west side of the same mountain, he speaks of a re­markable precipice, adorned with numerous equidistant columns, formed to that shape by the al­most continual rains, which this high rock, being exposed to the westerly sea wind, is subject to.

[Page 84]"Notwithstanding the situa­tion of this mountain seems to be pointed out by the last line and though its Phoenomena ar [...] so peculiar, yet We (add the Au­thors of the same Tour) wer [...] obliged to leave the Country without gaining the smalles [...] knowledge of it."

I was equally unfortunate i [...] not being able to see this Mountain, but in crossing the wid [...] Ferry at Conway, I by acciden [...] [Page 85] gained such Information, that I am confident any future Traveller may very readily satisfy his Cu­riosity; an old Boatman there informed me, that he had fre­quently seen it,—that in his younger days indeed it was some­times termed the Glyder, but was now known only by the name of Wythwar,—that it was within a mile or two of a Village, called Clynog, and upon the Shore almost opposite to Carnar­von.

[Page 86]On my way to St. Asaph, I passed over the top of Penmaen Ross, a steep and formidable Mountain; this is by far the worst part of the road between Holyhead and Chester;—a nearer Path was some time since cut along the side of the sea cliff, but a Man and Horse had lately been killed, and by order of the Com­missioners it is now entirely broken up.

The City of St. Asaph is called in British Llan Elwy, on account [Page 87] of its situation at the Conflux of the River Elwy with the Clwyd; and St. Asaph by the English, from its Patron Asaph, who in the year 560 erected a Bishop's See there. The Bishop of this Diocese has no entire County un­der his Jurisdiction, but Parts only of the Counties of Flint, Denbigh, Montgomery, Merio­neth, and Salop. The Cathedral is a mean Structure, and the Houses in general but ill built, St. Asaph however may boast that [Page 88] it stands in the delightful Vale of Clwyd, though by no means in the finest part of it.

About five miles from thence, near the road to Holywell, You have the best View I think of that fertile and delicious Vale;—it is of an oval shape, about 25 miles in length, and about eight miles wide in its broadest part; it lies open only to the Ocean, and to the clearing North Wind, being elsewhere guarded with high mountains, which towards [Page 89] the East especially are like Battle­ments or Turrets, for by an ad­mirable Contrivance of Nature, says Camden, the tops of these Mountains resemble the Turrets of Walls. Upon the whole however I think that there are other cultivated Scenes in North Wales equal, if not superior; in the Vale of Clwyd indeed You have the Lively and the Beauti­ful, but in Montgomeryshire the Awful and Sublime.

[Page 90]Holywell, and the History of its Virgin Saint, would require at least a Folio. I shall only say that I was truly sorry to find that blasphemous Papers should still be suffered to be publicly sold at the Spring there, which compare the ludicrous Legend of Winefrid with the most sacred Truths of the Gospel.

It was my Intention to have seen Winstay, Erthig, and Chirk Castle*, [Page 91] and afterwards to have traced the River Dee to Bala, but I was unexpectedly called off from my Tour; I had the good fortune however to join Party with the Bishop of Kildare, whose easy Manners and refined Conversa­tion left me no room to regret a Disappointment.

To the foregoing Account, which was in part printed off for the Use and Amusement of some select Friends only, I shall now add a few general Remarks on [Page 92] the History of the Country and the Manners of its Inhabitants.

The Origin of every Nation is necessarily obscure, and always lost in a pretended Antiquity. On the Authority of Bochart we may trace the Welsh from Japhet, the Son of Noah; according to Others, from Trojans and Phoe­nicians, who were the Offspring of Gods; and one Writer I think has asserted that a True Briton is a Compound of all Nations under Heaven. That Britain [Page 93] however was peopled from Gaul 1000 years before Christ, appears very probable,—the arguments in favour of this opinion are de­duced from the State of Popula­tion on the Continent, and from the Progress of it in the Island it­self. It has been well observed * that Names descriptive of na­tional Manners cannot be the original Appellations of any peo­ple, they result from the inter­course [Page 94] and experience of the States around them, on whose territories they have dared to en­croach; the Appellation of Bri­gantes, according to Strabo, came to signify a turbulent and plun­dering race, and the Denomina­tions of Celtae and Gael came to import, even amongst themselves, the Ferocious and the Stranger.

The Name of Cymri appears to have been the great hereditary Distinction of the Gauls upon the Continent, and to have been car­ried [Page 95] with them into all their Con­quests; it was not retained in our Island merely by the Natives of Wales, but was equally the Appellation of a Nation in the South-West of Somersetshire and the North-East of Cornwall.

The first Denomination of our Island was certainly Albion, a name given before the Country was inhabited; it was the Celtic Term for Heights or Eminences; the Alps some ages before the Days of Strabo were called Al­bia, [Page 96] and in his time there remain­ed two tribes on the Mountains that bore the Names of Albioeci, and Albienses.

The second Denomination was that of Britain, derived from a Celtic Word likewise signifying Divided, not Painted; this Etymo­logy has lately been proved not to have been applied to the Re­gion, but bestowed on the Inhabi­ters; not previously borne on the Continent by the original Settlers of the Country, but assumed o [...] [Page 97] received at their first Removal into the Island.

The Title of Welsh seems to arise from the Word Wall or Gall, an appellation which the Britons frequently gave each other; nor will this Derivation appear forced if we add, that the Channel be­twixt France and England was denominated Sinus Vallicus, or the Gallick Strait, so late as the eighth Century, and that the Dutch and Germans call the [Page 98] French by the Name of Walls and Walloons to this very Day.

The general Denomination of Wales was not imposed on the Country by the Saxons, but was the acknowledged Appellation of the Region as early as the sixth Century, if we may believe a Quotation from Taliessin, as cited by Dr. Davies.

Nor were some plain and cer­tain Derivations of Names till of late only unknown to us,—we [Page 99] have not always had either just Ideas of British Manners or British Antiquities; this ample Field of History has been greatly laid open by an Individual*, and a [...]ich Produce will continually [...]rise from the judicious Publica­ [...]ions of a most respectable So­ [...]iety.

Our Knowledge of the Druids [...] still vague and unsatisfying, [...]nd must ever remain so, as they [Page 100] committed few things, if any, to Writing, though they were cer­tainly not unacquainted with Letters; for among the Maxims collected by Gollet, there is one tha [...] forbids their Mysteries to be wri [...] ten, a Prohibition which coul [...] never have been given had Le [...] ters been entirely unknown; som [...] curious Particulars however ma [...] at least be traced from Traditio [...] and others from Specimens [...] their Poetry that have been recit [...] by the Natives. As Guardia [...] [Page 101] of what They called True Reli­gion, they of course possessed the greatest authority among the peo­ple; No Laws were instituted by the Princes without their Advice, no Plunder taken in War without their partaking of it. They held the Dissolution of the World by Fire and Water, they taught the Immortality, and some say the Transmigration of the Soul, a Doctrine borrowed from the Py­thagoreans, though Clemens A­lexandrinus expressly asserts that [Page 102] the Pythagoreans borrowed that Doctrine from them; in my own opinion they never believed the Transmigration of the Soul at all; and I found this opinion on some late Accounts of Gaulish Funerals, which certainly cor­responded with the British ones, the Customs and Ceremonials of which were absolutely incompa­tible with that Doctrine.

They sacrificed human Victims to propitiate the Gods; and pro­phesied future Events from the [Page 103] falling of the Body, and the Man­ner in which the Members were convulsed;—they believed there was a divine Mystery in Misleto, but took their first Distinction from the Oak, to which the Jews paid the same regard during their Idolatry, according to a Pas­sage in Ezekiel, ‘"under every thick Oak did they offer sweet Sa­crifice to their Idols."’ Once a, year They, with their Chief, an Arch-Druid, assembled at a fixed time and place to hear Causes, [Page 104] and determine all Disputes; where their decisive Court was held has never been determined, but most probably in Anglesea, as that Island was certainly their Metropolis. So great was the Power of the Druids, that not only the Property, but also the Lives of the People were entirely at their Disposal, and this Power continued absolute till the time of Tiberius;—it was afterwards suppressed by Claudius, under the fair Pretext of abolishing human [Page 105] sacrifices, but the Priests them­selves, their Gods and their Al­tars subsisted, though in obscurity, till the final Destruction of Paga­nism.

The Manners of the People were naturally tinged with the Discipline of their Teachers; in proportion to their ignorance they were superstitious, and in proportion to their zeal they committed Cruelties and Fraud; I shall not raise Disgust by a recital of Barbarities, but rather refer my [Page 106] Readers to the Journals of mo­dern Voyages, where they will find, that there is a Sameness in the primaeval State of every sa­vage Nation: a few other Particu­lars however may not be uninte­resting. The Britons lived in Tribes or Clans, under the Aristo­cratical rule of their several Lords; their Villages were a con­fused Parcel of Huts placed at a small distance from each other, and, generally speaking, in the middle of a Wood, whereof the [Page 107] Avenues were defended with Trees, that were cut down to clear the ground.

Their Trade was very inconsi­derable, notwithstanding the con­venient situation of the Island for carrying on an extensive Com­merce; Their vessels were very small, with their Keels and Ribs made of slight Timber, inter­woven with Wicker, and covered with Hides, which shews that they never undertook long Voy­ages, most probably never ven­tured [Page 108] to Sea beyond the Coasts of Gaul.

The Britons were not so total­ly destitute of Defence as has been imagined; the Island is of itself a Shield, and they certainly made use of the Battle-axe, as well as Military Chariot; these Chariots were drawn by Horses, and the Axle-trees were generally furnish­ed with Scythes; but the People were not united under a well re­gulated government, or they would always have continued [Page 109] formidable to their Enemies;—a number of petty Communities will never act in concert with each other; tho' History informs us that upon great and extraordi­nary Dangers a Chief Commander was always chosen by common consent; but what State or Co­lony will acquiesce even with the Leader themselves have chosen? and in the end, if unsuccessful, he must always fall a Sacrifice to those Miseries their own Incon­sistencies alone have occasioned.

[Page 111]When that part of Britain which comprehends the present Kingdom of England and Prin­cipality of Wales, was divided into several petty Kingdoms, the Inhabitants were all distinguished by different names. The Prin­cipality of Wales, formerly com­prehending the whole Country beyond the Severn, was in the Roman times occupied by the Silures, the Dimetae, and Ordo­vices; to these belonged not only the twelve Counties of Wales, [Page 110] but likewise the two others ly­ing beyond the Severn, Hereford­shire and Monmouthshire, which in the reign of Charles the Second were first reckoned amongst the English Counties.

The Country now known by the name of North Wales was in­habited by the Ordovices only, who held out first against the Romans, and afterwards against the English, after the other Bri­tons were subdued; for by the Romans they were not reduced [Page 112] till the time of Domitian, nor by the English till the Reign of Henry the First.

About forty-five years before the Christian Aera, Britain was first invaded by the Romans un­der Julius Caesar,—afterwards by Claudius, and at length became a Province under the Roman em­pire; it was governed by Lieute­nants, or Deputies, sent from Rome, as Ireland is now by De­puties from England; and con­tinued thus under the Romans [Page 113] for upwards of 400 years; till that Empire being invaded by the Goths and Vandals, the Romans were forced not only to recall their own armies, but also to draw from hence the bravest of the Britons, for their assistance against those Barbarians.

The Country being left in a defenceless State, was invaded by the Scots, who were so rapacious, that the Britons sent over a miser­able application for relief to Aetius, the Roman General, who [Page 114] by several famous Successes, for a time, had repelled the violence of the Gothick Arms, but receiving no hopes of any Succours from that General, the South Britons invited over the Saxons, who no sooner delivered them from their ancient Foes the Picts and Scots, than they strengthened their own Numbers, turned their Arms a­gainst the Natives, and conquer­ed them, some few excepted, who secured themselves in their Moun­tains of Wales; whence their De­scendants [Page 115] have always been distinguished by the Title of Ancient Britons.

During the Saxon Heptarchy [...]ived the renowed Prince Arthur, whose Valour would have re­trieved the miserable state of the Britons, had Valour only been wanting; his History has been so blended with Fable, that some have doubted the real existence of such a Person; but it seems ra­ther hard because Stories have been invented concerning the Ac­tions [Page 116] of his Life, that he should not be allowed to have lived at all; it is true that the Saxon An­nals make no mention of this King, but it was not probable that the Saxons would be fond of recording Exploits, which re­dounded only to their own dis­credit; an ancient English Histo­rian speaking of Cerdic, mentions his fighting several Battles with King Arthur; and William of Malmesbury owns, that though the Britons had vented innu­merable [Page 117] Fables concerning this Prince, he certainly was a Hero worthy to be celebrated in True History. The Britons bewailed ‘"their long lost Arthur"’ for se­veral Ages after his Death;—they believed he was still alive in Fairy Land, and that he would return once more to reign over them; nor was this notion rooted out till the reign of Henry the Second, about six hundred years after­wards, when his Coffin was dug up at Glastenbury in Somerset­shire, [Page 118] with the following Inscrip­tion, ‘"Here lies buried the re­nowned King Arthur in the Island Avalonia."’ The Exploits of this Warrior have not only been sung by Taliessin and other British Bards, but have been ce­lebrated by one of the greatest of our English Poets; it seems by some Hints given by Spenser, that he intended a Poem whose title was to be expressly, King Ar­thur;—Dryden tells us that he had some thoughts of making [Page 119] choice for the subject of an He­roic Poem, King Arthur's Con­quests over the Saxons; Milton, in a Latin Address to Mansus, has likewise intimated the same Intention.

Wales was anciently bounded by the Irish Seas, and by the Ri­vers Severn and Dee, till the Saxons became Masters of all the level Countries over those Rivers; and till Offa, king of Mercia, made the celebrated Trench, which is still called by [Page 120] his Name. This Trench, which extended from North to South,—from the mouth of the River Dee to that of the Wye, has been thought to have been an Imita­tion of the Ramparts, which were thrown up by Agricola, Adrian, and Severus, to guard the Romans against the Incursions of the Nor­thern Barbarians; but from some Remains of it, as well as for se­veral other Reasons, it seems more probable, that it was not in­tended by Offa as a Fortification, [Page 121] but rather as a Boundary betwixt his Kingdom and the Cambrian Province.

When after many Events be­tween the several Races of the Heptarchy, Ecbert became the sole King of England, as it was now distinguished from the Prin­cipality of Wales, he possessed himself also of Mona, the Capi­tal of the Cambrian Province; but the Saxons some time after­wards being driven out of it, it was from them called Anglesea, [Page 122] Englishman's Island, a name which it has retained ever since.

In the year eight hundred and forty-three all Wales was united under the Dominion, of Roderic, surnamed the Great; who, by a testamentary Settlement, made a new Division between three Sons into three Districts, which were called Kingdoms, and distinguish­ed by the Names of South Wales, Powis Land, and North Wales this Partition gave rise to many Wars, which caused the King­dom [Page 123] of Powis Land to be por­tioned among the Conquerors, and annexed partly to South Wales, and partly to North Wales, Divisions which subsist to this Day.

No sooner were the Saxons set­tled under one Monarch, than the Danes began to trouble them, as they (the Saxons) had before done the Britons, till, after many In­vasions, Edgar King of England set forth the first Navy, made Peace with the Danes, and allow­ed [Page 124] them to live in his Dominions mixed with the English;—at this time we read of five Kings in Wales, who all did him Ho­mage for their Country.

Notwithstanding many At­tempts of the English, the Welsh enjoyed their own Laws, and lived under their own Princes, till in the year 1282 Llewellin lost both his Principality and Life; in the reign of Henry the Eighth Wales was incorporated and united with England; and [Page 125] by a Statute of the 27th of that Reign, all Laws and Liberties of England were to take place there; from which time the Welsh have approved themselves truly wor­thy of their high Origin, loyal and dutiful to their King, and always zealous for the Welfare of the Community.

The Welsh Language is still the Gomerian or Old Celtic, the same that was once spoken throughout Europe, except that through length of time, and In­termixture [Page 126] of the people with the Scythians and other nations, it has split into a variety of Dialects. No Tongue, either ancient or mo­dern, I believe, bears greater Marks of antiquity; its strong resem­blance to the Hebrew has been generally admitted, insomuch that one Author of great Learning has given a Specimen of a consider­able number of Phrases out of the Old Testament, which are so alike in both, that they seem to have been originally the same. It is [Page 127] no uncommon Error to give the Name of Mother Tongue to those Languages, from which some known Idioms only are derived; the Hebrew has been considered as a Mother Tongue, but was evidently borrowed from the Phoenician; the Latin is called the Mother tongue to the Italian, the Spanish, and the French, but the Latin itself was derived from the Tuscan, and the Tuscan from the Celtic and the Greek. It will reasonably be asked, how the Go­merians [Page 128] have preserved their Lan­guage almost entire, whilst the Jews have suffered theirs to be corrupted, and blended with those of their Conquerors?—for this, many reasons may be assigned; the Former have not been so fre­quently subdued, and they have always preserved a considerable Regard for what They conceived to be a Mother tongue; a regard greatly kept up perhaps by the Custom which the Lowest of the People had, of reciting their Ge­nealogies. [Page 129] This ancient Lan­guage is spoken the nearest to its original purity in the uncul­tivated parts of North Wales, but the Welsh in general still retain so high a veneration for it, that I am confident they will never readily suffer the English to be entirely made use of in their Churches, or taught solely in their Schools.

Much has been said of those Druidical Remains, which by many Authors have been indis­criminately [Page 130] called Carns, Car­nedds, and Cromlechs; but of their original meaning, I shall venture the following Conjecture,—that by the word Carn, which signified a Rock, the Britons sim­ply implied one large broad Stone, as a covering for a Grave*; [Page 131] by a Carnedd, a heap of Stones thrown rudely together to com­memorate an event; and by a Cromlech, an huge, broad, flat Stone raised high on other Stones, where the ancient Bri­tons, like the Hebrews, made Sacrifices or paid religious Ado­ration.

Those nice Distinctions that have been formed of the Druids, the Bards and the Vates, sub­sisted only, I think, in particular Societies; the Druids in general [Page 132] composed and recited Hymns, as worship to their Deities; the Bards * certainly composed [Page 133] Hymns likewise; but it was in the hour of Battle that their labours were chiefly celebrated, by singing the Exploits of de­ceased Heroes; while the Vates were principally engaged in the Rites of Sacrifice, or the Arts of Divination.

The Welsh have always laid claim to the Discovery of Ame­rica, in preference to the Great Co­lumbus, but this claim has hither­to been supported with little more than bare Conjecture; in the [Page 134] twelfth Century, according to Powell, there was a War in Wales for the Succession, upon the Death of Owen Guinneth; and a Bast­ard having carried it from the lawful Heirs, one of the latter, called Madoc, put to Sea, and sailing west from Spain, disco­vered a new world of wonderful Fertility;—to prove that a coun­try was thus discovered, the Welsh have recourse to the Au­thority of Meridith ap Rhees, who composed an Ode in honour [Page 135] Prince Madoc and his new-found Land; and that this Country was America they have alledged on the credit of Peter Martyr, that the Natives of Virginia celebrated the memory of one Madoc, as a great and ancient Hero; and al­ways supposed their Ancestors to have come thither at first, from some very distant Countries on the other side the great Water, at the time that has been as­serted, and from the same point of the Compass. The af­finity [Page 136] of Language has since been frequently urged by modern Travellers, and Bishop Nicholson in particular, speaks confidently that the British makes a considerable part of several of the American Tongues; in an­swer to these Assertions, the in­genious Dr. Robertson has just now declared, that he conceives the skill of the Welsh in the twelfth Century, not to have been equal to such a Voyage; and that the instances given of [Page 137] the affinity of Language are so obscure and fanciful, that no conclusion can be drawn from them; to these remarks he adds, that if the Welsh towards the Close of the twelfth Century had settled in any part of America, some remains of the Christian doctrine must have been after­wards found among their Des­cendants, when they were dis­covered three hundred years after their migration;—but here I must entirely disagree with the learned Author,—three hundred [Page 138] years cannot in this case be called a ‘"short period;"’—one Century would probably have been suf­cient to have obliterated every mark of a Religion, that had to combat with the prejudices of an unlettered people; that did not address itself immediately to their Interests, and through a Mode of Civilization, teach them at first only, as Warburton well expresses it, * the emollient Arts of Life.

[Page 139]Christianity seems to have been introduced into Britain, as early as the first Century, but of this great Event our Accounts must necessarily be very imper­fect, as the Saxons destroyed al­most all the Writings in which it was recorded; Mona, we read, had certainly a School of Chris­tian [Page 140] Learning many years before 182, when there was an Arch­bishop of Caerleon, and Suffra­gans under him; but the Clergy had no distinct Parishes either in Anglesea or any other part of the kingdom, till many years afterwards. About the year 600, Pope Gregory sent Austin the Monk to preach the Gospel in England to the Heathen Saxons, who was received by Ethelbert; and being admitted to explain the Doctrine and [Page 141] Mysteries of it, so well succeeded that he converted great numbers, and at length the King himself. Thus the Christian Religion came to be established in England under the Rites and Authority of the Romish Church, by which Austin was instituted Chief Bishop, and seated by the Saxon king at Canterbury; but his Jurisdiction, though admitted in all the Saxon Territories, was not received by the British Priests or People in Wales.—In the [Page 142] reign of Elizabeth the Bible and Common Prayer were first trans­lated into the Welsh Tongue, and at that time the People are said to have adhered to the Ru­brick and Constitution of the Church with a scrupulous exact­ness; how far the Doctrines and Worship of Christianity may have deviated from their origi­nal purity, or how far the Welsh may have been affected by the refined Tenets of their English Neighbours, I shall not presume [Page 143] to determine, at present I think there is every where much to be feared, from the Growth of Enthusiasm, the subtleties of In­fidelity, and the Necessity, as well as Danger of Innovation.

Many Popish customs are still retained in Wales, particularly Offerings made to the Dead,—these Offerings must of course vary according to the Rank of the Persons deceased, as well as the Affection that is borne to their Memories; I was at a [Page 144] Pauper's Funeral where the Do­nations amounted to half a Crown, and I met with a Clergyman afterwards who had once re­ceived ninety Guineas.

Great complaints are made in many parts of this Country of the exorbitant Demands of Land­lords, and that the Rent of Ground is now advanced much higher than it will bear;—such Complaints must of course be expected from the Sufferers, but I believe, they are here in [Page 145] some instances made with reason; the landlords on the contrary may urge perhaps, that they act with strict Justice, and that they have a Right at least to try the experiment; but it should be remembered that the Extreme of Right is Wrong, and there is a Tribute of Hu­manity due from the Superior, that He should be always on a Certainty that he does not exact too much.

[Page 146]National Characters should always be read with Exceptions; but if I must give my opinion of the Inhabitants of North Wales, I shall say, that the common people in general are civil and grateful, the Farmers rather slow and suspicious, a Few of the inferior 'Squires re­tain somewhat of the sottish and the brutal, but among the higher Ranks, I have found, in the same proportion as in [Page 147] England, lettered Society, hospi­table Reception, and refined Address.


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