Welsh Journals

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44 THE CAMBRIAN REMEMBRANCER. APRIL, 1878. passant, &c. Some Welsh verses remain concern¬ ing him, which may be thus interpreted (the poet speaks) " I have a friendly Wolf, that stands by me to crush the insulting foe. It is not the forest wolf, scattering the harmless fleck, but the Wolf of the field of battle ; though at other times he is mild and liberal." Robert Wynn, of Bodtsgallan.—This gentle¬ man, whe at one time sat in Parliament for the Carnarvonshire boroughs, had a great dislike to long sermons. Bishop Sherlock happened to spend a Sunday with him, and at dinner he remarked to the curate who had conducted the Church service, that they had had no sermon that morning. *• Ah my lord," replies the parson, '* had I x>reached when Master Wynn was in church I should have nothing but small beer, but when I do not preach when he is present, I may have my bellyfull of ale and welcome." A Welsh Gentleman.—When James the First visited Chester in 1617 he was attended by a great number of Welshmen, and the roads being dusty the king desired an attendant to call out, " it was his Majesty's pleasure that those who were the best gentlemen should ride on." Away our countrymen scampered, save one, upon which the king said to him, "And so, sir, you are not a gentleman then." "Oh yes, and please hur Majesty, hur is as good a shentleman as the rest; but hur ceffyl, God help hur, is not go good." Herbert Oaklet. APRIL 6th, 1878. NOTES. Opfa and Watt's Dykes.—In addition to the bits of information we have upon these remarkable works, the following is the account given of these ancient ramparts in Dr Nicholas's " Annals and Antiquities cf the Counties and Families of Wales," vol. i., p. 388, relating more especially to Denbigh¬ shire :— " The great ramparts of Watt's Dyke and Cfta's Dyke—though neither of them is peculiar to Den¬ bighshire—present in this county a fine development, and »b a double parallel rampart are nearly confined within its limits. There is nothing in Great Britain of the works of early ages to be compared in magni¬ tude to these marvellous dykes. Offa's Dyke, built by the king of Mercia of that name (a.d. 7S5 or 790), to restrain the incursions of the Welsh under the re- aowned Caradog (d. 785), extended in almost un¬ broken continuation from near Prestatyn, in Flint¬ shire, to the Bristol Channel- a length of above 100 miles. *' The stupendousness of the undertaking is an index to the power of the people it was intended to keep in check, and to the value of the possessions it was intended to shelter. Ofta followed herein the example of the Romans, for they also had built walls and ramparts from sea to sea, to hem in the brave Caledonians ; but the wall of Severus, though of solid masonry, was only 79 miles in length. Offa's Dyke was a great embankment of earth, raised to a formidable height, with a deep ditch on the side to¬ wards Wales, and strengthened at intervals with stations and watch-towers. It entered Denbighshire from the scuth at Brookside, on the Ceiriog, crossed Chirk Castle Park, passed close to the west of Ruabon —where both ditch and vallum are still distinctly traceable, and used in many instances as divisions between fields—thence by PJas Power and Brymbo Hall into Flintshire. " Watt's Dyke is a parallel vallum, a second line of defence, in that region where the onset of the Welsh was most frequent and destructive—for they naturally made for the productive lands of Shrop¬ shire, parts of the ancient kingdom of Powys, which Offa and his predecessors of Mercia had stolen. This second line of defence stood back to the eastward a distance of two or three miles, and is traceable all the way from Oswestry, crossing the Shrewsbury and Chester Railway near Gobowen station, proceeding along the eastern margin of the Brynkinallt Park, and, having for about two miles converted the Dee into a substitute, enters at the same time Denbigh¬ shire and the grounds of Wynnstay, passes near Ruabon on the eastern side (as Offa's Dyke does on the western), intersects the grounds of Erddig, pas¬ ses west of Wrexham, crosses the Alyn under the woods of Gwersyllt Hall, and running parallel to that river on its eastern bank enters Flintshire near Caeigwrle. Ofta's rampart traverses twmty-five miles of Denbighshire, and Watt's rampart in the same county cannot be short of fourteen miles. The country lying between the two is said by some his¬ torians to have been observed as neutral ground, where the hostile nations, during intervals of peace, met for purposes of commerce. " These marvellous works, considering the time when they were built, in their scale outstrip most ef the undertakings of modern times, and are full of suggestiveness respecting the political and military affairs of the eighth century. These old mounds and trenches have witnessed many exciting scenes. Over them rolled the tide of battle for 500 years. Danes here fought with Rhodri the Great, and marched southward to meet Alfred. William the Conqueror drove back over these ridges the Welsh of Chester and its .territory. Hugh, earl of Chester, many a time crossed and recrossed them in his raids on Wales. They saw the whole Lord Marcher sys¬ tem grow and vanish. They witnessed the deeds of the two Llewelyns, and seven invasions of North Wales by the Henrys, John, and Edward. And lastly, they were made to feel the heavy tramp of Owen Glyndwr and Cromwell." U nder Flintshire Dr Nicholas continues his notice of the two dykes thus :—" It has been noticed that Watt's Dyke extended in Flintshire from the neigh¬ bourhood of Caergwrle to Holywell; but in many parts of that, distance, time, and human labour have effected its entire obliteration. Still more completely has Offa's Dyke, which is believed to have traversed the whole of this county, been effaced. It is trace¬ able in Denbighshire to the border of Flintshire north of Brymbo, but beyond that point, in its course