Welsh Journals

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WALES. Vol. I.] JULY, 1894. [No. 3. CARNARVON IN 1799. 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 of Christ's true cross ; it has the traditional birthplace of the first English Prince of Wales ; it was besieged by Owen Olendower, 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. H E situation of the country which sur¬ rounds Car¬ narvon is re¬ markable, and merits the attention of the traveller. The whole Isle _ of Anglesey, I twenty four miles over, and seven miles in Carnar¬ vonshire, east of the ~J$P Menai, may be consider¬ ed as one vast meadow, guarded by the sea on three sides, and by a range of rocky and majestic mountains on the south, forming a curve like a bow, the two extremities of which, Penmaen Mawr and the Rivals, pro¬ ject into the sea, and are distant from each other about thirty five miles. Upon any of the eminences in the neighbourhood of Carnarvon, we have a complete view of this beautiful meadow. The observer, at one glance, may count thirty one of these mountains, ranged in front; but how many thirty-ones compose the rear ranks is not easy to determine. This natural barrier admits but of five narrow and dangerous passes, guarded by five castles,—Deganwy, at the opening of the Conway, which leads to Sychnant, at the foot of Penmaen Mawr; Caer Hun or Bwlch y Ddeufaen, enters at Aber; Doly- ddelen, at Nant Ffrancon, opens at Llan- degai; Dol Badarn, at Nant Beris; and Cidwm, at Nant Tal y Llyn, between Moel Elian and Mynydd Mawr. This vast meadow, thus guarded, was thought the most secure retreat against the South, or stronger Britons, the Romans, Saxons, Danes, and Normans ; and this, no doubt, induced the cautious Druids to fix their emporium in Anglesey, which is said to be a modern island, once joining the main land till the ravages of the sea de¬ stroyed the isthmus, near Bangor ferry. Close within the range of mountains, mentioned above, runs a range of lesser mountains, forming a kind of lining, which still adds to the strength of the barrier. This guard is further strengthened by a line of about twelve forts, and these are placed the nearest together where the grand fence was the least secure. Seven of these were pointed out to me. Carnarvon is a handsome town. The streets are regular, though the buildings are not, and exceedingly well paved. It is the only place I have seen so in Wales; neither can any place be handsome that is not. The passenger should always be ac¬ commodated, whether he rides or walks, with an easy and safe passage. Most of the Welsh towns have the two faults of narrow streets and bad pavement; faults not to be excused. The parade between the castle and the sea is beautiful, clean, convenient, and much frequented, but the Bangor turnpike road, which is delightful, is more, being unimpeded with dirt, dust, or sea winds. I found the inhabitants much more civil 97 7