Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

plunged into the water for her punishment.” A commentator justly remarks," that it does not savout much of gallantry in our ancestors, that they supposed none but women could be guilty of this offence, as they did ; for the technical words denoting the same, whilst the proceedings were in latin, were all of the feminine gender, as rixatrix, calumniatrix, communis pugnatrix, communis pacis perturbatrix.**

The castle of Montgomery, as before stated, was supposed to have been erected by the Earl of Shrews. bury ; but it is more probable, that it was built by the founder Baldwyn; for in the year 1092, there is an account of Roger de Montgomery forcibly entering Powis land and taking Tre'Faldwyn, with its Castle. În two years after, 1094, the Welsh, carrya ing devastation through this part of the country, took the Castle by storm, and put the garrison to the sword, while Rufus, and his discomfited army, were obliged to retreat precipitately into England. (Vid. Bromton's Chron.) The Earl of Shrewsbury rebuilt it, and the Welsh soon after a second time destroyed it. From this period it probably remained long in a dismantled state ; for history is silent till it mentions å new Castle, 1221, in the time of Henry III. By this Monarch it was granted to Hubert de Burgh with a considerable appointment. Under Hubert it was besieged by the Welsh, but opportunely relieved by the King

It was for a long period the scene of much discomfiture and chagrin to the English, owing to the close and extensive forests in its vicinity; where the

Welsh, lying in ambush, were enabled by marauding parties to annoy the English, by cutting off the supplies for the garrison.

From this time, till it came to Roger Mortimer, 1354, it underwent a variety of changes. It was then included in the Hundred of Cherbury, and from that family it came to the Herberts. In the civil wars it was held for the King, but after a very feeble resistance, it submitted to the Parliament forces under Sir Thomas Middleton. On the appearance of the Royal Army under Lord Byron, Sir Thomas fied to Oswestry, leaving the garrison in a weak and unprovided condition. But before a regular siege could be commenced, Sir Thomas, being greatly reinforced, raised the siege, and the King's Army was obliged to retreat with terrible slaughter. It was soon after dismantled by order of the Parliament, and reduced to the melancholy heap of ruins, which new seem to mock the craggy steep on which it stands.

Near Montgomery is the famous mountain of Mynydd, or Cefn Digoll ; celebrated for having been the spot where the liberty of the Welsh gave its expiring groan. Here was fought the last contested battle between the hirelings of Oppression and the surviving Heroes of the fallen Principality.

Immediately on the death of Llewellin, Madowc, cousin to that Prince, assembled an army of the most determined partizans of independence, and having surrounded Edward in the Forest of Snowden, near Caernarvon, obliged the King to make an ignoble retreat ; but, after defeating the King's

[ocr errors]

Generals at Denbigh and Knockin, was himself here completely defeated, great part of his followers slain, and the rest put to flight, or taken prisoners. (Vid. Warrington.) It was again sacked and pillaged by Glyndwr, 1401, at the time he ravaged the borders of Poole, and destroyed the Abbey of Combir. Leland, Vol. 5. p. 4.

Our next object was Tre’Newydd, or Newtown, pleasantly situated on the banks of the Severn, by which it is nearly surrounded. The houses being principally half-timbered, i. e. timber frames, with the intermediate spaces filled up with whattle and dab, or lathe and plaister, gives it an appearance of meanness, otherwise it is a neat, clean town.* It contains several streets, and is in a flourishing condition. An extensive manufactory of flannel is carried on in the town, and in the parts adjacent. This article is got up in a masterly manner, and employs the numerous poor of the town and neighbourhood.

Welsh flannels have long preserved the ascendancy in the markets over those got up in other places, and probably will long continue to do so. Two reasons may be adduced for this pre-eminence; 1st, the mountain sheep produce wool of a very fine, though short staple, peculiarly adapted for this useful article of female dress ; and the proximity of Newtown to the hill country of Montgomery, Radnor, and Merionedd, gives an advantage to the manufacturer over his rivals in the market : 2d, the mode

Newton, five miles from Montgomerike, is meatly well builded after the Walche fascion, Lel.

/

of bleaching occasions à still greater difference in the article, both in respect to softness and delicacy: These are all bleached by the atmospheric acid ; being exposed, after immersion in an alkaline ley, upon bleaching grounds till thoroughly whitened ; while those of Yorkshire, and other parts of England, are placed in close stoves, and subjected to the action of sulphuric acid, arising from the fumés of burning sulphur. After a little gentle friction between the fingers, the difference may easily be ascertained. All the flannels manufactured there are the effect of manual labour : machinery has not yet found its way into North Wales. The adoption of them by Messrs. Cooke and Mason into their large manufactory near Shrewsbury, will probably facilitate their introduction. There is certainly great room for improvement in several departments of this trade. Till very lately, the act of wool-stapling, or sorting, was ufknown, or at least not practised. The fleece, at most, was broken into two parts, the neck wool and the rump. They are, however, in an improving state; and have learnt, that, notwithstanding a little additional expence in labour, it is great economy to attend to the staple of the commodity; and six or seven sorts are now frequently distinguished. This has effected a material change in the trade; instead of having but one strong useful sort, that used to sell from 8d. to 11d. per yard, they furnish flannels from 11d. to 1s. per yard. It has been observed, that in proportion as distinctions in the quality have increased, coarse goods have advanced in price, none

being purchased under lid. and 12d. per yard. This, perhaps, may be attributed to a more powerful cause; formerly, every manufacturer used to bring his own goods to market, but now a set of factors, or middlemen, as they are termed, go over the country, buy up all they can find, and attend at Poole, and even Shrewsbury market.

Their number increases, and consequently with it the price of flannels. This is considered as a ready-money article ; the purchase money is deposited at the time of buying, and the carriage paid by the purchaser.

The exportation of flannels to America and the West-Indies, by the Merchants of London and Liverpool, is much more considerable than the home consumption. What is the quantity made in this district, it would be difficult to ascertain. Mr. Pennant says, there are brought annually to Welsh Poole, between 700 and 800,000 yards of flannel; but he does not state the particulars upon which he formed his estimate. The number of people employed may be about 3000, 500 of which are weavers: allowing that evey man weaves 30 yards per week, the aggregate quantity will be about 750,000 yards.

Adjoining the town is Newton Hall, an ancient family seat of the Prices. Hearing that the famous Roman Station of Caer Sws .was at no great distance, we hastened towards it. The road crossing the old Roman way, froin Chester to South Wales, called Sarn Swsan, soon brought us to Caer Sws, a place that lost, with its conquerors, its magnificence

D

« AnteriorContinuar »