ON the north of Denbighshire, lies Flintshire, a very small County, of an oblong form; wash’d on the north by the Irish Sea, or rather by a branch of it, which is the chanel of the Dee; and bounded on the east by Cheshire, and elsewhere by Denbighshire.
We cannot properly call it mountainous, for it only rises gently with lower hills, and falls by degrees into fertile plains; which (towards the Sea especially) every first year they are plow’d, bear in some places Barley, in others Wheat, but generally Rye, with at least twenty-fold increase; and afterwards Oats for four or five years. On the west, it descends to the maritim part of the Vale of Cluid, and takes up the higher end of that Vale.
In the Confines of this County and Denbighshire, where the Mountains, with a gentle declivity, seem to retire, and afford an easier descent and passage into the Vale, the Romans built, at the very entrance, a small City, call’d Varis;Varis. which Antoninus places nineteen miles from Conovium. This, without any diminution of its name, is call’d at this day Bod Vari ** Vulgo Bod Farri., which signifies the mansion of Varus; and shews † † These are only Intrenchments, and so, no argument of a City, nor does Varia signifie a Pass.the ruins of a City, on a small hill adjoyning, call’d Moel y Gaer, i.e. the City-hill. What the name signifies, is not evident. I have suppos’d in other places, that Varia in the old British signify’d a Pass, and accordingly have interpreted Durnovaria, and Isannavaria, The Passage of the water, and of Isanna. And the situation of this Town confirms my conjecture; it being seated at the only convenient Pass through these Mountains.
⌈As to the fore-mention’d Moel y Gaer, we cannot doubt but that place receiv’d its name from the fortification or entrenchments that are yet to be seen there; the word Kaer (as we have already hinted) strictly signifying only a Wall, Fortress, or Enclosure; which being prefix’d to the names of Roman towns, because fortify’d, has occasion’d several to suppose the genuine signification of it to be a Town or City. We have divers Camps on our mountains call’d Kaereu,Kaereu. where we have not the least ground to suspect that ever any Cities were founded: and in some places I have observ’d the Church-yard-wall to be call’d Kaer y Vynwent. Nor does it seem improbable that this Kaer was deriv’d originally from Kai, which signifies to shut up, or enclose. This fortification is exactly round, and about one hundred and sixty paces over: we may frame an idea of it, by supposing a round-hill with the top cut off, and so made level. All round it, the earth is rais’d in manner of a Parapet, and almost opposite to the Avenue there is a kind of Tumulus or artificial Mount.
Vaugh. MS. “At this Moel y Gaer, Howel Gwynedh † † Of the tribe of Edwyn ap Gronw.(who sided with Owen Glyndwr against King Henry the fourth) was beheaded. He was one who for a long time annoy’d the English of his neighbourhood; but being taken at length by his enemies of the town of Flint, and beheaded at this place, his estate was dispos’d of to one Saxton. Before him, one Owen ap Aldud had also oppos’d the English in these borders; who by force of arms kept all Tegaingl under his subjection for about three years, until such time as he had obtain’d full pardon.’⌉Kaer caer
Not three miles hence, lies Kàer-wys;Càer-wys. a name which savours much of Antiquity, but I observ’d nothing there either ancient, or worth notice.
Below this Varis, the river Cluid runs thro’ the Vale, and is immediately joyn’d by Elwy, a little river, at the confluence whereof there is a Bishop’s See, call’d in British from the name of the river, Lhan Elwy; in English, from the Patron, St. Asaph;St. Asaph. and in Historians, Episcopatus Asaphensis. Neither the Town is memorable for its neatness, nor the Church for its structure or elegancy; yet in regard of its antiquity, it is requisite we should mention it. Capgrave. For about the year 560. Kentigern Bishop of Glascow fleeing from Scotland, instituted here an Episcopal See and a Monastery, placing therein six hundred and sixty three Monks; whereof three hundred (being illiterate) were appointed for tilling the Land; the same number for other employments within the Monastery; and the rest for Divine Service: and all these he so distributed into Convents, that some of them were at Prayers continually. Upon his return afterwards into Scotland, he appointed Asaph, a most upright and devout man, Governour of this Monastery; from whom it receiv’d its present name. The Bishop of this Diocese has under his jurisdiction about one hundred and twenty eight Parishes; the Ecclesiastical Benefices whereof (when this See was vacant) were, till the time of Henry the eighth, in the disposal of the Archbishop, in right of his See; which is now a Prerogative of the Crown. For so we find it recorded in the History of Canterbury.
Higher up, Rhudhlan,Rhudhlan. so call’d from the reddish bank of the river Cluid where it is seated, shews a very fair Castle, but almost decay’d with age. It was built by Lhewelyn ap Sitsilht, Prince of Wales; and first taken out of the Welshmen’s hands by Robert de Ruthlan (* * Nepos.nephew of Hugh Earl of Chester,) and fortify’d with new works, by the said Hugh’s Lieutenant. Afterwards, as the Abbot de Monte informs us, King Henry the second having repair’d this Castle, gave it to Hugh Beauchamp. ⌈At this Rhudhlan (though now a mean village) we find the manifest signs of a considerable town: as, of the Abbey and Hospital; and of a gate at least half a mile from the village. Twr One of the towers in the Castle is call’d Tŵr y Brenin, i.e. King’s tower; and below the hill, upon the bank of the river, we find another apart from the Castle, call’d Tŵr Silod. Offa King of Mercia, and M’redydh King of Dyved, dy’d in the battel fought at Rhudhlan, in the year 794 †† Vaugh. MS..⌉
Below this Castle, the river Cluid is discharged into the Sea, and though the Valley at the mouth of that river, seems lower than the Sea, yet it is never overflown; but by a natural, though invisible impediment, the water stands on the very brink of the shore, to our just admiration of the Divine Providence.
The shore descending gradually eastward from this place, passes first by Disart-castle,Disart. so call’d from its steep situation, or (as others will have it) as being Desert; and thence by Basingwerk,Basingwerk. which also Henry the second granted to Hugh Beauchamp. Under this place, I view’d Holy-well,Holy-well. a small Town, where is a Well much celebrated for the memory of WinfridSt. Winfrid. a Christian Virgin, ravish’d here, and beheaded by a Tyrant; as also for the moss it yields, of a very sweet scent. Out of this Well a small Brook flows (or rather breaks-forth through the stones, on which are seen I know not what kind of blood-red spots;) and runs with such a violent course, that immediately it is able to turn a mill. Upon this very Fountain, there is a Chapel, which with great art was hewn out of the live-rock; and a small Church adjoyning thereunto, in a window whereof is painted the History and Execution of St. Winifrid. Giraldus writes, that in his time there was not far from hence a rich vein of silver, where, for the sake of that metal, they broke up the bowels of the earth. ⌈The water of Holywell breaks forth with such a rapid stream, that some ingenious persons have suspected it to be rather a subterraneous rivulet which the miners might turn to that chanel, than a spring; it being their common practice, when they meet with under-ground Currents in their work, to divert them to some Swallow. And this suspicion they confirm with an observation, that after much rain the water often appears muddy, and sometimes of a bluish colour, as if it had wash’d some Lead-mine, or proceeded from Tobacco-pipe clay: adding farther, that this seems to have happen’d since the time of Giraldus Cambrensis, it being not likely that so noble a fountain would have escap’d his observation, had it then existed. But though we should grant that Giraldus might neglect the taking notice of so extraordinary a Current; yet we have good grounds to assent to Dr. Powel’s opinion, that it was not frequented by Pilgrims at that time, nor at all celebrated for miraculous cures, or the memory of St. Beuno and Winifrid, who yet liv’d above five hundred years before ¦¦ D. Poveli Not. ad Giraldi Camb. Itin. Cambriæ, l.11. c.1.. For seeing we find that Author, throughout the whole course of his Journey, was particularly curious and inquisitive about miraculous fountains, stones, bells, chains, &c. we have no reason to presume, had this place been noted at that time, either for Winifrid’s being restor’d to life by St. Beuno and the miraculous origin of the Fountain thereupon, or for any sovereign virtue of the water in healing Diseases; but he would have taken care to deliver some account of it to posterity: especially, considering that he lodg’d one night at Basingwerk, within half a mile of this place. From hence Dr. Powel very rationally infers, that the Monks of Basingwerk, who were founded above one hundred years after, were (for their own private ends) the first broachers of these fabulous miracles. For (says he) before the foundation of that Abbey, which was in the year 1312, no writer ever made mention of the Romantick origin and miracles of this Fountain. But I refer the Reader to his own words, more at large, in the place above-cited; being, for my own part, of their opinion who think we pay too much regard to such frivolous Superstitions, when we use arguments to confute them.
Of this St. Beuno, who was founder of the Abbey of Klynog Vawr in Caernarvonshire, as also of Ennian who built the Church of Lhan Ennian Vrenin in the same Country, I find some account in Mr. Vaughan’s Annotations on the History of Wales, which, though not so pertinent to this place, I shall however add here, as being willing to make use of the least occasion of publishing any Notes of an Author so well acquainted with the Antiquities of his Country.
Vaughan’s MSS. Notes on Dr. Powel’s History. St. Beuno, to whom the Abbey of Clynog was dedicated, was the son of Hywgi ap Gwynlliw ap Glywis ap Tegid ap Cadell, a Prince or Lord of Glewisig, brother’s son to St. Cadoc ap Gwynlliw, sometime Bishop of Beneventum in Italy: he was, by the mother’s side, Cousin German to Laudatus (or Lhowdhad) the first Abbot of Enlli (in English, Bardsey) and to Kentigern Bishop of Glascow in Scotland, and of Lhan Elwy in Wales. The said Kentigern’s Father was Owen Reged of Scotland, son of Urien King of Cumbria. Beuno having rais’d to life, as the tradition goes, St. Winifrid (who was put to death by one C’radoc a Lord in North-Wales, because she would not yield to his unchast desires) was much respected by King Cadvan, who gave him Lands, whereon to build a Monastery. Cadwalhon, Cadvan’s son, bestow’d also other Lands on him, call’d Gwareddog; where having begun to build a Church, a woman came to him with a child in her arms, and told him those Lands were the inheritance of that Infant. Whereat Beuno being much concern’d, gave orders she should follow him to Caer Seiont (call’d by the Romans Segontium, and now Caernarvon) where King Cadwalhon resided. When he came before the King, he told him with a great deal of zeal, he had done ill, to devote to God’s service such Lands as were not his own lawful possessions, and demanded he would return a golden Scepter he had given him as a consideration for the said Lands; which when the King refus’d, he was excommunicated by him. Beuno having pronounced his sentence against him, departed; but Gwyddaint, who was Cousin German to this Prince Cadwalhon, being inform’d of what had happen’d, follow’d after him; and overtaking him, gave him (for the good of his own soul and the King’s) the Township of Clynnoc vawr, which was his undoubted inheritance; where Beuno built a Church about the year of our Lord 616, about which time Cadvan dy’d, leaving his son Cadwalhon to succeed him. Some tell us, Beuno restor’d St. Winifrid to life in the year 644, but (whatever we may think of the miracle) that time is not reconcileable to the truth of History.Llyn hir
Not long before this time, Eneon Bhrenin or Anianus Rex Scotorum, a Prince in the North of Britain, leaving his Royalty, came to Llŷn in Gwynedd, where he built a Church, which at this day is call’d from him Llan Eingan Bhrenin, where he spent in God’s service the remainder of his days. King Eneon was the son of Owen Danwyn ap Eneon Yrth, ap Cunedha Wledig King of Cambria, and a great Prince in the North. He was Cousin German to Maelgwn Gwynedh King of Britain, whose father was Caswallon Law-hîr brother to Owen Danwyn. The said Maelgwn dy’d about the year of our Lord 586. Medif, daughter to Voylda ap Talw-traws of Nan-conwy, was Maelgon’s mother, &c.⌉teg
This part of the Country, because it affords the most pleasant prospect, and was long since reduced by the English, was call’d by the Britons Têg-Eingl, which signifies Fair England. But whereas a certain Author has call’d it Tegenia, and supposes the Igeni dwelt there, let the Reader be cautious how he assents to it. For that worthy Author was deceiv’d by a corrupt name of the Iceni.
Upon the shore at this place, we see Flint-castle,Flint. which gave name to this
County; begun by King Henry the second, and finish’d by Edward the first. Beyond that, on the eastern limit of the
County, next Cheshire, lies Hawarden-castle, near the shore, call’d commonly
HardenHarden. ** Brit. Pennardhalawg.
Vaugh. MS.; out of which, when Davidh brother of Prince Lhewelyn had led captive Roger Clifford Justiciary of Wales, he brought a most dismal war on himself and his country-men, whereby their Dominion in Wales was wholly overthrown. This castle, which was held by Senescalship to the Earls of Chester, was the seat of theBarons of Mount-hault, or de monte alto. Barons of Mount-hault, who became a very illustrious family, and bore azure a Lion rampant argent; and also encreas’d their honour, by marriage with Cecilia one of the daughters of Hugh D’ Albany Earl of Arundel. But the issue-male being at last extinct, Robert, the last Baron of this family (as we have mention’d already) made it over to Queen Isabella, wife of King Edward the second; but the possession of the castle was afterwards transfer’d to the Stanleys, who are now Earls of Derby. Below these places, the south-part of this Country is water’d by the little river Alen, near which, on a mountain † † At a village call’d, C.in the Parish of Kilken, there is a spring, which, ⌈as is said,⌉ ¦ ¦ Ebbs and flows, C.ebb’d and flow’d at set times like the Sea. ⌈But it neither ebbs nor flows at present, tho’ the general report is that it did so formerly. But whereas Dr. Powel supposes this to be the Fountain to which Giraldus Cambrensis ascrib’d that quality; it may perhaps be more probably suppos’d, that Giraldus meant Fynnon Assav, a noble Spring, to which they also attribute the same Phænomenon ** Girald. Glin. Cambr. lib.2. c.10.. Phenomenon Phaenomenon foemina But seeing that Author (though a learned and very curious person for the time he liv’d in) is often either erroneous or less accurate in his Physiological Observations, it is seldom worth our while to dispute his meaning on such occasions.⌉
On this river Alen, lies Hope-castle,Hope-castle. call’d in Welsh Kaer Gwrle (into this, King Edward the first retir’d when the Welsh had surpriz’d his Army:) near which there are milstonesMilstones. hewn out of a rock. And likewise Mold, call’d in British Y Wydhgrig, the castle, formerly, of the Barons of Monthault; both which shew many tokens of antiquity.
⌈The present name of Mold I suppose to be an abbreviation of the Norman Mont-hault, and that, no other than a translation of the British name Gwydhgrig, which signifies a conspicuos Mount or Barrow; for though the word Gwydh be not us’d in that sense at present, yet that it was anciently so us’d, is manifest from some names of places; the highest Mountain in Wales being call’d y Wydhva ** I.e. Locus excelsus sive conspicuus., and the highest Stone-pillar or Monument I have seen there, call’d Hir-vaen gwydhog †† Colossus conspicuus.; so that there being a considerable Krig at this place (for so they call artificial Mounts or Barrows in South-Wales)See Cardiganshire. we may safely conclude it to be thence denominated.An hinc fortè & Gwydhan, i.e. Fœmina Gigantea?
Near this Town, as the learned ¦ ¦ Usher. Brit. Eccl. Antiq. p.179. ex Constantio lib.1. c.1.Usher supposes, was that celebrated victory (which he calls Victoria Alleluiatica, for that the Pagans were put to flight by the repeated shouts of Alleluia) obtain’d by the Britons under the conduct of Germanus and Lupus, against the Picts and Saxons. Adding, that in memory of that miraculous victory, the place is call’d at this day Maes Garmon, or St. German’s Field ** Maes in the names of places, sometimes implies more particularly, that battels have been fought there..Vide Anglesey. And whereas it may be objected, That seeing it is allow’d St. German dy’d in the year 435, it was impossible he should lead the Britons in this Island against the Saxons, for that Hengist and Horsa arriv’d not here till 449 ¦¦ See Discourse on the English Saxons.: he answers, that long before their time (as appears from Ammianus Marcellinus, Claudian, &c.) the Saxons made frequent inroads into this Island.
Leeswood. It will not perhaps be unacceptable to the Curious,Plants in Coals. if we take notice here of some delineations of the leaves of Plants, that are found upon sinking new Coal-pits in the Township of Leeswood in this parish. These (though they are not much minded) are probably found in most other parts of England and Wales, where they dig Coal; at leastwise I have observ’d them at several Coal-pits in Wales, Glocestershire, and Somersetshire; and have seen considerable variety of them, in that excellent Musæum of Natural Bodies, collected by Mr. William Cole of Bristol, as also amongst Mr. Beaumont’s curious Collection of Minerals. They are found generally in that black slat, or (as the Workmen call it) the slag or cleft which lies next above the Coal; so that in sinking new Pits, when these mock-plants are brought up, they are apt to conclude the Coal not far off. These are not such faint resemblances of leaves, as to require any fancy to make out the comparison, like the Pietra imboschata, or Land-skip-stone of the Italians; but do exhibit the whole form and texture more compleatly than can be done by any Artist, unless he takes off their impressions from the life, in some fine paste or clay. I say, resemblances of leaves; because amongst all the stones I have seen of this kind, I have hitherto observ’d none delineated with any roots or flowers, but always either pieces of leaves or whole ones; or else (which happens but seldom) some singular figures which I know not what bodies to compare to. Those I have seen from these Coal-pits (and the same may be said of others in general) do for the most part resemble the leaves of capillary Plants, or those of the fern-kind: but our observations in this part of Natural History, are as yet in their infancy; and we know not but the bowels of the Earth, were it possible to search them, might afford as great variety of these mock-plants, as the surface contains of those we esteem more perfect. However, this I shall venture to affirm, that these Plants (whatever may be their origin) are as distinguishable into Species, as those produced in the Surface. For although we find (as yet) no resemblance of flowers or seeds, yet the form and texture of these leaves, which are always constant and regular, will soon discover the Species to such as have any skill in Plants, or will take the trouble to compare them nicely with each others. For example; I have observ’d amongst the ruble of one Coal-pit, seven or eight Species of Plants, and of each Species twenty or more Individuals.
Whoever would prove these subterraneous Leaves an effect of the universal Deluge, will meet with the same difficulties (not to mention others,) as occur to those who assign that origin to the fossil shells, the teeth and vertebræ of fish, Crabs claws, Corals and Sea-mushrooms, so plentifully dispers’d, not only throughout this Island, but doubtless in all parts of the World. vertebrae For as amongst the fossil-shells of England, we find the greatest part, of a figure and superficies totally different from all the shells of our own Seas; and some of them from all those which the most curious Naturalists have hitherto procur’d from other Countries: so amongst these Plants, we find the majority not reconcileable with those produced in this Country, and many of them totally different from all Plants whatever, that have been yet describ’d. But that the Reader might not wholly rely on my judgment herein, I have added three figures of such leaves, out of a Coal-pit belonging to the Demeans of Eagle’s-Bush near Neath in Glamorganshire.
One represents a Leaf of a PlantFig.27. which I presume totally different from any yet describ’d. It is about six inches long (but seems to be broken off at each end) and almost two in breadth. The four ribs are a little prominent, somewhat like that of Harts-tongue; as are also the three orders of Characters, betwixt those ribs, which seem in some sort to answer the seeds of such Plants as are call’d dorsiferous, as those of the Hart’s-tongue or Fern-kind.
Another resemblesFig.28. a branch of the common female Fern, and agrees with it in superficies and proportion, as well as figure.
The third expresses the common Polypody,Fig.29. though not so exactly as the 28th imitates the female Fern. This is an elegant Specimen, having the middle rib very prominent, and that of each leaf rais’d proportionably; four inches long, and an inch and a quarter broad.Kaer
I find, these Mineral Leaves are not only produced in the Coal-slats, but sometimes in other Fossils; for I have formerly observ’d some of them in Marle-pits near Kàer-wys in this County, where in some measure they resembled Oak-leaves: And amongst that valuable Collection of Minerals reposited in the Ashmolean Musæum, by Dr. Robert Plot, I find a Specimen of Iron-ore out of Shropshire, delineated with a branch of some undescrib’d Plant, which from the texture of the leaves I should be apt to refer to the capillary Tribe; though the figure (as the Doctor observes in his Catalogue) seems rather to resemble Box-leaves †† Scrin. Plot. 1. Caps.2. num.34.. But I shall add no more on this subject, as expecting shortly a particular Treatise of the origin of form’d Stones and other Fossils, from an ingenious person, who for some years has been very diligent in collecting the Minerals of England, and (as far as I am capable of judging) no less successful in his Discoveries.⌉
Near Hope, † † So said, ann. 1607.whilst I was drawing up these notes, a certain Gardener digging somewhat deep, discover’d a very ancient work, concerning which, several have made various conjectures: but whoever consults M. Vitruvius Pollio, will find it no other than the beginning of a Hypocaust of the Romans, who growing luxurious as their wealth increas’d, us’d BathsBaths. very much. It was five ells long, four broad, and about half an ell high; encompass’d with walls hewn out of the live-rock. The floor was of brick set in mortar; the roof was supported with brick pillars; and consisted of polish’d Tiles, which at several places were perforated: on these, were laid certain brick tubes, which carry’d off the force of the heat; and thus, as the Poet saith,
—Volvebant hypocausta vaporem;
I.e. The Hypocausts breath’d out a vaporous heat.
Now who can suppose, but that they were such Hypocausts, that Giraldus so much admir’d at Kaer Lheion in Monmouthshire, when he wrote thus of the Roman works there: And which seems more particularly remarkable, you may see there several stoves, contriv’d with admirable skill, breathing heat insensibly through small pipes, &c. Whose work this was, appears by an Inscription on some tiles there, LEGIO XX. for the twentieth Legion which was stil’d Victrix, as we have shewn already, lay in garrison at Chester, scarce six miles hence.
Near this river Alen, in a narrow place beset with woods, lies Coleshull,Coleshull. call’d by Giraldus Collis Carbonarius, or a Cole-hill. Where, when King Henry the second had made the most diligent preparation to give battel to the Welsh; the English, by reason of their disorderly Approaches, were defeated, and the King’s standard forsaken by Henry of Essex, who, by right of inheritance, was standard-bearer to the Kings of England. Whereupon, being charged with High-treason, and overcome by his adversary in a duel, and his estate forfeited to the crown; he was so much asham’d of his cowardise, that he put on a Hood, and retir’d into a Monastery.
There is another small part of this County, on this side Dee, which is in a manner wholly divided from the rest, and is call’d English Maelor;English Maelor. whereof we have taken notice in Cheshire, when we gave an account of Bangor, and therefore need not repeat what we have said already. Nothing else deserves to be mention’d here, except Han-mere,Han-mere. seated by a lake or mear; whence that ancient and honourable family duelling there, took the name of Hanmer.
Maen y Chwyvan. ⌈It remains only that we make some mention of that remarkable Monument or carv’d Pillar on Mostyn-mountain, which is represented in the Plate by the first and second figures. It stands on the eavenest part of the mountain, and is in height eleven foot and three inches above the Pedestal; two foot and four inches broad; and eleven inches thick. The Pedestal is five foot long, four and a half broad, and about fourteen inches thick: and the Monument being let thorow it, reaches about five inches below the bottom; so that the whole length of it is about thirteen foot.
The first figure represents the east-side, and that edge which looks to the south; and the second the western-side with the north-edge; though the Sculptures on these edges are grav’d as if they were no part of the stone.
When this Monument was erected, or by what Nation, I must leave to farther enquiry; however, I thought it not amiss to publish those draughts of it, as supposing there may be more of the same kind in some parts of Britain or Ireland, or else in other Countries; which being compar’d with this, it might perhaps appear what Nations us’d them, and upon what occasions. Dr. ¦ ¦ Nat. Hist. of Staffordshire, p.404, and 432.Plot in his History of Staffordshire, gives us the draughts of a Monument or two, which agree very well with it in the chequer’d carving, and might therefore possibly belong to the same Nation. Those, he concludes to have been erected by the Danes, for that there is another very like them at Beau-Castle in Cumberland, inscrib’d with Runick Characters, which is presum’d to have been a Funeral Monument ** Phil. Transact. Num.178.. But the Characters on the east-side of ours, seem nothing like the Runic, or any other letters I have seen, but resemble rather the numeral figures 1221, though I confess I am so little satisfy’d with the meaning of them, that I know not whether they were ever intended to be significative. Within a furlong or less of this Monument, there is an artificial Mount or Barrow (of which sort there are also about twenty more in this neighbourhood, call’d y Gorsedheu) where have been formerly a great many carcases and skulls discover’d, some of which were cut; and one or two particularly had round holes in them, as if pierced with an arrow: upon which account this pillar has been suspected for a Monument of some signal victory; and the rather, for that upon digging five or six foot under it, no bones were discover’d, nor any thing else that might give occasion to suspect it Sepulchral.Gwydhvaen caesar
This monumental Pillar is call’d Maen y Chwyvan, a name no less obscure than the History of it; for though the former word signifies a Stone, yet no man understands the meaning of Chwyvan. Were it Gwyvan, I should conclude it corrupted from Gwŷdhvaen, i.e. the high Pillar: but seeing it is written Maen y Chufan in an old Deed bearing date 1388. (which scarce differs in pronunciation from Chwyvan) I dare not acquiesce in that Etymology, though at present I can think of none more probable.⌉
The Earls of Chester,Earls of Chester. by light skirmishes with the Welsh as occasion and opportunity offer’d, were the first Normans that subdu’d this County. Whence in ancient Records we read, The County of Flint appertaineth to the dignity of the sword of Chester: and the eldest sons of the Kings of England, were formerly stil’d Earls of Chester and Flint. But when it was added to the Crown, King Edward the firstPolicy of Edw.1. (supposing it of singular use, as well to maintain his own, as to bridle the Welsh,) kept this and all the maritim parts of Wales in his own hands; and distributed the inland countries to his Nobles, as he thought convenient: Imitating herein the policy of Augustus Cæsar, who himself undertook the charge of the outward and most potent Provinces; leaving the rest to the government of Proconsuls by lot. And this he did with a shew of defending his Empire, but in reality, that he might keep the Armies under his own command.
This County hath only 28 Parishes.
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