Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for WALES

WALES, a principality, adjoining the W of England. It was formerly more extensive than now; it included, besides its present area, all of what is now Monmouthshire, and considerable portions of what are now Herefordshire, Salop, and Cheshire; and it now comprises the counties of Anglesey, Carnarvon, Merioneth, Denbigh, Flint, and Montgomery, forming North Wales, and the counties of Cardigan, Radnor, Brecon, Glamorgan, Carmarthen, and Pembroke, forming South Wales. It is bounded, on the N, by the Irish sea and the estuary of the Dee; on the E, by Cheshire, Salop, Herefordshire, and Monmouthshire; on the S, by Bristol channel; on the W, by St. George's channel. Its length from N to S, is 136 miles; its breadth varies from 37 to 92 miles; its circuit is about 540 miles,-of which 390 are coast; and its area is 2,003,297 acres in North Wales and 2,731,189 in South Wales, or altogether 4,734,486 acres. The surface, in a general view, is imposingly mountainous in the N, grandly hilly in the S; aggregately a land of soaring heights and magnificent acclivities,-of limited plains, narrow vales, and gorgy ravines,-of endlessly diversified uplands, with interesting pieces of lowland, rich in the ornature of river, lake, and wood. Details as to contour, waters, rocks, minerals, soils, agriculture, manufactures, commerce, railways, roads, government, statistics, history, and antiquities are given in our articles on the several counties. The territory all was anciently inhabited by the Cymri, comprising the Ordovices, the Silures, and the Dimetæ; was overrun by the Romans in 50-78, called by them Cambria, and constituted their Britannia Secunda; was afterwards, in the Saxon times, with allusion to Gael or Gaul, called Cambria Wallia or Weallas; was divided, in 843-77, into the three principalities of Gwynedd, Dinevor, and Powys; was ravaged in 875, in its southern parts, by the Danes; was appropriated, to some extent, in 1102-8, by the Normans; was annexed to England by Edward I., and finally incorporated with it by Henry VIII.; and since the time of Edward I., has given the title of Prince to the eldest son of the English monarch.

The principality contains the entire dioceses of Ban- gor and St. Davids, and the greater part of the dioceses of St. Asaph and Llandaff. The places of worship, in North Wales, at the census of 1851, were 364 of the Church of England, with 107,159 sittings; 273 of Independents, with 49,948 s.; 143 of Baptists, with 22,114 s.; 1 of Quakers, with 60 s.; 2 of Unitarians, with 710 s.; 260 of Wesleyans, with 45,782 s.; 14 of New Connexion Methodists, with 2,534 s.; 38 of Primitive Methodists, with 3,379 s.; 11 of the Wesleyan Association, with 1,019 s.: 1 of Wesleyan Reformers, with 470 s.: 478 of Welsh Calvinistic Methodists, with 105,146 s.; 1 of Brethren, with 70 s.; 16 of isolated congregations, with 3,010 s.; 7 of Latter Day Saints, with 360 s.; and 5 of Roman Catholics, with 885 s. The places of worship in South Wales, at the census of 1851, were 615 of the Church of England, with 129,491 sittings; 367 of Independents, with 103,997 s.; 297 of Baptists, with 75,921 s.; 7 of Quakers, with 714 s.; 25 of Unitarians, with 4,890 s.; 168 of Wesleyans, with 31,313 s.; 37 of Primitive Methodists, with 4,152 s.; 1 of Bible Christians, with 140 s.; 1 of the Wesleyan Association, with 258 s.; 2 of Wesleyan Reformers, with 120 s.; 302 of Welsh Calvinistic Methodists, with 77,949 s.; 1 of Lady Huntingdon's Connexion, with 650 s.; 1 of Brethren, with 200 s.; 12 of isolated congregations, with 1,541 s.; 18 of Latter Day Saints, with 2,170 s.; 7 of Roman Catholics, with 1,938 s.; and 2 of Jews, with 112 s. The schools in North Wales were 369 public day-schools, with 29,712 scholars; 279 private day-schools, with 7,372 s.; 1,389 Sunday schools, with 132,967 s.; and 13 evening schools for adults, with 261 s. The schools in South Wales were 449 public day-schools, with 35,712 scholars; 572 private day-schools, with 15,209 s.; 1,382 Sunday schools, with 136,411 s.; and 26 evening schools for adults, with 647 s. The amount of real property, in 1815, was £2,343,715; in 1843, £3,365, 818; in 1860, £4,774,523,-of which £398,246 were in mines, £186,600 in quarries, £198,225 in ironworks, £355 in fisheries, £32,238 in canals, £129,520 in railways, and £10,913 in gasworks. Pop. in 1801, 541,677; in 1821, 718,353; in 1841, 911,705; in 1861, 1,111,780. Inhabited houses, 226,074; uninhabited, 10,412; building, 1,945.

The poor-law or registration arrangement includes most of Monmouthshire; makes considerable inter- changes of area with the other contiguous English coun- ties; and divides Wales into Monmouthshire with 6 districts, North Wales with 18 districts, and South Wales with 26 districts. Acres, 5,218,588. Poor rates, in 1863, £602,969. Pop. in 1851, 1,186,697; in 1861, 1,312,834. Inhabited houses, 264,634; uninhabited, 12,576; building, 2,204. Marriages in 1863, 10,570, -of which 4,998 were not according to the rites of the Established church; births, 45,755,-of which 3,235 were illegitimate; deaths, 28,159,-of which 10,292 were at ages under 5 years, and 1,005 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 98,468; births, 411,892; deaths, 265,980.

(John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72))

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a principality"   (ADL Feature Type: "countries, 1st order divisions")
Administrative units: Wales RegDiv       Wales Dep
Place: Wales

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